We are probably the luckiest generation in terms of experiencing technological innovation, because we have seen how traditional business patterns have changed in the course of time.
For example, think about radio, cassette player, VCR (videocassette recorder), CD player (compact disc), DVD (Digital Video Disc), Blu-ray Disc (BD). All these things have been replaced by one thing we all know and incredibly it has become our part and parcel - smartphones.
This smartphone has damaged industries like dry cell battery for torchlight, calculator, camcorders, watch, notepad, photo albums, music player, camera, PDA or Palmtops, gaming consoles, and even books to some extent.
The government of Bangladesh has been planning to march forward with the vision of transforming the country into a digital economy by 2021 and a knowledge-based economy by 2041. The four pillars of Digital Bangladesh: human resource development, connecting citizens, digital government, and promotion of ICT industry is playing a central role in supporting this fantastic growth story.
The speedy growth in internet connectivity as well as mobile phone penetration are helping tremendously. As of June 2020, the total number of internet subscribers in the country stood at 103.476 million, according to the statistics of the telecom regulator. Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) data shows that among those 103.476 million users, 94.905 million use mobile internet.
There are also 8.571 million broadband internet users in Bangladesh. People are habituated to use digital payment tools such as credit cards or debit cards, mobile financial services, e-wallets, and internet banking. Now we can purchase our commodities, air tickets, bus tickets and even railway tickets without having to go to bank to withdraw money.
Covid-19 is playing a crucial role in pushing for this digital transformation in the whole world, and Bangladesh is no exception.
Digital transformation is the process of using digital technologies to create new or modify the existing business process, culture, and customer experiences.
Because of the pandemic, people are now bound to think differently as they need to shift their businesses to the digital platforms to avoid physical interaction. Digital transformation is not just a prospect but an essential action for many business entities and the economy to survive.
The world has gone digital and nowadays more often we hear a lot about digital media, digital technologies, digital data, digital marketing, etc. Many businesses have already started investing in digital transformation to stay competitive in the market.
Covid-19 is acting as a catalyst for digital transformation by dint of forcing the utilisation of digital technology. During lockdown, Mr. Raju - a vegetable vendor - called me and said, "Sir I am almost undone as my business is not running any more. if you need anything, I can deliver your ordered vegetables at your doorstep."
Then I ordered some vegetables and wrote a handbill with his name, phone number, and his product name for home delivery. I also wrote, "You can also pay in cash on delivery or pay through bKash".
I asked him to make 100 copies of this paper and to distribute those to apartment buildings around with the help of security guards.
Since then, this vegetable seller's business has been running smoothly. Moreover, he now sells fruits to those tenants over his phone. There are many stories of digital transformation around us like this. Home tutors, even Arabic tutors are teaching through digital platforms.
All companies have done their annual general meeting (AGM) through digital platforms. Moreover, Google, Facebook, and twitter have decided they will continue home office until July 2021.
According to recent data, around 70 percent of people believe that the crisis stemming from Covid-19 has forced their businesses to adopt online tools. McKinsey and Company recently studied the adoption of digital transformation during Covid-19 around the globe. According to their findings, new users grew by at least 50 percent in this pandemic.
Md Masud Rana is a credit analyst of a leading non-bank financial institution in Bangladesh.