In just a few months Covid-19 has changed how we greet, meet, work, study and even socialize. Much of India’s business world has moved digital and the rest is trying to.
Jaspreet Bindra, India’s leading digital transformation expert, anticipates the Corona crisis will push India’s digital envelope forward.
Businesses and government institutions across India seek Jaspreet’s digital expertise and several tech startups profit from his advice.
A writer, a thought leader and a much watched Tedx speaker, Jaspreet is Singularity University Chapter Leader and Partner in India and the recipient of ‘Digitalist of the Year’ inaugural year award by Mint and SAP.
Founder of advisory firm, Digital Matters ( in Digital Transformation, Blockchain and the Future of Work), Jaspreet shares here the milestones in his journey, insights from his book and his take on the future of work post-Covid.
Charting his course
“I have never been a conventional career person, and my professional journey is not conventional,” says Jaspreet Bindra.
For Jaspreet, a chemical engineer with an MBA from IIFT, career was never about going up the ladder or becoming the CEO of a large company. It was about what he found exciting.
”I managed to turn around the business with the help of my team, in around 18 months. I won a lot of global awards for that, and it gave me a big turnaround. That was a big deal for me and a turning point for me at Microsoft.”
“Microsoft is a global technology company, and I learnt an enormous lot about higher tech global company functions. Working at Mahindra was also great, but it was totally different, because it set me on this whole new journey of digital transformation.”
At Mahindra, Jaspreet’s responsibilities included driving digital transformation initiatives across the Group.
“Mahindra set me on my Blockchain journey. Anand Mahindra was very interested in Blockchain, so I had to get interested too. We built our first Blockchain product which was way ahead of its time. And that got me very interested and made me a bit of a Blockchain expert.”
A pioneer in digital transformation
While under country wide lockdown, many tech deficit organizations are facing business continuity issues as they are struggling to switch to digital.
Jaspreet helps large, legacy-based organisations become more technologically-enabled. He observes that tech companies are working better through the covid-19 crisis than the non-tech companies.
“This is not only because their dependence on human contact is limited, but also their staff is empowered differently. This crisis will further fuel digital transformation. People will use these tools – AI and Blockchain – even more.”
Speaking about advantages of adopting Blockchain, he says, “Blockchain, at the highest level, can help you decentralise. With time, work itself is going to get decentralised and Blockchain helps to decentralise in a secure manner, with anti-hacking protection, and method of consensus rather than a method of authoritarianism.”
The Tech Whisperer
Trust Jaspreet to always follow the unconventional route, even while writing a book.
Jaspreet says it was challenging – while AI can do painting and gaming and can create music, writing is a difficult thing even for an AI to do.
“It was a global publishing first – AI has not written anything in any book by any publisher. And it is also a little different because here AI has written about itself. Third is the treatment – there’s a green outline, the font is different from the rest of the book, and it is also unedited. So, it is completely AI-driven,” he proudly shares.
The future of work
As emerging technologies deepen their roots in India, Jaspreet is expecting loss of thousands of mundane, repetitive jobs to automation.
Since India is a low cost economy, automation may at times seem more expensive than the cost of employing humans. However, eventually, automation will rule since the whole world is moving in that direction and India too will need to, to stay competitive. And handling these new technologies will require new skill sets.
Jaspreet feels it is important to be self-driven and learn new skills on your own.
Rise of the gig economy
According to Invest India research, India has emerged as the 5th largest country for flexi-staffing after the US, China, Brazil and Japan.
Agreeing, Jaspreet adds, “Millennials don’t want to work the same way as their parents did.”
“The concept of one company, many employees, is actually giving way to one employee, many companies. People are saying they want to be in charge of their own destiny, their time. I know many people who work for five different companies.”
The work landscape, post Covid
With a 21-day lock down announced by the government of India to control the spread of the novel Coronavirus, companies of all sizes are using work from home as a contingency plan.
Speaking on how work will look like post the crisis, Jaspreet anticipates work will be more decentralized, and more technology will be used with more empowerment. “Hopefully, companies will realize that they need to work for a purpose rather than just for Wall Street.”
He also anticipates that some companies might integrate work from home, as part of their business model. “During lock down, traffic has decreased, air quality has improved and employees are able to spend more time with family. Seeing the positive effects of WFH, companies may adopt it on a more regular basis.”
“I have been working from home for the last few years. It’s another skill you have to teach yourself; maybe 2-3% of India goes to offices. Rest 97% don’t go to offices. They work from wherever, the street, their homes, shops. Most shops are attached to people’s homes. Work from home is something we are used to, as a country.”
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