Digital transformation is on every CEO’s priority list. But can emerging digital technologies benefit more than just businesses, to transform nations and drive real socio-economic change?
The answer is YES…and it’s already happening.
Many countries are increasingly using technology to tackle key developmental challenges—from education to healthcare—and human rights issues like human trafficking. It’s no longer just developed, Western nations, who are leading this innovation – a recent study by The Economist shows that emerging markets offer countless examples of technology driving societal change. Examples include: Kiron, an online university designed for global refugees; China’s Baby Come Home app to help parents find their missing children; and BIM, a mobile payment system to empower Peru’s rural populations[i].
The impact of technology on communities is extremely personal for me—the Dell EMC India Center of Excellence (COE) sponsors programs in partnership with government partners to transform rural healthcare across the country. Our foundation is a mobile, cloud and analytics solution which provides a unique, health record for every citizen and connects health workers, doctors and decision-makers in a single, integrated platform.
- Women’s Health: The Mahila Master Health Checkup program provides screening for non-communicable diseases in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Launched in Sept 2016, it aims to screen 7 million women by 12,000 health workers and 100+ doctors.
- Primary Care: The Mee Arogyam program covers basic care for 2.25 million people. It covers non-communicable and communicable diseases along with outpatient department care and provides doctors help in digitizing health records.
- Comprehensive Primary Health: We partnered with Karuna Trust, a prominent non-profit organization, to digitize the health records of an individual earlier maintained by health workers in physical registers. The care areas include reproductive and child health, maternal health, school health, communicable and non-communicable diseases. We started with a pilot in 2014 covering 23,800 individuals in 1 health center. Today, this partnership covers 25 health centers and impacts 315,000 individuals across 3 states.
The success in India’s rural communities would not be possible without government-driven programs like Digital India and Smart Cities, which formalize and prioritize digitization for the country. Across the world, governments play a critical role in driving scalable technological advancement and transformation. Government policies and frameworks need enthusiastic adoption by the private sector as well. As IDC states, “governments that plan to launch new digital transformation strategies for their countries should align strategic vision, people, process, technology and data elements of their digital agendas”. This is where companies can add tremendous value to ensure strategies are comprehensive and encompass the basics, such as connectivity, internet infrastructure and data and analytics.
As technology advances, governments and the private sector must work together to build the right ecosystem for it to operate within. From broadband highways to affordable smartphones, electricity infrastructure to legal frameworks and implementation strategies, we definitely have our work cut out for us. Exciting times lie ahead for companies, nations and all of humankind.