Feature

"Engage With Digital And Invest In It"

BCG’s Rajah Augustinraj urges SMEs to look at digital technologies not as threats but opportunities  

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Published 4 years ago on Aug 02, 2017 8 minutes Read

As I was reflecting on the topic given to me —‘Going global' — I realised that there are a lot of different opinions about globalisation. And despite that, everyone is fairly sure about one thing that uncertainty is the name of the game. Another thing you’ll notice if you step outside the confines of your own city, that our lives are increasingly integrated digitally. I want to show you how these two factors make a difference for businesses and entrepreneurs, not just in India but all over the world.

If you are one of those people who are concerned by the prevailing uncertainly in the global politicial and economic scenario, then I’d like to put you at ease by reminding you that this isn’t the first time we are dealing with this phase of globalisation. We've been here before. If you go back 150 years, since then we have witnessed three waves of globalisation. Starting way back in the 1800s, where much of globalisation was built around maritime powers such as France and England. Sourcing raw materials from around the world is what integrated the world. And then in the 1900s much of globalisation evolved around regional trade treaties that were being signed mainly in the western hemisphere and this drove a lot of integration in the world. Lastly, over the past 25-30 years, this phenomenon has evolved in the form that we know today.

I want you to recollect that at the end of each of these phases of globalisation, we have always experienced a period of uncertainty. There was always economic unrest, talk of strengthening trade barriers, people were concerned about nationalism and how they would support industry in their own countries. However, business always moved, innovation continued and new opportunities emerged out of this. It is the same place we find ourselves in today. Some of the megatrends we hear a lot about now-a-days can be summarised into the three distinct forces that are re-shaping global business. First is protectionism, we see it in some forms across India and I am sure you’ve heard a lot about it from what the Donald Trump administration is doing in the US. There is also talk about what Brexit means for the UK and the European Union. Protectionism increasingly seems to be re-shaping the way businesses function and there continues to be uncertainty around what that means for people whose source of revenue is the export market.

In addition to this, the multi-lateral consensus at

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