Business FunctionsTechnology

Key tenets of formulating an effective digital transformation strategy

In conversation with Rajendran Dandapani, Business Solutions Evangelist at Zoho

Rajendran Dandapani

How is the working ecosystem transforming in India? Is it uniform across the nation? 

A country as variegated as India will always exhibit vast differences, place to place, in how a new policy or system is adopted. After all, as William Gibson once said, “The Future Has Arrived – It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed Yet”. But the transformation is here to stay. The coronavirus pandemic has accelerated the adoption of digital collaboration tools and fundamentally changed the mindset of the Work-From-Home employee and the Optimise-For-Results Manager.

Are Indian SMBs too embracing digital transformation? 

Yes, what was once seen as a luxury affordable only by those large endowed corporations forced to do business across geographies, timezones, needing to work with diverse partners and vendors, and challenged to increase overall organizational velocity to stay competitive, has now become a question of mere survival in this post-Covid reality. When physical interactions gave way to digital ones, when offices started yielding unwillingly to the advent of the work-corner at home, digital transformation became a necessity. With processes and workflows moving online across the spectrum, it became a question of being staying relevant and surviving or being left out in the dust to be ridden over as obsolete. The interesting side-benefit of the digital transformation is once you cross the “survive” threshold, the “thrive” plateau is not too far behind, and the sky is the limit for a company that is agile enough and comprehensive enough with its adoption.

What are the 3 focus areas that SMBs should keep in mind, when formulating a digital transformation strategy?

ICE – Integrate, Customize, Extend.

Irrespective of what solution or suite of solutions you end up making the backbone of your digital transformation strategy, it might be useful to keep this “acronym” as a ready reckoner. You will have to look for Integratability, Customizability, and Extensibility.

Given the diverse nature of digital transformation needs, and the practical reality, no single tool or product suite can meet ALL YOUR NEEDS now and, in the future; it is important that the tool can be integrated into other ecosystems and platforms.

With user experience growing in stature as an important aspect of product design and maturity, it becomes crucial that a product can be massaged and morphed into an “all-that-you-need and none-of-what-you-don’t” workhorse that learns from the way you work and becomes a veritable “extension of your hands” lowering the cognitive overload and increasing productivity.

Modern users are not satisfied with just being consumers. They want to tinker, they want to experiment, they want to extend, they want to build long tail applications on top of the existing platform, without having to be dependent on the IT department or the freelance coder. It is the era of the “citizen coder” and your digital platform will need to provide for the demands of the power user looking to ADD functionality to the off-the-shelf toolkit. 

How can Zoho catalyze and support enterprise-wide digital transformation? 

Even in the pre-covid era Zoho has always been encouraging digital transformation across different applications.

Zoho is a leader by far in providing great value for money, and in packaging its suite of applications such that there is no “nickel and diming” of software features and licenses. This encourages the enterprises to embrace digitalization across the board and brings immense intangible benefits in the long run.

Zoho is the best solution for enterprises who need value for money without compromising on security and privacy. It also offers a range of integrated solutions for various business problems faced by such organisations. Many of Zoho’s products can peacefully coexist with existing infrastructure, and don’t entail a whole body blood transfusion, something that even the boldest of heart might want to postpone during a time of churn like that of the global pandemic.

Zoho’s gentle adoption curve and the nature of many of its products to allow for grassroots proliferation through watercooler-word-of-mouth and not need a central stakeholder to mandate company-wide adoption of the tool, makes it a solution particularly suited to today’s distributed workplace that needs intelligence and autonomy at the edges rather than a central nervous system that slows processes to glacial paces mired in organizational red-tape.

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