Taking digital strides to be future-ready

Following the pandemic, several companies have been forced to devise new strategies led by digital transformation to be relevant and compete. There was also the need to keep sure that the supply chain remained intact, says Amit Bana, Co-Founder & Chief Growth/Revenue Officer, Automation.AI.

Digitalisation has been at the forefront since the pandemic. How have the past two years changed the perception towards digitalisation?

Before COVID-19, people used to think of digitalisation as slow incremental changes. However, after the dual lockdowns, the companies have been forced to upgrade their technology to remain viable.

The pandemic accelerated digitalisation in a multiple ways. Firstly, employees needed to stay connected with the organisations and their data even when the offices were closed. This resulted in the popularity of video conferencing Apps such as Google Meet or Zoom. Secondly, there was the need to access company data independently — the employees could not be available at the same time. But importantly, there was the need to provide customers with continued customer service, and to make sure that the supply chain remained intact. Hence, we saw a combined effort of automation and data analytics.

Now that the lockdowns are past us, companies are still investing heavily in digital assets. They have realised that during any emergency, modern digitized technical assets can save them from going out of business. Pandemic or no pandemic, the stride towards digital transformation will continue.

It is no more perceived as a cost to business, rather a necessity now. What is your take on it?

The companies are putting in millions into digital transformation initiatives, only to see a high percentage failing to pay off. The main reason being companies put the cart before the horse, focusing on a specific technology (we need a Machine Learning strategy) instead of putting in the change into the overall business model. Not only should they align tech investments with business goals. They should leverage insider knowledge base than outside consultants, allay fears about job loss that those insiders may have, and invest in understanding its impact on how it would influence customer experience, and use processes borrowed from the tech world such as experimentation and prototyping etc., to facilitate change.

Most digital technologies provide possibilities for efficiency gains and customer intimacy. But if people lack the right mindset to change and the current organizational practices are flawed, Digital transformation will simply magnify those flaws.

Focusing on the right metrics leveraging the power of assimilation,  and extracting insights from Data leads to better realization of committed Business Outcomes. This lets businesses manage their top and bottom lines effectively and efficiently, thereby strengthening the point that digital transformation-led strategies is no more a matter of choice, but a necessity to be relevant.

What is the future of digitalisation in the new normal?

If you look at the history of digital transformation, you will see that it started on the back of digitalizing the communication channel. However, what propelled this digital revolution was the invention of semiconductor chips. What this indicates is the fact that digital transformation has always been a combined effort of hardware and software innovations, and the same trend continues even today.

While we see greater adoption of cloud-based technologies, I forecast that the fear of automation will recede as the people can now see that automation opens up new job opportunities. So soon, automation combined with Machine Learning (ML) is going to be a game changer. We will soon see some innovations in the hardware sector as well which will propel the IoT revolution.

The IT world will focus more on data analytics. Why? Because of this, 80 per cent of enterprise data remains underutilized, even though data analytics can revolutionize the business process. We will see more analytical software cropping up. Lastly, the stride towards no code/low code software development will increase in intensity.

What are the potential challenges faced by other players in the market?

One of the potential challenges that can cause haphazard digital transformation is the fact that there is a lack of standardization. There are so many tools and frameworks. If the digital assets of one business cannot ‘talk’ to the digital assets of the stakeholders, then the entire exercise of digital transformation will be in vain.

Luckily, the software companies are working with each other to solve this problem. For example, AWS now allows support for workloads that run on Azure or Google Cloud. Another challenge is since digitalisation has become pervasive; we need everyone in the company to be able to handle digital assets. But not all are programmers. So here comes the idea of low code/no-code development.Automation Factory faces these challenges too. When we worked with a shipping company, we had to make sure that the tech stack we provide them must support the tech stack of other stakeholders in the maritime industry. So, we had to carefully choose the right technological assets for the company.