Bringing Digital India To Life Opens Up New Opportunities For Brands

Digitisation is creating tremendous opportunities for economies across the globe, and India is an example of a country that not only understands this opportunity, but has embraced it.

What India has been able to achieve in terms of economic transformation over the past two decades is commendable. Through sweeping economic reforms, initiatives to open up Indian markets to global business and investments in areas like digital technology and Smart Cities, the country has made great progress. India has more than halved its poverty rate since the initial economic reforms of the early 90s, and per capita income has almost quadrupled compared with 1991. In the last two years we have seen India’s leadership dramatically accelerate digitisation, benefitting all citizens in India. Today, India is recognized as the fastest growing economy in the world – and this is just the beginning. I believe that digitisation has the power to transform India into a true technology leader in the years to come.

Digitisation is creating tremendous opportunities for economies across the globe, and India is an example of a country that not only understands this opportunity, but has embraced it. In July 2015, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid out his ambitious Digital India plan, with the goals of bridging the digital divide in the country, increasing global competitiveness, fostering innovation and creating jobs. Just 18 months later, we’re already seeing the immense impact of digitisation, not only in terms of GDP growth and job creation, but also, in improving the overall quality of life of citizens, and creating better access to jobs and educational opportunities.

A flourishing telecom sector

With the world becoming more decentralised and much more localised and collaborative, the major ask for telecom companies is to embrace this rapid change. The ask is to build an ecosystem where digitization, connectivity and improving business environment continue to dominate and the need of the hour is to bring people together yet enabling them to work, live and operate from anywhere across the world.

Digitization will play a very important role in the coming year given the existing pressure that exist to eradicate costs, standardise processes, reduce variables and reshape the business to run more efficiently. Cloud services are also becoming the universally accepted ‘new normal’ as more and more organizations have started to fully embrace cloud services, recognizing the cost-cutting and agility-improving benefits that they provide. Data analysis will also gain traction as crucial business function with applications made to strategize intelligently and bring-in better personalisation. Another interesting trend is the emergence of intelligent network -which will be security aware, and will be able to identify the threat and alert other networks.

And all this is leading strategy of telecom companies to strengthen their market position. Trends like big data and data analytics are helping organizations to tap into new customer groups, and thereafter provide best-in-class customized services to their customer base and stay ahead of the competitive game. Bringing the digital transformation within the organization and opting for a ‘digital first’ strategy is the best way to reach out to customers and to tap into their behavioral patterns and making a substantial difference between success and failure.

The telecom sector continues to be at the focal point of growth, innovation, and disruption with more and more mobile devices and broadband connectivity continue to be embedded in the fabric of society today. With the growth in the number of “connected things”, mobile and “smart” device utilization and connectivity will continue to expand. Telecommunications companies will continue to grow and expand in India, driven by the growth in the public sector like with “smart cities” and “Digital India”.

New opportunities for brands

Warc, the global marketing intelligence service, has released its Asian Strategy Report 2017, an analysis of the region’s most effective marketing trends based on insights from the 2016 Warc Prize for Asian Strategy.  The report says that, several years of demographic and cultural change have offered new creative opportunities for advertisers. Smartphone adoption is soaring – particularly in India – and Asia’s middle class continues to grow exponentially. As in the 2015 Prize, brands are continuing to invest in purpose-led campaigns, however new trends are emerging as a result of Asia’s economic slowdown.

Warc’s Asian Strategy Report highlights the following key insights and marketing trends in Asia for 2017:

  • Economic slowdown is challenging Asia’s marketers:

With Asia’s economic slowdown creating uncertainty in many countries across the region, campaign budgets continue to shrink forcing brands to think creatively and do more with less. Sales metrics continue to drive campaigns although market share and customer gain have become increasingly more important as brands try to protect their position in challenging times.

  • Lower cost channels gain popularity:

Asia’s digital revolution continues at pace, with smartphone adoption and increased internet penetration offering marketers new opportunities. Whilst television remains the most popular lead media channel overall despite a 9% slide from 2015, online video increased by 10% and social media continues to be more widespread. PR and content marketing are enjoying more popularity as brands aim to derive more value from their marketing spend.

  • India’s digitisation offers new opportunities:

While India still relies heavily on traditional media to connect with mass-market audiences, the country is now the world’s second largest smartphone market behind China. With millions of people coming online for the first time, India’s marketers are capitalising on this: the use of social media in campaigns has overtaken wider Asia for the first time and online video is now India’s fourth most popular channel behind TV, social and outdoor.

  • Brand purpose is a delicate balance:

Brand purpose has been a hot topic among the region’s marketers, particularly as a way to engage with the lucrative millennial demographic, who are more educated and less traditional than previous generations. Cultural narratives, in particular the changing role of women in society, are the most popular type of purpose-led campaigns. However, the struggle to connect core brand values to a relevant social issue story suggests that marketers may need to rethink how they approach brand purpose in 2017.

Enterprise Digitization

While technology companies continue to see growth opportunities in the consumer market, they also see expanding opportunities in the enterprise space as organizations in virtually every sector look to technology to facilitate transformation. As companies race for competitive advantage they are embracing a range of new, cutting-edge technologies, many of which are now more viable than ever as power and speed increase and costs decrease.

“The digitization of the enterprise is also opening up new markets and creating ecosystems that often extend across multiple sectors,” says Paul Sallomi, Global Technology, Media and Telecommunications industry leader and U.S. and Global Technology sector leader with Deloitte Tax LLP. Enterprise digitization also continues to be shaped by cloud adoption, and additional “anything-as-a-service” offerings that allow usage-based consumption are likely to emerge. This development will give small-to-medium sized enterprises access to sophisticated capabilities once only available to huge multinationals, increasing demand and creating a virtuous cycle for more products and services. Furthermore, because the success of cloud offerings relies heavily on companies’ ability to secure their environments, cyber security products and services are another area with a bright future.

While opportunities abound as new technologies come to market, “enterprises will likely need to transform some of the ways in which they do business,” Mr. Sallomi says. “The technologies companies need to become digital enterprises don’t come neatly bundled out of the box. Rather, they are combinations of hardware, software, networking, data storage, analytics and cognitive technologies,” he adds.

Technologies to watch

Among the most transformative technologies opening up significant areas of opportunity for technology firms and enterprises alike are robotics, virtual and augmented reality (VR, AR), 3-D printing and artificial intelligence (AI). Cognitive technologies such as computer vision, machine learning, natural language processing, and speech and pattern recognition are being embedded in software applications, imbuing big data with superior capabilities. The Internet of Things (IoT), while possibly over-hyped on some fronts, has just begun to reveal its promise.

Machine learning shows the most immediate promise; it has the capacity to enhance a wide array of applications, particularly those involving classification, prediction, anomaly detection, and personalization. The tremendous investment in all these areas suggests the near-term emergence of ecosystems and platforms that deliver a new level of value.

One very early stage platform that is gaining considerable traction in terms of investment is block chain, the foundation for the digital currency bitcoin. A distributed database of transaction blocks, block chain allows participants in a network to share a digital ledger, yet prevents them from tampering with any of the transaction records. This has enormous implications not only for the financial services industry, but potentially for any company that has significant amounts of asset transfers or manages a complex global supply chain.

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