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Technology For Social Good: Alok Ohrie, President & MD, Dell Technologies India

Across industries, technologies are being leveraged to develop creative solutions to address real-world problems, says Dell Technologies' India President & MD. Excerpts:

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You have said that flexibility plays an important role in working in sync and to innovate and thrive. How does this take shape in Dell?
Every company today has to consider flexibility as an imperative and as a strategic initiative. The changing environment has made us rethink the way we live and work, and the need of the hour is collaboration. Work from home as a concept has been accepted across industries and we are now comfortable with it. 

Dell Technologies established a 2020 goal in 2013 to enable 50 per cent of our workforce to work flexibly. We surpassed this, with approximately 65 per cent of Dell Technologies team members leveraging work flexibility in their jobs. We will continue to invest, grow and evolve our connected workplace program to enable our team members to be their best.

We have been championing a flexible work environment for over a decade. Our connected workplace program is a strategic business initiative that allows team members to choose the work style that best suits them. At the moment, rather than focusing on returning to site, we are thinking about connected workplace 2.0, as it will be the future of working. 

The pandemic impacted everything but some sectors such as education and healthcare had to transform with urgency. What have been some of your observations?
Across industries, technologies are being leveraged to develop creative solutions to address real-world problems. Embracing digital transformation means positive changes for industries such as healthcare and education and even the micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) sector, creating the ability to reach everyone to bridge the skill gaps and prepare the workforce of the future. 

The education sector is focusing on utilising these technologies for students to learn concepts with clarity. Online courses have increased the access to education and bridged the gap of quality levels. Dell Technologies is leveraging emerging technologies to empower students to craft their own experiences, thereby enabling them to develop an innovate mindset. 'Tech for social good' is no longer a new lingo.

One of the key transformations we saw in the education sector was that schools have had to shift to virtual online leaning platforms in a matter of weeks at every level. Also, educators are hosting virtual classrooms with upwards of 20 students at a time, facilitating homework and lessons in a variety of education applications. 

Just like moving to a remote workforce, there is a triage period where we need to get it working well and then innovate to make it an incredible experience. This will expand the reach with greater accessibility for children in rural or underserved areas to bridge the gap with access to online classes and enrichment. It is important to innovate distance learning right and give equal access to all. We need to move faster to create hometown jobs and ultimately close the skills gap to ensure that our workforce is ready for the digital future, no matter where that workforce resides.

What stood out in the healthcare sector?
In the healthcare industry, we are seeing physicians offer wellness checks virtually, leading us to a future where preventative care can be possible through technology. Dell worked with government and non-profit organisations to launch Digital LifeCare Solution, a cloud-based mobile and web solution with analytical capabilities. Designed to support health workers, doctors and health officials with mobile apps and services, this solution has the potential to reach more than 800 million people in rural India as part of a plan to reduce the number of deaths caused by non-communicable diseases. It is enabling government to digitise health records and bring quality health services to the doorstep of all citizens. This initiative is changing the landscape of healthcare services delivery in rural India.

Much is happening in the MSME sector. What have been some of your initiatives with these companies?
Several technologies are enabling MSMEs. Understanding this, Dell Technologies has partnered with Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) and its Centre for Digital Transformation to help them operate efficiently. We have also partnered with CII TechSaksham, set up under the aegis of CII MSME Committee, to create awareness about improved competitiveness via tech adoption. Dell partnered with National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) to build an ecosystem for startups and MSMEs. Through this partnership, Dell is presenting exclusive offers on its client and infrastructure solutions to the NASSCOM members. With these solutions, the organisations will be able to equip their teams technologically and ensure business resiliency.

What are some of the changes ahead?
2020 marks the beginning of the 'Next Data Decade'. Some of the breakthrough technology trends that will set context include cloud co-existence, what you get is what you pay or flexible consumption, Edge and 5G, artificial intelligence and machine learning.