Business Today

Inclusive Tech to Power Businesses

More demand for tech-enabled jobs across industries; cybersecurity, privacy measures to be beefed up for protecting critical data
Microsoft India Print Edition: August 23, 2020
Inclusive Tech to Power Businesses
Illustration by Raj Verma

In the last few months, we have seen the possibility of extremes - the shock and suffering brought on by the pandemic, and inspirational stories, of fight-back and transformation. Its been a crash course in change management. People and organisations across the world have met the challenge with resilience and innovation, using tech to respond, rebound, and reimagine a new world order.

We saw many years' worth of digital transformation happen in a few months. In this world of remote everything, organisations are using technology to stay open for business, accelerate their recovery and reimagine business success.

The pace of tech adoption and innovation is already fuelling economic recovery and will have a big role to play in reshaping education, health, public services, retail, IT services, MSME and agriculture in the country. Computing power in the Cloud and the edge are changing how hospitals will look with integrated telehealth, how contactless commerce will help the retail industry, how virtual classrooms will redefine education, how work-from-anywhere will become a norm for local and global collaboration, how data and AI-based decision making will empower governments, farmers, migrant workers and businesses. There are transformations happening today at scale that were just pilot thoughts a few months ago. We are in the midst of a tech revolution.

Inclusive Economic Recovery

Accelerating tech intensity will help us leapfrog into the future. Democratising digital and making sure that everyone has the opportunity, and that everyone is enabled, to participate in the digital economy, are more important now than ever before.

In the post Covid world, purpose-driven digital, the art and science of leveraging tech innovation to drive business and societal outcomes will be the centre-piece of economic recovery. In these times of change, finding purpose and understanding our personal mission is a question that many organisations are thinking about. It has become essential to understand why organisations exist in the first place.

For economic recovery to be inclusive, there needs to be a sustained effort and partnership between private and public sectors, to bring the benefits of tech to every part of India - from small and micro businesses, migrant workers and farmers, to non-profits and vulnerable communities. We need deep collective commitment to drive purpose-driven digital outcomes to bring in societal change, to embrace inclusiveness, to be trusted partners for all, to engage in activities that support fundamental human rights, to address inequalities in the world, and finally, to get back to the goals of sustaining the planet for the future.

Digital Skilling

Covid-19 has intensified the focus on the skills gap. A teacher today is rapidly learning the new skills and norms of an effective virtual classroom that brings every student along the learning curve. A doctor today is transforming to provide comfort and care virtually. A small business owner today is rapidly learning to use new digital tools that connect networks and accelerate business velocity.

This digital transformation is driving demand for tech-enabled jobs across every industry, and with it the need for digital skills. One of the keys to a genuinely inclusive recovery are programmes to provide easier access to digital skills, especially for people hit hardest by job losses, including those with lower incomes and under-represented minorities.

The impact of the pandemic, especially on vulnerable communities, has been immense. With move to a hybrid work environment, organisations need to reskill their workforce, preparing them for an increasingly digital, contactless business environment. This needs a systemic transformation of the skilling ecosystem to prepare India's workforce for jobs of the future. Sustained progress will require a strong partnership between various stakeholders. Many in the tech ecosystem are already working closely with public, private, and non-profit sectors to create a vibrant digital skilling ecosystem in the country, providing learners with the tools and resources required to thrive in a digital economy.

Ecosystem Of Trust

With tech-intensity at the core of economic rebound, trust in tech has never been more critical. Trust will be a key currency in this changed world as organisations look at hybrid operating models. Trusted digital platforms have been a huge enabler, helping organisations bring everything together. Building measures to protect cybersecurity, privacy and digital safety through this crisis and beyond will be crucial to safeguarding the interests of millions of users across India who are increasingly relying on digital platforms for their daily needs.

In this evolving scenario, trust needs to be at the heart of how organisations and governments build and deliver products and services. Responsible and ethical use of tech such as Artificial Intelligence will be key. This will need cybersecurity agencies, technology firms, critical businesses and organisations to collaborate closely with the government to put in place strong capabilities to protect India's critical data.

In summary, the economic recovery and the natural flywheel of responding, rebounding and reimagining a new world order will be accelerated by greater skills, tech intensity and trusted tech. India is blessed with a growing share of the planets overall tech intensity, and has a unique opportunity to become an important tech engine of the world. The time is now to empower every person and every organisation in India to achieve more. This is our calling.

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