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Opportunities on the path to digitalisation

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Kathy Gibson reports from Huawei Connect in Shanghai – Times are tough and, while disruption brings a raft a challenges, there are many opportunities as well.
This is the word from Dr Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys, who says companies need to re-invent themselves, but shouldn’t underestimate the difficulty of doing this.
“Business leaders often ask me what is going on around us,” Sikka says. “What we are seeing is a very profound, very deep connectedness. Everything is becoming connected, creating an environment where things are becoming services.
“As a result of that, the service-enabling of everything, the experience of our customers and employees is becoming paramount.
“So the environment means we have to focus on service.”
This is happening because of the constant evolution of technology. Sikka points out that Moore’s Law holds true 50 years after being promulgates, and will continue to hold true for years to come.
“Our brains are wired in a way that find exponential growth difficult to comprehend. But if you think about the price/performance of technology.”
The advances in technology are creating an opportunity to disrupt existing businesses faster than ever before, more cheaply and more efficiently.
But it also means that new threats can emerge faster than ever before.
“So how do we deal with this? How do we work in these times?” Sikka asks.
He believes companies need to have a dual strategy: being better – renew the core business; being different – innovation into new businesses. This duality of renewal and new need to be built on a foundation of culture
Renew is about being better, and technology offers opportunities to simplify and improve existing business. This can be done with automation and operational excellence; landscape modernisation through cloud and openness; and freeing up capacity for grassroots innovation.
Huawei and Infosys offer a number of services in this area, including BES, mainframe, app, data and digital modernisation.
Being different is about doing completely new things – attract new customers with new products and services, using new business models.
This involves rapid prototyping, open platform and open workplaces. “We don’t even have the vocabulary for this,” Sikka says.
Breaking into new areas of business means companies have to find ways to solve problems, and turn data in to knowledge.
Business renewal needs to be done on a foundation of culture, Sikka adds. This means companies need to focus on collaboration, education and training. He recommends that design thinking be employed as a way of doing this.