Where does India Stand in the Impact of Digital Technology on Businesses?

December 6, 2016 0 comments

On the 8th of November 2016, CA Technologies India held a Press Roundtable to release the findings of the Coleman Parkes Research Global Study on the impact of the digital technology on the business world. The study had been released globally on September 28th, 2016. The purpose of the roundtable was especially to highlight the position of India in this research. The findings were unveiled by Mr. Sunil Manglore, MD of the CA Technologies India. The roundtable was held simultaneously at Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai and was broadcast simultaneously through tele-video-conferencing. The study was carried out by asking questions from the decision makers at CXO level in the businesses across the world.

India and the Digital Business World

Against a global average BIS score of 53, many developing countries top the list – India (79), Thailand (71), Brazil (69), Indonesia (66) and Malaysia (64). The U.S. scored 57 and all of the European countries scored lower.

fig-8

sectors

According to Otto Berkes, Chief Technology Officer of CA Technologies, “Clearly, digital transformation is a journey and a common element in process improvement. With the critical role software now plays in helping customers execute their digital strategies, you could be doing well today, but you could be doing even better tomorrow. Becoming more advanced in the adoption of these key enabling technologies and practices should be at the top of every business executive’s agenda.”

Mr. Sunil Manglore presented the following additional findings related to India –

  • Indian businesses are seeing the greatest improvement (55%) in generating new revenues as a result of digital transformation
  • 84% of Indian businesses are seeing moderate to significant improvements in their ability to differentiate from their competition through digital transformation
  • Almost all India based businesses studied (97%) show moderate to significant improvements in customer experience post digital transformation Indian businesses are seeing (35%) improvement in time-to- decision and time-to- act on new opportunities (business agility) post digital transformation
  • Indian firms show the greatest gain (56%) in terms of impact on employee productivity as a result of digital transformation.

A striking feature that emerged from the Roundtable was that within the Asia Pacific region, India was clearly the leading country in making an impact on the businesses through digital technologies.

Areas on which India Needs to Focus

What does it mean?

In all this euphoria about India making a headway in digital impact, some issues are in danger of being overshadowed. But in order to make an overall development of India, it’s essential to focus on these issues. One of the participants asked why the digital impact seemed to be less on the fully industrialised countries, while Third World countries such as India were forging ahead. In response, Mr. Manglore said that this was because the fully industrialised countries had already reached their optimum impact, while countries such as India were now beginning to make a digital impact on business. This is significant, because it reveals that this study does not imply that India has become the most digitally advanced country in terms of digitised commerce. Rather, it shows that India is now beginning to make a good use of digital technology in business, something that the fully advanced countries have already achieved.

According to Sunil Mangalore, Managing Director, CA Technologies India, “India is at the cusp of a major revolution, as we see digital technologies being at the centre of business strategy for leading businesses. Our survey results are a testimony to a strong correlation between business performance and smarter technologies that underpin digital transformations. The need however for Indian CXOs, is to collaborate with a strategic partner and ensure adoption of digital technologies and practices that helps them grow their business revenues while enhancing customer satisfaction and retention.”

More advancement in basic technologies

The study showed that the breakthrough was more in the realm of using basic digital technologies rather than in advanced digital technologies. Following are the figures –

enablers1

India’s IT competitiveness in the world

It must be kept in mind that much of this growth in digitised commerce is uneven and there are large parts of India that don’t avail of the advantages of digitised business. In fact, most of digitised business exists in the metropolitan cities of India. Even many cities are not in the ambit of digitised commerce. Following is ranking of India in the IT competitiveness, released by the Software Alliance (also called the BSA) in 2016 –

it

it1We can see that India ranks quite low in this global index and countries such as Malaysia, Mexico and Argentina rank higher than India.

This is coupled with an unemployment rate of 7.97% in 2016. Further, only 10.25% of the Indian population of India knows English according to the Census of India. The knowledge of English of a majority of even this small section is nominal, resulting in poor communication in digital field as well as with other countries. Hence, there is a need to develop the digital technology in the myriads of Indian languages and at the same time, institute a good education of English to the Indians.

Hence,  if we want India to have an even access to digitised business then we need to decentralised the developmental plan and begin from the least developed areas.

The energy question

Digital advancement in any field, least of all in businesses, can’t take place without sufficient supply of energy for daily living, for the industries and for the digital technology to function. India has to resolve this issue seriously, if it wants to make an overall transition to a completely digitised business model at par with the completely industrialised countries. It must not be forgotten that these countries first resolved their energy question and then transitioned into digitised business model.

It is believed that renewable energy sources such as solar energy can solve the problems of India’s energy shortage. However, solar energy usage has a long way to go. The government needs to expand its solar energy plans to cover the entire India and generate enough energy for daily usage and also for the industry. This is a monumental task, though if taken seriously, it can be done.

From the above, it is obvious that while India has begun to make a significant impact on the business through digitised technology, it still has a lot of effort to make. We must not forget the monumental tasks ahead in the euphoria of these researches. It is a good beginning, but we must remember to tackle the many challenges on the way.

Dr. Archana Verma

The author is a global policy analyst in culture, economy, polity, society and technology. 

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