Gartner says religion will fuel IT innovation and growth in emerging markets. In fact, Gartner says that religion-driven IT will generate more than $40 billion in software and service opportunities by 2017.
The dynamic of IT and religion will create a new industry, generating software and service opportunities.
IT to court religion
“Religion has a great influence on high-growth regions such as Latin America, Africa, the Arab world and South Asia, thus compelling new entrants and incumbent IT providers to seek new opportunities with religious entities,” said Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at Gartner.
“Direct IT spending by religious groups is small compared with the influence of religion on the IT spending of other industries and enterprises.”
The convergence of religion and IT will present completely new ways of doing business and unconventional opportunities for IT entrepreneurs and innovators over an extended period of time.
Odd bedfellows? Not really.
Some of the forces that compel IT as an industry to embrace religion are:
- Commercialisation of religion
- Rise of emerging markets with high religiosity
- Emergence of new business opportunities around religion
- Convergence of these three themes forming the foundation of “religion-driven IT”
- Role of religion in driving IT — opportunities in major market segments
Religion-based banking, equity trading, mutual funds, financial services and so forth (including Islamic banking, takaful insurance and the Dharma Global Index) require new applications, products and heavy software customisation, thus creating a role for religion domain experts.
“The number of people visiting religious places (such as temples and shrines during hajj and other religious pilgrimages/tours) is growing and hence increasing the need for religious bodies to attain automation through IT to provide safe, secure and faster religious services,” said Raina.
IT seeks new markets
With the global slowdown and with new business opportunities drying up for the majority of organisations and enterprises (including IT providers) in mature economies, there is a need to explore new markets and opportunities.
This has led to the shift of focus toward fast growing emerging markets to seek growth, which is a significant way to expand customers and markets — albeit within different business environments.
The high religiosity index in emerging markets, IT becoming mainstream, and increased spend on religion due to economic development will all lead to a gradual shift toward religion-driven IT.
Religion-driven IT is becoming a crucial test model for IT providers to gain a larger presence in these markets.
In the next five years, the list of emerging markets will include Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Poland, Turkey and Argentina (all with high religiosity), and IT providers’ successful execution of this model within the current set of emerging markets is key for a sustainable presence.
Religion to drive IT evolution
“In the next four to five years, religion slowly but steadily will continue to drive and change the way IT is consumed today by generating a significant amount, and variety of, new IT opportunities and business models.
“A lack of standardisation and nonavailability of skilled resources in this space will require IT to play a critical role, albeit while treading carefully,” said Raina.