Panchalee Thakur

Manage India examines the advantages that India holds and the capabilities that organizations must build to achieve greater agility for business success

India has set an ambitious target of growing into a $1 trillion digital economy by 2025. The propulsion towards this economic growth will come from different industry sectors, many of which are already in advanced stages of digitalization. Some of these sectors are IT, IT-enabled services, electronics, telecom, e-commerce, financial services, internet of things (IOT), and media and entertainment.

A recent report by Google and The Boston Consulting Group, Digital Consumer Spending in India: A $100 bn Opportunity, says that Indian consumers will adopt digital spending in a big way and contribute to US$100 billion by 2020. The increased penetration of broadband services, particularly mobile broadband, a fast-growing smartphone population, and affordable data services are major attractions for the domestic consumer of digital services. From buying movie and flight tickets online to subscribing to movie and music streaming services and using digital payments for financial transactions, the Indian digital consumer is making her presence felt.

Around the world, organizations are relooking at the way they run their business to cater to the growing tribe of digital consumers. PMI’s 2018 Pulse of the Profession® report, Next Practices – Maximizing the Benefits of Digital Technologies on Projects, shows that disruptive technologies are shaking up the global marketplace. As many as 91 percent of the organizations interviewed in the survey said that they have been impacted by digital technologies.The report captured insights from 1,730 project management professionals globally, including PMO directors and CXOs of major national and multi-national organizations.

The top three technology disruptors identified by the survey respondents are cloud solutions, IOT, and artificial intelligence (AI). The rest are 5G mobile internet, voice-driven software, building information modelling (BIM), advanced robotics, 3D printing, blockchain, autonomous (self-driving) vehicles, largescale energy storage, gene sequencing, and genomics.


Organizations in India are aligning their businesses to these top technology disruptors as identified by the Pulse of the Profession® report. Here’s a look at where India stands:

Technology Disruptor No. 1 – Cloud Solutions

Gartner projected the public cloud services market in India to have reached US$1.81 billion last year, with big and small businesses moving towards infrastructure as a service (IaaS), software as a service (SaaS) and platform as a service (PaaS). A Google-Accel report estimates that the SaaS market in India will grow to US$10 billion by 2025, seizing eight percent of the global market. India is a hot market for cloud services, with Indian start-ups such as Zoho, Freshworks, Kissflow, and Chargebee fighting for space with the big players such as Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. In the talent market, cloud computing skills are among the most sought after, thus leading to a skills shortage.

Technology Disruptor No. 2 – Internet of Things

The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has set a goal of creating an IOT industry of US$15 billion in India by 2020, which will account for five percent of the global IOT market. A recent report by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) says there are currently around 120 companies that offer IOT-related solutions in India. The segments that are leading this growth are smart lifestyle, connected homes and buildings, healthcare, and manufacturing. Investment activity has been concentrated in lifestyle and wearables, embedded computing, industry internet, and connected homes.

Technology Disruptor No. 3 – Artificial Intelligence

India aspires to become a global AI and data analytics hub, fast catching up with global AI leaders China and the US. India generates a huge amount of digital data that makes it a good testbed for AI and data analytics solutions. With Aadhaar, we have the world’s largest biometric database — of over one billion citizens. The social media footprint of Indians is growing – with 270 million users, India constitutes the largest user base for Facebook in the world.

According to a NASSCOM-CRISIL report, India has the second largest data and AI talent pool after the US. The AI Task Force set up by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry recently submitted its recommendations, urging both the government and private sector to find common ground to boost the AI sector.


PMI collaborated with Forbes Insights to understand how C-level executives are accommodating changes in their business to stay relevant in the midst of these market disruptions. The report, Achieving Greater Agility – The Essential Influence of the C-Suite, calls on business leaders to find greater agility with the following four tenets:

Adjust strategies on a continuous basis;
Empower employees to make key decisions on challenging projects;
Respond to ambiguity and uncertainty with flexibility and speed; and
View unanticipated change as an opportunity for transformation.
The report is based on data collected from a survey of 506 senior executives from across the globe, representing industries such as technology, manufacturing, banking, consumer products and retail, energy, and investment/ asset management.

As many as 92 percent of the executives interviewed placed organizational agility, or the ability to rapidly respond to market conditions and external factors, as critical to business success*. Eighty-two percent of the respondents reported that proficiency in agile approaches was important for the implementation of strategic initiatives. And 84 percent agreed that organizational agility was necessary to succeed in digital transformation.

However, in spite of increased awareness of the need to have organizational agility, not many had made real progress with it. Only 27 percent of the executives considered their organization as highly agile. In other words, the rest of the decision-makers were uncertain of how prepared their organization was to quickly adopt new strategies when faced with changes in the market.

The report shows that agility can be a game-changer, with tangible benefits for an organization’s bottom-line:

41% of the respondents said profits and/or revenue have improved because of agility;
50% credited agility with their ability to be faster to market;
47% credited agility with helping them make faster decisions; and
47% said agility had helped with responding to and meeting customer/ consumer expectations.

When the benefits are clear, why are companies not prepared for agility? It appears that culture is one of the biggest impediments to achieving organizational agility. Cultural misalignment could be in the form of deeply entrenched corporate practices and processes that discourage employees from offering new ideas and challenging the status quo, reticent CIOs who cling to legacy systems that hamper data collection and analysis of agile performance, or the lack of support for agile initiatives among employees. Only a quarter of all the executives surveyed said their cultures were strong enablers of agility.

The report recommends people management, procedural overhaul, and a new mindset as key enablers to achieve cultural change. It also calls on the CEO to act as a champion for cultural change and greater agility.

The other important catalyst for change is the project management office (PMO). Fifty-four percent of respondents and 82 percent of highly agile organizations strongly believed that the PMO was a leading factor of organizational success. Yet, in less than half the organizations was the PMO fully utilized for this purpose.

Clearly, organizations can adapt to disruptive changes only when the change agenda is set and pursued from the top. It is equally important to rope in the PMO to rally employees, drive greater adoption of fail-fast strategies, build small and nimble teams, and assign accountability as the organization transforms itself for the digital age.