'That used to be us' is the title of the now best-selling book from NY times' Thomas Friedman and his co-author Micheal Mandelbaum. The premise of the book is based on how the dual converged trend of Globalization and Information Technology has influenced the economic fortunes of individuals, countries and geo-politics of the world. In particular, the book examines the impact of this trend on America and what it would take for this great country to continue to be a Super Power in the 21st century.
As part of the Indian IT industry, we have in many ways been one of the major participants in the massive upheavals caused by Globalization and IT over the past decade and a half. However, the way the Global IT industry itself has evolved particularly in the past 5-7 years, has left many once-successful companies and professionals in the industry reminiscing a similar thought as the title of the book.
The revolution in the IT industry, driven by the democratization of IT trends like Cloud Computing, Mobility, Social Media technologies and Analytics, is calling for a transformation in the mindset of IT professionals. It requires them to unlearn and relearn new skills and adapt to the new market place reality where everyday innovation, more than repetitive IT work, will carry the day. For many companies, business models around which they were built so successfully are now being challenged, calling for reinvention of process to foster a culture of grass-root innovation to be ahead of trends, or risk being consumed by them.
In their book, Tom and his co-author prescribe that the only way for companies and individuals to thrive in this era of massive disruption is to be 'Creative Creators' or 'Creative Servers'. In other words - aspire to be a company or an employee whose work is not easily commoditized, one that is 'value added' and innovative enough to stay ahead of business and technology trends. The message appears to be appropriate and relevant for us in the Indian IT industry as well.