CYBER ERA THINKING

New Normal: Being Tech Driven In A Post COVID World

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In a year of lockdowns, each one of us experienced the power of technology at a fundamental level. With the world shifting enmasse to virtual, technology helped us take care of loved ones, get healthcare, access essential services, get work done and keep our businesses running. It took a pandemic to bring home the power of digital technology and the possibilities it opens up for individuals, organizations and the world at large, writes ANANT MAHESHWARI.

This ability to adopt technology and integrate it into almost every aspect of our lives is called “Tech Intensity”. Today each one of us is more tech intense than we were a year ago. We saw how digital transformation that would have taken decades happened in the matter of a few months. From healthcare to education, to citizen services, agriculture, banking and manufacturing, every sector and industry transformed with technology at the core. In fact, the single most important trendline that the pandemic accelerated is the need for tech intensity. The way we embrace it will define who we are, what we are capable of, and how we accelerate progress.

Tech intensity can be divided into: Technology, Talent and Trust. How are we using technology to reimagine every part of our lives and work? How are we empowering our talent to innovate using technology? Do we have the right guardrails in place for tech innovation to grow in an environment of trust? Each of these three components will need to work in tandem to drive tech intensity at scale for India.

Technology

The last few months made clear that the next decade of economic growth for India will be determined by digital investments made today. Using the full potential of technologies like data, AI and the cloud will be central to this journey. Cloud led data and AI innovation offer a huge canvas for India to be the tech engine of the world, create jobs and drive homegrown innovation. It offers an opportunity to transform public infrastructure and build billion scale public platforms solving critical issues like access to universal healthcare, education, agriculture and many more. Initiatives like Digital India and India Stack have laid the foundation for driving tech transformation for India at scale. What we need is a concerted effort and commitment across industry and government to continue this tech momentum, making technology available and accessible for all.

Talent

The single most important asset in India’s cloud powered data and AI journey will be its talent. Digital skilling will play a foundational role in preparing India’s talent for a tech-enabled future. We have a long way to go. It will take both the public and private sectors working together to build a strong ecosystem of skilling that empowers everyone in the country to participate in the digital economy. It has to start with our schools and educators, include jobseekers and vulnerable populations and put in place a comprehensive commitment to skill and upskill the country’s future workforce in next generation technologies.

Trust

India is at an inflection point in its digital journey. The foundations we build now to create a tech ecosystem grounded in ethics and trust will play a critical role in driving data and AI adoption and acceleration. Trust needs to be at the heart of how we build technology, how we deploy it and how we collect and control data that drives tech innovation. Security and privacy of users need to be non-negotiable. All of us are accountable for creating an ethical and responsible tech ecosystem that drives sustained innovation for India.

Technology can revolutionize virtually every part of the economy, and it is up to us how we shape this potential. Technology can enable inclusion – providing the same opportunities and platform to every Indian. To make this happen will require collective commitment-governments, businesses and civil society will need to come together to bring the power of technology for all. What we call ‘Purpose driven digital’; using technology to drive societal impact at scale, will define the next chapter of tech empowerment for a billion people. This is when we will achieve the mission to empower every person and organization in India to achieve more.

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