By, Dr Sandip Pradhan
CIO, Exide Industries Limited, Board Member of INDUS, Member of SAP PAC, Member of IT Committee – BCC&I, Empanelled Project Guide – Sikkim Manipal University DE, Member of BOG, Techno International.
The COVID pandemic has pushed enterprises to rethink and recalibrate how they operate. Now, it is required across market segments to structurally reimagine their strategies for growth, development, and sustainability—the need to shift from traditional approaches and embrace new, more transformational methods across functions. Today, technologies have a vital role across segments due to their empirical characteristics. The current crisis has also necessitated adding a new dimension on policy work, proactive approaches of doing business like the car, battery, tyre as a service and so on. Redesigning business strategies with the integration of digitization and emerging technologies is required to alleviate the impact on revenues and for a more secured and sustainable economic and business plan.
Due to the exceptional lengths of pandemic, social distancing guidelines, there is a never-before-imagined dependency on technology. What happened in 2020 will significantly impact how technology shapes up in the current year and the coming years soon. The frontier technologies like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), Augmented Reality (AR), Robotics Process Automation (RPA), and industrial IoT (IIoT) are set to be a part of every industry now, even more so in the so-called remote age, which almost all of us have accustomed to.
The impact of Covid-19 on individuals, communities and organizations is rapidly evolving. It is very difficult to predict the long-term implications of covid-19 across industries across market segments. When normalcy returns, the industry will have learned a few lessons like-new operation models, alternate work arrangements, migration to digital channels and connectivity and many more.
Digital is real now. It will continue to transform all industries and its key end-user segments. Today every business is a technology business. Technology will unlock the growth potential. Technology is a competitive weapon. So, every company will be digital for better customer service and reducing the cost. Business leaders should remember three broad pictures:
1. Technology Trend changes everything – Technologies like in-memory computing, cloud and enterprise mobility have already started impacting industries. The cutting-edge technologies, i.e., IoT, AI, ML, advanced analytics, and Blockchain, provide exciting competitive and strategic advantages opportunities.
2. Leaders are emerging quickly from Nowhere – Industries boundaries are getting blurred. Players such as Google, Samsung, Tesla are engaging in sustainable, innovative energy generation and management. Key strategic imperatives are:
How to sustain and grow customer relationships with new digital services?
Which market spaces are the most attractive for new disruptive competition?
Who are potential partners in the digital network?
3. Early Adopters are winning – Excellence in operations and innovation are key for profitability for any industry.
By the digital transformation, industries can be benefitted in four ways:
Empower employees through connected collaboration, Knowledge Management across Organization, leveraging data to understand better business partners, able to access the back-office processes from anywhere any time any devices. A digital workplace will help to improve employee journey, experience and efficiency by eliminating non-value-added jobs.
Optimize Operations through Connected Manufacturing Operations, connected cars, predictive & pre-emptive maintenance. The auto industry is investing heavily in “Smart Manufacturing”, which will outfit legacy equipment on the shop floor with IoT sensors, enabling improved asset utilization and quality.
Transform Product – AI, IoT, AR are helping to develop innovative products for first to market, derive a new business model, able to capture feedback into product development strategy and change the perception from a dump device to an intelligent appliance.
Engage Customers through Connected products, connected factories and proactive service. Statistics says, highly engaged customers buy more frequently spend more per purchase.
In Q1 20-21, CIOs were facing the most significant challenges of their career. We saw infrastructure break-down, denial-of-service attacks, sites going down because of traffic load, and more crises. Every day it’s something new. Even companies grapple with the implications of the ongoing pandemic. It is already established that CIOs during the COVID outbreak play a central role in navigating the crisis. All eyes are on CIOs. On a lighter note: During the initial days of Covid-19, CIO was an acronym for “Career is Over” or “Career is On”, but those days are behind us. Now, CIOs are able to do a lot more for the Organization. The pandemic shapes CIOs roles in three phases:
In phase-1: Ensure stability and business continuity while containing the crisis. The CIO is the driver of Business Continuity.
In Phase-2: Establish the new way of working and protect the critical data & information
In phase-3: Using learning from the crisis to prioritize technology transformation for resilience.
We have heard the story of Choluteca Bridge. This reminds us of that story. The lesson from the story for all of us is that:
We focus on creating the best solution, best practices, SOP, compliance, and many more for a given problem. But we forget, the situation itself might change, the requirement could evolve, the problem could vanish.