India is well positioned to achieve digital leader status: Nitin Seth
Digital is a mega-trend, but it’s a big and complex change that is not easy to manage. In his new book, Nitin Seth answers key questions about how to win in the digital age.
New Delhi: Nitin Seth is the author of “Winning In The Digital Age”, a bestseller published by Penguin Random House. In the book, Nitin brings clarity to the digital transformation process, breaking it down into seven building blocks and showcasing how best to master them. The book is also a practitioner’s guide for professionals and students on how they can realize the incredible opportunities offered by the digital age and realize their true potential. Extracts:
Q. What prompted you to write “Winning in the Digital Age”?
A. Given my unique set of experiences from Mckinsey, Fidelity, Flipcart, and now as CEO of Incedo, I felt I had something unique and extremely practical to share. From my long professional journey, I have the unusual and rare perspective that ranges from fundamental strategy to successful execution.
The emergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution as defined by the World Economic Forum – the digital age coincided with my career. It changes everything – what we consume, the way we live our lives, all businesses large and small, the entire economy of India and the world. This wave of digital transformation is supported by investments of trillions of dollars by companies around the world. Unfortunately, over 70% of digital initiatives are not reaching their full potential. With my unique experience, perspective, and education, I felt compelled to share the frameworks and solutions from my book to bridge this important gap.
Q. Your book examines disruption caused by technology, what has Covid done to that disruption?
A. Without a doubt, the Covid has disrupted everything. From a purely business perspective, he revealed that going digital is no longer a choice. Covid has completely ruled out that choice. If there was a question or indecision on the part of business leaders and the public sector before the pandemic, the conversation has evolved significantly into What and How: what are you doing, how are you doing it, how you are developing. -you ?
Covid has accelerated digital adoption in industries, businesses and our lives. The digital implementation goals that companies had set for 3 to 5 years were achieved in a few months out of economic necessity. The models and frameworks in my book have been further validated and strengthened by the business and cultural outcomes that we are experiencing and with which we are currently living.
Q. You frequently refer to India in the book and its important role in the digital revolution. What do you think about the future of India?
A. I mentioned earlier that we are in the fourth industrial revolution – the digital age. With each industrial revolution, there has been a game changer as new countries emerge and take the lead in technology, culture and economy. The first modern industrial revolution, linked to colonialism, shifted economic power from East to West, and Europe became a leader. During the Second Industrial Revolution, the Age of Machines and Electricity, the United States became a leader. During the Third Industrial Revolution, the Information Age, the United States became the main superpower. Other countries also competed for leadership, such as Japan for a brief period, and China as well, but the United States is the central power in the third age. I believe that the fourth industrial revolution, the digital age, will see another change and the rise of a new superpower.
I postulate that the democratization of access to information, knowledge and technology are unique catalysts which position India as one of the main competitors of the superpower in the digital age – high penetration of smartphones , low cost of data, UID JAM, global IT leadership and a young demographic. Let me explain:
1. Smart Phone Penetration – India has over 1.17 billion wireless subscribers and is among the largest population base with internet access to + 750 million people due to low cost and large mobile network availability
2. Low cost data – India has the cheapest access to data in the world, ~ $ 3 ARPU in India versus ~ $ 20 + ARPU in developed markets – a significant advantage to fuel innovation at all. society levels
3. UID JAM – With over 1.2 billion citizens enrolled in the digital service, India is a world leader in investing in technology that enables Indian citizens to access modern and secure online transactions and services, that can support unprecedented growth in the public / private sector
4. Global IT – India is the engine of the world’s information technology, providing more than half of the global IT service workforce, in simple terms India fuels innovation and is at the forefront of technology. data technology for the world
5. Demographics – Over 50% of India’s population is under 25, 65% under 35 – with over 850 million people, it is the largest digital native cohort in the world.
These powerful factors are unique to India and essential to take advantage of the democratization of access and data brought about by the digital age. Widespread mobile devices, low cost data, standardized infrastructure, cutting edge IT knowledge and a young native digital population is a formula for explosive growth and dramatic innovation in the digital age, which has enabled the India to be the leader of the digital age.
Q. In what ways can India increase the likelihood of becoming the leader of the Fourth Industrial Revolution?
India is well positioned to achieve digital leader status, but there are four important areas of differentiation based on a concept that I identify as ‘Digital First’ that require special attention to lay the foundation for digital technology and new trade rules proposed in my book. Based on the unique catalysts, India can increase the chances of success by pursuing the following actions:
1. Global IT Leadership – Continue to nurture, nurture and develop leadership in IT services
2. Innovative Global Business in India – Create the next generation of innovative new digital age businesses and ‘unicorns’ like Google, Facebook and Alibaba
3. Digital Transformation for Conventional Industries and Businesses – Rethinking existing conventional industries and businesses such as pharmaceuticals, steel production or automotive industry in light of digital transformation and new business rules
4. Utilities & Business – Building on utilities that continue to lead the way in using digital technology to deliver more efficient and available services to the people of India.
All of this needs to be supported and driven by waves of entrepreneurs going wild. The waves of entrepreneurs with new, innovative businesses and the rapid digital conversion of older industries will fuel another wave of entrepreneurs, each of whom will reach a higher level and drive the next higher cycle of innovation and growth.
It is very encouraging that there are many key elements in place for the next round of leading global technology companies to emerge in India. There is immense potential that by focusing on Digital First, we can quickly unleash John Maynard Keynes, the famous economic “animal spirits” and the prospects of over a billion people.
Nitin Seth is the CEO of Incedo Inc, a high growth technology services company focused on digital, data and analytics. Prior to Incedo, Nitin was COO of Flipkart, Managing Director and Country Director of Fidelity International in India, where he also led global offshore operations and business strategy for Fidelity’s international operations; and Director of McKinsey’s Global Knowledge Center in India, where he conceptualized, developed and led many new knowledge and analytics-based capabilities that have had a huge impact on the industry.