The global economy is going through a phase of accelerated change. More than 30 billion devices will be connected to the internet by 2020. These networks generate extensive data that yields insights for private and public institutions. With these movements, global business systems will see a monumental change in the next 10 to 15 years. No device exists without software, and the end-to-end software services and solutions for businesses across industries are being developed by the information technology (IT) sector. This underlines the need for the sector to be alert to opportunities.

The Indian software services industry is adroitly riding these current movements and reinventing itself to be able to anticipate and deliver solutions to businesses. The sector has evolved to identify and facilitate change while delivering a mature level of business continuity to organizations. I believe there are lessons in this for the global software services industry on staying ahead of the digital tide.

The Digital Pivot

Every business is acknowledging the need to integrate the physical and digital worlds. We have witnessed how the retail sector has been restructured with online shopping. Other sectors such as insurance and banking are coming under the influence of the increasing connectivity of devices as well as blockchain, digital commerce and digital supply chains.

I see three trends that software services companies must leverage:

First, technology has become a global phenomenon. Its impact is not limited to industries or regions. It is all about everything being connected — across countries, trade agreements, consortiums — and is being put to work for and by everyone.

Second, disruption can be a differentiator within an industry. While it can originate and come to bear in multiple ways, the effect it has on a business is the result of the approach undertaken by the business, providing a route to stand out from the competition.

Until recently, disruptive innovation would typically affect high-tech industries while core sectors were relatively protected. Today, technology has an impact on every business. While corporations in the S&P 500 Index of 1965 managed to retain their places in the index for 33 years, according to a report by Innosight based on market data covering almost 100 years, this period has been steadily decreasing. As this period lowers to 14 years by 2026, half of the S&P 500 firms will be replaced in the next ten years.

This brings me to my third point: Established companies and heritage firms are joining new-age businesses by embracing digital technologies. Every business needs to be digital to stay afloat. From banks that use digital products to movie production giants that are adopting a digital-first strategy hinged on extensive data, the spectrum is varied.