There is no better time than now in India to look at technology as infrastructure. India embarks upon a new journey riding on the government’s investment in the power of Internet to drive the explosion of technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, robotics, 3D printing, and smart everything. All these will eventually come together to help tackle societal and business problems. At this juncture, it is important to do a reality check regarding the promise of job creation and enhanced quality of life on one hand, and the challenges in adoption by corporations, governments and individuals, on the other.
Having travelled around the country to meet customers and partners, I have noticed that while a growing number of businesses here have embarked on the digitization journey, most continue to struggle with fully optimizing the potential of digital technologies and making digital a core aspect of their organizational culture and operations. Based on these observations, here are three key areas business leaders can focus on to help them gain the maximum value from the digital economy –
Business transformation is everything
In its survey of more than 3,100 business and IT executives worldwide, Accenture found that 33% of the global economy is currently impacted by digital. 86% of survey respondents anticipate that the pace of technology change will increase at a rapid or unprecedented rate over the next three years. Digital transformation is at the centre of change management. It impacts not only strategic positioning but tasks, activities and processes at all levels of an organization, and even beyond to the extended supply chain. Staying relevant and hence competent in today’s world requires rapid time-to-market, contextual customer engagement and real-time data insight. To achieve this, leaders must constantly monitor and challenge their organizations to be more adaptable and adopt digitization practices in a timely manner. After all, it is not the strongest of species that survives, but the one that is most responsive to change.
Adopt a talent-first strategy
Given the rapid pace of change in the technological and economic landscape, there is a drastic shift in the skill sets required in most industries, transforming the way people work and creating an urgent need for adjustment to these changes. This gap is often overlooked as they are traditionally not considered to be necessary job skills and are rarely found in academic curricula in the region. This reality is echoed in Capgemini’s estimates that only a third of over 4.4 million IT jobs created in 2015 around big data opportunities will be filled. The International Labour Organization has also noted in its Key Indicators of the Labour Market report for 2015 that there is a mismatch between skilled persons and the number of available jobs that match their competencies and expectations.
Organizations will have to address the challenge by developing existing talent even as they move forward on digital projects this year. Also, recruitment staff will increasingly need to fill functions such as operations, marketing and customer service with people who are comfortable with using the mobile, social and analytical tools that companies need for digital transformation. Coveted skills could include understanding what data visualizations mean, coding, the art of creating good infographics, videos, and presentations, website design, and social media savviness.
Support automation to drive future ready economies
The Internet of Things (IoT) has generated excitement over the past few years, with governments, start-ups and established businesses in India all placing their bets on the industry’s growth. The Department of Electronics & Information Technology of India published Internet of Things policy estimating IoT industry in India grow up to INR 940 billion, by 2020. IoT certainly has had significant buzz well into the beginning of this year, with smart appliances, wearable fitness devices and other innovations developing comprehensive ecosystems and gaining significant market share. More than 900 companies out of 3,800 at the CES this year said they had Internet of Things products.
Is your enterprise ready for the future?
The world is changing at record speed and now more than ever, a company must be ready at any moment to quickly take advantage of new opportunities for innovation to stay ahead. Organizations will have to be future-ready in order to thrive in a constantly evolving business landscape. The importance of human resources cannot be underestimated, especially in a country like India, which has a large population of ambitious youth who are poised to enter the job market. Adopting the right best practices for digitization in increasingly globalized and regionalized businesses will be essential, as will implementing cost-efficient, open and easily scalable technology. The onus is on leaders to ride the digital economy wave as an ideal environment for creating never-seen-before business opportunities.