India houses over 750 captives, including the world’s six largest software corporations.Around 10 million people are employed in these corporations. Over 200 cross-border acquisitions between FY2005-09 have enhanced the global presence of Indian IT-BPOs. In 2015, IT services contributed $ 82.5 billion of the $ 2.1 trillion GDP. As per NASSCOM report, by 2020, the IT-BPO industry is expected to account for 10 per cent of India’s GDP and 14 per cent of total services sector revenues.(Source: http://www.nasscom.in/impact-itbpo-industry-indian-economy-and-society?fg=71038)
However, the change is set to accelerate. Economic times states that India will see a dip in its IT and Business process outsourcing industry. Around 6.4 lakh low skilled jobs and 1.6 lakh mid skilled jobs could vanish in five years.
As per Forbes India, there will be a net decrease in the work force of around 14% and major impact will be on the low skilled jobs. People who are non-customer facing and back office employees as these processes are the first to get automated.
Throughout history, innovation has made certain types of human labor redundant. This has created new human jobs to augment the new found technological capability. Be it the agricultural revolution, the industrial revolution or the current information revolution humans have found their place alongside technology advancements.
However, the cognitive revolution is fundamentally different as it aims to advance technology to reach and exceed human intellect. Potentially replacing the human role in the workplace. It is natural that economic & productivity goals will drive low skilled jobs in this direction at the first practical instance – and unfortunately this type of work is the bulk of the Indian outsourcing narrative.
So, the question is what can Indian BPOs & IT service providers do to remain competitive? While any approach will have complex social and commercial challenges to overcome – all solutions must eventually result in businesses offering higher value and higher quality services to customers. This requires upskilling workforce into higher cognitive & creative roles to augment high speed AI capability.
Uday Jose, COO- Enate Ltd., recommends that Indian Outsourcing Industry must do the following – and do so quickly,
• Adopt Robotics & AI before outsourcing customers embrace it and initiate the reverse flow of work back onshore
• Expand to high skill value adding services quickly, and make those the main revenue generator
• Deliver insightful and meaningful contributions to customers such as predicative analytics, experiential improvements, business strategy based on the insightful interpretation of data and so on – things that add value other than merely complete tasks
There is no place to hide, automation is headed this way and here to stay. The only option for Indian outsourced service providers is to meet this challenge head on, move fast, and prepare well to stay ahead of the curve.
In our next blog, we will speak about RPA (Robotic Process Automation) &considerations while preparing for it.