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Digital First: A Maverick's Look at Inclusion and Business Operations

Many startups were born during the covid-19 pandemic and proved that technology can support operations in ways we are only starting to discover. Read how digital-first businesses show the way forward and how inclusion is not just a by-product of that exercise

Virtual Communities, rural connect, remote working and the more familiar word ‘applications' exemplify digital first. Digital transformation is building business. Maverick ideas have been made possible by a robust technology framework. This framework is credited with improving inclusion and breeding entrepreneurship in sections of society where professional work was not a common sight. Here are some interesting insights into how tech-first small businesses show the way forward.

Discussing that topic is Ruchiraa Sharma from Moneycontrol. In association with Dell Technologies, she hosted a round table titled “Tech first small businesses showing the way forward” and spoke to Ms Shahwar Shorat, CEO, The Luxe Story, Ms Madhura Dasgupta Sinha, UN Awardee, Founder and CEO, Aspire For Her, Ms Aneesha Jyoti, Co-Founder, Language Curry, Ms Srikripa Srinivasan, VP, Dell Global Analytics.

Many startups were born during the covid-19 pandemic. It shows us a bigger picture. It shows that technology can support operations in uncommon ways. Shahwar Shorat, CEO, The Luxe Story, shared that they initially struggled to connect with their suppliers based in small towns in India, and the pandemic-induced lockdown worsened matters. She counsels that a digital mindset played a big role in changing that. Social media, tech's first mindset and astute digital strategy helped The Luxe Story grow multi-fold despite severe market disruptions. Digital strategy's most notable attributes are its cost-efficiency and reach. Digital services enable businesses to serve customers anywhere or even across the globe. Adopting technology as early as possible made the road ahead bright and smooth. She continues to caution and says, “Adopting technology is the only way we have and we must upgrade from time to time.”

Madhura Dasgupta Sinha is a UN Awardee and Founder and CEO of Aspire For Her, a virtual community of women who wish to motivate other women to enter and stay in the workforce. She could hardly contain her excitement as she spoke, "Everything we have done since birth has always been digital first. That's the only way we know and how we have grown. Elevating and motivating each other that's what helped us overcome all challenges.” At commencement Aspire for Her was trying to solve the India problem. India is at the bottom in terms of women's economic participation. Today they have women from sixty countries as members of this virtual community. This was made possible only with a digital-first approach. “More ambitiously in an alternate universe, or the metaverse girls can try out different career options and find out what they might want to do in life. There will be no bias and nothing that will stop the girls from reaching their dreams” she mused. Women's economic participation will change over time and the tech-enabled virtual community has taken concrete first steps is showing the way forward.

Language Curry is an example of how the digital infrastructure can be a unifying force. The project hopes to leverage digital platforms to bring Indians closer to India through Indian languages. Aneesha Jyoti, Co-Founder of Language Curry, quips, “A lot of people assume that those who code sit in a dark room and code the night away. A lot of small business owners do not have the tech expertise, they might not be a techie. They might not have a partner or co-founder who's techy.” The solution is to rely on your network and on people who have done this before. She says, “We never met many people after we hired them for a year or more, but we speak to each other daily. Our deliverables are easily tracked these days through tools.” It was clear that co-location was not a high priority and that talent from remote corners will nurture the future.

Srikripa Srinivasan, VP, Dell Global Analytics, highlighted that Dell Technologies has always been a digital-first advocate. Three things that describe the digital-first era are releasing products that are the need of the hour with speed and agility, the internet enables scale and businesses have to be data-driven. Interestingly, the all-women panel accentuated that the digital-first era had opened avenues, especially for women who did not participate in the workforce due to social reasons. Ms Srinivasan envisaged, “It is a geometric progression that I'm looking at if women embrace technology”.

Watch the webinar here

Moneycontrol journalists were not involved in the creation of the article.