[Year in Review 2020] Technology, talent, trust – 100 quotes of the year on digital transformation

2020 has been the year of the pandemic – and the year of accelerated digital transformation, as these insightful quotes reveal.

[Year in Review 2020] Technology, talent, trust – 100 quotes of the year on digital transformation

Thursday December 31, 2020,

14 min Read

Launched in 2014, StoryBites is a regular feature from YourStory, featuring notable quotable quotes in our past articles. Share these gems and insights with your colleagues and networks, and check back to the original articles for more insights.

Drawn from our comprehensive coverage of innovation and entrepreneurship, we present 100 quotes on the rise of digital media and tech transformation. The biggest development of 2020 was the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the pace of digital transformation around the world, in personal and professional life.

We have divided these 100 quotes into 12 categories: the power of digital, AI, enterprise transformation, SMB impacts, digital media, mobile, education, sectoral impacts, products, security, the India story, and future implications.

See also YourStory’s Startup Hatch section on tech incubator and accelerator profiles, and annual picks of Top 10 Books, Top 10 Turning Point stories, Top 20 Author Interviews, and Top 10 Heroes of the Pandemic.

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

YourStory wishes all founders, innovators, developers and leaders a Happy New Year ahead, and all the best for success and transformation in 2021!


The power of digital

Technology in the 2020s is exponentially more powerful than the technology we had at our fingertips in the 2000s and even the 2010s. - Steve Brown, ‘The Innovation Ultimatum’

The internet gives you the ability to shatter boundaries and the power to do anything. - Ajay Data, Datamail

Cyberspace will make human life inclusive rather than displacing people. - Vineet Kumar, Cyber Peace Foundation

Every decade, we see an extraordinary company that becomes a generational company, and it all starts with a simple idea - to build what users love. - Rajan Anandan, Sequoia India

Three important ways in which digital technology helps creating social change are Access, Aggregation, and Democratisation. - Madhukar Shukla, ‘Social Entrepreneurship in India’

One of the big trends this year has been the rise of new wealth creators from startups and tech-led companies. - Anas Rahman Junaid, Hurun India

Artificial intelligence

AI will help us understand how to be better humans. They will make us appreciate more our human values and relationships. - Toby Walsh, ‘2062: The World that AI Made’

Robots will no longer be product or task-specific but an integral part of a factory’s infrastructure. For this, robot arms will need to learn how to “see” objects and “understand” tasks, similar to humans. - Nikhil Ramaswamy, CynLr

AI needs governance, a redressal system, public rules, tools, forums, etc, to be able to have responsible AI at scale. - Rahul Panicker, Wadhwani Institute for Artificial Intelligence

AI can change the way smart cities work. - Prashanth Gurunath, City Square

By leveraging AI to analyse customer interactions, businesses will turn their contact centres into growth centres. - Swapnil Jain, Observe.AI

It takes three zeroes to scale AI adoption within an enterprise – zero distance to information and insights, zero disruption to business operations, and zero latency to business processes. - Balakrishna D R, Infosys

If data is the new oil, machine learning is the refinery of these large datasets. - Toby Walsh, ‘2062: The World that AI Made’

Of the three Vs of big data (Volume, Velocity, and Variety), Variety plays the biggest role in AI. - Rahul Agarwalla, SenseAI

From a social viewpoint, building greater trust in AI and protecting personal healthcare data will continue to be among the universal challenges. - Haruto Iwata, Fujifilm India


Enterprise transformation

Digitisation has become a necessity and a question of survival. - Puneet Chandok, AWS

Suddenly, technology has become a boardroom conversation because it is a differentiating experience. We have moved beyond efficiency. - Anand Birje, HCL

Disruption requires leaders who can compete as Digital ‘Triathletes’ and develop proficiency across strategy, innovation, and implementation, underpinned with the agility to pivot on a dime.  - Astik Ranade, Heidrick & Struggles

The marriage of the agility of startups and stability of large enterprises really creates an environment that’s suitable for growth, innovation and accomplishment. - Sruthi Kannan, Cisco LaunchPad

The value of knowledge management platforms for content management and collaboration is being realised even more. - Ved Prakash, Trianz

Among the few technologies that have really helped enterprises in business transformation and modernisation, Cloud is perhaps the most prominent one. - Rahul Neel Mani, DynamicCIO.com

Today enterprises, governments and startups, understand the tremendous impact data-driven insights can bring. - Madhurima Agarwal, NetApp Excellerator

Automation solutions are no longer accessible only to manufacturing giants. Even SMBs can deploy cobots strategically to become as competitive as possible. - Pradeep David, Universal Robots

Log data is the richest source of truth an organisation has. But the fact that the amount of logs generated is huge makes it hard for companies to leverage it. - Ariel Assaraf, Coralogix

What separates a good interaction from a run-of-the-mill one is personalisation, which can leave a lasting impact on customers. - Kevin Binu, Muthoot Healthcare

Less than 26 percent of digital, transformation initiatives succeed, and in traditional sectors, it is even lower. - Udit Poddar, Pragyaam Data Technologies


SMB impacts

The post-COVID world is possibly is one of the biggest digital transformations seen for startups, fintech, SMBs, and freelancers. - Harshil Mathur, Razorpay

Today, the need to go digital is a necessity and SMBs are hard-pressed to digitise fast. - Shalini Girish, Google India

Taking SMBs online is about keeping the solutions simple, modular, and affordable. - Vikas Varma, Mastercard

Technology usually scares small business owners who need hand holding to go the digital way. - Sumit Agarwal, Vyapar

Social media and word of mouth are probably the two most critical marketing tools in the food business, more so in a small business. - Daniel Selvaraj, Big Js Catering and Grill

SMBs are experiencing two powerful trends - they now manage an increasingly distributed workforce while their customers expect an on-demand service experience. - Shripati Acharya, Prime Venture Partners

Digital media

The digital age has made the term ‘prosumer’ all the more accommodating. Companies now look at them as brand advocates who can make or break their products and services, and rightly so. - Preeti Pandey, Media Moments

Immersive storytelling will soon be the next frontier where brands will incorporate holograms, interactive applications, and wearable tech to their brand storytelling experience. - Miri Rodriguez, ‘Brand Storytelling’

Building an OTT platform requires a deep knowledge of both technology and content. - Apoorv Ranjan Sharma, Venture Catalysts

The future of live sport is streaming. - David White, New Zealand Cricket

Augmented Reality is the future, not just in the automotive sector, but for education, healthcare, and almost all of the major fields in the market. - Navdeep Singh, Visiolab Ideas

AR/VR has shown a strong emotional connect with GenZ and younger millennial consumers, a segment brands have struggled to engage with in recent years. - Sravanth Aluru, Avataar.me

Publishing houses are warming up to the idea of alternate reading formats. - Anushka Shetty, Plopnow

As attention spans have shrunk, short, conversational, and highly visual research is more respectful of the reader’s time. - Anand Sanwal, CB Insights

Screen fatigue has led a lot of people to proactively explore audio content. - Shailesh Sawlani, Audible India

Social commerce influences millennials’ purchase decisions and their shopping journey. - Sunil Kumar Singhvi

The younger generation does not want to be seat-belted for three hours just because they’re getting a little bit of better popcorn. -  Ronnie Screwvala, upGrad



The mobile industry is among the fastest-growing in the world and has created the most frictionless market the world has ever seen. - Shubham Jha, Adjust

With unmatched speeds and emerging use cases, 5G is expected to transform every industry in the coming years. - Steve Mollenkopf, Qualcomm

To reap its benefits, the country's policies, licensing, and regulatory environment also need to be evolved to enable 5G. - P D Vaghela, TRAI

Every year, about 15,000-20,000 tonnes of Lithium-ion battery waste is generated, mainly from the mobile phone industry. - Rohan Singh, Ziptrax Cleantech

Consumers want more than a network — they want communities to connect to, have control on their content, and opportunity to monetise that content. - Saurabh Uttam, TUBBR

An app is as good as its active user base. - Tarun Pathak, Counterpoint Research

Contactless delivery through drones would be the next frontier of logistics. - Pranay Jivrajka, Ola Foods

Education and training

Today, when children are surrounded by digitisation 24x7, it has become important to engage them with the 4Cs of the advanced world, namely communication, critical reasoning, collaboration, and creative thinking. - Nitesh Jain, BeSingular

The future of learning is co-creation. - Rohit Pande, Habitat

Digital learning is emerging as one of the most important tools in modernising education and skill training. - Manish Kumar, NSDC

The opportunity to improve lives through online education is enormous because of its sheer accessibility. - Scott Shleifer, Tiger Global

The question is not which type of learning is better – physical or online. The question is, how might we combine, or blend both to reach a much higher level of experiential learning?  - Ramji Raghavan, Agastya International Foundation

We believe coding will be as important as any other language skill in the coming days, and introducing such courses at an early age will be crucial. - Apoorv Gautam, Guild Capital

Being digitally literate is as crucial a skill as any degree you may have. - Vanshika Goenka, Kool Kanya

Skills are getting redundant faster and upskilling is expected to stay relevant, particularly in new-age/tech roles. - Abhishek Gupta, Redseer


Sectoral impacts

Lending is an algorithmic business. - Ashneer Grover, BharatPe

The digitisation of lending is mutually beneficial for both lenders and borrowers. It will not only save time for customers, but will also prove to be a cost-efficient process for banks and other lenders. - Nikhil Barshikar, Imarticus Learning

Decentralised finance will lead to a revolution in the finance industry. - Bandhul Bansal, Finstreet

Social commerce indisputably holds the key to unlocking the future growth and progress of the ecommerce industry. - Saahil Goel, Shiprocket

The pandemic has accelerated the fashion industry by at least five years. Avatars are the new us. - Shivang Desai, Bigthinx

Data-centric decision-making and digitised processing is the way forward and a necessary step for the insurance industry. - Radha Kizhanattam, Unitus Ventures

Cryptocurrency’s supply is limited, making them anti-inflationary assets. They have performed extremely well in countries facing rampant hyperinflation. - Nischal Shetty, WazirX

Predictive health is the future of medicine. - Greg Moon, SoftBank Investment Advisers

People are increasingly getting comfortable with leveraging technology to manage their health and well-being. - Lakshmi C, Accenture India

While telemedicine has a number of advantages, the most palpable ones are to respond to the ‘Four A’s’ of India’s public health system – absence, access, affordability, awareness. - Paul Abraham, Hinduja Foundation

Creating a digital environment to manage their entire supply chain is absolutely critical if companies need to build sales resilience. - Paramdeep Singh Anand, FieldAssist

The art world is meeting the technology world with enthusiasm and energy. - Nupur Dalmia, Gallery Ark

The acceleration of the software-defined vehicle has thrown automakers into a chaotic new maze of software and data management complexity. - Hemant Sikaria, Sibros

Amidst the pandemic, the SaaS industry has emerged as one of the most resilient and fastest-growing sectors. - Venkatesh Sundar, Indusface

Tech products and talent

You need a product that is useful and not just useable, and for that data, product thinking, and underlining tech needs to be stable and foundational. - Dhruv Kapoor, Zilingo

Techies cannot have a ‘know-it-all’ attitude. Every techie has to be open to learning new things. - Anish Khandelwal, Mitron

How you write code hasn’t changed in the past 30 years, but it is the craft that differentiates a good engineer from a great one. - Abhinav Lal, Practo

Techies need to be open to learning, but more importantly, to unlearning as well. Whatever you were doing three years ago is not sensible now. - Vikalp Sahni, GoIbibo

The product innovation has to always start with a ‘customer first’ approach. - Manas Mishra, PayU

Match the technology to the people, not the other way around. - Pooja Mukul, Jaipur Foot

Tech is an enabler and not a panacea for all the ailments. - Hirak Joshi, CWC

Globally the demand for the low-code development platform is increasing rapidly. - Arunkumar Sampath, Mendix Practice

The wisdom of layers is you create APIs and let other people innovate, because you will never come up with all the ideas. - Lalitesh Katragadda, Indihood

For every startup, there is an inflection point where there is a need to build proprietary tech. - Dhruv Kapoor, Zilingo

Innovation drives enthusiasts but adoption needs user ease and engagement. - Harsh Rajat, EPNS

Merely having a great product already is not enough. Businesses need to innovate and upgrade continually. - Rajesh Gupta, Busy Infotech

Establishing a business venture in the day and age of digital technology is a boon in itself. - Sandeep Aggarwal, Droom


Security and governance

The average consumer is tech-savvy to a point, but cybersecurity is perhaps their weakest area of expertise. - Saket Modi, Lucideus

The digital platforms need to be responsive, accountable, and sensitive to the concerns of sovereign nations as far as safety, defence and data privacy is concerned. - Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad

We not only need stronger data protection, but also data empowerment. - Amitabh Kant, CEO, Niti Aayog

Shifting online has increased the risk of exposing business-critical data to internal and external threats and safeguarding data on employee endpoint devices has become more important. -Stephen Manley, Druva Inc.

In the near future countries and governments will create roadblocks and barriers for tech flows. Fight for digital supremacy and even digital warfare is imminent. - Mahavir Pratap Sharma, TiE

Let’s hope that the rise of an emerging power threatening the leading global power will not lead to a Tech Cold War. - Rebecca Fannin, ‘Tech Titans of China’


The India story

India, with over 700 million Internet subscribers, 1.21 billion phone users, and 1.26 billion Aadhaar users is generating a massive amount of data every day. - Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for IT

More than 500 million people will get on the internet for the first time in the next three years in India, mainly through low-cost refurbished smartphones. - Pulkit Kapoor, MobiGarage

A large part of the next million tech jobs will be remote and 23.5 percent of the world's developers are in India. -  Maran Nelson, Interact

It is imperative for all ecosystem stakeholders to collectively work with a synchronous effort towards realising our AI vision for enabling better governance and elevating quality of life for our people. - KT Rama Rao, Telangana Minister for IT

Health, diagnostics, agriculture and education are some frontiers where AI should bring improvements in the lives of the marginalised and underprivileged. - Ravi Shankar Prasad, Union Minister for IT

Digital payments have become a major tool to promote financial inclusion in the country. In a densely-populated nation like India, it is not possible for banks to be omnipresent. - Nityanand Sharma, Simpl Technologies

The ‘Indic internet’ has finally arrived. The present and future of digital growth in India will be in local languages. - Vidushi Kapoor, Process9

Businesses are going beyond home markets, thinking digital-first, and leveraging technology to solve problems at scale for industries around the world. - Rajan Anandan, Sequoia Capital India


The road ahead

Every company will become a technology company, and every company will become a data company. - Steve Brown, ‘The Innovation Ultimatum’

The skeptics have always been there, and they’ve always been wrong. The best days of the digital world still lie ahead. - David Moschella, ‘Seeing Digital’

Technology, though being a great enabler, can also lead to exclusion of certain segments of society. - Shaktikanta Das, Reserve Bank Governor

Physical has its own advantages and nuances and digital has its own. Both of them came in different eras and they will meet. - Kishore Biyani, Future Group

How can you wake up from the matrix, when you don’t even know you’re in it? - Tristan Harris, ‘ The Social Dilemma’

YourStory has also published the pocketbook ‘Proverbs and Quotes for Entrepreneurs: A World of Inspiration for Startups’ as a creative and motivational guide for innovators (downloadable as apps here: Apple, Android).

Edited by Anju Narayanan