While digitalization and digital transformation has been the buzz word across the globe and India, there have been many schools of thought about its necessity across industries. As humans, we always resist change and deny to move out of our comfort zones. I feel that we must move out of the comfort zone and run in this race of innovation and digital transformation to stay relevant in the later competition of our lives. But what are the factors that we must be wary of in this journey of transformation? I have presented my thoughts through this infographic.
In this part 1 of 3 articles that I am presenting about digitalizing or devitalizing India, I express my thoughts about some factors affecting the change process in our MSMES. Remember 1980s, the days of peddle-operated power presses? What if there was a lapse in the hand-leg coordination? Horrible and unimaginable, isn't it? The hand gets crushed because the leg has already pressed the peddle. What was the automation and error-proofing implemented then? Yes, the ram will come down only after the operator has kept the component and pressed the buttons with both hands. Was there any fear in the minds of the press operator, supervisor, and the press owner in accepting that change?
No, not at all. Why? Because it led to safe working environment, reduced accidents, improved quality, and increased productivity. So, why fear innovation and digitalization now? Are not the growth and existence of our MSMES vital for our economic growth? Yes, MSMES are the largest source of employment after agriculture in India, and contribute to 35% of Indian industrial exports. As per the National Knowledge Commission of India study, 17% of our MSMES have already introduced new-to-the- world technologies. We must be proud of them and follow their footsteps.
The fear and resistance to transform arises because of lack of talented employees, fear of losing job, fear of being judged, lack of organization and federal policies. Even insufficient funds, and inability to penetrate global markets contributes to a lot of fear. According to an IFS Digital Change Survey (2017)-conducted by interviewing 750 decision makers in 16 countries-42% feel aversion (hatred) as the cause for thinking against digital transformation
What if we do not start the journey of innovation and digital transformation now? Let me quote the examples of a few companies-who once pioneered their businesses in India-in my own demography and era, but perished because they did not foresee the need for transformation:
• Indian Telephone Industries (IT)–Ruled the telephone industry but is unknown now.
• BPL group of companies-Dominated the consumer electronic and medical equipment industry from 1970s to 2000s, but
saw a sad end to its peak. This was because of not scaling up themselves to the changing technologies and global best
• New Government Electric Factory (NGEF) Bengaluru-Closed its operations because of stale business processes and not
upgrading themselves to the globalized markets.
Is it not good to change your sick lifestyle-when you are unwell-before the doctor prescribes medicines? My manthra for our MSMES is simple-To survive later, digitalize & innovate now. Face the challenge now and stay relevant in future than starting the battle at a stage when competitors have already won it..
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