The Indian IT industry has been focusing on IoT in the last three years. However, many Indian IT-BPM providers have been grappling to define their market entry and to articulate their value proposition to clients. IoT investments and developments have been diverse and disparate as a result. A handful of Indian players are working with large manufacturing, industrials and engineering clients to co-create IoT use cases. Some of them are also participating in ecosystem plays such as Infosys-GE, TCS-GE, Wipro-Software AG and Cognizant-Verizon.
Indian IT-BPM companies with expertise in domain-specific processes, technology services, systems integration and project management are well-positioned to participate in the deployment of IoT value chain for enterprise clients. In order to capitalize on the burgeoning market opportunity, they must define which part(s) of the IoT technology stack to occupy and firm up their service value proposition in those areas. Making a concerted effort to present a cohesive services story that spans different practices—digital/SMAC, engineering, traditional services—will allow IT-BPM players in India to truly help clients leverage IoT and achieve their business objectives.
IoT service offerings stack-
According to McKinsey, approximately 69 percent of the estimated economic value of IoT by 2025 is expected to come from the business-to-business (B2B) sector. This is where Indian IT companies can make an impact with their consulting, technology development, infrastructure, system integration and project management capabilities. In order to achieve this, they will need to focus on:
- Investing in R&D and skills--With the technology space rapidly changing across the value chain to adopt IoT, it is important for Indian players to keep up with the race by building necessary technological capabilities and designing proprietary solutions. Current efforts by Indian IT-BPM companies include TCS’s IoT Center of Excellence in collaboration with Intel, research initiatives on IoT under Infosys Labs and HCL’s IoT Incubation Center with Microsoft. Among the diverse digital skills needed for IoT, there are two key roles that draw the most focus: one, IoT solution architect to bring in the system thinking and present the holistic design of the overall connected network in the solution; and two, big data analyst to design the real-time analytical standpoints based on the free-flowing data from the connected system.
- Strengthening the value proposition--Global players such as Cisco, IBM, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon are leading with specialized IoT platforms, while Indian IT-BPM players are still determining their sweet spot in the IoT value chain. Major Indian service providers need to merge their expertise in implementing personalized technology solutions (IT) with their decades of experience in domain-specific technologies (OT) to build a distinctive value proposition in the enterprise (business-to-business) IoT space.
It is essential for Indian IT services players to integrate their new digital service lines with legacy domain-specific application development and maintenance services in order to present a comprehensive value proposition for enterprise customers. This enterprise solution should encompass the ability to deploy new connected systems, migrate key legacy systems, and offer an integrated platform to present real-time analytical insights from the connected world.
- Managing the ecosystem play--Unlike past technology adoptions, where there was a clear demarcation of end users and suppliers/vendors, IoT adoption may lead to an amorphous situation—where competitors need to collaborate, clients and vendors need to partner, and everyone needs to work as an ecosystem. Although the IoT stack presents a well-defined segmentation, often there is strong incentive for players to cross the segmental barriers within the IoT value chain.
For instance, hardware manufacturers such as Intel and GE are major contributors to IoT platforms. Thus, Indian IT-BPM companies need to step up the game in building partnerships with global players and go beyond just servicing the IoT platforms. Ideally India’s digital solutions should enrich the partner’s IoT platforms, as TCS is doing with its new off-the-shelf IoT solutions, which are expected to strengthen GE’s Predix platform offerings.
IoT is introducing an extraordinary transformation that will link millions of devices, machines and equipment, enabling them to perform with stability and synchronize across the entire value chain. The Indian IT-BPM companies that make bold moves now to develop the right skillsets, secure their value proposition and establish critical ecosystem relationships can be an indispensable part of this future.
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