Lead Story

The Digital Rush

Businesses are hankering for digital solutions, and IT industry’s biggies are reinventing themselves to cash in


In 2013, when Accenture released its vision document, it marked the beginning of a major transition in the history of the 29-year-old company. From a business enabler, technology had started assuming the role of business creator, causing serious disruption across industries. A shift from legacy to digital had become the need of the hour. “We said every business is going to be a digital business,” says

Mohan Sekhar Senior MD, ATC – India, AccentureMohan Sekhar, senior managing director, Advanced Technology Centers – India. From that year on, Accenture adopted an aggressive mode to grow its digital business and today it constitutes about 60% of its revenue.

While foreign firms such as Accenture and IBM were pivoting to the new business, tier-I Indian IT firms — TCS, Infosys, Wipro and HCL Technologies and their American counterpart, Cognizant — were caught in a dilemma. On one side, there were the legacy businesses to be protected, on the other side the industry was going through a digital upheaval. According to Sekhar, the disruption was so big that 30% of the Fortune 500 companies in 2010 dropped out of the list by 2017. 

The double-digit growth days of the Indian IT industry came to a halt. Switching to digital had become an imperative, and Indian companies took a precious two to three years deciding on the course of action. Over the past two years, tier-I companies have struggled with the digital transition and cloud-led disruption, which led to declining revenue growth. According to a report by Edelweiss Securities, digital businesses, which roughly make up 20% of their revenue, will continue to drive overall growth and contribute nearly half of their revenue by 2021 (see: Digitally enhanced). But, unlike the offshoring opportunity, the growth path will not be linear and will definitely be more challenging because the small guys have an early-mover advantage.


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