11/18/2011 11:25 am ET | Updated Jan 16, 2012

Partnering to Strengthen India's IT Ecosystem

"Technology has transformational power," the Government of India declares in its 2011 National Policy on Information Technology. "It is a great leveler of opportunity within and across economies."

This observation is undeniably true, and India is well on its way to achieving its aspiration of harnessing technology innovation to become one of the world's leading knowledge economies. As I mentioned in my post yesterday, India starts with a number of strategic advantages, and it is rapidly adding to them. Not least of these is the fact that the Government of India has articulated a clear plan for IT-driven growth and has shown an eagerness to collaborate with industry to achieve its goals.

To that end, BSA and India's Department of Information Technology on Wednesday evening in New Delhi unveiled the details of a collaborative effort to strengthen the country's IT ecosystem by promoting proven best practices that enterprises of all types and sizes can adopt to better manage the software tools they use to run their operations.

These software asset management practices are important for a number of reasons. First, they help organizations get maximum value from their investments in software. Second, they ensure organizations use only legally licensed programs, which helps them avoid the legal and security risks that come with pirated software. Third, software asset management practices help encourage more technology innovation by making commonplace a systematic approach to complying with copyright laws, which give innovators a financial incentive to commercialize new products.

In partnering with BSA to promote software asset management, India's Department of IT has shown a keen awareness that it is not enough merely to have intellectual property laws on the books. Citizens, private industry, and public institutions also must be well-versed in how IP rights apply in practice. All parties share responsibility. That's why BSA and the Department of IT are marshaling public and private sector resources in a three-track initiative to promote a secure and legal software environment that helps spur IT competitiveness and growth.

The first thrust of the initiative focuses on driving SAM implementation among the agencies of India's central and state governments. Next, BSA and the Department of IT are partnering with the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to raise awareness among small and medium-sized enterprises about the importance of intellectual property rights and the opportunity to use software asset management to increase efficiency and reduce business risks. Finally, BSA and the Department of IT are collaborating with the Confederation of Indian Industry to engage and educate the Indian public about the pitfalls of using pirated software and the advantages of using legally licensed products.

The Government of India is leading by example and sending an important message to the domestic and international marketplace that it is committed to fostering a world-class IT ecosystem. Other governments would do well to take notice.

Tomorrow, BSA's General Counsel and Vice President for Antipiracy, Jodie Kelley, will give an overview of a related BSA initiative -- our new certification program for standards-based software asset management, CSS(O).

This post was also featured on the Business Software Alliance's blog, BSA TechPost. The Business Software Alliance is a trade group that represents software makers against copyright infringement.