Transformation is a long and arduous journey that will require participation of all the people. It is, in fact, a combination of several small elements coupled with steps, which one-day will yield commensurate results. Eighteen months of the current government in power has commonly been questioned by people. To my mind, efforts in slowing down the economic slide and reversing its trend is the single most important achievement. It is not easy to transform countries. Truly speaking, the current government has been successful in restoring the confidence of the world community towards India. From a bleak outlook to a hopeful situation is a real transformation that India has witnessed. I may add there is a lot of unlearning that has happened in learning to put India on the right track.
While technology is a great enabler, this is not an end in itself. Its role in transforming governance cannot be belittled. Technologies are politically agnostic, democratic and once applied judiciously and correctly, have the potential to make governance transparent and inclusive.
Technologies are politically agnostic, democratic and once applied judiciously and correctly, have the potential to make governance transparent and inclusive.
We talk about taking government to people vs. bringing people to the government. That is a paradigm shift that can happen in the new age delivery model for governance. It has to be delivered in a relatable manner—in a way that people can relate to it. For example, WhatsApp, which has achieved $19 billion valuation mark has been adopted by one and all—simply because people could relate to and made it part of their life. It is, on the other hand, a simple social networking app. People already had a mobile phone that made its adoption easy. Therefore, you have to deliver governance in a model that can easily be embraced in a form factor that is convenient to use, replicable and scalable.
There is a new delivery model of technology called the cloud. This has changed the definition of scale in terms of technology applications. An organisation scale today is no more a thousand people; it is a million people, huge technology infrastructure, procurement, implementation, support and management, ongoing trainings and so on. The challenge is—how is this going to be managed? Cut to today and you have the ability to deliver with infinite compute capability available in your backyard—managed by others.
Now, apply this to the delivery of citizen services—thousands of apps servicing 1.2 billion people in real-time, 24×7. This is where the test of governance takes place; it is about outcome and not just about technology or putting systems in place. We need to ask ourselves, if we are ready to harness the power of technology and make the new India happen!
Karan Bajwa is Managing Director, Microsoft Corporation (India).
Excerpted from his address at a recent Skoch Summit