Disruption is not good. It’s better.

Most great innovations come from shifting landscapes. On Day 2 of NASSCOM’s Leadership and Technology 2019 (NTLF 2019), at the panel discussion on Disrupt or be Disrupted – Present and Future, moderator Sandeep Chaudhary, Senior Adviser, Human Capital, & Former CEO, Aon questions the paradigm of disruption and the reconfiguring of jobs and business structures.

 A slice of disruption

 “Living through an age of disruption is a privilege’, contends panellist Pratik Pota, CEO, Jubilant Foodworks. The food and food-delivery industry has seen a sea change: Domino’s business has moved from dine-in, delivery, to servicing via food apps. The disruption is not tech or competition – it’s the change in consumer mind-set.

Like a battering ram, the consumer mind-set and behaviour has changed: from the indulgence of walking in to a pizza outlet to the convenience of delivery at the doorstep.

How does Jubilant look at this external disruption?

For one, by investing in data and embracing digital transformation. With investment in data centralization and mining, Jubilant now uses meaningful data to reach the consumer. Insights like food preferences, ticket size, walk-in share etc. are now cornerstone to Jubilant’s business strategy.

However, Pratik Pota is judicious in his appreciation of technology. He sees the insight as the force multiplier, and not the data. Jubilant on its part is investing and banking on the entire ecosystem – data, product, value for money, technology, and service to tackle disruption.

No banker left behind 

As traditional banking models continue to face pressure, digitization provides the greatest opportunity to reinvent operations.

Changing customer demands affects banking as much as food industry for Anuranjita Kumar, Managing Director Human Resources, RBS. As panellists at NTLF 2019, she’s candid that technology and digitization is the way ahead, but banking must evolve as its customers do. There is large consumer base that banks physically – be it cash withdrawal or deposit.

Analytics has the potential to redefine decision-making in the banking industry, but Kumar stresses that, “Social interactions will change in the future.”

With increased regulatory scrutiny and advent of disruptive technologies, (blockchain, for one) the banker of the future must be ready. Enabled by technology, the future banker has to be tech savvy and be able to read the changing landscape to stay relevant.

This involves a change in mind-set. This mind-set implementation transcends not only to the bottom-line but also to business approach, culture, product design and customer service.

In a digital world, the future banker – empowered with technology – must find the right solutions intuitively.

Tech disrupts tech more

Mani Ganeshan, APAC Center Head, Amadeus Labs, sounds an obvious idea: no other industry sees disruption more than tech!

As one of the largest players in the travel and aviation space, Amadeus sees disruption at several levels. The first, he enumerates, is the customer. In a market where options are plenty and experience is important, the customer is the biggest disruptor.

Amadeus’s clients are airlines and airports, hotels, search engines, travel agencies, tour operators and other travel players. The proliferation of technology-based start-ups offering point-solutions to these entities is a threat and a challenge. It’s hard keeping ahead of the curve, but Ganeshan hedges his bets on their technology serving better.

The other disruptor he lists is the geopolitical scenario and security issues. In an increasingly cautious world, governments across the world mandate diverse – even frustrating – data handling, storage, and usage policies. Setting up data centres in each region isn’t viable – but that’s disruption to be deal with.

How then do Amadeus and Ganeshan reconfigure and anticipate the changing horizon?

A decade ago, specialists in IT and ITeS were aplenty. Now, however, the hiring focus has shifted. “We prefer versatility and adaptability more than aptitude or experience,” emphasizes Ganeshan.

The reconfiguration happens at his level too. Ganeshan’s role now is more of an entrepreneur – tackling problems like fostering talent base and instilling the enterprising mind-set in the team.

Skills of the future

Irrespective of industry, there is unanimous agreement on the desired skills. There is need to worry about the skills people use in order to be effective at disruption.

For managers, this means to be less managerial, and more enabler. The role transcends the traditional activity of reviewing and staffing to more coach-like. It’s the ‘human touch’ that makes managers deal with disruption easily.

Technology will take care of the ‘matters of mind’ but managers will be increasingly relevant for the ‘matters of heart’.

Change is essential. Disruption is an unavoidable waypoint for growth journey of businesses. Dealing with disruption and securing the business is a matter of anticipating the horizon change. But as long as organizations are prepared to invest the time and energy in the human-centred dimensions, disruptions will only make things better.

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