India has the potential to lead the world in the adoption of the Nexus of Forces, the convergence of social interaction, mobility, cloud and information.
The manner in which IT is used, developed and managed will change significantly because of the Nexus of Forces, said IT advisory firm Gartner. These pivotal technologies include the use of media tablets, mobile applications, context-aware computing, the Internet of things, next-generation analytics and in-memory computing (IMC).
"However, for this to occur, new infrastructure will have to replace the old; new types of servers, networks and data centers will have to be rolled out, " said Rakesh Kumar, research vice president at Gartner. "A cash-rich consumer base is required that is able to demand and take advantage of social, mobile and context-aware applications.
Transformation of this nature is expensive and time-consuming. The economic, demographic and social outlook for western economies suggests that, for the next few years, such changes will be difficult to achieve. At first glance, India seems to be well-placed to embrace these changes — it has virtually no legacy systems, billions of dollars are being spent on developing new infrastructure, a wealthy, a well-educated middle class hungry for change, and the country is pivotal in the digital supply chain. Therefore, Gartner analysts said the question of whether India will be the first place to see the emergence of this new computing scenario is important.
"Based on current forecasts, India will become one of the world's biggest consumer economies during the next five years. By 2014, India will have more than 1 billion mobile subscribers. India will see a significant rollout of new IT infrastructure during the next five years in both the public and private sectors," said Kumar.
Given the economic and demographic statistics, the improving levels of literacy and the large consumer base, India should be ideally positioned to take advantage of the Nexus of Forces. Entrepreneurs in region, such as Bangalore and Mumbai, should be able to create products that link these technologies together.
"While there are significant opportunities in India to lead in the Nexus of Forces, contrary forces are also at play. The uptake of social media remains quite low. There is a degree of ambivalence toward the use of social media for marketing by Indian retailers," said Kumar. " Although it's easy to see how social media could grow rapidly during the next few years, privacy concerns and the cultural fabric of the country may suggest otherwise. "If the use of social media does not reach a substantial proportion of that young, affluent consumer base, then the benefits of the Nexus of Forces may not fully materialize," he added.
A second factor is the skepticism toward the cloud. Indian IT users feel that the public cloud remains immature for enterprise use. The major concerns reflect the ones that Gartner sees worldwide -- security, data retention and the maturity of the offerings. One specific issue is the belief that the underlying financial constructs of public cloud services do not add up.
"Many people feel that it would be difficult for public cloud operators to provide enterprise services that are lower than their internal costs. This view reflects the fact that most people still view the public cloud as a software as a service (SaaS) model, rather than infrastructure as a service (IaaS) or the platform as a service (PaaS) model. This carries complex financial and technical permutations in areas such as patch compatibility, testing of new applications and contract management," Kumar added.