Digital technologies are rapidly reshaping every industry today, and a digital transformation plan is imperative for a company to retain and possibly enhance market share, customer base and shareholders’ interest. The global spend on digital transformation initiatives reached $1.3 trillion in 2017, with the amount expected to near double by 2021.


A digital transformation plan involves multiple parameters, and involves several complexities. An assiduously charted digital transformation plan is prone to undergo several changes due to the dynamic nature of technologies shaping the industry. Some core aspects of technology components leading change in the industry include advanced analytics, IOT, mobile technologies, AI & Robotics, RPA & chatbots,cloud computing,AR & VR, etc


The coupling of granular, real-time data collected through smartphones, connected devices, smart appliances, wearables, mobile commerce, video surveillance, with digital technologies such as cloud native apps, big data architectures, hyper-converged technologies, artificial intelligence, blockchain help to enhance product design & performance, customer experience and faster business decisions through, essentially driving the wave of digital transformation.


Data, Mobile & Other Technologies Spearheading Digital Transformation


Data analytics is one of the foremost aspects of digital transformation today. A company’s most critical asset is data – which is now being understood with alacrity now that scientists have understood how to analyse data, extract insights from it and drive a company’s growth in new, undiscovered territories. Gartner says that every major company is wielding data and analytics as competitive weapons, and by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention information as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. This is because data provides a lot of action points on behaviours and trends of customers, allowing for businesses to process, predict and plan future strategies with precision and accuracy.


The mobile phone was perhaps one of the most versatile inventions of our time, and has served as a canvas for almost every major transformative technology known to man today. Be it apps, chatbots or technologies enabling connectivity – it all happens on a mobile phone. Being the cornerstone of digital transformation, companies understand the power of a handheld devices in accelerating their growth. Some of the biggest companies today in every major industry are capitalising on the mobile phones and telecom networks. The rapid and continuous communication between a company and its customers is facilitated through the mobile, which is also playing a major role in capturing data.


The cloud is another transformation technology offering that has changed the way data is stored, and now plays a pivotal role in driving digital transformation. Information and customer data on the cloud is being harnessed by companies to drive and shape strategies. Cloud offerings like Software as a Service, Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service has led the way for business models built on and driven by the cloud.


Other technologies like AI, robotics & robotics process automation (RPA), and chatbots are now being explored extensively for applicability across domains. AI-driven technologies are playing a major role in the way companies, with a focus on information capture and process automation. This has fueled the way for Robotic Process Automation – the catalyst for smarter business decisions today. RPA is redefining the way processes like risk, compliance, accounts & invoice processing, and customer onboarding, and experts believe this is the tip of the iceberg.


Challenges In Digital Transformation


Digital transformation programs need the support from the top management and participation from all the functions within the organisation and other stake holders in the ecosystem like customers, and suppliers among others. This is more of a change management process and transformation in the business processes and model. It is a long journey, probably a decade for large organisations. But it is important now to persevere, reassess strategies and embrace digital intervention methods, if companies hope to be change-makers of the future.


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Excerpts of speech by Nagarajan Rao, Director, CoE IoT DSAI, Chennai at the BITS Pilani (Goa) 3rd PGP-IoT cohort

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