Infotech Lead America: Religion-driven IT will generate more than $40 billion in software and service opportunities by 2017, according to Gartner.
“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.
The convergence of religion and IT will present new ways of doing business and unconventional opportunities for IT entrepreneurs and innovators over an extended period of time.
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 customization, 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.
With the global slowdown and with new business opportunities drying up for the majority of organizations 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.
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.
The role of religion in generating new business opportunities for the IT industry will continue to evolve and will benefit from ongoing convergence of traditional and emerging trends, with added support and findings from religion experts and sociologists.
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 standardization and nonavailability of skilled resources in this space will require IT to play a critical role, albeit while treading carefully.