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Digital Adoption in Pandemic Times

Digital adoption

“We went from being the Flintstones to the Jetsons in nine months.”
Dan Schulman, PayPal

It’s been over three months since life as we know it has changed for India and the global landscape. Video calling and datapacks have taken on a new form of necessity beyond our endless skype chats and Netflix streaming.

Zoom is the new buzzword alongside alternatives like Google Hangouts and Classrooms. Coming to classrooms, an estimated one billion plus children globally are now not in physical ones anymore.

And even the corporate sector has had to learn familiarity with screens before they can rejoin their teams and colleagues in the working landscape. It has never been more important to become conversant with digital devices and platforms than it is now, forcing a generation of reverse mentoring to come into play at a time when it’s almost near impossible to do the same through what that generation is familiar with – being led by a physical presence.

The weirdest catch 22 has started now. And humanity has had to be ingenious in how it moves forward.

How do you train someone in a technology if you have to first make sure they can use it just to connect with you for said training?

It’s not that video conferencing or online classrooms weren’t already in existence, but they were limited to global organizations and edutech companies. The mainstream populace still have 9 to 6 lives in office cubicles and cabins, while children flock in school buses to reach their classes in time.

Even before this pandemic erupted, adoption of such technology has been growing steadily, with global edtech investments reaching 1.4 lakh crore rupees  in 2019 and the overall market for online education projected to reach 26 lakh crore rupees by 2025. Now those numbers might be accelerated not out of long term planning, but consumer need.

We need to avoid certain pitfalls to ensure that somehow planned initiatives are done and consumer need is met.

– Even during these times, it’s important to focus on both stated and unstated needs. Due to the ecosystem, unstated needs in edutech and videoconferencing in general have become stated and some companies like Zoom have profited from the same. We need to understand the current market well and see what’s the next requirement that will become stated if this pandemic continues, so that entry barriers are set by us.

– Videoconferencing and current online classroom learning is not yet a red ocean market industry. Given how ill-prepared most companies are, it will take time to cross saturation. If our projects are rushed, this might cost us time to occupy the spaces left. We need a patient and well-informed process for building platforms and need to sacrifice short term gain for long term leadership.

Reverse mentoring using simple tools and platforms to explain more complicated video based ones will be in demand now, given access is a problem for most of the population. Some companies have already implemented digital reverse mentoring projects, and now more than ever, that need is critical.

Change is here, and it’s time to sink or swim. But again, we do need to learn how to swim first.

Avishek Chatterjee

Author Profile

Avishek has been a Human Resources practitioner for three years, involving himself in various functions in a constant attempt to grow and learn. He’s an XLRI Jamshedpur alum and loves photography and cooking in his free time.

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