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Yearender: Higher growth returns to Indian IT industry

The resilient USD 270-billion plus Indian IT industry returned to the higher growth trajectory in 2013 and is hoping to gain momentum in the ensuing year for a greater share of the global multi-billion dollar outsourcing market.

Putting behind a turbulent 2012, the industry consolidated its presence in the software services sector, with its top four IT bellwethers - TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL - posting better results to register a healthy 12-14 percent growth thus far as against 10 percent last fiscal (2012-13).

"We have seen a significant increase in global technology spending this year, creating opportunities for the Indian software services sector to post double digit growth again in export as well as in the domestic markets," a top industry representative said.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) is expecting the industry to clock export revenues of USD 84-87 billion this fiscal (FY 2014) as against USD 76 billion last fiscal (FY2013).

In the Indian market, the industry is, expected to grow marginally year-on-year at 14 percent to post Rs.1.2 trillion (USD 185 billion) this fiscal from Rs.1.05 trillion (USD 160 billion last fiscal.

"We have decided not to revise our estimates and stick to the 12-14 percent growth forecast for this fiscal though the sector has faced headwinds due to slow recovery in its major export markets - the US and Europe," Nasscom's outgoing president Som Mittal told IANS.

The Indian IT industry comprises domestic firms, captive centres of multinationals, global industry classification standards (GICs) and industry sectors providing software and hardware services, business process outsourcing (back office operations), engineering and research and development (ER&D) and products.

The highlight of the year is the return of the industry's icon and Infosys co-founder N.R. Narayana Murthy as executive chairman in June to put the global software major back into reckoning after it was found faring behind its peers due to combination of factors.

Though Murthy, 67, came back from retirement to revive the company's fortunes, bringing his son Rohan Murthy as his executive assistant, the USD 7-billion Infosys also saw eight of its top executives, including two board directors quitting the company in search of greener pastures.

The year also saw Infosys competitor, Wipro Ltd hiving off its non-IT business in April into a separate enterprise by de-merging its consumer care & lighting, infrastructure engineering and medical diagnostic product & services business from its global software services and products business.

Keeping pace with disruptive technologies and new delivery platforms, the industry has diversified its service offerings to analytics, mobility, cloud, social media and emerging verticals such as healthcare and medical devices.

"India is the only country to offer such a wide range of offerings spanning IT services, BPM (business process management), engineering, R&D, internet and mobility and software products. The internet and mobile platforms are enabling the development of low-cost products not only for enterprises, but also consumers and citizens," Mittal asserted.

The industry is also investing in technology and talent to explore opportunities like smart computing, anything-as-a service and the small and medium businesses.

"The domestic market is also maturing and is one of the fastest in the developing countries, thanks increasing role technology is playing in transforming delivery of diverse services in the government and private sector," Mittal noted.

Though attrition remained higher than last year, especially among the bellwethers, campus hiring and fresh offers declined during the year, as companies consolidated operations than invest in human capital to make more techies sit on the bench waiting for new projects.

The industry added 188,000 jobs last fiscal, taking the total number of direct jobs to three million.

"The industry has once again demonstrated resilience and agility. As technology has become an integral enabler for growth across sectors, we are evolving and innovating to become a strategic partner to our customers. The thrust is to offer IP-led solutions over multiple platforms, which are transformative in nature," Nasscom chairman and TCS chief executive N. Chandrasekaran said.

Highlights of 2013:

-Software exports to grow 12-14 percent to clock USD 84-87 billion

-Domestic market to also grow 14 percent to USD 185 billion

-N.R. Narayana Murthy returns to Infosys as chairman

-Eight top executives quit Infosys in six months

-Wipro hives off non-IT business as separate enterprise

-Industry diversifies into offering new services & products

-Campus hiring and fresh offers dip despite higher attrition

-Thrust on providing IP-led solutions on multiple platforms