View from India: TMT prepares for new digital era

The Covid-19 pandemic, working from home and social distancing have underscored a new urgency for digital connectivity and innovation, bringing in an era for the technology media and telecom (TMT) sector that may last well beyond the pandemic.

Post Covid-19, TMT is going to be very much at the fore front of everything we do. It will be the competitive differentiator for the manner in which all businesses and ecosystems function. “Covid-19 has brought about a fundamental shift in the way businesses operate,” said Satya Easwaran, partner and national sector leader of TMT at KPMG India. "As a result, the TMT sector is experiencing a new wave of innovation and invention. Convergence in the role of telecom and technology companies, increase in strategic partnerships, as well as government-led initiatives are expected to assist the industry in catering to the changing needs of the customers."

A pandemic-driven outcome is that businesses are moving towards full or partial remote-working conditions. As a result, several organisations have expedited the implementation of digital initiatives that were slated for the next three to five years. Prior to Covid-19, investments and business priorities relating to emerging technologies were fragmented. However, enterprises are now focused on aligning their emerging technology strategies with the overall business objectives to ensure not just future survival but also simultaneously gain a competitive edge.

These outcomes have led TMT organisations to examine not just the changing consumer demands and usage patterns but also the best way to meet the service obligations. The result is the creation of next-gen digital business models and revenue streams, enhancing the digital-customer-service experience. It also means giving support to the creation of a new workforce model that supports the adoption of emerging technologies to augment human effort.

Organisations are making efforts to transform internal operations as well as fuel the growing digital shift across different sectors. Business-led technology-enabled transformation will play a critical role in the digital transformation journey. Powered by cloud, connecting the front, middle and back-offices will drive the ‘Connected Enterprise’.

The digital proliferation recently reached a pivotal moment in its journey, both for the enterprise and the consumer. The choice is beyond the obvious: with the acceleration of digital transformation initiatives across industries, companies are assessing the potential of emerging technologies to enhance their business and operational processes. Consequently, technologies such as artificial intelligence, Internet of Things, augmented reality and virtual reality have made the feasibility of conducting online business for sectors such as education, healthcare, consulting, retail, all of which were mainly centred around personal interaction, a reality. The rapid adoption of AI and emerging tech will be at the core of the digital transformation.

TMT services are expected to play a significant role in driving the shift in the digital priorities of businesses. The TMT sector has made significant investments in the core technology stack. New-age companies are no longer just providing siloed services but are becoming digital at their core. The services, more holistic with big integrated solutions, focus on the end consumer, partners, and overall eco-system players.

“To transform the digital vision into a reality, all stakeholders from established and emerging technology companies, telecom players and the government need to come together to ideate and collaborate,” added Lt Gen Dr SP Kochhar, director general at Cellular Operators Association of India. However, this requires active participation of incumbents in the TMT industry to evolve their business models and increased collaboration that will enable them to provide converged technology and communication solutions to their clients.

On the whole, the future of the TMT sector in India looks both exciting and promising, with growth in digital demand alongside the emergence and adoption of new technologies. The innovation and progress in TMT will certainly be a critical factor in driving India’s larger digital ambitions. “The use of smartphone devices and data usage has soared with the pandemic, unlocking previously untapped demand streams relating to emerging technologies. This has, in fact, turned out to be a silver lining for the TMT industry,” concluded P Ramakrishna, CEO, India Mobile Congress.

This was discussed in the December 2020 report 'TMT Industry CEO Outlook: Smart. Secure. Sustainable', brought out by KPMG in India in association with India Mobile Congress and Cellular Operators Association of India and released at the India Mobile Congress 2020.

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