On the back of growth in emerging markets, religion-driven IT will generate more than $40 billion in software and service opportunities by 2017, research firm Gartner today said.
It added that commercial activities related to religions, like banking, rise of emerging markets with high religiosity and emergence of new business opportunities around religion are the three themes whose convergence form the foundation of religion-driven IT.
"Religion-driven IT will generate more than $40 billion in software and service opportunities by 2017," Gartner said.
Gartner said religion is positioned to fuel IT innovation and growth in emerging markets while the dynamic of IT and religion will create a new industry, generating software and service opportunities.
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, it 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," Gartner principal research analyst Asheesh Raina said in a statement.
He added that religion-based banking, equity trading, mutual funds, financial services and so forth require new applications, products and heavy software customisation, thus creating a role for religion domain experts.
"The number of people visiting religious places is growing and hence increasing the need for religious bodies to attain automation through IT to provide safe, secure and faster religious services," Raina said.
Gartner said 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, it added.
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, Gartner said.
"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.