Laying the Foundation to Reach New Digital Horizons for Industry 4.0

As India moves on the trajectory of digital transformation, the growing penetration of digital technologies in Indian society presents huge economic opportunities. The government has set its sights on transforming India into a $5 trillion economy by 2025.

The broader Indian economic perspectives of Industry 4.0 entail the participation of the government, large enterprises, MSMEs, startups, entrepreneurs and society at large. For the India Inc., this is an opportunity to be seized with both hands.

Businesses at the forefront of Industry 4.0 must take the initiative to raise awareness and provide technical expertise and guidance for citizens-at-large to ensure a future-ready India.

National Treasure

With cutting-edge technologies being introduced almost every single day, organizations are becoming aware of the need to don the digital mantle. They are increasingly adopting innovative solutions that can help them stay relevant in today’s hyper-competitive ecosystem. According to a recent McKinsey Global Institute report, roughly 14% of the global workforce by 2030 will need to switch to new occupational roles under new categories such as digitization, automation, and data management and analytics. Moreover, 35% of the existing job roles will be non-existent by 2022.

Half of India’s population of 1.3 billion is below the age of 25 years. Since the country has a huge youth population, focus on both employment and skilling will be the catalyst for the country’s growth. Recognizing this need, the Indian government has initiated various youth-centric programs and schemes including the Skill India Mission, encouraging Indian corporate leaders to follow suit. For example, institutions have introduced various initiatives along with various university level programs to upskill the youth, in line with the government’s vision and to meet the need of the hour.

Stakeholders Must Unite to Create a Future-Ready Workforce

The obvious first step to accomplish all goals discussed so far, is to equip current graduates and students with the right technical and non-technical skills, which will serve them well in the long run. There is a need to improve the employability of people who will soon be entering the work force. This requires a collective effort from the government, industry, citizen groups and civil society.

In line with all this, companies are also pushing for inclusion through various programs. These initiatives are being undertaken in association with civil society groups and local administration, aiming to upskill and drive employment for the youth. Through this digital empowerment, companies are preparing a digitally inclusive future by introducing mentorship programs and encouraging upskilling across campuses in India. The fruits of this labor are tangible. We are a witness to it, SAP India introduced initiatives such as Bharat ERP, Code Unnati, Next-Gen to name a few in collaboration with corporate giants, Ministry of MSME, along with various university and community level programs to upskill the youth in line with the government’s mission and the need of the hour. While, we have only got started, over 8 million students and youth have benefited extensively across the country.

Digital Inclusion for All

Digital inclusion is the process of empowering people through information and communication technology. It is faster to accomplish when we have strong public-private partnerships.

Online training programs, inclusion of machine learning, data analytics, IoT, increased automation etc., in the existing education curriculum, and corporate training programmes for early-career youth can help catapult India far into Industry 4.0. However, given India’s diversity, there will be hardships —both technological and behavioural – as new technologies and ways of working emerge, but with steadfast collective efforts, any and all hurdles can be overcome. Technology education that is transformational, and not transactional, is the need of the hour to create workforce of the future.

It is only by putting people first and “digitally” empowering them that we can lay the foundation for a digitally native India.

This story originally appeared on the World Economic Forum website.