The pandemic has silenced any lingering doubts about the digital transformation mandate. It has also ushered in a contactless world where interactions with employees and customers take place on a virtual tapestry of platforms and technologies. In the past 18 months, businesses were forced to commit to a digital transformation owing to lockdowns and restricted activities. The confluence of various technological trends that are setting the digital transformation paradigm existed even before the pandemic and have been brought to a sharp focus today.
Organizational leaders are reassessing mindsets and business processes after a year of disruption and rapid transition to establish a more flexible, adaptive, and favourable environment for firms, partners, and customers. There is a pertinent need to delve deeper to ensure that the digital initiatives that businesses undertake are in sync with the goals of internal stakeholders and customers alike. Biswajit Das, Director, KPMG, avers, “The approach taken towards digital transformation has often been pragmatic and well thought out by most organizations. Thus, organizations that have espoused a holistic approach towards going digital are reaping the benefits today. Presently, many digital transformation endeavours for organizations are about addressing the here and now challenges. Many organizations have a spread out and diverse range of digital initiatives that cater to their unique business requirements.” Das was speaking at The Economic Times Live Webinar Series on Building a dynamic and sustainable digital enterprise: Sustaining the pace of digital transformation, powered by Tata Communications.
Owing to the rapid nature of the digital transformation in the past 18 months, many such initiatives were half-baked and not in sync with business and stakeholder requirements. 2021 is an opportunity to re-examine their digital initiatives, assess need-gaps, and make changes to unlock the real value of the business.
”Many endeavours depict a disjointed IT environment across multiple business functions. There are 2 reasons for the digital initiatives being out of sync: The first being the different factors that are being considered for the cloud and network deployment across varied business initiatives. The second being how they really embedded Security within these independent initiatives, and lastly, the lack of a unified workforce collaboration strategy. Now, being digitally smart is really about the ability to create a connected ecosystem, internally and externally, “asserts Arijit Bonnerjee, SVP & Head -India Region, Tata Communications.
Building such an ecosystem is the need of the hour as the equations between businesses and customers have changed drastically in the digital landscape. In certain instances, there is a need to rebuild and instill trust.
Arijit adds that such a seamless connected ecosystem offers consistent experiences across the enterprise value chain and more importantly it helps build trust for internal as well as external stakeholders. This is something that businesses today should strive towards and is an outcome of how integrated a specific organization’s digital environment is.
Undoubtedly, the businesses that have made the best out of the opportunities offered in the new normal are those who already adopted a digital transformation strategy before the pandemic. These organizations were able to pivot themselves better to the changes necessitated by the new normal and ensure business continuity. Vinod Bhat, Chief Information Officer, Vistara – TATA SIA Airlines, observes, “The airlines industry has been hit really hard by the pandemic. However, when it comes to the mandate for digital transformation, Vistara has been on the cloud since day 1. As an early adopter of not only the cloud but also many emerging Industry 4.0 technologies since 2013, Vistara was able to pivot its business better during the pandemic. They leveraged the features of the cloud architecture effectively to manage demand and supply. Vistara was also able to meet the requirements pertaining to hygiene and safety factors as well as those by regulatory bodies. Owing to the digital nature of their operations, customers had a seamless onboarding and flight experience that met their needs during the pandemic.”
Digital initiatives too are constantly evolving as technology is constantly changing. Organizations today are required to espouse a bird’s eye of changing technologies and need gaps. In that sense, the journey towards digital transformation is always ongoing. Subrata Dey, CIO, Godrej Consumer Products, stated, “ Godrej started its digital journey a few years ago and is still undergoing a transformation. Being that digital is still in a transient phase as technology and business approaches are constantly evolving. There will always be a better way to conduct business and the transformations that we see today are just the tip of the ice-berg. Godrej Consumer Products is further enhancing and tweaking the technological solutions that it has deployed. “
Sustaining the pace of digital transformation efforts can be a challenge for organizations today. However, once the operations and structures get streamlined then these facets pertaining to digital transformation take place in a more organic and natural fashion. “To sustain a culture of digital transformation, organizations would be required to relinquish control by a significant degree to customers and teams. Undoubtedly, businesses shall find that there is a profound change in the very approach towards business and work. Today, the truth is that businesses are required to be comfortable with the chaos that the new normal brings. A digital transformation too, is ensuing chaos, in a manner of speaking, and achieving a sustained pace of transformation is about finding a method to the madness,” says Gagan Singla, Chief Digital Officer, HDFC Securities.
The mandate for digital transformation has led to new frontiers for change. It has carved a new epoch for business and commerce. Businesses today have to take a holistic and 360-degree approach towards technological and digital adoption so as to reap its benefits at a brisk pace. At the end of the day, it is about building a seamless and balanced digital ecosystem.