The global software development landscape is undergoing a significant transformation. At the heart of this change is India, a country that is swiftly rising as a transformative force in the world of software design, engineering, and innovation.

From being the world’s go-to destination for low-cost tech support, India has evolved to offer scale, specialisation, and technological expertise.

Today the technology services industry in India are driving the digital transformation for more than 80 per cent of global Fortune 500 companies.

According to our latest report, India’s share in the global ER&D sourcing market is projected to increase from 17 per cent in 2023 to 22 per cent by 2030.

GCC spurt

The number of ER&D GCCs in India has increased by 11 per cent over the last two years, fuelled by a surge in digital engineering workloads, and the growing maturity of the Global Capability Centres from cost arbitrage-focused outposts to full-scale portfolio and transformation hubs.

The Indian Engineering R&D players have expanded their scope to assume end-to-end ownership of global products across industry verticals such as healthcare, telecom, automotive, aerospace and defense, sustainability, and industrial.

For instance, India has now indigenously developed Hydrogen-Fuel Cell technology. Recently, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the country’s first indigenous Hydrogen-Fueled Vessel, developed by KPIT Technologies and CSL. This not only reduces India’s import dependency but provides India an early mover advantage to tap the potential of hydrogen as an emerging green fuel in marine applications.

India today is not merely participating in the global automotive story — it’s actively shaping it. Earlier this year the Mercedes-Benz Research and Development India (MBRDI), which is the organization’s largest ‘R&D centre outside of Germany announced Sustainability Garage, that is expected to serve as a hub for multidisciplinary research focusing on developing eco-friendly materials with diverse applications from India.

In December 2021, Mercedes-Benz was the first automotive manufacturer worldwide to secure internationally valid system approval for conditionally automated driving. Interestingly, the development of the software package for Drive Pilot which is an automated driving system that uses sensors to perceive road conditions and make decisions for the vehicle, was supported and co-developed by the India team at the MBDRI.

At the heart of this technology renaissance is the seamless integration of software and emerging technologies that is happening out of India.

Growth drivers

So, what’s fuelling this growth?

The country’s burgeoning talent pool, coupled with advancements in technical education and a thriving start-up ecosystem, have created an environment for the next wave of innovation in software design and engineering.

Over a million workforce are employed in the Indian ER&D sector, with India producing over 36 per cent digitally skilled talent out of the total workforce every year.

In 2022-23, India had one of the world’s largest annual supplies of STEM graduates of 2.5 million. Moreover, the unrivaled number of young population and incredible thrust on urbanization is expanding the economy and establishing the foundation for digital innovation.

The presence of multinational R&D centres in India underscores the country’s integral role in global tech development. These centres are leveraging cutting-edge technologies, such as AI, ML, and cloud computing, that have further accelerated the need for skilled professionals who can leverage these tools to develop innovative software solutions.

India’s software engineers have already demonstrated their expertise in these areas, and the country is well-positioned to become a global leader in the development of next-generation software products and services.

The breadth and expertise of engineering talent in India have significantly boosted enterprise confidence in Indian ER&D empowering them to take ownership and deliver products for global, regional, and local markets.

This decade of innovation that has highlighted India’s strength in the global innovation landscape, solidifies our status as a leading global innovator. India’s transformation from a low-cost tech support hub to a global innovation partner is a testament to the country’s remarkable capabilities and its potential to shape the future of the global tech landscape. As the global demand for software continues to grow, the Indian tech industry is poised to lead the way.

The writer is President, Nasscom