Digital transformation for many companies in India and also many sectors and companies worldwide has often stopped short of being truly transformational. For a couple of years, the debate over cyber-security if applications, infrastructure and data moved from the corporate premises to the cloud obfuscated the real cost and flexibility advantages of cloud transitions. And digital readiness was often equated to the number and velocity of mobile apps the corporate IT teams were able to buy and build to enable the company to appear digital in its processes and services.
Mckinsey & Co, in a warning bell sounded for the IT Services industry a few years ago, had predicted that digital attackers, focused on digital solutions that challenged long held dogmas and beliefs would make the services of many incumbents irrelevant or outdates and in many client situations, particularly financial services and retail and increasingly manufacturing and healthcare, the role of start-up “attacker” solutions is increasing, skillfully integrated into the process fabric of the organization by digital consulting firms that understand both the domain and the digital opportunity.
A couple of examples of such attackers will make the opportunity clear. One major manufacturing company in Western India has already implemented two start-up solutions, Cloud IOT to transform information gathered from devices, sensors and information systems from the shop floor and even after the capital equipment ids installed at the customer site and Cloud Beat which tracks the movement of the product through the demand chain of distributors and dealers through to the end customer. These solutions are putting predictive power in the hands of field service engineers and product marketers and enabling opportunity share to be maximized for the company and its products.
In the HR space, for organizations across sectors like Manufacturing, Banking, Insurance , Hospitality and IT Services, digital start-ups are challenging larger HR product suites by relegating them to “Systems of Record” status while creating new platforms that enable systems of insight and engagement to be created and deployed. Skills Alpha, one of the newest start-ups from the 5F World stable of digital solutions has found the perfect solution to the problem of motivating millions of millennials who are stuck in seemingly “dead-end” jobs through extensive use of artificial intelligence cognitive and adaptive learning methodologies. Skills Alpha is a platform that uses the best of engagement tools to provide a truly adaptive learning environment for the young learner who is engaged by a “bot” from the minute she gets on to the platform, which enables her to assess her own aspirations and goals, look at alternative learning and career paths and get thoroughly engaged on a journey of content discovery, opportunity exploration and learning throughout her tenure in the organization.
A sound argument exists for a new generation of start-ups focused on Business to Business solutions Cloud Beat and Cloud IOT or in the case of Skills Alpha, on Business to Business to Consumer ideas. Across a variety of horizontal functions like learning, sales productivity improvement, financial skills and vertical domain areas like loan management, actuarial services and digital community development and deployment in organizations, the discussion has moved from custom built or packages software to multi-tenant platforms and micro-services that can be incorporated in the business and technology architecture of future organizations. Starts-ups powered by mastery of new technologies and research into trends in key business and industry sectors are mastering the new space of digital platform engineering, forcing traditional vendors to ambidextrously look for new innovative platform solutions to take to market while continuing to incrementally change internal and external business processes and systems in client organizations.
On the main theme of digital transformation itself, it is time for businesses and CXOs to look beyond anecdotal evidence of social media , mobile apps and digital marketing success stories reported by their teams and demand true transformation. This will happen through completely recrafting the digital journeys of customers, supply and demand chain partners and employees and will need, in large measure, deliberate investments in process reengineering, culture and mind shift changes to support the array of digital technologies that are available for deployment. In many large corporations, the digital imperative and the opportunities to partner extensively and thoughtfully with start-ups to deliver the transformation have become topics for board room discussion – not a month too soon for that !
Photo credits : Insiderpro.