“ India’s data price, accessible smart phones, and low-cost, high-speed internet have propelled India’s digital transformation” – Mike Muralidharan
In the ’90s, the liberalization was a proactive step that helped India accelerate its economy and the Information Technology boom. Now the pandemic has a providential opportunity that we must not miss out, and accelerate the pace of transformation through an already robust digitization wave. It is more than a decade of Aadhaar – the biometric digital identity program, and our familiarity with online digital transactions has already put us on a digital-first trajectory.
Thanks, perhaps, to this grasp of digital, Indians clocked a whooping INR 7.71 lakh crore worth of UPI transactions in October this year. Our digital prowess was not limited to digital payments alone. We used apps to buy groceries, consulted with physicians using our devices, and continued learning while locked down in our homes. What has been a pleasant surprise is the fast absorption in the urban populace.
Arguably, India’s data price, accessible smartphones, and low-cost, high-speed internet have propelled India’s digital transformation. Citizens, businesses, and governments have substantially increased the adoption of digital applications during the last 18 months, making India the second-fastest digital adopter among 17 major digital economies. What does this mean for India’s economy?
When we embraced digital, we changed the way we consumed information, interacted with brands, and recalibrated how we worked. Sectors like IT and IT-BPM, for their part, adapted to meet the world’s digital transformation needs. And Work-from-Home made it a profitable adoption, with work taking the employees to the country’s remotest corners.
This also increased the pace of upskilling through online courses. Having high-skilled emerging technology talent – and a talent pool that is vigorously investing in upskilling, this sector is estimated to contribute 10% to the country’s GDP by 2025. To put things in perspective, a 1% rise in GDP can create 7,50,000 new jobs. But is this an ambitious goal? No.
An online training provider reported a 200% year-wise growth from 2019 to 2021. Driving this surge was the demand for Data Science, AI, Cloud, Programming, and Analytics courses catalyzed the Fourth Industrial Revolution. To keep up with the pace, corporates have almost doubled their in-house learning investment to create a future-fit talent pool.
Digital transformation catalyzes a shift in business processes, customer expectations, operation models, and employee experience, opening up several avenues for growth.
Pushing the pedal on Industry 4.0
It was interesting to witness even traditional sectors boldly embrace digital transformation in the last two years. Burgeoning e-commerce growth stimulated the logistics sector, a tech laggard. Futuristic supply chain solutions will use IIoT, sensors, and other digital technologies to assess, track, monitor, and manage end-to-end logistics operations. Automated from start to end, they will help logistics owners improve performance and meet customer expectations. Real-time monitoring of assets has proven to reduce fuel costs, optimize load management, improve vehicle maintenance, and safeguard assets and people from accidental damage and deterioration.
Financial service was another traditional sector that swiftly scaled the user population through the necessity inflicted on the customers during the pandemic. Often under the impression that digital transformation is distrustful, complex, and expensive, this sector was the opposite of digital-first. The pandemic, however, changed this notion. Contradicting apprehensions that digitization might inconvenience analog-native customers, it brought customers closer. When even everyday activities moved online, chatbots, video KYC, cardless cash withdrawals, tap and pay options improved customer satisfaction during the lockdown.
In today’s digitally mature market, banks are competing not just with other banks, but also with a growing fintech sector. Digital transformation will help banks enhance their customer experience. Similarly, emerging technologies will unlock value from non-core digital sectors like healthcare, education, energy, and agriculture. Data Science and AI will help these verticals mine actionable insights from data, and create unique, customer-specific journeys.
The way forward: Strategic Allies and Digital Highways
Governments are resetting their strategies to enhance citizen experience. Future-fit enterprises are recalibrating their processes to improve stakeholder experience. They’re looking at digital transformation for value creation. Aspiring future-fit enterprises will start looking outside the organization for allies while building on their existing capabilities. Strategic external partners will help enterprises leverage emerging technologies to enhance customer experience, improve productivity, optimize operations, and ultimately increase bottom line growth.
According to NASSCOM, open digital ecosystems will unlock more than USD 700 billion worth of business opportunities for India by 2030. Equipped with an expanding population of STEM graduates, a strong private sector, and an enthusiastic entrepreneurial ecosystem, more importantly, an exponentially growing start-up community, we might well be on our way to a trillion-dollar economy.
However, the need of the hour is a well-funded digital highway plan to support our technology transition. The United States spends USD 160 billion on digital infrastructure, the UK spends USD 35 billion, and China spends USD 60 billion. India, on the other hand, spends merely USD 13 billion. A concerted effort from private and government institutions will ensure every citizen, village and enterprise, is connected and equipped to reap the benefits of digital transformation.
About the Author :
V. M. Muralidharan
Chief Operating Officer – BahwanCyberTek,
V. M. Muralidharan, popularly known as Mike Muralidharan, is a renowned IT industry veteran and an educationist with over three decades of experience in various critical functional areas such as Education Management, Operations, Human Resources Management, Support Services Management and Overall Enterprise Management. He has played a key role in leading, important educational forums and corporate institutions. His contributions in all these areas have been outstanding and he has added immense value in all the roles he has played.
He plays an important role in the IT industry as the Chief Executive Officer – CoE, IBU & BCT Consulting and Chief Operating Officer – Global of BahwanCyberTek (BCT) Group, US$ 300 million global organization with over 3000 employees, where he spearheads the operations and steers the organization’s business. BCT is one of the first 50 companies worldwide to be assessed at CMMi Level 5 Version 1.3 for its Process and Delivery Excellence. As the Global Chief Operating Officer, since 2010, Muralidharan has played a pivotal role in BCT’s continued growth and success. BCT is one of the fastest growing IT companies and has been recognised for their excellence in various forums. BCT has also supported College of Engineering, Guindy (CEG), Muralidharan’s alma-mater, in many activities. Most notably, BCT setup the AU-BCT Kalam CoE at the CEG Campus, Anna University which was inaugurated by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
He is also the Former Chairman of the Trust Board of the renowned 70-year old Ethiraj College for Women, Chennai, having held the position from 2013-2019. In this role, he managed the 8000-student institution, apart from the 2000-student Ethiraj Matriculation School at Vellore. Prior to this, Muralidharan was the Financial Trustee and he has served on the Ethiraj Board since 2007.
He is an Advisor to the Board of Directors, AIC-Anna University Incubation Foundation, that intends to nurture, innovate and build a vibrant innovation and start-up ecosystem.
He is a Member on the Planning & Development Committee of the University of Madras.
He is also on the Board of Research Studies and also a Member on IQAC Advisory Committee of the University of Madras.
He also serves as the Chairman on the board of ALERT, a not-for-profit NGO, doing yeoman services in the Golden Hour response in situations of trauma. ALERT’s goal was set by the great Dr. Kalam -‘One in every family has to be trained’ professionally to respond in emergencies.
Muralidharan is aGoverning Council Member Member at TiE Chennai, Member of the Chennai Angels, a Panel Member, TN Education Panel at FICCI, and Charter Member, Concordia India Advisory Board of Concordia College (New York).
On a personal front, Muralidharan plays an active role in helping out people suffering from depression and ill health and helps them find their path to recovery and regeneration.
He completed his B.E. (Hons.) in Electronics & Communication Engineering in 1983 from the College of Engineering, Guindy.
Muralidharan as an eminent educationist and an industrialist with an impeccable track record, he has been recognized in many forums and is widely respected in the academic, industry & social circles.
AWARDS & HONORS
In 2015, he received the Raindropss”Edupreneur Award” from the hands of His Excellency Dr. K. Rosaiah, Hon’ble Governor of Tamil Nadu, for his initiatives, commitments, excellence and significant contributions in the field of education.
In 2016, he was interviewed by News7Tamil for the prestigious “PaesumThalaimai” show and was honored with the title “Penn KalviyinPerumagan(Don of Women’s Education)”. (Interview Link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EyL1snqwgP8)
In 2016, he was conferred with the “Eminent Educationist Award” at the Indo-American Education Summit 2016.
In 2017, he received the “Vocational Excellence Award” by Rotary Club of Chennai Velachery Rotary International Dist. 3230 in recognition and appreciation of his outstanding contributions to the cause of Women’s Literacy.
In 2018, he was conferred with the “Distinguished Alumnus Award” by the Alumni Association College of Engineering, Guindy, Anna University, in recognition of his outstanding service in the world in the field of Education and Information Technology.
In 2018, he was conferred with the “Literary Award – Educationist” by the Bharat Nirman Foundation, recognising his outstanding service the field of Women’s Education.
In 2020, he was conferred with the “Lifetime Achievement Award” by Lions Club International Dist. 324 A1 in recognition and appreciation of his loyal and dedicated service to the cause of Education& underprivileged community.
He can be contacted at :
Twitter : https://twitter.com/mike_vmm
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/mikemuralidharan
Wikipedia : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/V._M._Muralidharan