Home >Opinion >Digital transformation the only way forward

There has never been a better time for India to embrace the digital economy. The advent of digitization has dramatically altered our corporate landscape. Technological advances—in software, mobile markets and information analysis—are continuously harnessing the intellectual capabilities of Indian millennials.

One of the defining characteristics of this generation is its affinity with the digital world—technology has dominated a significant part of its lives, and the millennials hold the power to adapt to the changes brought forth by the ongoing transformation. This in-demand skill, when added to the surge in aspirations and opportunities, encourages young talent to take the once-dreaded entrepreneurial plunge.

A mammoth 65% of the Indian population is below the age of 35, and so it is no surprise when Nasscom reports that India currently holds the title of being the youngest start-up nation. Over 72% of new businesses in India have been set up by dynamic young founders. Young Indians are confidently entering the country’s booming e-commerce space to compete, using technology as their primary tool. Needless to say that the 1,200 Indian start-ups so far in 2015 alone are proof of this.

Start-ups turn towards digital platforms to gain direct access to a global customer base, and innovative ways of efficiently setting up and operating new ventures, especially in the healthcare, retail and transport sectors. The likes of Paytm, FreeCharge, Ola and Flipkart are bringing in evolved business models that leverage technology for differentiated, competitive and personalized service delivery.

The creation of business environments are collaborative, intelligent, responsive and efficient, and are leading to a dramatic rise in productivity and economic values of new ventures. The networked economy has unveiled opportunities for both big and small businesses to enjoy the benefits of a more expansive limitless platform—thereby facilitating the rise of India’s billion-dollar start-ups.

The realm within which these billion-dollar companies are growing exponentially, the scope of businesses too have magnified several-fold. Entrepreneurs are directly finding space in the digerati, where new ideas, values and opinions have greater acceptance among hungry, urban, tech-savvy customers. New ventures are gaining traction by either discovering an entirely new market space or finding an edge that sets them apart from the existing market firms—the entry of redBus despite the dominant presence of MakeMyTrip and Yatra in the Indian travel scene is once such instance.

While the vision for digital transformation has been paving the way for India’s corporate future, technology adoption is also affecting the manner in which Indian businesses currently operate. Generation Y companies are redefining their identities in the midst of accepting a digital facelift. We are witnessing a shift from traditional to hybrid business models to keep up with the operations of our global counterparts.

The Internet of Things, social, mobility, analytics, 3D printing and artificial intelligence are driving corporate India to alter its core business practices in a way that would enable it to leverage technology-led solutions in a data-driven economy.

The government, too, is not far behind. Programmes and missions, regulatory and policy frameworks, economic reforms, financial and social inclusion, digital services and smart interventions to enhance liveability—the pieces in India’s digital jigsaw puzzle seem to be fitting.

With power shifting to the millennials, the road ahead for India’s sophisticated digital upgrade looks promising. By embracing this transformation, we are shaping India’s growth as a technologically empowered, knowledge-based young economy. Digital transformation is a big deal for India and the world—and is the only way forward.

The author is managing director, SAP Indian subcontinent.

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