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Information Technology | Meaning, Major Issues, IT Industries & Future Prospects

Information Technology

Contents :
  • Meaning and Dimension of Information.
  • Meaning of Information Technology.
  • Major Issues in Information Technology.
  • Growth and Present Position of IT Industries in India.
  • Future Prospects of IT Industries in India.

What do you mean by Information ? 


Information is that which informs, i.e. that from which data can be derived. At its most fundamental information is any propagation of cause and effect within a system. Information is conveyed either as the content of a message or through direct or indirect observation of some thing. That which is perceived can be construed as a message in its own right, and in that sense, information is always conveyed as the content of a message. Information can be encoded into various forms for transmission and interpretation. For example, information may be encoded into signs, and transmitted via signals.

Meaning of Information 


The word 'information' is used commonly in our day to day working. In MIS, information has a precise meaning and it is different from data. The information has a value in decision making while data does not have. Information brings clarity and creates an intelligent human response in the mind. In MIS a clear distinction is made between data and information. Data is like raw materials while the information is equivalent to the finished goods produced after processing the raw material. Information has certain characteristics. These are :
a) Information
b) Improves representation of an entity
c) Updates the level of knowledge
d) Has a surprise value
e) Reduces uncertainty
f) Aids in decision making
The quality of information could be called good or bad depending on the mix of these characteristics.

Dimensions of Information 


Information is multi-dimensional and dynamic which in turn makes IT difficult to manage well over time. Here are some of the dimensions of information

1) Economic dimension :
This dimension of information refers to the cost of information and its benefits.

a) Cost of information :
It may include
1) Cost of acquiring data
2) Cost of maintaining data
3) Cost of generating information
4) Cost of communicating information
The cost is related to the response time required to generate information and communicate it. For systems with low response time, cost is high.

b) Value of information :
Before a particular piece of information is acquired, decision-makers must know its value. In decision theory, the value of information is the value of the change in decision behavior because of the information. The change in the behavior due to new information is measured to determine the benefits from its use. To arrive at the value of new information, the cost incurred to get this information is deducted from the benefits.

2) Business Dimension :
This dimension relates to the business angle of information. Its value to the organization, sustainability of getting the information from a managerial standpoint, accuracy and reliability of the information, scope and appropriateness of the information are the parameters for understanding the business dimension of the information. This dimension has got more to do with the 'what' of the information rather than the 'how'. Business dimension of information can have the following parameters:

a) Time dimension :
Information has to be timely to be of any value. The basic utility of information within an organization is in decision-making. If the information is not timely then the decisions derived out of it will have poor quality. Hence, time is an important dimension of information.

b) Accuracy dimension :
Information has to be accurate to satisfy the user. Again this is an important dimension as inaccurate information leads to bad decision-making.

c) Reliability dimension :
Information has to be reliable so that users have confidence.

d) Appropriateness dimension :
Information must be relevant to the receiver. It must be appropriate to his needs.

e) Scope dimension :
Information should be within the scope.

f) Completeness of content dimension :
Information should be complete and not in bits and pieces.

3) Technical Dimension :
The technical dimension relates to the information gathering, summarizing, storing and retrieval, analysis and cost aspects of information. It can have the following parameters :

a) Information gathering :
The means of capturing the data and storing it.

b) Analysis methodology :
The data processing methodology.

c) Costs of Information :

i) Cost of Data Acquisition :
The cost of data acquisition from the point of view of time and resource (technical) costs. A piece of data is supposed to be costly to acquire if say, it is recovered from a secondary source after processing it for a long time. On the other hand the cost of acquisition of data is low for such cases when (say), the customer is himself putting such data into the system (like in the case of ATMs or online banking, the systems cost of acquiring data is very low is such cases).

ii) Cost of Data Maintenance :
Cost of data maintenance is the cost of maintaining the data in terms of technical costs of space and efforts (technical) in maintaining it. A data source that requires a lot of technical efforts like indexing, etc., and requires huge storage (for say storing images, etc.) is said to be more costly.

iii) Cost of Data Access :
Cost of data access is the cost in terms of resource requirements (both processing and network) for accessing the data. Data that can be accessed after utilizing a lot of CPU and network resources is said to be costly to access.

d) Data Management :

i) Data Management and Maintenance :
Data management and maintenance means by which data is stored and maintained (in a database).

ii) Visualization and reporting :
Visualization and reporting the manner in which data information is presented.

What is Information Technology ? 


Information technology (IT) is the application of computers and telecommunications equipment to store, retrieve, transmit and manipulate data, often in the context of a business or other enterprise. The term is commonly used as a synonym for computers and computer networks, but it also encompasses other information distribution technologies such as television and telephones. Several industries are associated with information technology, including computer hardware, software, electronics, semiconductors, internet, telecom equipment, e-commerce and computer services.

Meaning of Information Technology 


IT Stands for "Information Technology," and is pronounced "I.T." It refers to anything related to computing technology, such as networking, hardware, software, the Internet, or the people that work with these technologies. Many companies now have IT departments for managing the computers, networks, and other technical areas of their businesses. IT jobs include computer programming, network administration, computer engineering, Web development, technical support, and many other related occupations. Since we live in the "information age," information technology has become a part of our everyday lives. That means the term "IT," already highly overused, is here to stay.

Major issues in Information Technology 


1) Different Legal Laws and Norms :
The first major problem that the Indian IT firms have started to face in recent times is that they are now subject to different legal laws and norms. Each country has its own set of rules. For example not recruiting older employees was fine in India. But they can no longer reject people on the grounds of their age. A case in point is the recent lawsuit filed against Infosys, wherein an individual alleged that the company declined employment to him just on the grounds that he was old. While Infosys has reiterated that they do not discriminate on age, however, they were unable to give a plausible reason for rejection. There are many more such cases that Indian IT companies now face as they expand global operations.

2) Issue of Anti-outsourcing :
Another major problem that has cropped up is the issue of anti-outsourcing. Indian IT industry has thrived on the work outsourced to them particularly by the developed nations. However, as the developed world faces the brunt of the global crisis, they have started raising their voices against the migration of jobs to India. In recent times, many have imposed stricter visa norms and legal fees. For example, US visa rejection rates for Indian techies have doubled from around 4% to over 8% over the past nine months. As a result, sending IT personnel to onsite locations has become increasingly difficult and expensive for the companies. This would start to have an impact on their margins in times to come.

3) Recruitement from the Local Markets :
Also as Indian IT firms go global they need to develop the optimum mix of employees. A big dilemma that they face is to get the balance correct in terms of recruiting from the local markets or to assign the jobs to Indian counterparts. The decision is critical as the wrong mix could have an adverse impact on employee morale and productivity. It also has a serious impact on the company's operating costs. Companies like Infosys and TCS have been opening offices in countries outside of India. As a result this problem becomes even more magnified for them. Companies like Wipro who rely more on inorganic growth through acquisitions, also face the same problem.

4) Cyber infrastructure :
Many IT leaders have chosen to outsource basic services, e-mail in particular, to third parties such as Google and Microsoft. New sourcing models, including SaaS, are obviating the need to acquire new hardware to run new applications. Open-source communities, including Sakai and Moodle, are tackling inter- institutional software development and maintenance. Instructors are not waiting for the IT organization to roll out new learning applications but instead are adopting freely available Web 2.0 collaboration tools. Just as server virtualization is decoupling enterprise applications from specific pieces of hardware, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) is expected to decouple personal productivity applications from specific desktops and laptops. 
The computerization of IT is resulting in members of the campus community accessing services through a constantly evolving array of new devices, especially smart phones and net books, which will likely outpace the standardization and support initiatives of the IT organization. Although Research Support was a separate survey issue that failed to rank in the top ten, it is worth noting that in some disciplines, grid computing is breaking down the former relationships determining which institutions provide computing cycles and which institutions employ the principle investigators doing the computational research.

5) Teaching and Learning with Technology :
A growing proportion of learning takes place outside the traditional boundaries of the classroom facilitated by applications such as social networks and technologies that support a culture in which everyone creates and shares. In the current economic environment, IT leaders must make decisions about whether or not to accommodate these miscellaneous technologies. Further, they are being asked to provide technological direction for cultural transformations such as information fluency that involve library faculty, department faculty, technology specialists, and students as co-creators of knowledge. Finding the proper balance between systemic and adhoc technologies will be fundamental for IT leaders as they respond to a student generation that prefers less passive and more agile learning. 
These instructional modalities will foster transformational innovations such as the need for e-portfolios in a reflective, contextual, authentic, and active learning environment. All of these developments play out in a landscape where IT leaders bear responsibility for systems that support institutional functionality, that protect the privacy and security of faculty members, students, administrators, and staff, that safeguard information and intellectual property, that respond to the data and information needs of the institution, and that provide effective means of communication. This responsibility forces IT leaders to function in a mediated environment - one in which they must manage dwindling resources, increasing demands, and the necessity for a collaborative establishment of effective priorities with administrative and academic constituencies.

6) Identity and Access Management :
Outsourcing, hosted, and cloud computing solutions present new challenges. Keeping identity credentialing systems on campus is still a preferred architecture. A separate identity system for the outsourced system can be used, but doing so presents significant challenges - for example, another password for the user to manage or another identity vetting process. As campuses evaluate outsourced e-mail systems, allowing identity credentials to be stored by a vendor service provider causes concern. 
Institutions must consider whether they should have outsourced e-mail providers authenticate against an in-house system or whether they should outsource credentials. Federation of identity serves to enable the portability of identity information across security domains, including institutional, agency, and corporate service providers. The need for federation grows as resources, particularly academic research resources, require remote access by trusted associates. Faculty and students are increasingly mobile among campuses, and service solutions must be mobile between campus and vendor. The ultimate goal of identity federation is to enable users of one domain to securely access data or systems of another domain, with vetting and authenticating a user done once and with ill trust of credentials presented through the federation.

7) Adaptability and Responsiveness :
In the 2008 Current Issues Survey, the issue of Change Management referring to the ability of an IT organization to drive change within an institution. The committee re-titled the issue this year as Agility, Adaptability, and Responsiveness, which includes not only the ability to drive change but also, and especially important in the present fiscal climate, the ability of an IT organization to react to a changing landscape. Current times call for an IT organization and leadership that is able to quickly understand the frequently changing realities of the present environment so as to be able to adapt services and, if needed, restructure to meet those needs. 
Being agile during times of relative calm is challenging enough, but doing so in a rapidly changing environment requires IT leaders to be aware of the challenges facing the institution at large and of how their services can help meet those challenges. Doing so requires IT leaders to create an organizational culture in which information is freely, honestly, and quickly shared and in which flexibility in work assignments is encouraged by management and accepted by staff. IT leaders also need to be an integral part of campus-wide discussions about how the institution needs to adapt and respond to the changing world. Many of the "efficiencies" that other departments will seek in times of downsizing will likely involve technology, thus adding additional work to the IT organization. Having the IT leaders present during those discussions and decisions will allow the institution to seek even more efficient solutions while at the same time minimizing the chances that unfunded mandates will be passed to IT.

8) Privacy Issues :
As much as information technology has enabled us to share and find relevant information online. It has also exploited our freedom of privacy. Their so many ways our privacy is exploited.
  • Use of internet webcams, experienced computer users can turn on any webcam of any computer online and they will have access to your private life, many celebrities have been victims of these online stalkers.
  • use of social networks, the main concept of these networks is to connect with new and old friends then share your life with them, however, the loop hole in this, is that when ever some one access your shared life data like photos, they can like it and send it their friends who are not your friends, which might expose you to users with wrong intentions to use your data, also some companies are known for spying on their employees via these social networks.

9) Increased pressure on IT experts :
Since information technology systems have to run all the time, pressure is mounted on IT experts to ensure the accuracy and availability of these systems. Many big organizations which need to operate 24 hours will require a standby IT team to cater for any issues which might arise during the course of operation. This pressure results into stress and work overload which some times results into Imperfection.

Growth & Present position of IT Industries in India 


The information technology (IT) and information technology enabled services (ITS) industry has been one of the key driving forces fuelling India's economic growth. The industry has not only transformed India's image on the global platform, but also fuelled economic growth by energising the higher education sector (especially in engineering and computer science). It has employed almost 10 million Indians and hence, has contributed a lot to social transformation in the country. Furthermore, Indian firms, across all other sectors, largely depend on the IT & ITS service providers to make their business processes efficient and streamlined. The Indian manufacturing sector has the highest IT spending followed by automotive, chemicals and consumer products industries. Indian organisations are turning to IT to help them grow business in the current economic environment. It is seen as a change enabler and a source of business value for organisations by 85 per cent of the respondents, according to a study by VMware. The Indian IT-business process outsourcing (BPO) sector, including the domestic and exports segments continue to grow from strength to strength, witnessing high levels of activity both onshore as well as offshore. The companies continue to move up the value-chain to offer higher end research and analytics services to their clients.

Growth of IT Industries in India :

1) Market size :
The growth in the Indian IT industry is expected to be around 30 per cent and the overall sales are projected to touch US$ 17 billion in FY 15, according to Manufacturers. Association of Information Technology (MAIT). The Indian IT infrastructure market - comprising server, storage and networking equipment is expected to grow by four per cent in 2014 to touch US$ 1.9 billion, according to Gartner. The lT services market in India is expected to grow at the rate of 8.4 percent in 2014 to Rs 476,356 million (US$ 7.88 billion), according to International Data Corporation (IDC). Indian insurance companies plan to spend Rs 117 billion (US$ 1.93 billion) on IT products and services in 2014, a 5 per cent increase from 2013, as per Gartner. Indian enterprises are enhancing their IT security operations capabilities across departments. The Indian market for security infrastructure and services is expected to grow from US$ 989 million this year to US$ 1.4 billion by 2017.

2) Investment :
Indian ITs core competencies and strengths have placed it on the international canvas, attracting investments from major countries. According to data released by the Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP), the computer software and hardware sector attracted foreign direct investment (FDI) worth Rs 60,503.21 crore (USS 10.01 billion) between April 2000 and June 2014.

Some of the major investments in the Indian IT and ITeS sector are as follows :

  • Tata Communications plans to invest more than US$ 200 million to double its data centre capacity in India to 1,000,000 square feet over three years.
  • Wipro has bagged a US$ 1.2 bilion outsourcing deal from Canadian utilities major ATCo. As part of the deal, Wipro will take over the IT subsidiary of ATCO, ATCO 1-Tek, in an all-cash deal worth US$ 195 million.
  • L&T Technology Services has bought 74 per cent equity stake in Thales Software India Pvt Ltd, to strengthen its avionics business. This collaboration will enhance L&T's expertise in high-end avionics software.
  • The Technopark-Technology Business Incubator plans to set up OpeniSpace', an open innovation space on its campus, for innovators and young student entrepreneurs. The 'OpeniSpace' start-up space will provide plug-and-play facilities with 4 to 12 seats along with Wi-Fi internet connectivity for young entrepreneurs.
  • Mphasis has announced the launch of an e-Surveillance and Power Efficiency Solution 'ProTecht', in partnership with Delta Power Solutions. The partnership will enable Mphasis Payment Managed Services (MPMS), to offer the most comprehensive single window solution for ATM security and power efficiency innovation across the ATM industry.
  • Apax Partners has bought a 1.5 per cent stake worth Rs 57.84 crore (US$ 9.56 million) in software products and services provider Persistent Systems in a public market transaction.

3) Government Initiatives :
The Government of India played a key role with public funding of a large, well-trained pool of engineers and management personnel who could forge the Indian IT industry. The Central Government and the respective state governments are expected to collectively spend US$ 6.4 billion on IT products and services in 2014, an increase of 4.3 per cent over 2013. Some of the major initiatives taken by the government to promote IT and ITeS sector in India are as follows :

  • The Government of India plans to reduce the requirement of the built up area from 50,000 square metres to 20,000 square metres and capital conditions for FDI from US$ 10 million to US$ 5 million for development of smart cities. It has allocated a sum of Rs 7,060 crore (US$ 1.16 billion) in the current fiscal for the project of developing 'one hundred Smart Cities'. The Government of India also plans to launch a pan India programme 'Digital India' with an outlay of Rs 500 crore (US$ 82.71 million).
  • The government has pledged to support the growth of domestic information technology capabilities in both hardware and software focused on enabling the timely delivery of citizen services and creating new jobs opportunities, especially in rural areas.
  • India plans to set up industrial parks in the pharmaceutical and information technology (IT) sectors in China to strengthen India-China trade and investment ties.
  • The Government of India will develop new manufacturing clusters for electronic goods in eight cities as part of its agenda to boost manufacturing, according to Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Government of India.
  • More than 20 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the IT sector have recently received land allotment letters from the Government of Punjab to set up their units with an investment of Rs 500 crore (US$ 82.71 million). Globalisation has had a profound impact in shaping the Indian IT industry with India capturing a sizeable chunk of the global market for technology sourcing and business services. Over the years, the growth drivers for this sector have been the verticals of manufacturing, telecommunication, insurance, banking, and finance and, of late, the fledgling retail revolution. As the new scenario unfolds, it is getting clear that the future growth of IT and ITes will be fuelled by the verticals of climate change, mobile applications, healthcare, energy efficiency and sustainable energy. Traditional business strongholds will make way for new geographies, there would be new customers and more and more of SMEs will go for IT application and services. Demand from emerging countries is expected to show strong growth going forward. Tax holidays are today extended to the IT sector for STPI and SEZs. Further, the country is providing procedural ease and single window clearance for setting up facilities.

Present position of IT Industries in India 


The vision to propel India as a global superpower in the field of IT, a cutting-edge competitor in the innovative sphere and to bring forth the advantages of IT in each and every aspect of manhood by the Department of Information Technology has been a major catalyst with the adoption and implementation of the National e-Governance Action Plan and the Unique Identification Development Authority of India (UIDAI) program. The different policy packages involve growth of electronics and hardware production, increased PC penetration in every nook and corner of the country, more utilization of internet throughout the country, progression of domestic software market, facilitating local languages through IT, increasing productivity in other sectors and exploring IT in creating more employment opportunities. In this regard, following are the measures adopted by the Indian government.

  • The Technical Advisory Group for Unique Projects (TAGUP) has been set up and Mr. Nandan Nilekani, one of the founders of the outsourcing jumbo, Infosys has been appointed as a chairman of this project to develop IT infrastructure in major areas inclusive of the issuance of unique ID to Indian citizens, new pension system and goods and services tax.
  • Constitution of National Task Force on Information Technology and Software Development to make a framework of long-term IT policy nationally.
  • Legislation of the Information Technology Act to furnish a legal patronage facilitating electronics business and trade.
  • Establishment of Software Technology Parks of India to augment software exports of the country and 51 STPI centres have been set up at present with certain exemptions and benefits.
  • Projects to develop Information Technology Investment Regions invested with good infrastructure to derive maximum benefits of networking and greater efficiency.

Future Prospects of IT Industry in India 


Information technology is the industry that has given a face to India on global level. Today, the country has developed great relationship with various other western countries on the basis of its remarkable IT services. It is certainly a fact of pride that India is known for outsourcing IT services and software to more than 95 countries in the world. With the power of information technology, the country has not only remarkably gained in its reputation and recognition in the world but also has improved its overall economy. Naturally, this promises a long and prosperous future of Information technology in India. As per NASSCOM's research, the IT sector is likely to generate revenues worth USD 130 billion by the end of 2015 which will result in a positive metamorphosis of the Indian economy, pushing it towards high growth rates.

Future Prospects :

IT sector has been in a growth rate over the past five years and is expected to grow year by year in the future. Many sectors are dependent on IT to develop their business and expand their revenue using IT and ITES. The growing rate of IT sector is notably fast and earning large revenue to the nation in one or other terms. IT sector has created additional jobs and thus reduces the unemployment growth rate. IT sector shows very good future prospects and many companies have tied up with the foreign investors to develop the business in IT sector. This also offers wide job opportunity in India as well as in the foreign countries. It is expected that the growth rate in IT sector will increase by 20 percent over the next decade. 
The Indian economy growth has been boosted with the revenue done by the IT sectors. But, some may include, that the growth rate may even go down as compared with the current situation, as major of the IT business depends upon the foreign clients. Once they stop the business or outsourcing to India, the IT sector will face a huge deflection, But the Indian companies are taking remedy steps to get this situation rid off. But considerably the growth rate won't go down, as many stock holders have invested in the IT sector and the IT companies are doing business internally and not fully dependent on the foreign clients. So, as far as the present situation, the IT sector will be booming in the near future and many job opportunities will help our nation to increase the revenue. Many people will be employed in a decent fashion and many other sectors too increase their business with the help of IT sector. Future prospects of IT industry in India can be explaining with the help of following points:

1) Exports :
The T industry accounts for a major share in the exports from India. This is expected to grow further in coming years. The information technology industry is one of the major sources of foreign currency or India.

2) Employment :
One of the biggest benefits that the computer and IT industry provides in India is the employment it can generate. Some leading firms that offer job opportunities in this field are Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Wipro Technologies, Cognizant, Yahoo!, Google, Tech Mahindra, Infosys Technologies, and HP, iGATE Patni, Accenture, L&T, EY, Convergys, MphasiS, Genpact, HCL Technologies and Godrej Infotech. Cities like Bengaluru, Delhi, Noida, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bombay and Cochin are some of the key areas which have developed into potential IT hubs of the country and are key players which contribute to the growth of the Indian economy through telecommunication, software development, design, mobile commerce, e-commerce, BPO and knowledge process outsourcing (KPO).

3) FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) :
High inflow of FDI in the IT sector is expected to continue in coming years. The inflow of huge volumes of FDI in the IT industry of India has not only boosted the industry but the entire Indian economy in recent years.

4) Application of IT in Various Sectors :
The IT industry is one which is not limited to software development alone. Technology can be applied in libraries, hospitals, banks, shops, prisons, hotels, airports, train stations and many other places through database management systems, or through custom-made software as seen fit.


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