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Enabling Experience Economy through Digitalization

In an era of fast-evolving technology, wherein newer concepts like Artificial Intelligence, Blockchain, IoT and others are driving the economy and its growth, how future-ready is India? 

I feel that there are two broad concepts that shape the term ‘Future Ready’. One is the concept of intelligent nations, which implies that from the digitization era, we are now moving on to the intelligence era. We are putting predictive systems in place which will personalize government offerings to stakeholders. In short, we are moving from the automation phase to the intelligent phase.

The second concept is that of an “Experience Economy”, wherein the citizens or the people are looking for an experience and not necessarily just a service. For example, the success of government programs like Swachha Bharat or Ujjwala and many other initiatives is attributable to the change in the whole citizen's experiences. What I am trying to say is that we are moving towards an experience economy and also that operational efficiency, automation etc, are giving way to citizen experience management.  

Today, there are two kinds of data- firstly, the operational data, which all of us have been focussing on. However, today, we need to add on the experience data, and hence, manage the citizen experience. As an example, in case of transportation, the operational data would be the on-time performance. The experience data would be the citizen feedback that “I will use public transport if the connectivity of the same to my place is better”.

Coming back to India’s future readiness to adopt newer technology concepts, we need to understand that our geographical diversity and complexity is huge and our focus areas are different. The task force on Artificial Intelligence views AI as a socio-economic problem solver. On the other hand, if we consider the EU focus on AI, we can see that the focus now is shifting to ethical AI. Thus, the difference is that while in India we are focussing on socio-economic problem solving,  globally, we are talking about the next steps that, how we can make products more ethical.

Today, we as Indians should be collectively proud of our achievements through Digital India program where we have enabled 1.25 billion Aadhaars; we are connecting 2.5 lakhs village panchayats through broadband; we have the world’s largest direct benefit transfer (DBT) system and these are unique achievements. What needs our attention is that we need to match our digitization efforts and expertise with the socio-economic needs of the country. We need to focus our attention on the execution part of the policies that have been rolled out and conceptualised. In short we need to move from ‘What’ to “How” of the policy landscape.

The Government of India’s Digital India program can be considered a holistically conceptualized program that covered almost all key concepts. What all policy inclusion or moderation do you feel would be apt for the industry in accordance to the Indian scenario?

In the current policy environment,  on one side there are policies focused on technology, which include both Information Technology (IT) policies and allied policies such as e-commerce. On the other side there are physical domain-related policies, like disaster management, civil aviation policies, social welfare etc. These policies are currently been managed in an isolated manner by different departments and Ministries. However, emerging technologies will make it pertinent that these don’t remain isolated. For example, drones, disaster management and cybersecurity can’t be three different segments, as all these are inter-related and dependent on each other. Hence, very soon every policy prescription that the government comes out with, will definitely have an IT component. Technology will become a horizontal component of policies rather than a vertical component in itself.

The e-commerce policy of India titled “India’s Data for India’s Development”, goes on to defining e-commerce, but then the overall policy focus is on data. Similarly, all other domains like fertilizers, chemicals etc, will require having a technology component. We are doing well in drafting policies be it our Internet of Things (IoT) policy or our Data Protection Bill. A cyber-physical linkage of these policies to the respective domain will soon be driving the policy conceptualization. 

What is your opinion about the Data Protection Bill?

India is not the only country which is having voluminous data. Whatever data one will feed in a machine today is used to create a product or solution . Having said so, the need for protection of such crucial data becomes very important. Therefore, the need for, the Data Protection Bill.  

It is also important for us to create user-awareness on sensitive personal data, which will lead to a mature digital behavior. We need to create awareness within the government and other stakeholders. Thus, the data protection concept becomes a multi-stakeholder complex issue, which everybody must handle collectively.

How is SAP leveraging the scope for building a favorable community for the Start-Up India mission of the Government of India?

We are creating intelligent enterprises and serving 25 industries. We hold a firm belief that there are complimentary set of solutions, which start-ups bring on table for extension, submission and for supplementing our efforts to enhance the digital journey of our customers. From that prospective, we have several programs like sap.io, sap accelerator studio labs in Bangalore etc. We help these companies starting from the idea till the final product. For example, some startups use our Hana platform, wherein they were being able to do crop forecasting in only nine days against 120 days being done currently. So we are now witnessing a number of use cases which can be solely attributable to these start-up spaces to handle commercial models in the experience economy.

What plans and projects are in pipelines of SAP with respect to Indian market system?

In India, SAP has 12000 customers, wherein majority of public sector enterprises run SAP. So in the future plans our perspective is the 60 million SME’s in the country. We want these SMEs to get ready for the digital journey, to contribute to Make in India, Industry 4.0 and other visionary plans in lines with the policies of government of India. 

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