The Growth Journey of Indian IT-BPM

By Naveen Krishna Yamarthi, Director,Operations-IT, AstraZeneca

From traditional Call centers to BPOs to KPOs to ITES to BPMs, the Indian IT-BPM sector has travelled this incredible, ‘Value Added services’ led, growth journey in just the last 7 to 10 years! According to NASSCOM, India’s IT-BPM industry is expected to grow by 12 to 14 percent during FY 2016-17. This growth, I believe, will come with its own set of challenges, primarily with the Talent pool and Infrastructure. 

IT-BPM in India is no longer just a Low Cost Operations play. Organizations with large data-sets, freely available data for small-medium organizations, along with new age tools & data processing capabilities are enabling complex domains with highly complex business processes and substantial value. Case in point being pharmaceutical industry where IT-BPM enables integrating and efficiently streamlining complex processes like Driving greater accuracy in records and processes, Improving Quality Assurance & Control and minimizing the time for a drug to reach the market. 

Such abilities have transformed IT companies from being just outsourcing partners to becoming an extended arm of the client or customer. The moving up-the value chain from BPO to BPM is driven entirely by Innovation and R&D. This in turn is driven by a new generation of talent that is willing to take up the steep learning curve that comes with the rapid pace of technology. To sustain the IT-BPM industry’s growth requirement, the driving forces will be a ‘keeping up with the market’ mind-set and a domain centric v/s Technology centric approach. 

The addition of graduates to India’s talent pool in FY 08-15 grew at a CAGR of 9.4 percent. However, it is expected that automation and robotics utilization across processes will result in a reduced intake rate YoY for the next 3 years, especially for most SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) driven processes, which incidentally drives the annual fresh graduate intake. This reduced intake in the conventional BPO space will be offset by a shift to the greater-value adding BPM space. This shift is evident from the more than 60 percent growth of start-ups we have seen in FY 2016 alone, along with the fierce competition amongst venture capitalists to fund start-up, especially those driven by innovation and digital technology. It is estimated that VC funding will see start-ups in three digit numbers over the next five years.

With regard to infrastructure, those days are gone when we talked about Software Technology Parks of India (STPIs) and the Special Economic Zone (SEZs) alone. Today we see multiple initiatives by the government to ease the setting up and running of a business. These include single window clearances, e-Tourist visa schemes (150+ countries and counting), the Digital India campaign and Start-up India campaign, to name a few. Such Initiatives by the government help build credibility amongst existing players and lend faith to new ones, and helps in keeping up with the pace of global market requirements for India to continue being the largest destination for IT-BPM.

We need to continue working towards developing newer technologies such as Robotics, Analytics, Nanotechnology, Artificial intelligence, IoT and mobile technologies etc. while building domain expertise for long-term sustainability as we transition into a knowledge-driven economy from a cost or workforce-driven industry. 

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