There have been a number of articles published recently which indicate that IT Process Automation is widely seen as a disruptive threat to India’s IT sector – an industry that is worth over a hundred billion dollars. It’s somewhat easy to see why, with robots and humanoids automating and delivering outsourcing capabilities at a cost of less than one-fourth the billing rates of human engineers and a fraction of the overall cost to do business. So, is this technological advancement truly going to harm the multi-billion dollar industry, or will it, instead, revolutionize the way software and back-office projects are delivered?
For many years, IT firms throughout India focused on bringing in hundreds, sometimes thousands of new engineering graduates and trained them in a variety of areas, such as software development and IT maintenance. The lower cost of hiring new graduates in bulk was successful in bringing costs down across the board. The problem these firms now face is competition from newer IT services companies that are leveraging automation to do more with fewer resources and at a much lower price tag.
Another hurdle that many previously successful IT firms in India are now facing is the fact that the demands for their services in places like the US and Europe is beginning to wane. With access to a wider variety of resources, many of which are much more cost effective, fewer organizations are turning exclusively to India for their IT management needs. Where traditionally, IT services from India delivered anywhere from a 15-30% cost savings, IT Process Automation could potentially offer a more significant savings of 60-80%.
There’s certainly no doubt about it – the climate as it was previously known in India is forever being changed. Yet this doesn’t necessarily mean that the entire industry should collectively place its tail between its legs and slink into redundancy. The effect of automation on India’s once thriving IT sector will depend entirely on how those within it choose to react. Rather than viewing automation as a threat to future success and profitability, it would be wiser to view this shift as an opportunity for further skill advancement and a chance to focus on other important business areas.
In fact, if IT service providers in India choose instead to embrace automation and leverage it as a tool to improve not only their internal function and operational efficiency, but to also use it as a selling point to provide up-to-date, relevant and cost effective solutions to its customers. A good example of this is the IT firm IPsoft Inc., which now uses software robots instead of engineers on the projects it outsources, including the US’s largest cable provider, Comcast.
Furthermore, other large organizations, such as American Express and Citigroup could potentially cut outsourcing costs by up to 80% by relying on IT Process Automation versus trained workers. That doesn’t necessarily mean these skilled workers are suddenly useless. It just means that they will now be able to stop wasting time and energy on repetitive, brainless tasks and instead put their skills to better use.
We’ll conclude with another quote from Dube, who boldly stated that, “Very soon, you’ll pass someone in the hallway and not know whether it’s a human or an android. Androids are coming in a big way.” While it’s unclear exactly how realistic that statement is, one thing is definitely true: IT Process Automation is changing the face of the IT industry and if you don’t hop on and embrace it now, you’re sure to get left behind.