Digital Transformation – necessary, not just sufficient
“Data is the heart of Artificial Intelligence”, emphasized Arvind Thakur, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, NIIT Technologies, at NASSCOM’s Technology & Leadership Forum 2019.
Moderating a session on opportunities and impact of Digitization, Analytics & AI, Thakur talks about China. Beijing’s well-capitalized, highly organized A.I. plan to make China the world’s primary A.I. innovation centre by 2030 is state policy. If data is the new oil, China is the new hub. Where does India stand in The Fourth Industrial Revolution? At the edge of scope and potential, is the industry optimism. The answer lies in digital transformation.
Companies across the world are jumping on the data-digital bandwagon to reinvent their business. This digital transformation is disrupting every sector: from retail, life sciences, to automotive. Amazon disrupted retail by moving the goal posts from ‘curated assortment’ to ‘everything’. At the heart of its strategy was data collection, analysis, and curation.
Karenann Terrell, Chief Digital and Technology Officer, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), says, “For businesses to reinvent, digital transformation is imperative.”
But there is a catch. Digital transformation must deliver superior experience and radically change customer engagement. If it doesn’t, it’s not worth it. This can happen by employing breakthrough technology – think Amazon. At the fundamental basis of digital transformation is data.
More data, more responsibility
“AI and blockchain will fundamentally change trust”, adds Terrell while weighing further on data and digital transformation. At GSK, digital transformation is led by combining science, technology, and culture. Progressively, the focus is more on genetic drug discovery and increasing the Direct2Customer model. With patient data and analytics, the bond with the end-user (the patient) increases, while also enhancing GSK’s capabilities to quickly improve and also sustain patient relationship.
As Terrell puts it, digital will become the medicine.
For companies looking at digital transformation, the key lies in identifying the technology powering strategy. Only when technology is completely and fundamentally entrenched in the company and its values, can it help the business reinvent.
This also calls for building an ecosystem with strategic partnerships across the value chain. All strategy must be data-driven in an ecosystem. How companies access data, ingest it, and ultimately what analytics they use to make decision depends on what the transformation objective is.
Data matters in Real estate
CBRE, world’s leading commercial real estate services company, is developing practices and products from a customer-back perspective using Artificial Intelligence and implementation of industry best practices.
“Real estate is more than brick and mortar”, asserts Dalia Soliman-Powers, SVP & Enterprise Services CIO at CBRE.
Using open source platforms and collaborating with stakeholders, CBRE is employing machine learning (ML) to create preferential learning and enhance customer experience. CBRE’s data tools and resources enable are helping client make the best real estate and technology decisions along with globally consistent risk management.
For CBRE, pertinent data helps the real estate portfolio thrives as a disruptive business model powered by data and digitization.
Digital looking glass
Because data is everywhere, and everything is data, digital transformation can get confusing. Thierry Delaporte, Chief Operating Officer, Capgemini, believes that companies must not look at digital through the technology looking glass. Businesses must first pick the challenge to address, and then move to decide what technology to use.
For Delaporte, digital transformation is only a change enabler for businesses. The vastness of data can lead to priorities shifting out of focus. However, what works with digital transformation is the strategy and a leadership aligned to it. The capability to deploy the technology on-ground is a follow-on, and so is picking the right partners.
AI enables, empower, enhances digital transformation
The need to identify a business challenge is also critical to applying AI. Delaporte calls for a pragmatism with AI. Confident that AI will not replace humans, he prefers AI to be perceived as a key.
For businesses, AI enhances corporate functions: faster, better decision making, problem identification, employee engagement, and even intelligent supply chain and logistics.
For an AI-powered digital transformation scalability is a natural problem to solve. Once business problem is identified, the AI must scale to solve the problem or else it’s a loss investment. Companies should look at ethical policies while working with AI – transparency, privacy, security are imperative.
A well-executed digital transformation is an opportunity. Embracing and leveraging analytics and AI is a fundamental change to how businesses operate and how they deliver value.