BANGALORE, INDIA: India today is arguably the land of the highest number of developer population in the world, said a recent study on the subject by Zinnov Management Consulting, a leading Management Consulting firm.
Over the next three to five years, over 50 percent of the developer population, across technologies and platforms in the world, will be based out of India.
Revealing numbers on how this segment of the industry is poised to grow, it read that India today is home to more than 500,000 members of Oracle's online developer community, has approximately 6,50,000 highly skilled JAVA developers and close to 70,000 Cisco Certified Professionals. Infact in 2004 alone, there were around 150,000 "Microsoft Certified Professionals" in India.
"With the advent of open-web platforms, a couple of years back, there has been a paradigm shift in software development. Proprietary software makers are now opening up platforms to commoditize their products/solutions to customers and increase reach and scale", said Chandramouli, Director - Advisory Services, Zinnov Management Consulting Pvt. Ltd.
With cloud computing gaining traction, not just consumer products but even enterprise product companies are embracing this route, for e.g., Salesforce, NetSuite etc., the report highlighted. Currently, out of the total number of 900 product companies in India, there are about 15-20 Indian companies that have created applications on open platforms like Orkut and Facebook (consumer focused).
Highlighting some classic examples, the study read that companies like Minglebox, Games2Win are some Indian companies which initially did start off as independent websites, but have now also started porting their applications onto open platforms such as Orkut. Several others like Chakpak, Lifeblob, Mycantos, Nautanki, Dhingana, Zoomtra are examples of some Indian startups making applications on open platforms.
Forecasting the trend on why this genre will foster the next wave of entrepreneurship in India, the study drew attention to a lot of reasons. It explained that in comparison to a conventional software product startups, which required on an average 12 to 18 months for product development effort, applications on open platforms require an average development time of two to three months.
Therefore, the cost involved with creating an application software product startup is much lower than creating proprietary software with the entire stake being recreated. Also, the ROI is greater for applications on open platforms, since the life cycle is limited to about only nine to 12 months.
Lastly, the sales and general administration costs of these companies are much lower than software product companies and thus require less funding in the initial stages.
Better audience reach is perceived to be the biggest benefit of open application platforms because the open web platform companies can leverage the customer base of platform players (very little investment required on GTM).
The leading open web-platforms globally have been Facebook, Myspace, Google (OpenSocial), while top open mobile platforms are Apple iPhone and Windows mobile. In fact, we see several players making an entry similar to Apple AppStore, such as RIM Blackberry App Store and Nokia's Ovi Store.
While the growth is expected to be robust, some challenges that might become a hindrance are the risk averse nature of Indian engineers in general, limited awareness of the opportunity available and realizing the potential to monetize.
Last but not the least, to ensure that the entire ecosystem evolves a strong involvement from the investment community is required.
The study very promptly highlighted that open web platforms (OWP) today are challenging the way products are developed and distributed. And the present state of economic crises has only emphasized the importance of open web platforms further. OWP are increasingly offering start-ups the opportunity to reduce product development times, extend distribution reach and enhance brand image.
"What began as entertainment and lifestyle applications for consumers some years back is gaining serious traction among enterprise software users today. Indian entrepreneurs now have tremendous opportunity to build product businesses worth millions of dollars and establish a niche for themselves like never before. It will be interesting to observe how the land of million software developers will ride upon this opportunity", added Chandramouli.