What the new breed of digitally innovative companies is doing differently
MUMBAI: In an increasingly connected world, a digital-first business has become a business imperative. Opportunities, channels, expectations, and competitors are what businesses in the digital landscape revolve around. Technology has forced organizations to adapt and innovate in a bid to keep pace with the ever-changing environment; It has fostered a new breed of digitally innovative companies and has ushered in a new era for businesses in the digital landscape.
Businesses today find themselves in a period of transition where they are re-imagining several business processes. The Economic Times Global Digital Innovation Summit offered several insights on how business processes are being re-imagined. The summit was a meeting of the minds where business leaders discussed how key technologies and digitization such as artificial intelligence, analytics, and cloud are creating new opportunities and challenges for organizations. It consisted of 60 plus speakers and 2000 plus influencers that are set to play a crucial role in shaping the future.
Speaking at the summit, Shailender Kumar, Senior Vice President & Regional Managing Director – Oracle India, says, “In uncertain times, it’s critical for businesses to re-think and reshape their way forward. Industry leaders need to exhibit the following 3 traits: Being Seekers, Market Readers, and Technology Drivers. We’ll see a business transition from survival to growth.”
Much of the business transition that we see today has been spurred by behavioral change. Consumer preferences have shifted towards digital mediums and they are here to stay. “The change in everyone’s behavior is remarkable. Every company has to become a software company. Brillio’s mission is to help businesses become a greater software company,” observes Aftab Ullah, CDO & COO, Brillio.
As companies are also becoming software companies, they are focussing on creating a seamless digital ecosystem for key business stakeholders and customers alike. Technological adoption has become a key differentiator for businesses. Rinoo Rajesh, VP – Digital Transformation Services – ConneQt Business Solutions Ltd, avers, “Technology led digital disruption is shaping the industry. More than ever, it is important to strike the right balance between the human touch and AI led automation to deliver a superior stakeholder experience for customers and employees alike.”
Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO – Mercedes-Benz India highlights that his business has to imbibe a significant degree of learning to make a shift to phygital with online and offline business touchpoints. To make experiences seamless for customers, it was critical to complement both the online as well as the offline. The human element will be complemented by a digital element.
Technology is also paving the way for quicker turnaround times for products and services coupled with improved availability and accessibility. “Technology has become crucial for every fashion retailer in the world. This year has been a big growth year for us. We’re a family of 8 brands and innovation has always been a part of our mindset. Our ambition is to make sustainable fashion more affordable and available,” says Alan Boehme, Chief Technology Officer – H&M Group.
Even banks today are also leveraging AI/ML to create a more frictionless experience for customers. They are using analytics to understand customer wants and create innovative products and services that address customer pain points more effectively. Pawan Panjwani, Managing Director & India Head of Technology – JP Morgan, says, “Gone are the days when the conversation between customer and bank is a simple conversation. Presently, AI/ML allows for voice biometrics and sentiment analysis to deliver what the customer wants. This helps banks automate many bank processes. AI/ML allows customers to leverage the insights of banks to make better decisions. Customer expectations have increased. Safety and security are of prime importance, and with the evolution of the cloud the safety and security are facilitated for banks to run their business virtually.”
Digital technologies are also revamping commuting. Businesses have also been forced to innovate on the transportation front owing to constant disruptions. Prabhjeet Singh, President – Uber India South Asia, says, “When the pandemic hit, it was imperative that we turned up to support both drivers and riders. We were quickly able to innovate much more. We set up uber medics to help all the health care workers and it has become a service line now. There will be very high expectations from employers to provide safety and that is why we started the uber shuttle.”
The focus today has shifted to helping create compelling buyer’s journeys to make a lasting impression of the business on the customer. This approach also allows for better customer loyalty. Prabjeets adds that it is super important to make sure that businesses design journeys which are beyond economic value.
Some vehicle manufacturers have created novel forms of transportation that are not only eco-friendly and in sync with customer values but also innovative. “There has to be a better way of traveling than sitting in a car and polluting the environment and this is where Virgin Hyperloop comes in. It is fair to say that we have become an absolute leader in this technology. Our vision in India is to connect India: It is the ability to connect 41 cities in under 2 hours,” asserts Harj Dhaliwal, Managing Director – ME & India – Virgin Hyperloop.
Some other prominent speakers that were featured at the summit were Vipin Sondhi, MD & CEO – Ashok Leyland, Allen Lau, Founder & CEO – Wattpad, Ahmed Abdelaal, Group CEO, Mashreq Bank, Dr. Chintan Vaishnav, Mission Director – Atal Innovation Mission, NobuoKishi, Chief Technology Officer – SkyDrive, Dipali Goenka, CEO & Joint Managing Director -Welspun India, Soumitra Dutta, Professor & Former Founding Dean – Cornell SC Johnson College of Business, C K Venkataraman, Managing Director – Titan Company, Kate Barker, Chief HR Futurist & Advisor – Ministry of Interior (UAE), Navaneel Kar, President & Head India Sales – Tata Consumer Products, and Divya Kumar, Global Digital CFO – IKEA.
Undoubtedly, digital transformation has both opportunities and challenges for businesses. Creating a culture of innovation has become critical for businesses that intend to stay competitive in a digitally connected world.
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