By Ashok Gopinathan, Head Learning and Development -Technology Business, Flipkart
The abundance of opportunity driven by various factors has made technology consulting popular and an inevitable fact in today’s fast growing tech industry. With IT and IT enabled businesses maturing from pure services to companies that make products and platforms, the future of technology consulting is brighter in India than any time before.
Some of the major drivers leading to this abundance of opportunity are Political, economic, social and technological factors. The Political system is putting its energy on industrialisation. Though IT has dominated the industrial revolution for last 2 or more decades in India, the ‘Make in India’ fever is catching on with various government initiatives promoting entrepreneurship in varied other sectors. The IMF has predicted the Annual GDP between now and 2017 to be hovering around 7.5 percent. Globalization is also playing a positive role by opening up a level playing field for specialist talent.
65 percent of India’s population is between the age of 18 and 35, this means we have the potential to be a great market for Products, Services and Talent which are the important ingredients for industrialization. The access to technology has never been easier. The Entry Barriers to starting tech business have been breached with innovation in technology. Open-source technology products and platforms are making it easier for students and professionals alike, enabling them to innovate deeper and also monetize the innovation through the Start-up ecosystem.
Overall the environment prevailing now in India and in the next 3-5 years is ripe and provides many opportunities to drive technology consulting. That said, in a globalized economy, it’s a level playing field. It’s time for our engineers to pull up their sleeves, dive deeper and grab the opportunity to become world class consultants.
A case for Technology Consulting: Tech Start-up’s and tech consulting a win—win combination
1. Unique Problems for India and opportunity for consulting
I work in a Start-up, and have done that for 50 percent of my career. India is now seeing a boom in Start-up’s and this is a very good situation to be in. Our youth are more global in their thinking and have the courage to take risks early in their careers. Although, the availability of technology has made it easy to boot-strap a tech company, taking it to scale and solving for problems that is unique to India is where special expertise is needed. Be it E-Commerce, Energy, Medical Services etc.
The problems start-up’s need to solve for are unique because of factors like lack of infrastructures or systems and processes to provide a great customer experience. For example we need technology to help an e-commerce company to scale if it has to transform from an e-retailer to a marketplace. We need technology innovations to build electrical cars, scooters that can travel fast and longer and can be charged quickly.
As stated above we need a lot of talent to solve for the unique and interesting problems. However given that the start-up factor is relatively new, Talent is limited. It’s this talent gap that can be capitalized by consulting. It’s is this gap that holds a bright future in the coming years for technology consulting. Put simply, it’s the classical supply and demand problem that consulting will solve.
2. Multiple New Technologies and Cost of Talent
With the advent of smart phones and smart devices, Cloud technologies and Big data Analytics, technologies are many and building deep expertise in all of them is spreading it too thin and time-consuming. The number of technology permutation and combination increase complexity and calls for people with deep expertise to come together to solve problems. This is another factor that will help consulting. We need more people with deep expertise. Hiring top Talent therefore becomes expensive and consulting can be a great option to keep costs low and innovation high.
3. Top Talent get bored too soon if they cannot experiment and continuously learn
Technology ages and so do the consultants, getting stuck in comfort zones is a dangerous career proposition and its effects are almost immediate in technology. Consulting as a career choice provides for variety and keeps you on your toes. No time to slack off or you will be left behind. Working in a start-up that hires the best talent in India, I see this behavioural trait in young inspired people. Their sense of mastery and purpose and need for Autonomy is only going to push them in the direction of independent consulting.
In the future, I feel companies big and small will look up to these modern day consultants for deep innovation. Apart from creating and acquiring incubators or smaller companies to augment their product and service offerings or hire niche talent, companies have already started engaging consultants for meaningful innovation. Technology Consulting has found its space in the technology eco-system in India like it found its space decades back in the West.