Integrated digital platforms that can connect employees and ecosystems, engage customers, manage operations, and drive product and service innovation will become as critical as corporate campuses and factories.
By Meetul Patel
The digital future has come into sharp focus for many organisations over the last few months. Concepts that seemed to be nice or novel like “Work from Anywhere” and “Digital Twins” rapidly became necessities, and are sources of advantage for those that rapidly embraced the digital future.
We are only at the onset of an evolutionary change that that will bring about productivity increases as the digital future rapidly interleaves into the physical world. We have been given a full-scale demonstration of how the right digital platforms can optimise operations, increase responsiveness to customers, and even enable the reimagination of products in changing environments. We have seen how cloud-based digital platforms can rapidly shape P&Ls against revenue streams.
India’s corporate world was jolted into the deployment of the basic infrastructure and connections needed to enable a scenario that landed so unexpectedly on the world. Almost overnight, homes had to be equipped with hardware, networks had to be set up, corporate IT assets had to be made available in every neighborhood.
Speed was of the essence to maintain business continuity, and the response was typical of the commercial sector known for its responsiveness and execution capability. But as the work began to scale on this rapidly constructed platform, cracks and gaps began to appear as much as the benefits. The next order of business has become to bridge the seams and develop the rapidly assembled digital capabilities into a strong, differentiated business capability.
A location-agnostic world
A significant part of the digital infrastructure for a world where talent could operate from anywhere and everywhere at global benchmark productivity levels has been cobbled together in just weeks. The priority now is to bring the same amount of care and capability into the development of virtual digital platforms as was done for the physical world at the turn of the century.
The good news is that the technology needed for location-agnostic organisations has been evolving rapidly over the last few years and many organisations have already been working on concepts and testing digital platforms to help improve productivity through more efficient collaboration.
Establishing a resilient digital platform
With the core business operations more stable now, business leaders can establish a clear view on what the digitally-powered version of an organisation could be, assess gaps against that target state, and then rapidly build out missing capabilities. This round of transformation won’t be isolated to new divisions or functions chasing a new trend. Integrated digital platforms that can connect employees and ecosystems, engage customers, manage operations, and drive product and service innovation will become as critical as corporate campuses and factories. The establishment of such a platform, however, need not be a complex and long process.
Remaining gaps can be assessed rapidly, and core suites of capabilities like productivity, business process management, security, and rapid application development can be deployed into an organisation quickly and progressively to build out a strong platform for the emerging business context. When the crisis happened, corporates moved fast to respond with urgent point solutions. Now is the time to maintain momentum and set up for the recovery and beyond through the creation of a resilient digital platform that can help organisations improve their economics and ability to innovate in the world ahead.
The writer is executive director, Strategic Growth, Microsoft India