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Perspective

New Playing Field
Large Indian IT companies are playing catch-up as their clients aggressively go digital

N Mahalakshmi

‘How are you dealing with digital disruption?’ is a frequently asked question to CEOs these days. Not surprising, because going digital is the biggest priority as well as the biggest challenge for most companies across the world. How to win in a digital world is a battle every CEO is fighting irrespective of the industry he or she is from. 

The world, as we know it, has constantly been transformed by technology since the first industrial revolution in the 1800s. Now we are in the midst of the fourth industrial revolution, which is seeing the digitisation of physical assets and the coming together of the cyber and physical world. As we learn from history, this, too, promises to be an exciting phase with challengers threatening — and displacing — long-entrenched incumbents, thanks to the new business models enabled by digital technology. Companies failing to make the transition will definitely erode shareholder value. 

Companies not only need to transform their core businesses but also create and scale new revenue streams. Indian IT companies have had this reality stare at them in the face since the beginning of this decade. On the one hand, they had to protect their legacy business, while on the other, they had to adapt to clients pushing ahead with digital transformation. MNCs such as Accenture and IBM adapted to this digital disruption early but tier-I Indian companies have struggled with the transition, leading to slower revenue growth over the past couple of years. 

Now, large Indian IT companies are not only course correcting but also beefing up their capabilities by making acquisitions, working with start-ups on innovative offerings, and most importantly, collaborating with customers to create new digital business models. Unlike the offshoring model, large Indian IT companies will have to adapt to non-linear growth and compete with smaller specialised firms to win deals. Our lead story takes a detailed look at how Indian companies are poised to ride the digital transformation.

In this edition, we are also happy to present Outlook Business-Great Place To Work India’s Best NGOs to Work For. It’s heartening to note how the social sector is upping the game to attract quality talent and making the workplace truly rewarding.

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