Most business leaders feel India’s regulators just don’t get tech

Managing risks.
Managing risks.
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India’s business leaders have little faith in their many regulators’ understanding of the fast-evolving technology landscape.

Most (70%) believe that authorities, which regulate various industries in the country, struggle to keep up with technology-driven change, according to a survey published by Baker McKenzie, a ‎Chicago-based law firm. The survey covered 600 C-suite executives across Asia-Pacific, including 100 executives in India.

India Inc and regulators have often been at loggerheads over various policy issues. For example, the industry has for long been a divided lot over foreign direct investment (FDI) rules governing the e-commerce industry.

The country’s brick-and-mortar players have been campaigning for a level-playing field against online players. Meanwhile, foreign players want more relaxed rules that facilitate their entry into the physical retail segment.

Another case in point relates to online video-streaming platforms. Traditional broadcasters, that is TV channels, have been building a case for regulating online streaming players like Hotstar, Netflix, and Amazon’s Prime Videos. The key argument here is that some of the broadcasters are airing content on their video streaming platforms for free, while the same content is chargeable on direct-to-home and cable networks. This impacts the revenue-generating opportunity and capability of traditional broadcasters.

Therefore, in order to make a positive impact, Indian regulators need to come up to speed with technology advancements dominating various sectors, the survey recommended.

Managing business risks

Indian executives seem more confident about adopting new technology compared to their Asia-Pacific counterparts. Nearly a third of them describe their firms as “highly adept” at exploiting the benefits of new technologies.

This also means that Indian business leaders believe their companies are primarily being disrupted by new-age technology. However, even this opinion compares more favourably to their counterparts abroad.

Among the risks associated with technological advancement, theft of sensitive information seems to be the greatest concern among Indian business leaders.

On the other hand, the key areas of investment in their perception are capturing and managing data (61%), followed by cloud computing (57%), and managing customer relationships and loyalty platforms (47%).

“It is increasingly clear that those who win in terms of data, win in business. The analytics provided around customer behaviour, operational efficiencies and cost will provide businesses a clear edge in the decade to come,” said Sonia Baldia, the telecom, media and technology partner at Baker McKenzie, Washington DC.

As technology disrupts industries and new business models emerge, Indian leaders foresee higher investments on account of achieving regulatory compliance and keeping pace with technology disruptions.