Forbes India 15th Anniversary Special

Charting India's ascent: Mobilising digital infrastructure as a growth engine

Tackling the complexities of India's digital revolution: Insights into growth, innovation, and inclusion

Published: May 17, 2024 07:20:28 PM IST
Updated: May 17, 2024 10:47:33 AM IST

Charting India's ascent: Mobilising digital infrastructure as a growth engineBy Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies India

In an era of rapid technological evolution, the role of digital capability in nation-building, as a catalyst for economic growth, social integration, and global competitiveness, is evident.  Amongst countries worldwide striving to establish robust digital infrastructures that serve as the cornerstone of progress, India has positioned itself as a prominent technology player with a burgeoning demographic of over 1.4 billion people and an internet user base that surpasses 830 million.

India’s transformation journey has been nothing short of remarkable, marked by exponential growth in Internet penetration, mobile connectivity and digital services adoption across urban and rural landscapes. The importance of a well-laid digital foundation that can support the aspirations of a nation poised to expand its economy to $5 trillion by 2027 and promote inclusivity and drive innovation across diverse socio-economic realms cannot be overstated.

The government's vision of 'Digital India' not only anticipates the nation as a technology powerhouse, but also weaves digital transformation into the fabric of its developmental policies. It envisages transforming the economic and social landscape through improved connectivity and technological access, strengthening governance and augmenting the delivery of public services via emerging technologies. The success of a revolutionary digital initiative like UPI has resulted in India accounting for 40 percent of all global real-time digital payments.

The demand for data storage and compute has emerged as a significant growth driver with the implementation of a wide array of digital infrastructure development programs at nation-scale, such as the National Optical Fibre Network (NOFN), the National Broadband Mission, the BharatNet Scheme connecting 2.5 lakh Gram Panchayats and the Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC).

India’s data centre market, fuelled by a booming private IT sector, e-commerce, and more than 1800 Global Capacity Centres (GCC), could scale revenues of nearly USD 7.5 billion. The Data Centre vertical is estimated to grow at a consistent CAGR of 5.84 percent, accelerating the market to USD 9.27 billion by 2027.

While the current outlook presents significant investment opportunities for enterprise and technology providers, the ambitious journey to global exemplar is not without its challenges. It necessitates navigating a complex landscape of rural-urban disparities, accessibility barriers, data privacy and cybersecurity concerns.

Surmounting imbalances of infrastructure gaps, connectivity issues and digital literacy limitations requires multi-stakeholder collaboration between government, industry and civil society, with concerted investments in broadband infrastructure, last-mile connectivity solutions and comprehensive digital literacy programs tailored to diverse socio-economic contexts. Upskilling and reskilling initiatives, industry-academia collaborations and STEM education at the grassroot level are imperative to nurture a future-ready workforce capable of driving digital innovation and competitiveness.

As more services and transactions move online, safeguarding data, IP and financial information against cyber threats becomes paramount in the face of an evolving threat landscape, characterized by increasingly sophisticated cyber-attacks, ransomware incidents and data breaches. Bolstering cybersecurity capabilities across government, enterprises and individuals, and implementation of robust data protection laws, is critical to ensure the security of national infrastructure.

The government must continue to play a facilitative role in shaping a sustainable and inclusive digital future, creating an enabling environment through supportive policies, incentives for digital adoption and investments in public digital infrastructure.

As India charts its ambitious digital future, it can pivot to the top-end of the value chain by adopting a unique axis of development that prioritizes investments in the nation's growth engines, spanning sectors like BFSI, ITES, Healthcare, Education, Defence and Manufacturing, and Global Capability Centres. Technology providers, in turn, must position themselves as strategic enablers, delivering cutting-edge solutions that fuel innovation, operational excellence and competitive advantage.

The BFSI and ITES sectors have been early adopters at the forefront of India's digital revolution. Technology providers must reimagine their offerings and incorporate emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence, blockchain and cloud computing that can empower financial institutions and service providers to streamline operations, enhance customer experiences and fortify cybersecurity measures. Innovative solutions like cognitive banking, intelligent process automation and secure data analytics can unlock new frontiers of efficiency and customer-centricity.

India's strategic priorities in defence and manufacturing necessitate cutting-edge technological solutions that enhance operational readiness, supply chain resilience and industrial competitiveness. The need of the hour is to develop advanced simulation and modelling tools, predictive maintenance solutions, and deploy emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, additive manufacturing, robotics and IoT (Internet of Things) to drive innovation, process optimization and supply chain agility.

With India emerging as a global hub for digital transformation that fosters economic empowerment and drives positive societal impact, Dell Technologies stands ready to partner in the growth story by delivering robust and scalable platforms that enable seamless collaboration, agile development and efficient service delivery that are imperative to thrive in a globally distributed, digital-first environment.

Dell Technologies has been at the forefront of the digital revolution in India, partnering with the government in building nation-scale digital infrastructure to support public initiatives such as Aadhaar, Passport Seva, the GST platform, and IRCTC. Our deployed services act as a digital backbone, supporting the nation through comprehensive engagement across all sectors of the economy, stimulating productivity gains that can accelerate India's journey towards economic prosperity and global competitiveness.

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