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This guest post was written by Chintan Oza and Biren Parikh. Chintan Oza is an Entrepreneur, Mentor, and Director of the Mumbai Founder InstituteBiren Parikh is virtual Chief Information Officer based in Ahmedabad, with extensive expertise in Business Process Automation, SAP Implementation, CRM, RPA, IoT, IT Strategy, and Services & Policy Management.


The new year 2022 is on the horizon and it’s time to take a fresh look at the technology and business transformation way forward for India. The year 2021 was a year of bounce back when most of the enterprises regained their pre pandemic growth trajectory. Various stakeholders including employees, management, government, regulatory, industry bodies, academia have contributed in orchestrating this bounce back. In this article we have summarized the way forward of India’s Technology & Business Transformation in the year 2022.

Since the ongoing pandemic began in 2020, technology has accelerated business transformation to a greater extent. In just two months after the pandemic began, in April 2020, Satya Nadella mentioned that Microsoft has witnessed two years’ worth of digital transformation in just two months time. The transformation has been witnessed by all enterprises and startups. This wave of transformation has been a catalyst for engaging customers, empowering employees, optimizing business processes and transforming products online.

At the outset of the pandemic, most of the businesses were in the initial stages of digital transformation and were not having any business continuity aspects in the strategy at that time. Due to the pandemic they were accelerated by various off the shelf solutions which enabled them to continue the business operations in ad hoc manner. Over a period of time the enterprise architecture was reviewed and new transformative processes were streamlined. i.e. initially all started using the public cloud but eventually strengthened data security and moved to an enterprise cloud or hybrid cloud.

According to the latest research published by Gartner, IT investment in India is predicted to reach $101.8 billion by 2022. It is a 7% increase over 2021. According to the study, despite being badly impacted by the second wave, India experienced one of the quickest recoveries in the world. All IT expenditure areas are likely to expand, with software leading the way. Gartner anticipated that software spending will reach $10.5 billion in 2022, up 14.4% from 2021. While software investment is predicted to be double what it was before the pandemic, it is still growing at a slower rate than in 2021. Furthermore, with a rise in hybrid work regimes, there is expected to be increased expenditure on gadgets in 2022. It is expected to reach $44 billion, a 7.5% rise from 2021. Device growth is projected to be driven by hybrid work and pent-up demand for device updates beginning in 2020. Device spending is expected to account for 43% of total IT spending. According to the research, IT spending will skyrocket as a result of projects that encourage innovation and modernise ageing systems. Managing attrition, upskilling and reskilling of existing manpower and Hiring new resources capable of meeting near term growth forecasts / demands will be a top responsibility of the leadership. Indian CXOs would prioritise a more modular business and IT architecture over inflexible and monolithic business models. The study examined the sales of thousands of vendors across IT goods and services and provides insight into IT expenditure across the hardware, software, IT services, and telecommunications areas. More information about the research can be found in the references section.

As on 9th August 2021, as per the information received from Central Statistics Office, Ministry of Statistics & PI, Share of MSME Gross Value Added (GVA) in All India Gross Domestic Product at current prices (2011-12) for the year 2018-19 and 2019-20 were 30.5% and 30.0% respectively. Hence we chose to primarily focus on trends in the MSME segment which contributes to 30 % of the GDP of our country in recent years. To help you to transition through this period of recovery and innovation, let us get a clearer view on some of the transformation trends at the intersection of technology and business in India in the year 2022. 

Major Trends 2022 & beyond:

  1. Digital Acceleration: Beginning 2021, most of the Indian Enterprises have already begun their journey on digital transformation. Year 2022 would be the year for acceleration wherein the transformation and integration of Legacy systems and islands would continue. Upgrade of legacy Enterprise Network Architecture in terms of bandwidth, security, storage and compute would fuel the demand. Most of the cloud compute majors have India Specific cloud infrastructure instances available now. This reflects the importance and volume of ongoing digital acceleration on the horizon. Rise of born in cloud enterprise have transformed business model/products and service while multiplying the demand and bridging the gap between urban and rural habitats.
  2. Smart Factories: Manufacturers who want to seize growth while preserving long-term profitability should embrace end to end digital capabilities, from corporate processes to the production floor. For many firms, smart factories, including greenfield and brownfield investments, are considered as one of the keys to boosting competitiveness in 2022. Forward looking manufacturers are making headway and devising mechanisms for returns from more connected, dependable, efficient, and predictive plant operations. Smart Factories help make business models pandemic proof.  With the appropriate combination of vision and execution, emerging and changing use cases may continue to grow from isolated in-house technology initiatives to whole production lines or factories. Smart manufacturing is enabling manufacturers to rethink and digitize shop floor operations be it men, machines and process. Frontline employees in manufacturing will most likely take on duties and responsibilities that require them to use their communication and teamwork skills more frequently while working with robots, intelligence and sensors. Platforms that enable industrial upskilling and staff involvement will become more common as we approach 2022. Appropriate amendments are being made by the Government in line with the needs of the industry. Major investments would be made in heavy engineering and manufacturing industries but also in adjunct domains such as agriculture, food and healthcare.
  3. Digital Twin: The technology of digital twin is essentially a mix of data, process and intelligence. It assists businesses in representing the structure and behaviour of a system. Most businesses use digital twin technologies to optimise the real world, allowing them to greatly increase business processes and operational efficiency. Sensors in the digital twin collect data to reflect real-time data from the physical asset. Digital twin technology provides an interface that familiarises businesses with past and present operations and allows them to make future forecasts. Indian economy would start adoption and pilot of digital twin at scale in 2022. Industries will be beneficial like manufacturing, healthcare, aerospace, banking, telecom, construction, oil & gas, logistics etc. Digital twin would be deployed for improvement of product quality, optimising cost of manufacturing, reducing downtime, ensuring production efficiency, testing of new product, services and business models overlapping existing ones, realign enterprise roadmap of product and service with reference to dynamic parameters like supply and demand and availability of critical components i.e. silicon chips.
  4. HR Transformation: Digital transformation has triggered a wave of demand for digitally skilled workforce. Thus, most of the enterprises have begun employee upskilling and reskilling initiatives. In this environment of ongoing pandemic, HR has played a vital role in facilitating seamless transition of offline-online-hybrid workmodels. In 2022, HR transformation would be a priority for the enterprise as HR transformation would help make the enterprise more resilient and innovation focused. Strategic HR initiatives in the Enterprise would enable transformation / transition to hybrid workforce and shape up the future of work. With adoption of digital transformation, HR as a function would be equipped in 2022 to migrate most of the HR processes in the cloud. The scope of HR as a function would be widened, HR would not only manage humans but also machines, intelligence, processes and algorithms in the time to come. HR would be the guarding function of Ethics, Sustainability and Gender Diversity. HR would become the forward thinking function to lay the foundation of the future roadmap of the organization and integral part of enterprise strategy wrt agility and resilience. Human Resources as a function would be Creating a workspace (both real and virtual) that allows teams to collaborate and interact regardless of where they sit, Organizational structures that support cross-functional teams. These include regular employees, gig workers, and contractors, with the goal of actively encouraging cooperation and variety of thinking. Last but not least, leveraging digital platforms to link employees asynchronously so that they may work together anytime, anywhere.
  5. Hybrid Work: Hybrid Work would become the de facto mode of operation. Collaboration Tools would become an enabler for employees to work from anywhere. Due to the pandemic there was a dip in the coworking infrastructure business, with the rise of hybrid work, the coworking business would boom again. MSME would transition to a cost effective and flexible model of shared infrastructure. Employees would prefer the opportunity of learning than the role/salary or location. Work life balance would become a pivoting factor for retention and resignation. Government has amended IT and labour laws to suit and support the hybrid mode of work model. This is the decade where multiple generations would be working together, AI enabled workflow and automation tools would be bridging the gap in thinking, communication and way of working.
  6. Wave of Great Resignation and Great Migration: Project based engagement would be on the rise, uberisation of work would reduce the permanent manpower.  After the wave of Great Resignation, the next wave for Great Migration would hit the industry. More people would migrate from urban to rural areas. In fact, although debuting in 2021, "The Great Resignation" today has 1.9 billion Google results. This is possibly the most significant transformation in the labour market in decades, and it would be an understatement to suggest that its impact on the workplace in 2022 would be seismic. We're seeing an increasing number of individuals transfer jobs and make daring career decisions, which is incredibly encouraging and inspiring if you're thinking about making a career move of your own. The emergence of the four-days’ work week in several businesses is triggered by the hybrid working model, great resignation, great migration and rise of automation.
  7. Upskilling and Reskilling Initiatives: Most Enterprises have now adapted to the post-pandemic environment in their own unique way to upskill and reskill the manpower. This aims to future-proof workers from technological change and help economies by providing new skills for the next wave of technology disruption. Despite multiple hurdles, HR teams have been at the forefront of adopting novel methods to manage remote onboarding and training programmes, increasing employee efficiency in the virtual environment, and discovering better ways to support a hybrid workplace.In fact, employers expect HR function to lead digital transformation even in 2022, based on how they have risen to the difficulties and maintained their seat at the C-Suite table. As expenditures in HR programmes continue to grow. On a more positive note, as we enter 2022, HR teams will continue to be front runners in adjusting to the ongoing changes in the corporate landscape. They will continue to prioritise staff development through upskilling and reskilling. In recent years, there has been an increase in desire for new and enhanced shopping experiences. Customer attitudes around ecommerce have shifted dramatically. New generations of online buyers, notably Generation Z and Millennials, want to interact with your items before visiting your store. 
  8. 5G as growth multiplier: 5G adoption is widely expected to outpace 4G next year. Telcos and Enterprise would minimise capex spend in 4G. The Government of India is scheduled to auction spectrum while telcos are experimenting to manufacture core network equipment by developing proprietary 5G technology. For the last 2 years, 5G is laying the groundwork for a completely digitalized and linked future. We have witnessed several new field experiments and an increasing number of commercial rollouts over the last two years. Furthermore, we are seeing various industry verticals completing a pilot on 5G and gearing up to adopt 5G at scale in 2022 and beyond. With its high throughput and ultralow latency, 5G can access various high-value domains such as 3D robotic control, virtual reality monitoring, autonomous fleet management, and remote medical control that earlier technologies could not. 5G would be reinventing and accelerating sectors including automotive, entertainment, computing, and manufacturing, and it will eventually revolutionise the way we work and live.
  9. Edge Computing: Edge computing is becoming more prevalent due to the rise of 5G and improved quality of the Internet. The rapid proliferation of smart gadgets has put a pressure on internet infrastructure, requiring cloud-based businesses to adapt and find new methods to service their consumers. Edge computing is a fast developing sector that is barely keeping up with demand. It is the technique of storing and processing data as near to the end user as possible. Only a few years ago, it was believed that 10% of company data was handled on the edge, outside of cloud-based data centres. This figure is predicted to reach 75% by 2025. To have a better understanding of the future trajectory of edge computing, we must first investigate the major drivers of its rise. Popular use cases are deployments in Agriculture, Supply Chain, Smart Factories, Telecom, Retail, Healthcare & Fintech sectors.
  10. AR/VR/MR: Augmented Reality(AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Mixed Reality (MR) would bridge the digital and physical worlds. Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR) technologies would continue to move beyond the pilot stage in Enterprise. According to Statista, the global AR and VR industry is expected to reach $209 billion by 2022. But that isn't all. According to the survey, worldwide AR and VR app downloads are likely to reach 5.5 billion by the end of next year. Augmented reality has already been shown to improve consumer satisfaction. However, even more is on the way in the near future. The system decreases returns by providing buyers with a real-time preview of a product, its size, and how it will appear in their homes. AR and VR technologies immerse consumers in a digital environment where they may rapidly locate things and try them on before making a purchase. These innovative technologies dramatically alter the client experience, changing a prospect into a buyer's desire for new and enhanced shopping experiences. Customer attitudes around ecommerce want to interact with items before making a purchase. Popular use cases would be Virtual Marketplaces, In Store Navigation, Real Estate, Entertainment, Tourism, Education, Customer Experience etc. 
  11. Rise of Robotics: Adoption of robotics in enterprise would help overcome the challenges triggered by the pandemic. Rise of AI enabled robotic systems would be more beneficial to healthcare and supply chain sectors. Rise of cobots would be beneficial to automobiles and agriculture sectors. With deployment of Robots more and more fulfillment centres and warehouses operate 24x7 in a seamless manner to equip the supply chain to deliver efficient customer service. Overall, Rise of Robotics would help overcome the near term shortage of labor and semi skilled workforce. Amongst students for higher secondary education and innovation labs promoting innovation, Robotics would remain a favorite stream of study.
  12. Drones: More and more drone services and use cases would be implemented in serving the unserved. Apart from deployment of drones for popular use cases like industrial photography, surveillance for law enforcement/disaster relief, drones would also get deployed in delivery of life saving drugs/vaccines. Drones have emerged as an economical option with a better quality for conducting GIS surveys for green field projects be it highways, smart cities or other mega structures. Drones are able to provide better quality imagery at a cost of just 10% of what has been traditionally used via satellite images. At present, most of the components and accessories are imported, Startups would come forward to manufacture them in India. More and more startups and enterprises would have a fleet of drones and humans to manage them. The Indian Government’s drone policy is encouraging adoption, standardization, manufacturing and governance for the sector.
  13. Quantum Computing: In 2021, the majority of CxOs believed that quantum computing was still a fad. The future of quantum computing is still a long way off. However, in 2022, this “hype” would not exclude anyone from planning for the future and launching a pilot programme at the organisational level. The physical world is broken due to pandemic and the digital world is under siege from bad actors. These previous dangers have now been joined by one on a fundamentally new level. When a large enough quantum computer becomes accessible, we know it will be capable of breaking the present public key encryption that is used to secure the Internet and business networks. Worse, material captured and kept today is already subject to this future threat's decryption. Much work is being done throughout the world to combat this threat, including the new math-based quantum-resistant protocols of PQC and the physics-based techniques of quantum cryptography, including QRNG and QKD. The old approach of out-of-band key distribution is likewise being revitalised by new technologies. In 2021, quantum computing has already made headlines for its innovations in a variety of applications. More IT businesses are attempting to utilise quantum technology, from IBM's newest quantum computing chip to China's Zuchongzhi quantum computer, which is a million times more powerful than its nearest competitor. The size of the "Quantum Computing Market" is predicted to expand from 140.3 million USD in 2020 to 1100 million USD triggering 40.1 percent CAGR by year 2026. Quantum computing is becoming more popular in a variety of fields, including medicine, research, finance, Internet, transportation, and manufacturing. In the year 2022, various trade fairs and user centric communities would continue to assist Quantum Computing in expanding their consumer base and considerably contributing to the adoption of Quantum Computing.
  14. Metaverse: The year 2021 witnessed the growth of crypto currencies as block chains gained traction across a variety of use applications. Year 2021 saw more investments in crypto than all previous years combined. The rise of NFT started in 2021 and would continue in 2022. The NFT marketplace, where users may buy, trade, or manufacture Non-Fungible tokens, is one expanding area. Non-fungible Tokens are non-transferable digital art, films, photos, or other digital units of data. NFTs, unlike cryptocurrencies, are one-of-a-kind and cannot be exchanged or traded. Metaverse, a digital phenomena that blends AR, VR, online gaming, NFTs, and blockchain technology to create a digitised replica of the real world. At its core, the metaverse operates similarly to the internet, delivering information and material that we scroll and search for on a daily basis; nevertheless, it has an intriguing feature: users may engage in and travel around this digital area. Virtual concerts and digital payments (NFTs) might simply be described as the beginning of this digital cosmos. With so much at stake, there is a lot of opportunity for investors to profit, especially because NFTs, which are essentially digital tokens, have demonstrated greater than 1000x returns in a couple of weeks!! Recently Facebook Inc. renamed as Meta to emphasise its dedication to bringing the Metaverse into the mainstream. The Metaverse is garnering a lot of attention from both startups and established businesses. Just as an example, SAND, the Sandbox's native coin, recently reported YTD gains of approximately 14,000 percent. Similarly, Decentraland (MANA), a 3-D virtual reality platform that is part of the Metaverse, has increased almost 4,000 percent year to date. Forward thinking enterprise and thought leadership would start their journey and in house study for their debut in metaverse by 2025. 
  15. Other Trends: Other technology keywords would be in highlight in year 2022 are Blockchain, Computer Vision, Space Economy, Advanced AI, IoT, Accelerated ML, RPA, Digital Boardroom, Virtual Reality Conference, VR enabled Analytics, Low Orbit Satellite enabled Internet, Advanced medicinal research, Green Energy, Autonomous Fleet, Advanced Material Research, photonics and electronics etc.

Conclusion:

From being an enabler just a couple of years ago, Technology has taken center stage in every aspect of the business. We live in an era where various professionals are learning new technology i.e. finance professionals are learning coding, doctors are learning coding, marketing professionals are learning digital skills. New knowledge of new Technology has enabled us to deliver new products/services and supported new business models. Overall direction of trends in Technology and Business would enable Indian enterprises to advance, unlock the value of data and exploit benefits of emerging technologies. The year 2022 would be the year of Transformation; be it work, worker or workplace. India’s MSME, startups, businesses, and investors have a unique chance to leverage on evolving technology and agile sustainable business trends to become more resilient and successful than ever before. Let us hope that the consequent growth improves the world for people and companies in the year 2022 and beyond.


About Authors:


Reference Links:

  1. 2 years of digital transformation in 2 months by Satya Nadella (published on 30Apr20 accessed on 19Dec21): https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/microsoft-365/blog/2020/04/30/2-years-digital-transformation-2-months/
  2. Latest Gartner Research Report (published on 1Dec21, accessed on 19Dec21): https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2021-12-01-india-it-spending-forecast-2022
  3. Contribution of MSME to GDP (published on 9Aug21, accessed on 22Dec21): https://www.pib.gov.in/PressReleseDetailm.aspx?PRID=1744032

 

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