Digital disruption is inevitable

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Published: July 23, 2018 2:36:08 AM

“We are the leaders in networking, security, cloud and collaboration to name a few and believe that with such diverse architectural capabilities in each of these areas, we can stitch together a holistic end-to-end solution which can be the foundation for digital transformation,” says VC Gopalratnam.

VC Gopalratnam, President, IT & CIO – International, Cisco Systems

IT and networking major Cisco Systems believes in holistic solutions. “We are the leaders in networking, security, cloud and collaboration to name a few and believe that with such diverse architectural capabilities in each of these areas, we can stitch together a holistic end-to-end solution which can be the foundation for digital transformation,” says VC Gopalratnam (Gopal), president, IT & CIO – International, Cisco Systems. “In order to embark on a digital transformation journey, companies should focus on technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchain security and cloud,” he tells Sudhir Chowdhary in a recent interaction. Excerpts:

What technologies do you think will impact humans the most in the coming years, with respect to healthcare, education, finance?
Technologies such as collaboration, blockchain and networking among many others are going to redefine these sectors. With several industries today being transaction-led, they need to have the ability to perform transactions in the country’s local languages. Second, blockchain tied with security is going to be another important capability and will become real and be implemented at scale eventually. Blockchain as a concept is essentially a distributed ledger connecting all transactions from history, so there is a constant record and has the highest level of security built into it, leaving no scope for data breach. While these two technologies are going to be game-changers, their large scale deployment will rest on effective connectivity which has its pillars in strong networking.

What changes do you see in the mindset of enterprises towards investing in enterprise technology?
Today, enterprises look at more personalised products and solutions which provide a better service experience. Organisations need to understand the persona of the employees and give them things that they are looking for in a push kind of a context, as opposed to having them go and pull the necessary data based on who they are. You just cannot throw out generic solutions.

What are the mistakes companies make as they embark on a digital journey?
There are things like simplification, which is very important that companies follow from a digital transformation perspective. You cannot digitally transform something which is very complicated as you may end up digitising or automating the wrong things which could spell disaster for any business.

What should companies keep in mind when facing digital disruption?
Digital disruption is inevitable. It is going to happen to everybody. When you talk from a customer’s perspective, he is looking for flexibility, efficiency, ease of doing business or having a good experience, cost efficiency, quality and affordability. In a digitally disruptive business, consumers’ demand and their consumption patterns are going to drive businesses so you have to keep your eyes on all of this.

What are the technologies needed for digital transformation?
Companies should focus on technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), blockchain security and cloud. While AI may not replace human beings, it is definitely going to replace tasks that humans do today that the machines can do better. Similarly with cloud, people are going to consume from something that is delivered whether through a public cloud or a private cloud. Security too is becoming imperative as governance and compliance in a digital world becomes increasingly driven by security principles. One should have security policies at the architectural level and not necessarily at the end device level.

How important will cloud and mobility be in India’s e-governance projects?
An average citizen is more likely to consume citizen services through a mobile device, so we need to design everything with mobile-first kind of a thinking. Cloud comes as a viable alternative in providing these services at scale and at the right cost with players such as Bharti Airtel and Jio playing a key role in this. Security needs to be embedded in the network in any cloud service. Hence, as a blueprint for citizen services, we have to deliver with ubiquitous connectivity and security through the cloud on a mobile device at the right SLAs.

Cyber security is a growing concern for business worldwide. What is the next step in the technology evolution for securing information?
The best way to handle that is to embed all of your security policies in your infrastructure which takes care of a lot of things such as security against identity and access, security against data, protection against intrusion. It also provides security against malware and security against multi cloud type of an environment. So it manages the conduits, right through its security lapses where it occurs and that is a much cleaner way of doing security management as opposed to going after anything and everything and trying to secure individually.

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