Covid-19 has forced IT industry to rethink its core strategies: NASSCOM President

Hemani Sheth Mumbai | Updated on June 09, 2020

Debjani Ghosh, President, Nasscom   -  PAUL NORONHA

The Covid-19 crisis in India has forced the IT industry to “rewrite the playbook” and rethink its core strategies according to Debjani Ghosh, President of the National Association of Software & Services Companies (NASSCOM).

Ghosh, while addressing a Nasscom webinar titled Nasscomm’s ‘Bharat Un-Conference: Build With Bharat,” said, “What Covid has done is it has forced us to completely rethink our basic core strategies.”

“Covid has forced the IT industry not just pause, they're hitting the stop button for a second, and then figuring out how to restart, restart with a completely new playbook. This is an opportunity to completely rewrite the new playbook,” Ghosh had said.

According to the NASSCOM President, the tech industry in India has a major opportunity on hand with the increasing adoption of technology-led by the pandemic. With the increased adoption, the IT industry must now look at revamping its business models and focusing on the requirements of its key consumers.

“We are moving to a hyper-digital world, everything is going to be touched by technology. I think Covid has accelerated the pace of digital transformation, maybe 100X than anything else out there. We've seen in the last few months, we have seen digital transformation that we haven't seen in the last few years,” Ghosh said.

“But we are also going to get into a world which is going to be by and large contactless, contactless. How do we call such a world? What does customer experience mean? When you can't touch the customer when you're when you have to maintain that distance from the customer to consumers? How do you define consumer experience given that we agree that's the most important thing in a contactless world,” she said.

Inclusive approach to digital transformation

Ghosh further emphasized on an inclusive approach to innovation moving forward to decrease gaps between various sections of the society.

“We're also going to enter a world where, unfortunately, the gaps between the haves and the have nots is going to increase unless we simply put tuition as a key design principle for tech innovation,” Ghosh said.

“What we have to think through is the digital transformation in Bharat is going to look the same as digital transformation in cities or in the West?” she said.

“This is where as innovators, we have to adopt a people-first lens to innovation. We have to think people first we have to think inclusion ahead of anything, as we innovate for the next few for the new world,” she further added.

Challenges for start-ups

Given the rapid technological transformation, Ghosh outlined other challenges faced by innovators building for rural India. She also suggested a few steps that can be taken to aid and encourage such entrepreneurs to innovate for rural India and spearhead the technological transformation. This includes setting up of a new a composite “Bharat fund” for providing capital to such entrepreneurs.

As for the steps to be taken by start-ups themselves, Ghosh urged innovators to get people with domain expertise on board and adopt a “consumer lens” for building products for rural India. She also urged upon participation from institutions like NABARD.

“The key here is collaboration, where every stakeholder in the ecosystem lead government, the technology industry, startups, lead investors have to come together,” said Ghosh.

The digital transformation in India, rural India, in particular, s going to be led by smartphones according to the NASSCOM chief.

“It's not going to be led by smartphones. It's going to be led by feature phones to a very large extent, it's still going to be a shared model. Despite Covid, despite the need for contactless economy, we're still going to see a shift in the rural, largely spearheaded by communities like the CSCs etc.,” Ghosh said.

Published on June 09, 2020

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