The recent devastating earthquake that shook the Himalayan nation was a terrible tragedy that took away hundreds of lives and destroyed monuments and a large number of homes. It was covered extensively by the Global and the Indian media. Given India’s proximity and close cultural, economic and emotional connect the Indian media went into an overdrive to cover the death and destruction.
When I was invited by a friend of mine to visit and explore the market for electronic document management, EisenVault – the digital vault we are creating, I was not sure what to expect in Kathmandu. Despite that, I readily accepted the invite, given I had always found the country and its people warm and hospitality when I had visited Nepal, multiple times, 14 years ago as a representative of an international medical publisher.
Once I landed at the Tribhuvan International airport, I really felt nostalgic as it brought back wonderful memories as the airport was very much like what it was 14 years ago. Little had changed. While driving through the streets I realized that the hysteria on the television was over hyped. The earthquake did have an impact, a few old and poorly maintained building in Kathmandu did collapse, but most parts of the city was intact, lively and people were going on with their chores like in any other city in the world.
My friends had set up meetings with a large bank, a hospital and an emigration agency among others to explore possibility of digitizing documents and storing them electronically. Each one of them that I spoke to reiterated the same point that a large number of people had lost their important documents in the disaster. They all felt that if these were stored and available electronically it would have been ideal, as they could have been retrieved.
The earthquake had made the people think of digitizing the documents, storing them digitally and possibly in a document management system for search and retrieval. The need for a digital warehouse or digital godown was clearly mentioned. With evolving technologies and the trend of businesses going paperless, the roadmap clearly shows that storing and retrieving documents in the electronic form will become more inexpensive and efficient in the medium to long term.
Over the few days I was in Kathmandu I, crisscrossed the city for business meetings, social interactions and a trip to the Pashupati Nath Temple, I could clearly see that the number of tourist were very few. The hotel I stayed in had a lot of spare capacity whereas in earlier years it would be fully booked at this time of the year. The manager of the hotel asked me to spread the word that the earthquake did impact Nepal, but only in some parts. The major tourist attractions in Kathmandu, Chitwan, Pokhra and other places were intact and waiting to welcome guests.
My last meeting during my visit was at the Nepal Tourism Board, which is housed in a very beautiful building. Naturally Nepal – Once is not enough, is the tag line of the Nepal Tourism Board and after my recent trip I totally endorse the view and promise to be back soon, possibly with a couple of colleagues and not alone.