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Blockchain Talent In India At Par With West: Kanchan Ray, Nagarro

India benefitted a lot from the popularisation of blockchain in its early days. A lot of people gravitated towards it, learned the technology, built proof of concepts, etc. and in today’s age, we see a lot of Indian startups leveraging blockchain effectively, says Kanchan Ray, CTO, Nagarro

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Kanchan Ray, CTO, Nagarro

In a comprehensive interaction with BW Businessworld's Rohit Chintapali, Kanchan Ray (CTO of Nagarro) spoke on the ascension of Low-Code/No-Code app development, outlook of traditional software development and blockchain development in India. Read on for excerpts from the interview.


The process of software development has evolved a lot over time. Is Low Code/ No Code the future of software development? 

If I look at the current landscape, there is a drastic surge in the popularity of LCNC platforms that offer a fully customisable approach to app development. It’s no wonder that more and more businesses are looking for ways to bring application development capabilities into their organizations at a rapid pace.

LCNC tools are enabling users (even non-technical business users) to create, update and access information without writing any code. These alternative application development methods are a good option for businesses that rely on efficient automation and streamlined process improvement, as well as for users who do not have the time or expertise to build software from scratch. Thanks to LCNC platforms, everyone can build apps and automate processes without having to write code line by line. The demand for new applications, the shortage of skilled developers, and the slow response to customer demands and sometimes a lack of collaboration between department leaders and IT professionals – delay business transformations. By empowering citizen developers, LCNC platforms enable significant collaboration that leads to better communication, faster deployment times, less work for IT teams, and new applications.

It is fascinating to see that in FY 2021, the Indian IT service providers and startups spawned over USD 400 million in revenue from LCNC solutions, of which 70 per cent came from global markets. In fact, according to a recent study by NASSCOM, the market is estimated to scale to USD 4 billion by 2025, and Gartner also reported that LC application development will constitute more than 65 per cent of application development by 2024. So, I think there is a huge possibility for LCNC to make an impact in the arena of software development, and businesses are slowly and steadily moving towards harnessing its true potential.

How does AI factor into the discussion of LCNC? 

From data mining to Machine Learning (ML), AI has gained traction in the last decade and is going from a niche tool for select use cases to mainstream solutions. With the various advancements in AI, there is a phenomenal expansion in the other aspects of development and includes far more tools to help developers accelerate their solving processes. On the other hand, LCNC platforms are becoming immensely popular in every industry, as they allow software developers to build applications without having to code/test/scale all of the application code. While this may sound amazing, it is also complicated, as it requires the proper skillsets of experienced professionals. The rise of AI/ML has created opportunities for companies who are willing to use LCNC technologies. This technology has been used in many industries and is a good fit with Software as a Service (SaaS), giving companies the ability to be more agile and competitive in this new era.

Moreover, LCNC platforms are leveraging ML to offer continual, predictive guidance to developers as they work. Numerous use cases/projects are analysed for patterns that indicate potential problems, allowing the platform to make decisions about whether or not automated tools should be applied. AI models, powered by ML and NLP can take a developer's code and analyse it for patterns to identify what a developer should change to become more efficient. These suggestions could be pulled into an online platform where they could be reviewed or accepted by the developer, leading to easier development, faster time-to-market, and better-quality code.

What would happen to traditional development practices?

The basics will remain the same – we will still develop software using agile methodology, encouraging people to work and co-innovate together. However, where one spends most of their time is going to be different. With the Low Code/No Code (LCNC), we won’t be required to spend time on basic coding-related tasks anymore. A lot of developers even today ponder about how their code would work if it needed to be scaled up. For example, if I'm developing an App now that only has about a thousand people using it – how it would work if tomorrow it had to be scaled up for a million users? Similarly – how will the App behave on different mobile phones and mobile operating systems? With a lot of these LCNC platforms, one really doesn’t have to worry too much about scaling and similar aspects. Rather, the focus should be more on how a better experience can be created, how better insights can be given, how a more connected and automated workflow can be created, and so on.

Handling of data is all set to be changed with blockchain. What is your observation on blockchain development in India?

Blockchain came with a lot of promise about decentralising data and making sure the data ownership questions were answered. However, a lot of the attention got divided somehow and went towards cryptos, NFTs. Moreover, blockchain should not be looked at as a solution to every data ownership problem. It should only be applied to cases where data needs to be decentralised and current technologies are not able to provide adequate features. The disappointment of blockchain not flourishing as much as the promise it was showing in the early days is because it was forcefully applied to some cases where there was no need for it.

Blockchain is still relevant, and time and again, the technology has been demonstrating its importance. However, the use cases have to be picked very carefully. For example, even today I’ll not demand that my bank should do my financial record keeping in a decentralized blockchain with a shared ownership, given that I have been associated with my bank for the last 20 years and there is no lack of trust yet. We really must stick to the strength of blockchain and implement it after due consideration. 

Where is India in comparison to the West when it comes to blockchain talent?

I feel the blockchain talent in India is at par with the West, and in some cases even better than most places. India benefitted a lot from the popularisation of blockchain in its early days. A lot of people gravitated towards it, learned the technology, built proof of concepts, etc. and in today’s age, we see a lot of Indian startups leveraging blockchain effectively.

Having witnessed multiple blockchain conferences and blockchain-based hackathons in India as well as the West, I can safely say that we are not lagging behind talent-wise at all – we just have to apply it to the right problem. 

Web3 will be a lot about the metaverse and blockchain. How will these two areas come together in Web3? Could you explain for our readers?

One of the underlying design principles of the metaverse is its decentralised nature – one single entity will not own all the assets in the metaverse. Due to its underlying design being decentralised, blockchain is going to play a major role. Web 3.0 is an extension of that design principle and is going to be democratic in that sense. As Decentralized Apps (DApps) become more popular and smart contracts gain speed, we will see blockchain taking a much more central role in building Web 3.0. So yes, these two will absolutely be a core building block of the metaverse.

Could you tell us a little bit about your projects in the metaverse and blockchain space?

At Nagarro, we have applied blockchain to use cases where data had to be decentralised or smart contracts were needed. We have found that it is especially prevalent in cases where there is a lack of trust between the stakeholders in the use cases. A good example of this would be supplier-vendor relationships, where we have multiple buyers and suppliers with complex contracts.

Metaverse on the other hand is extremely interesting. We are working with our customers to create metaverse-based games, traffic generation, customer onboarding and acquisition, brand awareness, facilitating events in the metaverse, etc. We foresee expansion in creating engaging experience zones. For example, when you are talking to a customer support executive, and they make you wait for something – that idle interaction time can be gamified in the Metaverse. Now, rather than waiting on the phone listening to the boring tone, imagine waiting in an immersive and interactive metaverse and even learn something new. Another use case is interacting with live avatars instead of chatbots which can provide 24x7 support in the metaverse. This has the potential to revolutionise traditional customer service use cases.

We are also training our colleagues through numerous learning platforms to become better acquainted with what the metaverse means and how it can be leveraged. We are actively talking to our customers on these fronts as well. We aim to become a big influencer in this space, along with the clients that we are working with. I think this is going to be an interesting field, and we will do a lot more in the coming years.