The importance of encouraging digitalization for an equitable digital nation
Even though the digital sector is experiencing waves of ‘up and down’ amid global challenges such as rising interest rates and difficulties in finding funding, digitalization in Indonesia is still developing rapidly and has the potential to reach a digital golden era.
Along with Indonesia’s digital development, East Ventures continues to encourage digital startups to focus on business fundamentals to create uniqueness and minimize competition, as well as be more prudent in managing companies’ finances. In addition, collaboration and synergy between stakeholders is very important in achieving digital justice for all Indonesian people.
This statement came from David Fernando Audy, Operating Partner at East Ventures, during a discussion session at the launch of the 4th edition of East Ventures – Digital Competitiveness Index (EV-DCI) 2023 on 5 April 2023. Together with Katadata Insight Center and PwC Indonesia, the EV-DCI 2023 report presents the measurement of Indonesia’s digital competitiveness with the theme “Equitable digital nation”.
Other speakers on the panel are Adek Media Roza, Director of Katadata Insight Center; Radju Munusamy, Partner and NextLevel Leader of PwC Indonesia; Ninasapti Triaswati, Economist at the University of Indonesia; and Setiaji, Chief Digital Transformation Office of the Indonesian Ministry of Health.
In the discussion, Adek highlighted lifestyle changes brought by digitalization in Indonesia, where people are increasingly familiar with digital touchpoints in their daily lives, such as making payments with e-wallets. The level of trust in digital applications is getting higher, people are now making payments on digital platforms without having to go to an ATM or minimarket.
In line with this, Radju observes that digitalization in Indonesia follows the global definition of digitalization, a mega trend that brings together all aspects of technology such as the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), and Big Data. Some human jobs can be replaced by AI in the future, so Radju encourages startups to focus on strengthening their business fundamentals, including ESG compliance, without having to wait on scaling up.
To achieve an equitable digital nation, Nina emphasized three aspects that are the duty of stakeholders, namely: the need for government regulation and supervision, especially regarding security; incentives for entrepreneurs; and building community awareness and involvement. Each stakeholder needs each other, so collaboration between government, entrepreneurs and communities is key to creating a sustainable digital ecosystem that benefits everyone and digitalization in Indonesia.
The effects and benefits of digitalization in Indonesia can also be seen in the health sector. Starting from the COVID-19 pandemic which tested the resilience of the Indonesian health system, Setiaji said that the use of digitalization, namely through the Satu Sehat Application, can bridge the gap in the doctor-patient ratio and the number of available health facilities. Digitalization also makes it easier to access medical records so that they can provide health services and create equitable access to health.
The panelists agreed that there are four focus areas to strengthen the digital economy and digitalization in Indonesia, namely:
Strengthening business fundamentals
Increase collaboration between stakeholders
Implementation of Environmental Social, Governance (ESG) framework or increased focus on sustainability
“Digital equity is needed to continue to create equal distribution of business opportunities for all business actors in all corners of Indonesia, especially for MSMEs. Strengthening business fundamentals is needed in facing increasingly high market challenges. Collaboration is mandatory to support each other in achieving a larger goal. Equally important, we must remember to include those who are left behind, pay attention to the green economy, and implement sustainable principles so that the future of the next generation can be well preserved,” concluded David.