Pandemic Challenges in Digital Economy, What We Should Prepare

The 4.0 industrial revolution that has long been touted is progressing faster due to the pandemic. The rapid advancement of digital technology has also pushed us to keep moving towards the digital economy era.

On March 19, 2021, BINUS Business School and BINUS Graduate Program held a webinar series titled ‘Connecting the Dots’ with Ricky Haryadi (Partner Technology Lead of Microsoft Indonesia) as the keynote speaker. Ricky Haryadi is an alumnus of the Master of Management program at BINUS Business School who has been working in the IT industry since 2013. In this event, Ricky shared his insights on the current challenges brought by the pandemic to our evolving digital economy.

Response, recovery, and reimagine

In retrospect, the response should be the stage that we went through in March 2020, during the very beginning of the pandemic in Indonesia. At that time, we just saw the real impact of the pandemic, when we were undergoing the first social restriction. At that stage, we were forced to adapt by doing activities at home with the help of digital technology; for example, remote working which relies on teleconferencing and online shopping with e-commerce platforms.

Next, we continue to the recovery stage, a stage we are currently at. Recovery is marked by the distribution of vaccines that hopefully will create a significant drop in COVID-19 cases, so the country will recover from the negative impacts of COVID-19.

However, the next stage will be the biggest challenge for the masses, which will be to reimagine. The negative impacts of COVID-19 will be neutralized after the recovery stage, but the changes due to COVID-19, such as mass usage of digital technology, will continue whether we plan to or not, as we embrace a new lifestyle. Therefore, it’s better for us to start preparing for the future.

New digital habits

Perhaps you’re now realizing that you’ve been using your smartphone far more often than before, and we fully rely on internet connections and smart devices. This is just a small slice of the new digital habits that emerged alongside the pandemic.

We shouldn’t see this new digital habit negatively, since whether we realize it or not, this new digital habit has helped us in doing our activities more effectively and efficiently, even cheaper. What other digital habits are most influential to the masses?

There are virtual visits implemented by tourist spots that were closed during the pandemic, especially art museums that opened their virtual doors for guests to visit. Then, to connect the long distance between doctors and patients, telehealth has been gaining momentum during this pandemic since many people are more reluctant now to do checkups at the hospitals. Furthermore, we can see the increasing trends of contactless transactions, curbside pickup, remote learning, remote teamwork, and remote development.

Growing tech jobs

Based on the data compiled by Microsoft, it’s reported that there over 800 million people who would have to learn new skills by 2030. This is not without a cause, since based on the same data, there would be 149 million new tech jobs in the next five years.

So many new job positions will be open for the public in a short span of time. However, these new jobs will require new technical skills in order to operate properly. This is the catalyst for our obligation to continue learning new skills, especially ones that are needed in the technology industry.

Problems we need to solve

In the mission to empower our human resources amidst the pandemic, there are several problems that must be immediately addressed. First, there’s a global economic crisis that is still on the rise. A prime example of this is the fall of the IDX composite that caused investment portfolios to turn red.

In addition, we must prepare ourselves to return to a different economy. We can’t expect to go back to the pre-pandemic era as we must readily adapt to the new economy. What’s the solution? The market demand will fluctuate, so we must find new business strategies to be the first man running, not the last man standing.

Lastly, the challenge of continuing to develop skills will be more intense. We need to keep up the spirit of continuously learning new things. This means that we all need to uphold the lifelong learning principle. Just like Ricky stated that what he had learned last year was mostly no longer relevant this year. In conclusion, he and all of us must continue to learn new things in order to keep up with the current trends.