Technology Other News 06 Nov 2017 What makes digital t ...

What makes digital transformation ‘tick’

DECCAN CHRONICLE
Published Nov 6, 2017, 1:44 pm IST
Updated Nov 6, 2017, 1:44 pm IST
India is transforming into a ‘digital’ economy at a rapid rate with the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative.
Despite growing acknowledgment of the need for digital transformation, most companies struggle to get clear business benefits from new digital technologies.
 Despite growing acknowledgment of the need for digital transformation, most companies struggle to get clear business benefits from new digital technologies.

The world is going through a kind of digital transformation as everything — customers and equipment alike — becomes connected. The connected world creates a digital imperative for companies. They must succeed in creating transformation through technology, or they’ll face difficult times in the future.  Even in a connected world, it takes time, effort and willpower to get major transformative effects from new technology. Executives need to lead the process and make sure they’re managing and coordinating across the company.

India is transforming into a ‘digital’ economy at a rapid rate with the government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative. With emphasis right from the top and a structured approach to digitally empower each and every citizen of the country, digitisation is touching each aspect of our lives - across governance, utility services, transportation, education, healthcare and banking. The transformation is shepherded by adoption of technologies like Cloud, Mobility, Analytics and Collaboration tools -- to stay relevant.

 

But in the current business scenario, despite growing acknowledgment of the need for digital transformation, most companies struggle to get clear business benefits from new digital technologies. They lack both the management temperament and relevant experience to know how to effectively drive transformation through technology. Even companies where leadership has demonstrated it can effectively leverage technology can run into challenges with new digital technologies. Today’s emerging technologies, like social media, mobile, analytics and embedded devices, demand different mindsets and skill sets than previous waves of transformative technology.

 

If one looks at the technology adoption in India, it is clearly visible that the actual ‘buzz’ around a new technology has surpassed the actual use for the same. ‘Digitisation’ is valuable to an organisation if it reduces costs or creates concrete benefits like increased sales. Costs of digitisation are clearly accountable, but the benefits are usually more unclear. Organisations can expect differential benefits from the digital tool adoption, and these gains may vary from operational to strategic to opportunity benefits.

 

This is especially relevant because, unfortunately, when an organisation falls behind the digital curve, it’s often C-suite leaders who take the blame. Digital transformation is the process all companies must go through to operate effectively in today’s rapidly changing environment. Embracing new technology isn’t just a tick box exercise anymore – it’s an essential commitment that companies must make to survive and prosper in the coming years.

For those CIOs who are willing to embrace this change, digital transformation can provide the opportunity to rethink how they use technology at the most fundamental level. This can help businesses to improve their service offerings while also building a more meaningful relationship with the new generation of customers. At the same time it is important to understand that digital transformation isn’t about the individual channels that customers can use to interact with a brand, and it isn’t about big data, social media or the mobile revolution. At its core, a digital organisation is just an organisation that’s free from silos and is eager to rise to new technological challenges.

 

Two increasing trends are being observed in the area of digitisation. One is analytics and the other is cloud computing. The recent years have seen a massive expansion of Data Analytics because of the low cost of acquiring data and the ease of availability as more of the data is being created digitally which makes business to easily access very refined data.

Moreover, cloud computing is not only taking over the business industry but also revolutionising the service delivery. The aim of such a platform is to enable to create scalable application without being restricted by virtual machines. Cloud provides a platform to transfer applications or data to the cloud and accessing new applications and data from it making it profitable for businesses to easily access what they require instantly. Moreover, aside from the benefit of access of huge amounts of information cloud has other advantages such as Mobility, Safety, Privacy and Confidentiality as well as Regulations for installation of applications from the cloud.

 

Adding to this, Internet of Things (IoT) coupled with data analytics is gaining new insights for businesses and governments. As devices and electronics become increasingly connected to the internet, more data is being captured every day. However, without meaningful analytics, data is just a lot of clutter. The power of analytics lies in its ability to predict future happenings based on data collected today. By making sense of data, analytics can help businesses and governments better prepare for the future and proactively formulate contingency plans.

 

Digital data can and will be the core to an organisation’s ability to capture new revenue opportunities with speed and at scale, while balancing cost and risk.  To pursuit this digital transformation, the ‘push’ needs to come from the top, and companies should designate a specific executive or executive committee to spearhead efforts. Companies should take small steps, via pilots and invest in the ones that work.

Corporate leadership needs to tweak its road map based on these smaller projects, and update its digital vision -  making the Nexus of forces ‘Security, Mobility, Analytics and Cloud’ (SMAC) one of the biggest drivers of true digital transformation and building blocks for a new digital business economy.

 

—by Ritesh Gandotra, Director, Global Document Outsourcing, Xerox India.

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