History bears testimony to manifold revolutions over the ages. Restless for change, people, often from different backgrounds and beliefs, congregate to pursue a unique cause and tirelessly endeavor to achieve their goal and objective.
We came into being as iSPIRT – the Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable – because we believe in the cause of the Indian Software Product Industry. We believe that with focus, investment and indeed encouragement, the software product industry can become a multi-billion dollar force to reckon with in the future. This obviously will have a multiplier effect on the economy in terms of growth, employment, consumption, investment and so on.
We believe that today, and for the foreseeable future, there is excitement among a community of individuals – both those graduating and those who have work experience – who are willing to stake their intellect and reputation to establish companies that nurture and develop software products.
We also believe that there is a market for these products, not just globally, but locally, and this market will grow significantly even as India becomes competitive and is forced to drive cost efficiencies and resource optimization.
Ever since the Great Industrial Revolution took place in England, more than 350 years back, innovations have turned reality and become profitable ventures. The second Industrial Revolution created the most fundamental technologies that translate into products that we enjoy today, from the cars we drive, to the clothes we wear, to the lights that we switch on, and the houses we build and live in.
With its large population and market-friendly policies, India has been a beneficiary of products created outside its borders. What India offers to the world is however the spirit of service and labor intensive activities. To the Western markets, India is a picture of hard working citizens toiling away in a rural setting or more recently behind rows of neatly arranged desktops. The Indian software services industry, as an example, contributes about 14% to exports and employs nearly 3 million people. In a span of a decade, this industry has grown significantly and will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.
But just like the Industrial Revolution gathered momentum in a context of availability of raw material, labor resources and economic stimulus, over the last few years there has been a slow but steady convergence of several factors, which is leading to a silent revolution in India in the software products space. Principally, these factors include the ubiquitous availability of mobile phones, ease of adoption of SaaS, and the increased collaboration fostered by social networks.
India has the potential to spawn companies that serve millions of customers with a path breaking affordable product. With many new Indian technology businesses being created every month, the next 20 years could belong to these Indian product companies.
To transform India into a hub for new generation software products, it is crucial to address government policy, create market catalysts and grow the maturity of product entrepreneurs. An integrative approach is fundamental and vital.
Since the stakes are high and industry is moving very fast, a reactive ivory tower approach cannot succeed. In addition to top-down policy recommendations, the hive mind of the industry must be leveraged to support conversations for grassroots involvement and actions. David Weinberger said it most aptly: the smartest person in the room is now the room.
With this context in mind, about 30 product companies and individuals joined hands together to form iSPIRT – the Indian Software Product Industry Roundtable in early 2013.