Why Tech Will Always Be The Biggest Driver For Impact In India

Lumis Partners
6 min readSep 17, 2021

At the end of the day, technology emerged as the greatest tool for impact. It either helped resolve a problem or seize a new opportunity.

According to the annual impact investment research report, ‘2020 in Retrospect: India Impact Investment Trends’, the Indian impact sector will be more tech-led in the future.

While for most companies technology was always present in some aspects and operations, the Covid19 pandemic brought an immeasurable change. It significantly speeded the adoption of technologies across all sectors in the industry by several years.

Surveys suggest that companies have relied on technology for at least interim solutions to satisfy many of the increased demands placed on them and that they have met solutions much more quickly than they had thought possible before the pandemic.

The adoption of technology has taken a giant stride at both the organizational and industry levels.

Technological Disruption is slowly but steadily influencing every industry, including Media and Entertainment, Hospitality, Construction, Telecommunications, Education and Insurance amongst others, but lets deep dive into the following:

  1. Finance
  2. SMEs
  3. Supply chain (logistics)
  4. Education & Work
  5. Agriculture
  6. Healthcare

Finance:

Digitization of financial services is an ongoing revolution; it has become a norm.

India has the highest FinTech adoption rate globally.

Of the 2,100+ FinTechs existing in India today, over 67% have been set up in the last 5 years. The Indian Fintech market is currently valued at $31 Bn and is expected to grow to $84 Bn by 2025, at a CAGR of 22%.

Tasks that used to be done manually through human contact are now completed totally through digital interfaces. Almost every aspect of financial activity, from wealth management to payments to banking, is being restructured by entrepreneurs, with technology acting as a transformative force. Companies that provide financial services are looking up to Blockchain and Fintech to alter their present business models, as well as advances in artificial intelligence and robotics to generate new growth prospects and Machine Learning for automation breakthroughs.

SMEs:

In the financial year 2020, the total number of MSMEs in the country was more than 63 million. They employ an estimated 111 million Indians and contribute to more than 28% of the country’s economy, but however, the sector has always been unorganised, informal and vulnerable.

As per msme.gov.in, MSMEs contribute around 45% of the total exports and over 15 million people are employed in this sector per annum, according to a survey conducted by CII.

The majority of SME’s in India stay away from investing in technology due to the fear of high investments, complexity, lack of knowledge, etc. Today, 35% of MSMEs have adopted business management software and amongst them, more than 40% of the MSMEs already use digital banking and payment services.

The impact technology has had on SME’s:

A. Automation, which is the need of the hour and India’s vast SME sector needs to avoid inefficiencies and enhance productivity.

B. Prioritisation: More often than not, there are limited employees and resources available to SMEs and the burden on one person increases. SME owners can focus on what matters most rather than the day-to-day operations of their businesses with the use of right technology.

C. Marketing & Communication: Being a technology-oriented business helps SMEs to access a larger consumer base. Developing a digital presence might help SMEs differentiate themselves from rivals in a cost-effective way. SMEs can enhance their communication levels and with the right tools build long-lasting relationships with their customers.

In summary, technology has helped SME’s save time, increase productivity, connectivity, security and digital advertising.

SMEs have an important role in the Indian economy. They boost our GDP through manufacturing, trading, exporting and importing, and are a crucial part of India’s plan to grow to a $5 trillion economy.

Supply Chain (Logistics):

Technology in the supply chain sector literally helped the world function in the last 2 years. It has upended every aspect of the Supply Chain.

Technologies like IoT, Blockchain, AI, Machine learning, analytics, robots, etc have changed business for the better by allowing for more communication between employees and employers, access to information, more simplified file storage, data capture, improved labour management, easy monitoring of resources, reduced stock losses with real-time stock checking and enhanced data analytical ability. This has only strengthened the organisations further.

Innovation, Visibility, and going Omni-Channel are leading the way in the world of logistics.

Education & Work:

Work: Technology’s impact on today’s workforce has been massive. It has affected every element of work, including how we work, how long we work, where we work, and the speed and efficiency with which we work.

Over time, technology has had a significant influence on how people and businesses interact. We now have the ability to do business from anywhere in the world, thanks to technological advancements. Having a face-to-face conversation with team members, job seekers, and potential business partners through video conferencing services like Skype, Zoom, Google Meets and others are now easier than ever.

Hiring is another aspect of work that has been dramatically affected by technology. Despite fears that automation will eliminate jobs or result in widespread unemployment, technology has always resulted in the development of new ones. Your ability to execute a job or manage people is no longer influenced by where you live. With the advent of the gig economy, an increasing number of people are opting to freelance and work several jobs as contractors. In fact, many millennials find the option to perform several jobs online appealing.

Education: Access to learning opportunities today is unmatched in breadth, all thanks to technology. It has impacted different facets of education being delivered and has redefined learning.

Indian edtech startups have raised about $4 billion since 2020, of which $2.2 billion was raised in 2020 and $1.9 billion was raised between January-August 3, 2021.

The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrated why online education should be a vital part of teaching and learning. Teachers are leveraging online learning as a strong instructional tool by incorporating technology into the current curriculum, rather than utilising it as a crisis-management tool.

Virtual classrooms, video, augmented reality (AR), robots, and other technology tools have not only helped learning become easy and interesting, but they have also helped bridge the education divide.

Agriculture:

The transformation in the agriculture sector in India has been radical. The agriculture sector forms only about 18 per cent of India’s GDP despite employing almost 65 per cent of the total workforce.

Agriculture in India is primarily reliant on nature, yet concerns such as climate change and global warming make farming uncertain. Increasing the use of modern technology and innovative approaches can help farmers increase productivity and raise profitability.

Technology plays a significant part in farming and agriculture operations, and the scope has expanded with the introduction of digital technology. Agriculture innovation is driving a shift in agricultural methods that are reducing losses and increasing efficiency. Farmers are benefiting from this. The trend of using digital and analytic tools to drive continuous improvement in agriculture is here to stay, resulting in higher crop yields and helping farmers earn more money.

Technology in agriculture and path-breaking efforts to educate farmers has the potential to truly lead India to be “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in all respects, and be less dependent on extraneous factors.

Healthcare:

With a population nearing 1.4 billion scattered across urban and rural India, the country poses a unique healthcare challenge.

According to a report by the United Nations, 75% of all healthcare infrastructure including medical specialists and doctors are concentrated in urban areas where only 27% of the Indian population live.

Technology is omnipresent, and it is assisting India in addressing accessibility, cost, and quality issues. Though still in its infancy, the adoption of technology is accelerating, and given the magnitude of the healthcare industry, the impact is likely to be enormous.

According to the Indian Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), the Indian healthcare industry will grow from $160 billion in 2017 to $132.84 billion by 2022.

Many new-age apps dealing with preventive and continuous monitoring of health are already driven by healthcare consumerism. Artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled recommendation engines are helping consumers make choices that they never knew they could make. Through the use of technology, a high level of personalization and care has been made possible.

Tech-enhancement in the sector has proved to be a critical enabler to provide last mile health care access to the masses.

At the end of the day, technology emerged as the greatest tool for impact. It either helped resolve a problem or seize a new opportunity. Despite the global health pandemic and its accompanying effects on the business and economic environment in 2020, impact enterprises received USD 2.6 billion in investments.

--

--

Lumis Partners

Lumis invests and partners with businesses in solving complex problems of global relevance.