Global companies are heading towards building digital capabilities. To thrive in today’s world, digital transformation is a must-have approach; not only that, the pandemic is an eye-opener for many companies irrespective of their sizes. Companies need to act fast to become resilient cause technologies also create jobs, and companies need to know how!
In one of our recent #DigitalSuccess DIALOGUE episodes, we brought two of the most astute business leaders from Eastern India to share their experiences with our audience about the Digital Transformation stories that they have encountered. Mr. Harish Agarwal, Managing Partner, EY, Kolkata & Bangladesh, had a conversation with Mr. Abhishek Rungta, CEO & Founder, INT.(Indus Net Technologies), on bringing resilience to the startups and MSME through digital transformation.
Abhishek: The adoption rate of Digital in India is not high. Rather, I would say it is forced. Tell me, when do you think that companies should adopt digital?
Harish: “Digital” as a concept took off when consumerism in IT came in. During the 90s, the best technologies were available at the workplace because affording them individually was not easy. Today’s generation has the luxury to get hold of better technologies at home, and these digital natives will demand more advanced techs at their workplace. Consumers will eventually expect and demand more digital experience!
Gradually, businesses will abandon their legacy model and adopt advanced technologies for the new digital-savvy generation. As technology advancement occurs, older technologies are getting obsolete faster, paving ways for newer technologies. Take the case of a fingertip unlocking phone feature that was once attractive and replaced by a face recognition unlocking feature.
Tech advancement is also changing consumer perception along with their changed lifestyle. The future gen might demand more cashless transactions, which will aggressively drive digital adoption among companies.
Abhishek: So, are you saying the digital revolution is going to be bottom-up rather than top-down?
Harish: The pandemic has very well confirmed that digital transformation will be a bottom-up approach, and the customers will reject companies that will fail to align with their needs. During covid, there has been a huge transition of users from traditional to digital. There is a huge jump in the digital buyers’ community.
Though it will be a mix of both, my view is that the bottom-up approaches’ share will be higher than the top-down. The pull factor will be strong enough, and businesses will adopt it to stay ahead of the competition.
Abhishek: Digital is synonymous with innovation. Where should startups go and look for inspiration for innovation?
Firstly, startups should have a clear view of making money by adopting the right strategy to recover the investment. Innovation does bring great ROI, and startups must deliver products/services that create a niche.
If you look around, you will notice that we live when you walk into a lifestyle store, pick up a dress, and don’t even have to be in a queue for a trial. AI makes it possible for you to trial a dress even without physically trying it on by embedding AR and other advanced technology. Now, that is innovation!
So the question again is what startups are planning to do? Is it innovation? Or imitation?
If companies are looking for imitation, startups must look for inspiration from global ideas and start analyzing their operation and outcome. The idea is to consistently improve those ideas to stay ahead of the curve to beat the competition.
Abhishek: I agree with innovations, but there is another challenge that companies often talk about. For complete digital adoption, behavioural change is important among employees and users. How do you think behavioural-change might happen?
Harish: In my personal experience, I have seen businesses reaching their zenith height when employees are carried along with them. Experience suggests that people are scared of digital adoption and the tech revolution always faced a push back. One of the trending debates is whether robots will induce unemployment in the future or not. Educating employees on the benefits of the advanced technological tools can only counter the pushback.
One such tool that increased the employees’ efficiency and shared much of their burden is Robotic Process Automation (RPA). RPA in the banking sector is heavily used as there are many repetitive tasks that they normally do. RPA reads all the emails that come in the bank mail ID. RPA sorts it and ranks it with a score. The highest priority mails go to the individual. This saves cost and time. That individual can now attend this mail with much seriousness, which would not happen if she needed to read 100 odd emails before this.
Thus, when employees are educated about the benefits of tech used for their own advantage, it is adapted easily.
Abhishek: How do companies which have been disrupted by digital companies survive?
Harish: As I earlier said, adaptation is the key to stay ahead in the race of survival. Digital is critical for the companies, and aligning with the customer’s needs can become the road to success. Consider these two famous cases from which companies can learn to survive.
Uber came into the show when Mr. Travis faced difficulty finding a taxi; Mr. Travis then decided to build an app to link all the cabs and make it easier for a traveller to find a cab. That is aligning with the customer’s needs.
Again in London, the famous black cab service also saw the digital transformation and how people are adapting it. They took this opportunity and created their own app. With a new app in hand, they have blended their USP with digital transformation to compete and stay ahead of the race, That we can call as adaptation!
Abhishek: How can MSME make use of analytics in a better way?
Harish: Analytics can be used when there is data. I have often seen that MSME doesn’t generate enough data as employees fail to fill in. CRM is used to keep track of the sales quota and customer-related information. If users don’t fill in the data, then CRM cannot generate the required results. Therefore, the process has to be interlinked, i.e., to get the sales report which a sales executive requires, he must first fill in the CRM data. But at the same time, one needs to ensure that the data is secured. Data theft is also a major issue nowadays.
Digital transformation will connect the companies with the future needs of the consumers. Companies must evolve with time and requirements to thrive and survive in such unprecedented life events as COVID-19. The coming decade will be more about digitization, ML, AI, Bots, and analytics. Global Leaders are adapting fast because change is the only constant!