HOW DIGITAL IS THIS DESH? | INDIA INC & MIDDLE INDIA- A STUDY- Part 1

Enough on digitalization! We have talked enough about the consumer internet. Some of you might even think that digital content consumption (beyond building marketing profiles) is zilch. You could be one of those people for whom the internet economy, however, connected, does not pertain to business. You could even believe a complete digitalization of processes, governance and finance is a distant dream and not achievable so why bother?

Today we will not roll out any digitalization stats to convince you- at least not initially. We would first define digitalization for corporates, countries and communities. We would then draw parallels between transformations and convince you that Digitalization is a boon that’s working its way into our culture, our corporates and our country.

The digital transformation of the world in the postmodern era can be likened to the industrial revolution of the 1920s. Only that instead of imperial expansion, globalization took over. Heavy migration rates and quick modes of communication replaced the transportation, the world wide web was the ‘spinning jenny’ (the handloom machine that was the beginning of it all.)

Back at home, the dot com revolution, the internal migration rates and the infrastructural boom of telecom (Jio) make it the right decade for the country to step into a digitalized socio-economic order.

The industries, the power corridors, the political system are pro digitalization. The 1.22 Bn Aadhar cards have already provided a digital print to the people. The skeptics too have started raising concerns about the increasing divide between the rich and the poor because of a ‘Digital India’. However what they miss out on is the fact that true Digitalization will actually come to us from the bottom to the top. Transformations have to be all-inclusive – as a time-tested tale from the management books will tell you.

Digitalization – Why all good things come from bottom to top? 

The Peter Drucker – Alan Sloan Story 

Peter Drucker is known to be the man who defined management and Alan Sloan has the  ‘The MIT Sloan ‘ school named after him. General Motors is the gold standard in management even before the discipline existed. Drucker had studied what one may term in the modern day as collaboration and involvement by observing Sloan’s style of management. The one thing that Drucker had observed about Sloan was the democratic method of building a culture that came from the bottom to the top. It meant that he had discussions, dissent and then decisions. An all-inclusive culture meant an all-inclusive effort. All functions, though operating separately, collaborated seamlessly. Sloan goes down in history as the best of managers of all time.
Sounds like the world’s first study for Collaboration and Communication – Two processes that need godspeed for the successful digital transformation of an organization.

An infographic showing what it takes to digitalize corporates
The digital transformation of the nation

Digitalization of Indian Corporates –   

In the year 2017, $1.7 Trillion were spent on the Digitalization of corporations around the world. Data Governance is being replaced with Data Strategy and Distribution. Back at home, going paperless still remains a challenge. So where exactly do we stand? Can we overlook the legacy to inculcate modernization? 

Reliance Jio has seen a phenomenal penetration in India. They had everything going for them as per the Indian Model –  Low Pricing, The Trust in Reliance – Jio Dan Dana Dan – the campaign jingle. Another thing that went in their favor was reducing paperwork and the time taken to activate a sim card – 10 minutes! They reduced the time taken to activate a sim from 24 hours to 10 minutes! While all the other players had legacy systems that had developed an inertia to change, Jio acted more like a startup than a ‘Big, Fat, Indian Corporate’.  This saved Jio 3 papers per connection and Jio customers from long arduous processes of waiting in a queue and then for activating their connections.

Onboarding to new age technology and blindly investing in  Digital Transformation is not the answer. The idea is to change a culture or an experience with Digitalization. What Jio did was simple – It targeted the lower and middle segment of the population, it brought in what could be termed as innovation, by implementing a full stack in fintech and security and it made sure that it solved a pain point.

Three Takeaways –
1. Start from the bottom (or the middle – in case you are looking for the right volume and pricing ratio.)
2. Bring innovation to solve a problem
3. Challenge legacy and status quo.

Data and Bureaucracy in Indian Corporates –

Data truly is the New Oil!  You can’t trade it without causing a bit of a ripple even amongst the internal processes. Hence Data Governance, hence technology and hence the need for digitalization.

Having all your data over one place – Data Centralization.  Having segmentation on this data works better – Data Distribution. Having Machine Learning and predictive modeling to extrapolate this data for useful purposes – Data Analytics.  Ensuring the right data is not going into the wrong hands – Data Security.
Being able to access the right data at the right time  – Data  Governance.
Data Governance is not an IT project alone, it’s a management project! A business imperative and much like the Durker, Sloan story – it needs democratic behavior. Digitalization then spreads to creating the right ‘Caves and Commons’ behavior.

Digitalizing India Inc and IT

At IT firms the CIOs are also trying to achieve the following objectives for true digitalization  –

  1. Run agile and DevOps at scale
  2. Technology  for building blocks in collaboration
  3. Smart cloud strategy at scale
  4. Strategy over governance
  5. Data strategy over ownership
  6. Build adaptive skills and mindset
  7. Streamline Operations and Support Functions with DigitalThe technical debt that IT companies are paying in the country can be attributed to lack of agile methods of development, or deliberate attempt to overcome over-engineering, these could also be the bit rot, where certain parts of the legacy systems are growing out of place. Going digital, implementing DevOps is only a part of the solving strategy, it works for products and code. It firms need an end to end strategy to take digitalization beyond product management and to IT management and customer management. Automation of processes needs to happen with reskilling of people. Which will ensure that the workforce is involved in the most productive of ways to solve the most critical of problems.Ultimately, taking this transformation to the customers as an experience is extremely important. Customer satisfaction is the end result of multiple teams collaborating and communicating to reach one goal. Customer support digitalized leads to more efficient teams and better working environments by default.

Digital Transformation – Middle to Top

As all corporate leaders would understand that the middle management is the most critical to an organization’s welfare. It could be a bottleneck or a channel. How data flows down to and from the middle management is the key to how the distribution works in a firm. There is an impending analogy to the state of our country and digital growth in the above statement. The ‘Middle’ is indeed the most important segment. It is also the most ignored segment when it comes to policies, products and awareness programs.

The Changing Face of The Indian SMEs

While corporates struggle to shift their legacies to Digital Stacks, the upcoming businesses in India are already going paperless and presenceless.  A small business is a more manageable unit, laying the foundations on the Fintech stacks is easier. Just as we noticed in the case of JIO. Since it was breaking into the markets it went with the quick adoption of Digital features. The same applies to the rising Indian SMBs and SMEs. Usually owned by a single owner, the problems of data centralization are unheard of. The only thing it takes is a will to modernize and a motivation to comply with the system (Pay taxes on every digital transaction and audit).

Hence this year as we progress with the Digital Drives we focus on the #MiddleIndia that has raised itself from the basics and is looking at the next step. 600 MN people are waiting for technology to provide them with digital solutions. Next part to this blog we cover the Digitalization of a nation as an organization and the next-gen technologies that will see it through.

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