'Demand for Wiley's digital products and services has grown markedly'

Mumbai | Updated on October 13, 2020 Published on October 13, 2020

Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley India

We are encouraged by the underlying momentum seen in education and research: Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley India

Wiley, a global leader in research and education, through its subsidiary WileyNXT had tied up with IIM Lucknow, to launch a new course on Data Driven Product Management. It also tied up with IIT Roorkee, IIM Lucknow and IIM Kozhikode, to train the future workforce in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, Blockchain, Data Science and Data Analytics in an array of sectors such as manufacturing, retail, fintech, IT and digital marketing. Vikas Gupta, MD, Wiley India, in a conversation with BusinessLine said Applied Research, which integrates analytics in the research domain to find solutions to real world problems around weather forecasting, high altitude defence and prevention of pandemics, is one of the fast emerging fields. Excerpts:

How have Wiley’s plans in India been affected by Covid?

The pandemic continues to disrupt the global economy and this has directly impacted some of our more traditional revenue sources such as physical books and in-person training. But despite these headwinds, we are encouraged by the underlying momentum in Education and Research. This momentum should continue well beyond the pandemic. With a long history of adapting to disruption, Wiley’s business remains essential to the global economy and critical to help the world recover, rebuild and thrive. We were quick to adapt to the new digital world, navigating through the uncertainty, and our business strategy was quick to adapt.

What kind of role is Wiley playing in adoption of online solutions in education and businesses?

Right now, educators and students around the world are heading back to school and researchers are heading back to their labs in a world significantly altered by Covid. They are rewriting the playbooks for education and research and turning to corporate partners such as Wiley, who can help them achieve their goals in a changing world. Demand for Wiley's digital products and services has grown markedly. This unusual momentum is moving our markets and proving that the strategies adopted by us are in the right direction for the market in the long term.

The education sector is going through its biggest disruption and it is still not clear how it is going to shape up. How is Wiley looking at this disruption?

We have been on a journey of transformation since well before Covid, executing a bold strategy to deliver tech-enabled products and services that accelerate the success of the world’s researchers, learners and professionals. As with digital courseware, online education is now past the inflection point and is broadly accepted as a mainstream way to get a degree or certification. This was true before Covid, but the disruption of the past six months has driven home the value of high quality, fairly priced education that can fit the life-and-career-needs of the broad public. This momentum is reflected in enrolment trends, in a good pipeline of potential university partnerships both in the US and abroad and with our key partners, most of whom are evaluating online expansion opportunities. Over the years, the university model has remained unchanged, functioning as a well-regulated institution, with a structured and consistent approach towards curriculum development and pedagogy, academics, and overall governance. But the pandemic seems to have shocked the system into action.

Getting skilled workforce has been the biggest deterrent to industry. How do you see this challenge being addressed in the new work environment?

The emergence of new digital technologies has accentuated the need for continuous learning to stay relevant in this time of continuous disruption. Up to 40 per cent of the estimated 5 million-strong Indian workforce needs re-skilling over the next five years to keep pace with automation and changing skill needs in various industries. An individual is expected to upskill almost six times in his or her career span to help align with the innovation and market growth strategy of businesses. Organisations need a strategic plan to provide the right skilling to their existing employees and acquire new people with the right skill set to fill the gap. And Wiley is very much focused on addressing this major challenge facing the workforce. We are in a unique position because across our businesses, we help higher education institutions and leading employers to envision and enable the future of education. A great example right here in India is WileyNXT, a transformative job-readiness bridge education programme, which aims to create a future-ready workforce for the digital economy and place students in top technology companies. Acting as a college-to-career bridge, WileyNXT sources candidates from universities, skills and certifies them and then places them directly into technology jobs with corporate partners.

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Published on October 13, 2020
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