Towards Intelligent Digital Transformation

CIOs strategizing for value driven digital transformation to drive efficiency across vertical and horizontal functions in organisations

Digital transformation is becoming purpose driven. No longer are CIOs looking for creating a mesh of applications and hardware to figure out what value the combination brings in. Its more about the value that any proposition brings to the table.

Covid-19 has been the biggest driver of digital transformation across organisations and conversations around digital first or digital only have become of strategic importance, where CIOs are now playing a key role in the business functions than a supportive role they would play in the boardrooms. Today a CIO is playing a multifaceted role in designing the strategy as well as developing business continuity blueprints that has a direct bearing on the balance sheet and other financial documents.

The expectations from digital transformation are changing fast. It is no longer just about whether technology can do a certain task or role, automation of processes, cost cutting; it is about adding value to the organisation through innovations powered by technology.

Covid-19 brings a paradigm shift

Covid-19 has made everyone rely on technology – from life support to supporting businesses, economy, education, governance, and everything. The biggest achievement of the entire digital landscape has been that for the first time ever, we all looked at digital for solutions making it a real digital first approach.

The digital leaders not only came to the rescue but led transformation in their respective organisations which is now a permanent implementation in their organisations.

As put by Mr Sharad Agarwal, CDIO, JK Tyres & Industries, “A hybrid work environment will always be there and technologies that will enable that will be required. All of us will start aiming for automation of everything, not just RPA but intelligent automation.”

Sharing how technology came to the rescue of their organisations, the entire digital leadership which attended the CIO round table discussion highlighted how collaboration, coordination and teamwork were enabled through digital interventions.

Mr Saurabh Ganeriwala, CIO Jindal Steel and Power, while emphasising this said, “Technology has played a big role in managing entire pandemic that we don’t even realise. Right from collaboration tools for enabling remote meetings up to supply-chain, logistics & need of analytics, everything was required to be enabled through technology. With this the efficiencies achieved are not temporary and are going to stay for good”.

Echoing similar views, Mr Sandeep Agrawal, Head IT, Neilsoft Ltd., said, “Collaboration is critical in situations like pandemic, and it can happen anytime without any warnings. We customised several technologies to adapt to this situation. Also, security was a focus and besides deploying solutions we also had several awareness sessions.”

Digital Transformation beyond collaboration

Organisations did not just leverage digital solutions for ensuring collaboration to let teams work efficiently. This time the CIOs deployed technology solutions for other application areas as well. Digital solutions were also used for customer services.

Sharing his experience, Mr Ashish Chakraborty, IT Head for Harbinger Group said, “We created data light applications which were based on collaboration platforms as backend for faster decision making among business owners. With least amount of data pulled from the backend, the decision making for smooth and speedy.”

Apart from collaboration, organisations leveraged technology for customer services, decision making, supply chain and logistics management, and several other functions. In the words of Mr Rajiv Sharaf, CIO Torrent Power, “Ours is an essential service and had to be operational irrespective of restrictions. For us, operations, HR, and other support services also wanted technology driven solutions. We enabled mobile versions of many such applications along with WFH options to adapt to this change.”

Holistic and inclusive Digital Transformation is the way forward

The changes and digital transformation implementations which got triggered due to pandemic, are not temporary. These have created new business operations procedures and processes which have impacted the profitability

positively by curtailing on costs due to efficiencies achieved. Many of the technologies were already around but there was an invisible resistance towards adopting them that required change in the culture and behaviour within organisations.

Other than production, operations, sales and marketing, customer services, etc., the digital transformation was nothing more than implementation of rudimentary applications. For example, within finance function, accounting applications are being used for some time now, but the process of billing, verification, expense management, approvals, etc., has been still a paper led manual intervention.

Covid-19 is helping accelerate the change. Mankiran Chowhan, MD SAP Concur, shared “Digital transformation has been talked about for the longest time, but it is only during times of necessity that we saw an acceleration of digital transformation in many organisations. “The tablestakes have changed - organizations operating with legacy infrastructure and analog processes will struggle to meet the expectations of both the customers and employees who’ve been forced to go digital”

With digital technologies seeping into functions like HR and Finance, the organisations have achieved holistic and inclusive digital transformation. This has reformed the culture and age-old beliefs of organisations and the decision makers. What people across the hierarchy of an organisation were apprehensive about, is being implemented and practiced hassle-free and without any inhibitions.

This transformation is a permanent one which redefines the way businesses are run. The champions of this change, CIOs have weaved strategies almost in real-time to create solutions which are not adopted permanently. These solutions are intelligent and add a new perspective to digital transformation. Once again, the IT leaders of organisations have stood upto the time by accelerating recovery, building resilience and charging future of the businesses based on the digital transformation. While this creates new perspective in organisations, which will have far reaching implications on culture as well as conduct of business, it leads these change agents to another challenge of creating even more intelligent technology solutions which shape the future of organisations. For that, one shall have to look at the organisations in entirety and demolish the demarcation between mission critical and support function

approach in the adoption of digital technologies. Digital Transformation has to go all across.

Tags assigned to this article:
Digital Transformation Covid 19


Around The World