The Only Way To Make A Digital India

Posted by Saket Shandilya in Sci-Tech
January 30, 2017

Technology has always been the top most parameters defining any nation’s success. The biggest and the most powerful nations on this planet are the ones with the most advanced technology. Be it for saving people’s lives through the advance in medicine or through advances in the defense sector. Technology is the key. But the scenario in India is quite different. More emphasis is on buying technologies rather developing one. Innovation in India is not considered important.

I remember my brief stint as a technical consultant with a government organisation in India. We were facing a tough time in automating their business. The officials were not really happy with technology being introduced to their obsolete style of working. It had the potential to cause many hitches in their patented style of working, the one thath is slow and full of paperwork. Technology has been so far from government agenda that the officials are now suffering from technophobia.

I’ll share a funny incident that happened when we were in the user acceptance phase for our application. The team was headed by a senior IAS officer. The best people or the so called the tech-savvy officers from different departments were a part of the application team. On the day that we were asked to tell the officers about the working of the application, my team came, ready with the user manuals and other related documents, help files etc. IAS officer clearly instructed my team to allow the government officials to do some hands on with the application.

We, being the prominent IT experts in India, designed the best that we could do for our client (GOI). The Team Leader (enthusiastic IAS) asked us to begin and for more than an hour the government officials were not able to make successful logins in the system. They were so technophobic that they were unable to type their username and password properly. Out of the team of 15, 6 locked their accounts and the rest struggled with URL typing mistakes. They being our clients started accusing us of making the user interface not friendly enough. The same chaps who asked us to design the fanciest application were now asking us to remove the username and password functionality.

If you’re just starting out, it’s quite possible that you’re feeling overwhelmed by the amount of technology you’ll need to run your business efficiently and professionally. We need to understand our requirement and need to know whether, are we capable enough to survive. Are we in a position to accept change? We are in a position to offer some pointers. Every small business needs the basics:

  • Training and technology needs to be on the top of the list.
  • Updated hardware, such as desktop computers, laptops, phones and wireless devices.
  • Software, from a simple word processing program to industry-specific applications.
  • A server, which is a central computer that shares data, files and applications and allows you and your employees to access the internet or use the same printer.
  • Networking devices, such as routers, hubs and switches, that tie workstations together and provide security features, such as firewalls.

Unless you’ve got a solid background in technology, a computer consultant is your best friend. Roles like CDO (Chief Digital Officers) should be introduced in government and urban local bodies.

On an optimistic note, I request the GOI to make intervention in technology the priority. We have a pool of innovative engineers and technology specialists. As rightly said by Mr Katju – brain drain is a major issue. India will only be able to sustain this pool of talent if she takes the help of these opportunities and internal talent rather than buying technology from outside. This is the only way to get closer to Digital India campaign.