A new report by Gartner indicates that religion-driven IT will generate over $40 Billion in software and service opportunities by 2017, showing how religion is set to fuel technology innovation and growth in Africa and other emerging markets.
According to the report, IT and religion will establish a new sector and increase opportunities for software and services.
According to Asheesh Raina, principal research analyst at 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.”
She added that:“Direct IT spending by religious groups is small compared with the influence of religion on the IT spending of other industries and enterprises.”
According to the report religion and IT will create new ways of doing business and unconventional opportunities for IT entrepreneurs and innovators with time. The report adds that some of the forces that will compel IT as an industry to embrace religion include the commercialization of religion, the rise of emerging markets with high religiosity, the emergence of new business opportunities around religion, the convergence of these three themes forming the foundation of “religion-driven IT” and the role of religion in driving IT — opportunities in major market segments.
Mr. Raina adds that,“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.”
The report shows that global slowdown and difficult of dong doing business in developed economies will lead to for exploration of new markets and opportunities. Hence a shift to the rising emerging markets which are highly religious, this will lead religious-driven IT mainstream.
According to the report the list of emerging markets will include Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Poland, Turkey and Argentina in the next five years,all with high religiosity. Therefore for IT providers’ to be successful there has to be a religious inclination of their services or softwares. Religion will also generate new business opportunities for the IT industry just like banks have.
“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.