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November 7, 2012

Religion to fuel $40bn IT revenue opportunity in next five years: Gartner

The emerging markets which will offer opportunities include Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Poland, Turkey and Argentina (all with high religiosity).

By CBR Staff Writer

Religion-driven IT is projected to create new opportunities generating more than $40bn in software and service opportunities by 2017, according to a report by Gartner.

Convergence of religion and IT will offer new avenues and unconventional opportunities for IT entrepreneurs and innovators, the analysts said.

The factors which could lure IT players to religion include commercialisation of religion, rise of emerging markets with high religiosity, emergence of new business opportunities around religion, role of religion in driving IT opportunities.

High religiosity index in emerging markets there is an increase in spending on religion due to economic development in the region, which is expected to lead to a gradual shift toward religion-driven IT, the analysts said.

The emerging markets include Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Poland, Turkey and Argentina (all with high religiosity).

Analyst said religion-driven IT will become crucial test model for IT vendors to gain a larger foothold in these markets.

Gartner principal research analyst Asheesh Raina said 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.

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"Direct IT spending by religious groups is small compared with the influence of religion on the IT spending of other industries and enterprises," Raina said.

"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 global economic slump and less number of opportunities in mature economies, IT companies are exploring new markets and opportunities leading to a shift in focus.

"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," Raina added.

"A lack of standardization and nonavailability of skilled resources in this space will require IT to play a critical role, albeit while treading carefully."

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