Vice President -HR, Reliance Jio
You come to know about your strengths only when they are tested.Over the past two decades there has been a remarkable acceleration in the development of technology. Connectivity speeds increased, computing power increased, Landline phones moved to smart phones. Social media apps came from out of nowhere and on-boarded half the population of earth. YouTube redefined learning. Money became digital. Retailers removed the “R” to become e-tailers. A parallel digital world got created. It touched each and every one in some way.
Adoption of Digital
There were only few million people and select industries which took full advantage of the digital world. In general, adoption of the new digital world was not encouraging. Few things like Whatsapp were adopted, which catered to unfulfilled needs. However, whereverthe digital world tried to replace the experience of the physical world, there was resistance.
People were fearful. It was hard for people to believe that money can be digital. Digital transactions can be a way of life. However, disruptions like demonetization taught many to understand and use digital wallets like Paytm. There has also been a need for touch and feel, which kept us away from taking the full advantage of digital life.
Crisis or Opportunity
It lookslike as if we were preparing for 2020 for the past twenty years. This is the time when all the pieces of the puzzle have come together. This time has given us opportunity to sit back and see the bigger picture. People have started realizing the importance of digital infrastructure.
This is an important junction for Higher education. Organizations like Coursera, LinkedIn Learning, Udemy are poised to take advantage of the situation. Higher education will be even more digital. A day is not far, where a university will only exist on cloud with world class courses and professors without any physical infrastructure and will be legitimised and revered by industry and academia. Higher education will definitely move from delivery to content, assessment and research.
Except afew essential services industries, all others are in a bad shape. Revival will not be easy and quick because the fear of COVID-19 will take a few quarters to disappear. If we approach the scenario in a traditional manner, the scenario looks gloomy with dismal demand and huge operations cost.
However,companies have creatively found ways to bring the demand back. They are looking at new ways of doing business by leveraging technology and redesigning jobs. For example, contact centres have innovated and asked agents to login from their mobile phones and work from home. The infrastructure cost for these companies has vanished. These companies are going to enjoy higher margins and disrupt the industry.
Opportunity for Management Students
As the industry changes with such disruptions, old jobs will vanish and eventually new opportunities are going to appear. Digital savvy management students with an understanding of digital tools for remote working, collaboration and knowledge management will have an advantage. Skills like digital marketing, digital payments, digital security, e-commerce, remote people management will be in hot demand.
Harjeet is an International speaker, writer, poet, visionary, influencer and a HR Leader. Alumnus of IIT Roorkee and INSEAD. He is currently working with Reliance Jio.
Harjeet has been a LinkedIn power profile, Chicken Soup Writer, TEDx Speaker, Global Digital Ambassador, FWA Board Member and Guest Faculty at IIM Ahmedabad.