Role Of the IT Sector In Transforming India To a Digitally Enabled Country India has been gradually adopting digital services in the last five years, but it took the fear unleashed by COVID-19 for its masses to go digital 'fast and furiously'

By Sandeep Sekhar

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We are living in a time characterised by a continued revolution powered by information technology (IT). Mobile phones gained penetration and popularity in India in the early 2000s. It was then considered a huge social revolution in communication enabled by IT when the commonest of people had a mobile in their hands and felt empowered. But this magic of IT was just the beginning; the advent of smartphone followed; the instrument has now transcended from being an object facilitating connectivity to virtually owning our whole lives within its circuits and memory.

India has been gradually adopting digital services in the last five years, but it took the fear unleashed by COVID-19 for its masses to go digital "fast and furiously'. There is a demand for digital avenues even for services which were earlier presumed to be only personal in nature such as health consultations.

India is fast shaping into a digitally enabled economy where new services and commercial models can be easily deployed across the country's vast geography. The 700 million-plus smartphones act as hub-and-spoke model for inter-connection between parties to share data, intelligence and services. Digital activity is bringing work, life, pleasure and entertainment all in one place. Instant gratification is becoming the hallmark of the digital era.

Today the new "oil' is data and new "FMCG' is cloud. Most businesses are transforming into digital experience companies with their services being powered by the new wave IT. The IT industry is playing a striking role in perking-up the efficiency of nearly all the sectors in the country like education, healthcare, logistics, retail and many more. Businesses will gain massive traction from the "ABCDE' technologies which will provide a seamless experience in the digital transformation in the next few years. The ABCDE here stand for A- Automation, B- BlockChain, C- Cloud Engineering, D- Data Analytics, E- E-Commerce.

E-commerce will grow exponentially as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) learn to better predict consumers wants, needs and even repeat purchases by collecting and analyzing data on customer's online behaviour. As per Statista, the global blockchain market is expected to exceed $7 billion by 2021, making it the most required technology for secure e-commerce transactions. Therefore, for the next level of growth, e-commerce platforms will need to adopt blockchain soon.

Personalized plug-ins, AI-powered chatbots, improved security and blockchain transactions, all such technical inputs will only better the digital experiences. Multilingual plugins, localization tools, augmented reality, viewing products in real time are transforming the new-age marketing strategies, making global the new local.

Healthcare is one sector which is set to undergo massive technological revolution and digital transformation. Healthcare has always been a personal, physical, face-to-face service segment and users were slow to adopt digital practices. The pandemic has played a huge role in pushing the users to adopt digital healthcare services. OPDs (out-patient consulting) have gone digital and success of a healthcare venture will soon depend on patient's digital experiences. Implementations of AI, VR/AR, 3D-printing, robotics and nanotechnology in healthcare can help bring the next big revolution in the sector. Also, technologies can help us win battles against diseases like cancer, ebola, etc.

Another most important sector going almost wholly digital is the financing and the banking sector. A common person does not need to visit his bank as often as he used to even five years ago. His banking needs are being met digitally. Fintech companies have made securing digital loans very easy even for those living in tier II and tier III towns in India; all one needs is an internet enabled smartphone, identification documents and some good advice. Easy, fast, seamless, secure, and transparent transactions form the backbone of the digital financing and banking ecosystem; each of these features are enabled by IT.

The very concept of a digital economy is built on the foundation of robust information technologies. As IT continues to innovate and evolve to serve the needs of humans, the digital economy can grow only one way: upwards.

Sandeep Sekhar

Chairman & Global CEO, C Ahead

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