Harness abundance to unlock growth

By Ravi Viswanathan

In 2018, our company crossed a $100 billion in market capitalisation. As I was reflecting on our growth, I noted that over the years our growth has matched those of the ‘consumer staples’ that tend to be evergreen and provide stability in volatile market conditions. Today, technology has become a staple. If we need evidence to substantiate this statement, we don’t need revenue or market cap figures to pore over. Look no further than our daily lives and how high we rate wi-fi, Internet or our smartphones alongside our other daily needs.

Voracious consumers of technology around the globe are also driving change in large enterprises. As these enterprises build their strategies to turn digital disruption into opportunity, we are seeing the emergence of very innovative and successful business models. At the core of this success is the shift in mindset from trying to optimize scarce resources to harnessing abundance, and technology is the key to tapping this abundance and unlocking growth.

The concept of abundance was articulated by Peter Diamandis and Steven Kotler in their 2012 book ‘Abundance: The Future is better than you think’. They argued that the rise of exponential technologies will enable us to make more progress in the next two decades than in the past two hundred years. We have seen this happening all around us in recent years.

An entrepreneur with a great idea sitting in Bengaluru today has access to unlimited capital from across the globe thanks to trends like venture funding, crowdfunding platforms and peer-to-peer lending. Access to unlimited pools of talent is today just a technology platform away; think Uber or the gig economy. A home-sharing start-up like Airbnb simply tapped the abundant spare capacity of homes across the world and aggregated them through a technology platform to create a successful business model.

Given how critical technology is in all this, it’s no surprise that tech giants and start-ups have been quick to use abundance to fuel exponential growth. But we are now seeing many of the large incumbents across sectors script success stories of their own, unlocking huge value. A retail customer we work with converted a limited market for electronics products in their stores into a service by providing technology support to all shoppers irrespective of where they bought their products opening up a new revenue stream by expanding their addressable market. Another customer, a utility, made tremendous gains by improving the efficiency of its boilers through intelligent monitoring and predictive maintenance and took the next step of monetising this effort and offering it as a service to other peers thus opening up a whole new avenue for growth.

For these companies, looking beyond their traditional market into the abundance of capability as well as consumers in allied areas to unlock growth was a winning strategy.

In our experience of working with many customers who are in various stages of transformation, the first step they took was to put in place the technology enablers. Once these organizations became intelligent, agile, automated and on the cloud, their growth and transformation journeys have been generally channelled along four business behaviours: Personalizing at scale, leveraging ecosystems, embracing risk and creating exponential value.

At TCS, we call this Business 4.0. It is a framework that describes the transformation enterprises are going through due to the cumulative impact of digital technologies. The ability to harness abundance by using technology platforms and unlocking growth is critical to success in a Business 4.0 world.

Abundant capital, talent and capabilities are available to anyone who is keen to harness them, and so is the technology. The only shift that needs to be made is in the mindset – from optimizing scarcity to harnessing abundance.

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