Digital Transformation: The Next Big Wave
The inaugural edition of the Airtel Business Summit 2015, held in Goa, highlighted new opportunities and challenges that have triggered digital transformation of enterprises and solutions to drive the digital agenda within organizations.
Oct 06th 2015

The world is getting closer than ever due to the emerging use of connected devices, especially in enterprises. This ushers in new challenges for businesses and pressurizes them to think how an organization should tackle the next wave of digitalization.

The two-day summit, which was attended by 54 IT leaders from the telecom and information technology industries, was inaugurated with the theme ‘Digital Transformation: The Next Big Wave’ to take up this issue.

The event got off to a start with keynote speaker, Manish Prakash, director and president, Airtel India Business, detailing the transition that the company was undergoing to become an end-to-end solutions provider and the path that Airtel would tread to realize this goal.

“The telecom industry today is at crossroads in many different ways. The new landscapes of competitive challenges are created by convergence. Each block of services in telecom’s core domain is seen to be a competition from service providers that did not exist 15-20 years ago,” he said.

Anders Sorman-Nilsson, a futurist and an innovation strategist, highlighted the global trends that are impacting business models. He spoke about how all business leaders today have to adapt their business models to digital transformation in the “post digital disruption society.”

“Initiatives like Digital India and Make in India are trying to make the entire economy even smarter in the future,” he said. New technologies such as the Internet of Things provide seamless integration in enterprises, he added.

He also discussed the benefits of the digital and analogue world and how enterprises can move seamlessly from one to another with the changing digital environment.

Argha Basu, chief product officer, Airtel Business, put forth the value proposition of the business and said that businesses are under pressure to digitalize and transform at greater speeds than before because the technological ecosystem is transforming at an ever faster rate.

“It is important for CIOs to be able to communicate the impact of digitization in a manner which helps business leaders in the organization understand and start adopting. While technology is available, the effect of this technology and the change that it can bring about is something that most businesses are not able to articulate enough. Therefore, the ability of CIOs to experiment and start new things is becoming critical to lead digital transformation,” he said.

Because of the increasing use of mobile devices, the era of a nine-to-five job is almost non-existent now; employees are expected to be connected throughout the day. Kishor Asrani, CEO, North and East, Airtel Business, and S. Ramakrishnan, Divisional VP, United Breweries Ltd., explored, in a panel discussion, how companies can enable millenials and the workforce to be productive in this mobile environment.

“Mobile workforce style is changing but that is because of business needs—because if you go to do business the market time is short and the business requires immediate reaction,” said Asrani.

Businesses are now growing without boundaries, but there is still a need to connect to the organization from beyond the office to increase productivity. In such an environment, visual collaboration in enterprises is necessary, which has also evolved over time. Prasad Routray, Vice President & Business Head, Airtel Business Mumbai Region, and Sunny Rao, Vice President-India & Middle East, Vidyo, discussed how video conferencing can be used in organizations and is essential to build trust.

“In a hypercompetitive environment, organizations need to build the culture of being very transparent, and you will get that when you interact regularly in a small set of systems that you have been given,” Rao said.

Managing people, processes and technology change to grow business becomes imperative as enterprises go digital. Anant Arora, CEO South, Airtel Business, and Dr. Soumayagit Patnaik, CMO Tata AIA Life Insurance Co Ltd., spoke about how organizations should deal with the cultural evolution because of digital disruption.

“Change is difficult—employees ask if change can be sustained and question the vision,” Patnaik said.

An efficient platform for the delivery of technology is imperative and moving to the cloud is the right step forward. Argha Basu of Airtel and Vikas Gupta, Sr. VP-IT at Tech Mahindra Limited examined how an enterprise can power a cloud economy and what would drive cloud monetization.

“The one thing that I am hearing from CIOs is ‘What is the right time for me to move to the cloud?’ While most of them are continuing to retain their core applications on premises, they now have started experimenting their peripheral applications,” Basu said.