Surfing the Waves of Digital Transformation

Surfing the Waves of Digital Transformation

Surfing the Waves of Digital Transformation

Anupam Sharma, Director - India Digital Transformation, Faurecia, 0

A dynamic leader passionate about cutting-edge technologies such as big data, AI, and machine learning. With a proven track record, he excels in setting up high-performance teams and driving digital transformations and automation initiatives to success.

The world is a more dynamic place than it ever was, with technology evolving every passing day. From standalone devices to connected devices, connected devices to digital twins, databases to data-lakes, data analytics to business intelligence dashboards, batch mode to real time insights, discriminative AI to generative AI; the list is inexhaustible. Technology has covered a lot of ground at lightning speed.

Every organization faces the same dilemma: should we wait till the technology evolves or do we jump right in? The think tanks tackle multitudes of challenges; understanding and anticipating the impact of digital transformation, preparing a strategic and holistic roadmap to leverage all things digital and executing the plan while the landscape evolves with another disruptive technology.

Any expert in the field will be at a loss to prescribe an outright winning digital transformation strategy. Every organization will have their unique challenges and complexities. Hence, the strategies to overcome these challenges and resolve these complexities would also need to be uniquely defined.

I. Being Agile is the New Normal
Transformation by its virtue means change. Any change planned to modernize the architectures would face resistance from powerful legacy systems. Integration issues, development of compatible APIs etc., are often overlooked while creating the strategy on drawing boards. Being agile is the only way to resolve these issues one at a time. All levels of the organization must practice being Agile. Exploring parallel alternatives while working on a committed path can be crucial. A dedicated innovation team keeping a watch on industry trends can be tapped in for a leaner, lighter and an effective solution. Once a concept is proven, this team can transfer it to the main development team and hop on to the next exploration.

II. Blended Teams Over Rigid Structures
Any organization would approach their digital transformation journey either by having a central big team or multiple small teams within each business vertical. Each has its merits and limitations. A blended approach wherein each business group or function is autonomous but works in consultation with a central team of experts providing over-watch in terms of robust architectures, cybersecurity and optimum utilization of resources could prove to be a game changer. The small, agile and innovative team of experts, would also need to be placed appropriately within this structure.

III. Learning & Experimental Culture
Failing fast with no serious repercussions is a core element in a field driven by experimentation. Focus on role-based learning and upskilling across the organization, for digital technologies, is must. People within the organization must understand that this is inevitable. This can be done by explaining the overall purpose and the impact it can bring to the organization.

Proof of concepts is a great way of showcasing the
glimpse of benefits which can be achieved in the long run. Biggest roadblock in this journey can be the mindset of people. Awareness sessions and workshops to involve the end users right from the beginning is a great way of ensuring that people don’t consider it as a threat or as a forced measure coming from the top.

IV. Talent Over Title
Skilled young engineers and scientists are the main workforce putting all the technology pieces together. Skill-based assignments would mean more, rather than titles. Providing them with the right tools and development environments would be as important as providing an interesting and challenging problem to solve. Years in service will play a limited role in growth path. Job satisfaction would be paramount than monthly paychecks. The focus should not only be on hiring new talents but the company veterans, if up-skilled, can work wonders with their domain expertise and the newly acquired skills. A skill assessment framework will go a long way in charting an organization’s digital transformation journey.

V. Data Deserves Utmost Respect
Data is the most precious asset in this transformation journey. It must be managed with utmost care. It is available in various forms – structured, unstructured in various sizes and various places. Cloud platforms would be a good avenue to start consolidating data at a central level to connect the dots. This layer of ingested data coming from various sources viz. sensors, cameras, etc. would be the foundation of the transformation efforts. Huge amount of data collected, once cleaned, authenticated, and transformed, would enable any organization to effectively leverage AI.

Proof of concepts is a great way of showcasing the glimpse of benefits which can be achieved in the long run.

VI. Business Goals Act as Working Compass
These should be linked directly with the organizational objectives and should be dividable into smaller units for its efficacy to be gauged without any landmark event. Functional or business leaders should drive this part in alignment with the tech team while keeping realistic goals in mind.

VII. Cybersecurity & Compliance Cannot be Ignored
Protecting the organization’s data against any breaches is paramount. Dedicated central teams to reinforce the tech stack to detect and mitigate abnormal activities across the network. Ensuring compliance is another important aspect. Misuse of data, abuse of personal data, inconsistent data etc. should be addressed from regulatory point of view. A central team to ensure this governance, with the mandate to provide over watch, is critical to ensure that the framework works in full compliance. Use of open-source tools also needs to be monitored and regularized to avoid any security breaches and to standardize the tool chain for ease of maintenance.

VIII. A Risk Appetite is a Must
It would be naïve for anyone to think that they can plan a perfect strategy on a whiteboard and then execute it to perfection. This involves a lot of experiments. Important decisions like the technology fit for an application can be taken by collaborating with strong technical partners in the industry and help minimize risks. The team of experts, would also play a key role in early identification of risks or even opportunities to implement a better, faster, scalable solution.

"All in all, navigating digital transformation is like surfing, the most unpredictable waves can bring the best of opportunities".