Religion-driven IT will generate more than $40 Billion in software and service opportunities by 2017, according to Gartner, Inc. Religion is positioned to fuel IT innovation and growth in emerging markets. The dynamic of IT and religion will create a new industry, generating software and service opportunities.
“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. Some of the forces that compel IT as an industry to embrace religion are:
“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,” said Mr. Raina.
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 — 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.
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,” said Mr. Raina.
Additional analysis is available in the Gartner report: “Maverick* Research: How Religion Will Drive Your Future Business”, which is available on Gartner’s website at http://www.gartner.com/resId=2173521
The report is part of the Gartner Special Report "Drive Disruptive Innovation with Maverick* Research." This Special Report explores high-impact future scenarios that help companies think differently to uncover opportunity and enable innovation. This collection of research is intentionally disruptive and edgy to help IT leaders get ahead of the mainstream and take advantage of trends and insights that could impact their IT strategy and their organization. The Special Report is available at http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/maverick/.
Note to Editors : *Maverick research deliberately exposes unconventional thinking and may not agree with Gartner's official positions. Maverick research is designed to spark new, unconventional insights. This research is unconstrained by Gartner’s typical broad consensus-formation process to deliver breakthrough, innovative and disruptive ideas from our research incubator.
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