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No tech spend slowdown in India, IBM

It can be noted that a slew of domestic IT majors, which depend on technology spends in advance economies for their revenues, have reported headwinds because of factors like geopolitical tensions, commodity price hikes, inflationary pressures and interest rates hardening.

“Domestic market, I don’t see any slowdown,” Patel said when asked about the impact of the global scene on the company’s operations locally. Patel said he is “very bullish” on the technology prospects in the country, given the tailwinds like digitisation and increased adoption of automation.

The company’s general manager for Asia Pacific Paul Burton said that he does not see things slowing down either, pointing to lower technology spends as a percentage of GDP when compared to advance economies and a growing integration with world markets as the factors which will aid the growth.

He, however, said that factors like demographics — where fewer people are entering the workforce as compared to those retiring or withdrawing — will have a fallout on the IT sector.

“Fewer people (are) entering the workforce, and even a smaller percentage of that cohort entering the workforce has the skills that are needed for digital transformation and digitisation that is happening in the economy, that should tell you that labour rates are going up,” he said.

He was also quick to clarify that he is not hinting at a hike in prices of services, and added that businesses will have to resort to using tools like artificial intelligence and automation which will ensure that they are not forced to increase prices and face the consequences on the demand front.

Meanwhile, when asked about confusions among small businesses on the provisions of the new bill on data privacy, Patel said a lot of the concerns on an earlier draft have been taken on board in the new bill.

“… people are still confused about it (the bill). I think as some of these solutions and technologies, they start to take shape, the bill will get a lot more clarified in terms of how it is implemented,” Patel said.

Both Patel and Burton said that IBM is using a slew of artificial intelligence inputs in its own work across departments. Patel said the core development on Watsonx, an AI platform, happened at research and software labs in the country.

Skill development is an important area, Patel said, adding that 98 per cent of its corporate social responsibility spends are done in this area.

Meanwhile, on the sidelines of its ‘Think’ event in the financial capital, the company on Tuesday announced that it has bagged a contract from the city-based Parle Products.

It will be driving digital transformation using cloud and AI solution at the biscuit maker as part of the contract, according to a statement. Financial details about the contract were not disclosed. PTI

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