‘The Indian context to Digitalisation is quite different from the global’
Nimish Danani, Director, Hitachi Consulting.
While most companies are today talking of Digital Transformation, do all of them have effective strategies in place for implementation?
Digital Transformation has come in like a wave and everyone has attempted to use it in their own small or big way. Many organisations have invested in point solutions but have not realised any value. There are relatively fewer organisations who have taken the route to first build an effective digital strategy and then go about implementation. As a trend we see more companies now trying to take that route; most of the early adopters started off by picking some areas for trial and now seeing some data in real-time. Today we are in the “early adopters” cycle. There are several organisations who have completed the “trial” or “POC” or “POV” phase and now are scaling up across “connected factory”, “connected workforce”, etc.
What are the impediments in the process of Digital Transformation in the Indian context? Is RoI the key concern?
The Indian context to Digitalisation is quite different from the global. Here we see “Technology” as an added cost and NOT as a tool to enhance productivity. Top management is looking at short term RoI and “low cost” quick fixes. Additionally, we are a services economy and the human skill is relatively more affordable here. Hence we tend to equate technology cost to people cost in certain areas. Technology and people are not always mutually exclusive. We need to strategically think of re-deploying people and NOT reducing people. Digital transformation will give newer opportunities to people and they will need to upskill and join the Digitalisation wave. If robots are coming, someone will have to install, maintain and program the robot too
As one of the main drivers of the economy, is the SME sector ready for this transformation?
The SME sector can adopt digitisation faster than the large organisation. They are more nimble and agile in their operations and fewer decision makers. It’s the mind-set that needs to change. There are plenty of SMEs who have jumped onto the Digitalisation wave by moving to mobile apps for their internal processes. Some of them have actually jumped the “computerisation” wave and moved to mobility. This is also a visible trend where we see the next generation who is “tech savvy” coming into businesses and enabling better efficiencies using mobility, connected machines, etc.
How should the SMEs prepare for Digital Transformation?
SMEs need to take a fresh look at their business models and operations. Based on priority they could rely on external skills to enable their teams and work on specific digitalisation initiatives. Here the budgets will be small, hence they need to very clearly prioritise their time and efforts for maximum RoI. Experimenting is not a good idea; better to seek guidance from the right people. Studying the impact of Digitalisation in other similar industry environment will give them a guidance but they need to validate the impact it will have on their working.
Are privacy and cybersecurity concerns regarding the cloud exaggerated?
In the Indian context where adoption is quite slow, the privacy and security concerns have not yet ballooned. Experts are definitely looking at the adoption and the data sensitivity and are rightly saying “be careful”. Cloud adoption is not an option in many ways; as a manufacturing industry you may not be able to hire and retain an IT team to manage your infrastructure and maintain it. This is all-the-more true for the SMEs. Using a reputed platform with secure connectivity should keep SMEs afloat. For larger organisations they are seeing better RoI in investing in the infrastructure. They prefer everything “in-house”, they get “capex” budgets and already have a team in house managing other applications and infrastructure. As more OT data gets exposed to the internet, the risks will proportionately increase; having a strong security policy and infrastructure becomes a must. It is a matter of time when all industry data will be moving across the internet, decisions being taken online and return commands given to machines as well. All of this MUST be secured.
Nimish Danani leads the west region for India Go-to-Market for Digital Operations at Hitachi. He comes with a mix of technology and consulting experience. He has 17+ years of diverse experience in multiple roles across Consulting, Client Engagement and Business Development. In the past, Nimish has worked for over 7 years with technology companies like IBM and Cisco handling key sectors like Manufacturing, Oil & Gas. He has been part of BMGI in the field of Operations Consulting (Lean, Six Sigma transformations) and has a sound understanding of operations and the challenges faced. Prior to joining Hitachi Consulting he was co-lead of the IoT Practice at KPMG India. Nimish had also been associated with start-ups in the e-commerce and enterprise mobility space. He has co-authored white paper IOT – the Indian Context and has been a session chair and a speaker at multiple forums including CII, Digital India, IDC amongst other.