How to succeed at digital transformation in India

BrandPost By Avinash Joshi, CEO, NTT India
28 Feb 20245 mins
Digital Transformation

If you’re a CEO starting or expanding a business in India, how should you plan to pave the way for your continual digital transformation?

Credit: istock/metamorworks

Digital transformation refers to using technology to fundamentally change how your organization operates and delivers value to your customers and stakeholders.

However, it goes beyond simply acquiring new technologies. It also requires a rethink of your business strategy to embrace advances in cloud computing, analytics, AI, IoT and automation.

You may not have started your digital transformation at all and feel unsure where to start. Or, you may have begun migrating to the cloud but now need edge computing and IoT to streamline your operations, or you may want to use AI to supercharge your business analytics.

Either way, it can be tough and expensive – especially if you lack the relevant internal skills and resources. There certainly isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution.

The value of partnerships

This is why organizations opt to work with managed service providers (MSPs) that can manage change while sharing their expertise in these new technologies.

The MSP can enable your organization to embrace the new technology as quickly and efficiently as possible, with little or no business interruption, and empower your employees to adopt new, technology-enabled ways of working.

At NTT, as an MSP with expertise from the edge to the cloud, we’re always advancing our own ongoing digital transformation even as we help our clients innovate.

With the benefit of hindsight, what decisions might we have made differently in this regard 10 years ago? Put differently, if you’re a CEO who is now expanding your organization in India, how should you plan for the digital journey that lies ahead?

1. Design for the next decade

Accept that your organization will look completely different in 10 years’ time. Implement business and technology designs that give you flexibility in an ever-changing environment – and create a scalable, agile core data lake that can accommodate new types and volumes of data in future. 

Today you might deal only with your distributors, with no direct connection to the end consumer, but this can change over time. How would you then capture that data, perhaps to roll out personalization at scale?

For instance, the automotive industry is building ever more software into cars – which, in effect, become edge-computing devices. How do car makers collect data from their vehicles once they’re on the road, and how will they analyze that data to improve their products and services?

2. Always prioritize cybersecurity

Security and compliance must be at the core of your digital transformation – for both IT and operational technology.

Configure the best possible cybersecurity for your organization even before you start digitalizing your operations – and pay attention to legislative developments in data privacy.

India’s new Digital Personal Data Protection Bill is similar to the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation and other legislation around the world. What are the implications for your digital transformation? How will you keep your customers’ data safe?

3. Focus on skills development and retention

For now, labor in India is still relatively affordable, with enough skilled people in the market compared with many other developed economies where automation has become an efficient cost-cutter that reduces the need for certain categories of skilled employees.

Automation can also enhance CX – for example, by reducing the scope for human error – but the risk is that broader skill sets disappear along with the employees whose jobs are made redundant.

Meanwhile, many skilled employees in India are also shifting their focus to futuristic technologies such as generative AI or space exploration, forcing their current employers to digitalize and automate some functions to replace them. This trend will continue.

4. Create one view for all your technology

Many organizations have a degree of customization within their operations, with business units using a range of technologies from different vendors. Half of your applications might be on-premises while the rest are software as a service, involving multiple cloud providers. Your digital transformation may end up limited by the constraints of your technology providers.

Bringing these vendors and technologies together to create a single, easily accessible view of the business for the C-suite can be a challenge, but this is where MSPs excel as they tend to have close relationships with multiple vendors.

5. Be a champion of sustainability

Sustainability is another consideration that will only increase in importance in the years ahead. Consider how setting sustainability goals will benefit your organization and your community, and how it might attract certain skills.

When you make business decisions or buy technology, always factor in sustainability. Ensure your sustainability goals are aligned with your overall business and technology strategies.

Today’s planning for tomorrow’s success

Acknowledge that technology will keep changing everything – fast.

You have to stay on your toes in all aspects of your business, and don’t hesitate to work with third parties to access the expertise and innovation that will give you a competitive edge. It will save you time, money and effort along the way and make your digital transformation a digital success.