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How technology is impacting Indian industry...

The world has gone digital and technology adoption is driving performance improvement and increase in market reach. India, too, is harnessing the power of the digital to drive productivity, profitability as well as competitiveness of its industries. This topic was further explored, with a focus on the manufacturing and infrastructure sectors in particular, at the Industry-IT Summit 2014, organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) with PwC as the knowledge partner held at the India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.

At the inaugural session on 16 April, S D Shibulal, MD and CEO, Infosys, said, “It is encouraging to see the great work of spreading awareness on the challenges Indian industries are facing today, and to be able to come together on a platform such as this, to discuss how to resolve those with the help of IT. Every sector needs to adopt technology as it can help build competitive advantage, close the development gaps in the country and thereby create more employment opportunities.”

Bhaskar Pramanik, Chairman, CII National Committee on IT, ITeS and eCommerce and Chairman, Microsoft Corporation India, said during the opening address, “Having grown manifold in size and matured in terms of service delivery capability and footprint over the past decade, the Indian IT industry is now at an inflexion point—and faces a unique opportunity to enhance its role as a service, value–adding partner to the domestic industry as well. There is a significant headroom in the addressable IT adoption opportunity for India Inc., and there are sizeable untapped opportunities across a wide spectrum of verticals like manufacturing and we hope this event will lead the way for it and help develop an IT strategy blueprint for various sector.”

This two-day event, themed ‘Technology: A catalyst in driving growth in Indian industry’, will deliberate upon the challenges that manufacturing and infrastructure organisations face in using IT; the prevailing IT adoption levels; as well as the expectations from IT in the future of these two sectors. Industry leaders will come together to discuss how, while innovation is undoubtedly the most powerful lever of growth, there are still hurdles in the way of technology adoption to bring about this much-needed boost. These include a lack of anticipation of future needs and capacity coupled with environmental concerns, skilled resource availability, and a highly dynamic market environment.

Arun Maira, Member, Planning Commission, Government of India, who delivered the inaugural address said, “The manufacturing sector of our country has a long way to go. The sector needs to create more jobs and help increase the country’s exports. Small industries will play a key role in this. We have to help these small industries grow and recognize that they are the backbone of our economy. We have to help small industries help access technologies and build effective clusters by working cooperatively. The Indian IT industry needs to help enable these SMEs. Now the State, the industries and IT sectors need to work together.”

The sentiment that rang through the session was clearly indicative of the fact that while these sectors did have low IT adoption levels and were ridden with issues, the bigger picture did reveal opportunities for growth and development through process and governance restructuring and the critical role IT had to play in bringing about this transformation.

The role  IT was summed up adequately by Amit Gossain, Executive Vice President - Marketing, Business Development & Corporate Affairs, JCB India Ltd and President, Indian Construction Equipment Manufacturers Association (ICEMA), "In both Infrastructure and Manufacturing industries, it all looks mechanical, but it is actually all IT. As we move forward, automation and IT will get more interlinked."

The joint CII-PwC report, Driving growth in Indian industry: Unlocking the transformational value with technology, was also launched in line with the theme of the event. Drawing from what leading industry players are doing to address prevalent issues in order to streamline processes and drive growth in their organisations, this report gives a perspective of the real picture. As explained by Neil Wilson, Chief Operating Officer, PwC India, during his special address, “CEOs and CIOs have recognised data mining and analysis, mobile application for customer as strategic next-gen technologies for their sectors. This not only shows that India is well into the digital game but industries are realising that potential emerging technologies have to transform their business.”

Talking on the report, Deep Kapuria, Chairman, CII National MSME Council and Chairman, Hi Tech Group said, "While traditional pricing advantage that IT providers enjoy in global markets may not be relevant for the domestic market, they now have the opportunity to play in value–added areas by serving as optimisation agents and transformation partners and deliver value through process improvements and technology–led transformations. Adoption of IT also leverages the entrepreneurial spirit in people and that in itself is a great contribution to the economy".

In conclusion, C N Raghupathi, Chairman, CII Sub-Committee on ‘IT for Domestic Industry’ said, “This discussion on unlocking the transformational value of technology to revive India’s industries comes at a time when India’s GDP is more service oriented and less manufacturing oriented. There is a need to jumpstart the manufacturing sector and enable infrastructure as well since both are inter-dependent

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