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May 24, 2020

Future of business lies in digital innovation

National

May 24, 2020

Islamabad: While the coronavirus pandemic continues to disrupt life as we once knew it, it is becoming increasingly clear that the future of any business lies in digital innovation.

Our collective behaviours, individual choices and government policies during this pandemic have engineered a stark re-modelling of lifestyles. Since social distancing rules have become the new norm, many of us have found ourselves relying more on social media to connect with family and friends. In order to limit contact with the outside world, we have opted for home deliveries, online classes, video conferencing, work from home and so on. For the rest of the year, if we are smart, we will shop online, travel less and be cognizant of personal hygiene.

What does this mean for businesses all over the world?

“Well, we have seen what the sudden shift has led to. Any business that is not online has a massive disadvantage. Airline companies need bailouts, the oil industry is suffering like never before, tourism is dying, the clothing retail industry is in bad shape. It is clear that some giants in the game have been brought to their knees. Meanwhile, some companies have been thriving. Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos saw his net worth rise sharply, as more and more people chose to shop online. Zoom with its tactical operationalizing of people’s video conferencing needs has experienced a great boost in its stock. We even have some local examples of success such as Dawaai, which is essentially an online pharmacy that delivers medicines and lab tests right to your doorstep,” says Muhammad Wasim Khan, Online Branding Manager of Coodistan, an IT firm.

Therefore, it is important to realize that while some doors have closed, windows have opened. Specifically, digital ones. Chief Executive Officer Dawaai Private Limited Company Furqa Kidwai says that for start-ups in Pakistan, this is an opportunity to innovate, to create opportunities for themselves and consumers in a new world.

“This means that the push for digitalizing Pakistan is more urgent than ever. It is in the interest of new and old businesses in technology and media to lobby for greater digital inclusion. Having access to technology and being connected to the internet is not only going to empower people, it will also drive consumers into online markets, generate profits for companies and boost the economy,” he added.

The government, too, needs to appreciate the growing tech scene in Pakistan. There needs to be productive dialogue between the government and tech start-ups about what the future of the Pakistani economy can and should look like.

So the questions are: How can we support home-grown ideas, businesses and talents to suit our needs in this current situation? How can we innovate according to the challenges of today?

“We cannot go back to how things were. We can only move forward into the new world where the threat of coronavirus is still imminent, where social distancing rules still apply and where traditional businesses will continue to face extreme challenges.

As such, let’s not forget that the opportunities to help our economy and transform our lives lies in technology, in that digital window through which you are reading this right now. Members of the tech industry take note: This is the time to innovate, establish yourself and in doing so, help people move into safer, digital environments,” said Furqan adding that companies should also be in conversation with each other because it is only with deepened cooperation that we can construct this new paradigm.