CIO Tweet chat: Businesses Must Embrace DX or Perish
In a tweet chat on July 24, 2019, Indian CIOs and industry captains discussed a wide range of topics that included digital strategy, digital culture, digital skilling, technology trends, digital risks, government, change management, reverse mentoring, evolving CIO role, and of course, digital transformation (DX).
Millions of animals and birds at the Masai Mara National Park, Kenya migrate throughout the year for survival. They battle drought, floods, famine, and predators to survive. It’s the same with businesses which face disruption every day. Just 60 companies from the Fortune 500 list of 1955 continue to remain on that list today. The rest disappeared. Like the animals and birds at Masai Mara, businesses have to do something to survive. That something is called Digital Transformation (DX).
This was the theme for the tweet chat conducted by ESDS Datacenter Solutions on 24 July. The hashtag for this one-hour session was #DigiTrans, and it was trending on Twitter during the tweet chat.
Panel of CIOs and Industry Captains
The tweet chat saw the active participation of CIOs from India, as well as the Tech Mahindra team led by Mr. Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Growth, Tech Mahindra @jagdishmitra.
The moderator was Mr. Brian Pereira, Founding Editor, Digital Creed @brian9p.
The other participants were:
- Mr. Golok Kumar Simli, Chief of Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, GOI. @ctopassportseva
- Mr. Jayantha Prabhu, CIO – Essar Group @NJayantha
- Mr. Avinash Velhal, CIO, ATOS – APAC @avelhal
- Mr. Nilesh Shah, Group CIO – Noble Group SA @Nilesh_Shah
- Dr. Suresh A. Shan, Head Innovation & Future Technology – Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Limited @SAS03042009
- Mr. Prasanna Lohar, Head Technology (Innovation & Architecture), DCB Bank @LoharPrasanna
- Mr. Sayed Peerzade, Group CIO – Reliance Big Entertainment @iamsayed
- Mr. Prasad Patil, COO – Arya Infosystems & CTO – JM BAXI Technology Businesses @Prapa13
- Milind Khamkar, Group CIO, SUPER MAX @mkhamkar
- Mr. Ashwin Prajapati, CIO, Symphony Ltd. @AshwinPrajapa11
- Mr. Piyush Somani, Founder, CMD & CEO – ESDS Software Solution Pvt. Ltd. @ESDSPiyush
Tweet Chat Topics
The tweet chat covered topics such as digital strategy, digital culture, digital skilling, technology trends, digital risks, government, change management, reverse mentoring, evolving CIO role, and of course, digital transformation (DX).
Digital Adoption & Strategy
Moderator: What does Digital Transformation (DX) mean to you? Why is it necessary today?
Prasanna Lohar: While you see your customer is moving on Digital channels, it’s very important to satisfy customer needs. Digital Adoption is must for survival.
Jayantha Prabhu adds: Understand the enterprises ever changing business conditions and respond with a holistic solution.
Prasad Patil: Just like the Video of Masai Mara, there are greener pastures on the other side of the river which will ensure survival. There is no two ways about… DX is an absolute necessity for survival in today’s world.
Prasad Patil adds: And it is not just about survival. It’s also about making the first move to cross the river to feast on the best grass available, before the followers arrive and the advantage is lost.
Sayeed Peerzad: Apt video, Transformation is necessary to be ahead of challenges and competition of today’s Digital world.
Prasad Patil: Apt video exhibiting the present scenario in the industry where the first move not just to adapt but also capaitalise is so essential.
Piyush Somani: DX for one is necessary because emerging technologies are opening up a huge opportunity to disrupt market with new business models!
Creating an effective Digital Strategy is the process of integrating digital technology into a business – a transformation that can impact technology, culture, work environment, and more.
— Jayantha Prabhu, CIO – Essar Group
Moderator: What must businesses do to create an effective digital strategy that will deliver business outcomes?
Avinash Velhal: Business strategy should map the three prongs i.e. Business model remapping, workforce optimisation and customer satisfaction.
Avinash Velhal adds: Mapping of your infrastructure and process gaps and aligning them to the business outcome with existing resources with clear agenda to include all stake holders to digital transformation key ask out of CIO.
Jayantha Prabhu: The process of integrating digital technology into a business – a transformation that can impact technology, culture, work environment, and more.
Jagdish Mitra: To have an effective digital strategy, organisations have to be empathy driven with clarity on the stated & unstated needs/asks of the customer, informed about disruptions in the market, agile in executing glocally & inclusive in working with millennials.
Golok Kumar Simli: An effective DX strategy requires clear understanding of AS-IS data points within stakeholder’s ecosystem, and outcome in terms of beneficiaries. It’s a journey well thought of.
Prasad Patil: An Improper DX strategy will have considerable impact on both the Financial and the Cultural posture of an organisation.
Ashwin Prajapati: Many companies that make products and assets are moving toward an “as-a-service” model, enabled by software, connectivity, and intelligent supply chain capabilities. Digital transformation is a part of IT strategy & first step at the time of planning new business.
DX technology processes and information from across the business must be able to flow through different processes and workflows seamlessly. Disparate systems and processes are biggest risk to DX projects.
— Avinash Velhal, CIO, ATOS – APAC
Moderator: What are the risks associated with DX? How must businesses prepare to mitigate those risks?
Avinash Velhal: DX technology processes and information from across the business must be able to flow through different processes and workflows seamlessly. Disparate systems and processes are biggest risk to DX projects.
Milind Khamkar: Major RISK is of not doing DIGITAL and any business that has not joined this journey so far should be a part of it, without further delay. Otherwise they should pack their bags soon.
Prasad Patil: Risk mitigation for the adverse impact of a failed DX starts at the conceptual stage, where a thorough Self Evaluation by the organisation attempting DX is needed, from all aspects of Culture, Financial Impact, Ecosystem situation, Customer perception, etc.
Ashwin Prajapati: Unavailability of the right team, inadequate support from top management, who are too preoccupied with the business team. Treating DX only as an IT initiative is the main risk. More awareness and communication required from top management on the purpose and business benefit of DX. Constant training and push needed.
Moderator: DX journey is a long one and involves complete revamp of internal and external processes? How do we know when it is time to start innovating our products and services?
Jayantha Prabhu: Enterprises that plan to take the plunge into a digital transformation journey will need to have strong relationships with IT partners & business owners who can successfully guide them in adapting the new way of services model in this digital age.
Jayantha Prabhu: The high-level management of the overall Digital journey should be focused on assuring adherence to the high-level goals and vision of the organization as a whole.
Jayantha Prabhu: Rework the products, processes and strategies within an organization by leveraging current technologies.
Prasad Patil: As is done for other Initiatives like Quality, Infosec, Safety, etc.. There needs to be an Org. Structure that is formed and published with relevant roles & responsibilities defined as well as put in their KRA / KPI’s of the respective individual.
Sayed Peerzad: Since we all have crossed some journey in DX, Going forward, for me: 1. Make data and analytics a top company priority. 2. Design digital transformation around business goals. 3. Take an enterprise-wide approach.
Ashwin Prajapati: Digital transformation is a journey & organization change management is a critical success factor . Today ‘s competitive business environment top management should use DT for creating competitive edge & value.
Jagdish Mitra: A question for the other panelists. The lines between industries are blurring so how are you approaching it? Advantage or Disruption?
Milind Khamkar: We have successfully done or in WIP of Digital 1.0 – Social Mobile Analytics and CLOUD. Now it’s time for AI/ML and IoT. Indian manufacturers have tremendous opportunity for industry 4.0 .
Avinash Velhal: DX is not new now. Needs a consultant with domain expertise. Benchmark your DX initiatives with similar industry and align. The environment is disrupted. It depends how quickly you fit and take advantage of it, is crucial.
When DX is addressed as a TECH transformation initiative and not an ORG transformation initiative it drains the business off resources and underdelivers on financial front too.
— Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy Officer & Head of Growth, Tech Mahindra
Barriers & Culture
Moderator: What are the biggest barriers to become DIGITAL?
Sayeed Peerzade: Lack of clear strategy is biggest barrier Jagdish!! DX should always designed as per business goals!!
Jagdish Mitra: When DX is addressed as a TECH transformation initiative and not an ORG transformation initiative it drains the business off resources and underdelivers on financial front too.
Moderator: DX is not complete without a digital culture in your organisation. What should business leaders do to cultivate a digital culture, which is an integral part of digital transformation?
Jagdish Mitra: Digital Org need to encourage 1) High order of Learning 2) Create a Culture of Collaboration with both Humans & Machines 3) Flexibility & Adaptivity 4) Be an Orchestrator of capability & an abode of experimental laboratory 6) A Purpose driven organisation.
Sayeed Peerzade: Nurture DIGITAL culture? 1. Expand the role of IT. 2. Transform talent acquisition. 3. Don’t do DX in Silo. 4. Prioritize employee-friendly processes.
Jayantha Prabhu: Adopt a test & learn mentality and team with cross functional mandate.
Moderator: How do you handle change management during digital transformation?
Prasad Patil: DX Change Mgt is nothing but having a Systemic Governance Process put across all the DX initiatives that you will drive in your organisation, so that the impact on the org. culture and other aspects is managed well in a proactive and systemic manner.
Jayantha Prabhu: Empowering and educating existing teams on the value of Digital Transformation proves difficult when everyone is not on the same digital page.
Prasad Patil: As I said earlier, the Sustenance part of DX is as critical as the concept and implementation and hence a similar amount of time, effort and cost has to be given for the same. Change Mgt. is about managing the sustenance of DX initiatives.
Milind Khamkar: It is same like any other change which disrupts one’s comfort zone, but it demands SPEED, AGILITY and PASSION.
Any technology can be used for DX, while emerging technologies such as Blockchain, AI, ML, IoT, Big Data etc are the norm! Important thing to be noted here is that all these technologies breathe on the cloud.
— Piyush Somani, Founder, CMD & CEO – ESDS Software Solution Pvt. Ltd.
Moderator: What are the latest digital technologies that today’s business must pursue for the cutting edge?
Golok Kumar Simli: The enterprise DX strategy would take a new shape in the form of AI, Analytics , RPA and trending platforms like Cloud, Blockchain.
Jayantha Prabhu: Digital Technology requirement may vary based on your industry and business problem you intend solve.
Prasad Patil: There are a whole lot of technologies like Cloud, Mobile, IoT, Machine Learning, RPA, AI, etc which can assist DX in organizations today. The challenge as I said is to understand first what fits as the internal assessment.
Prasad Patil adds: Cross Pollination of concepts across industries has always been successful and beneficial. With Technology starting to be the Duct Tape for the Transformations across industries, we will see this happening more & more which I think is a positive aspect.
Prasad Patil adds: Equal amount of importance is to be allocated to the sustenance as DX is not a milestone but an ongoing journey with well-defined phases with clearly defined goals.
Piyush Somani: Any technology can be used for DX, while emerging technologies such as Blockchain, AI, ML, IoT, Big Data etc are the norm! Important thing to be noted here is that all these technologies breathe on the cloud.
Jayantha Prabhu: Organisations must update legacy technology strategies and supporting methodologies to better reflect how the real world is evolving.
Moderator: Digital skilling goes hand in hand with digital transformation. What are some of the best approaches to reskilling workers, especially those who are above 40 years?
Jagdish Mitra: Reverse mentoring can not only reskill the above-40 (years) workers but also give the young millennials the platform to demonstrate their skills.
Piyush Somani: At this age it is more important to become digital leaders for a new generation as digital generation may be far ahead in technology, but they need to be managed appropriately.
Jagdish Mitra: As an Org we need to create the right lever & platform making it easy for people to upskill. Create a digitally conscious enterprise!
Jagdish Mitra adds: Learning is a natural instinct of a human being. Given the right motivation, platform, drive & attitude everyone can reskill themselves. The velocity of tech disruption is posing challenge to keep oneself constantly updated.
Piyush Somani adds: Yes, and this is where the leaders have to play an important role. Pace is important but it has to be steered in the right direction.
The true sense of DX would be the one where entitlement and benefits be it an employee, customer or citizens. Can we prove the identity and attached entitlements without having to collect doc/papers every time one seeks a new service?
— Golok Kumar Simli, Chief of Technology, Ministry of External Affairs, GOI
Digital Transformation in Government
Moderator: How could Government departments strategize for DX? Where can industry partner with government to make it a win-win scenario?
Golok Kumar Simli: If we could work out a PPP model that has the leads to strategically control the sovereign assets including data and information, I personally feel would be a big boaster in taking voluminous, complex public sector transformational projects.
Golok Kumar Simli: The true sense of DX would be the one where entitlement and benefits be it an employee, customer or citizens. Can we prove the identity and attached entitlements without having to collect doc/papers every time one seeks a new service?
Golok Kumar Simli: Cloud strategy in Government would be taking a shape of Hybrid approach initially, without moving the App and DB layer into the Cloud, especially sovereign data and assets, my take.
Suresh A. Shan: Digital employment at rural areas, new revised policies, procedures, processes, programs for enabling digital transformation in rural India.
Piyush Somani: We need to realise that DX in context to government starts and ends with the Citizen!
Milind Khamkar: Public Private partnership is proven in many areas, it should continue in Utility and Services areas.
Golok Kumar Simli: The DX has helped extensively in dealing with the masses as a whole bringing a sense of empowerment and inclusivity.
Prajakta (audience): DX will be a natural evolution and Citizens will force nation to adopt it.
CIOs will play a major role in this but not just as a deliverer. Skillsets like Business Acumen, deep understanding of the Market ecosystem and the business outcomes delivered by the organisation will make him a critical constituent of the DX Strategy.
— Prasad Patil, COO – Arya Infosystems & CTO – JM BAXI Technology Businesses
Evolving CIO Role
Dhaval Mankad asked: How do you see the CIO role shaping up in this disruption? What key attributes will make him ride through this wave with success?
Prasad Patil: CIOs will play a major role in this but not just as a deliverer. Skillsets like Business Acumen, deep understanding of the Market ecosystem and the business outcomes delivered by the organisation will make him a critical constituent of the DX Strategy.
Piyush Somani: True! DX journey requires a different mindset and a new set of rules!
Piyush Somani adds: Yes, right steps can definitely transform caterpillar into a butterfly!
Prasad Patil: @ESDSPiyush gave an excellent example of the Caterpillar. It cannibalized itself to transform itself into something completely different from its earlier form. Nature is truly the best teacher!!!
Milind Khamkar: We CIOs are in best times of technology evolution for business benefit. Carefully crafted digital journey will benefit business immensely.
Milind Khamkar: CIOs are never ever bound by industry, though recruiters / HR classify them that way. Blurring lines will bring cross industry knowledge fertilization. Which is beneficial to CIOs and business as a whole. so it’s advantage.
Milind Khamkar: It means a lot, especially when we have a conducive environment to grow and transform our business. There are tremendous business and customer needs which can be fulfilled by RIGHT DIGITAL adoption.
Dhaval Mankad asked: What are top 3 challenges you see as CIOs embrace for digital transformation in next 2 years?
Sayed Peerzad: Challenges depend on which business you are in to Dhaval!! For me top 3 will be: 1. Resistance to change. 2. Lack of overall DX strategy, 3. Data security.
Prasad Patil: Top Leadership Buy in, Investment, Skillsets.
Milind Kamkar: Leader, Culture and People.
Jayantha Prabhu: Digital transformation is a long journey that features many challenges. As with any complex project within the enterprise, support for that project must be overt and obvious, particularly from upper management.
The tweet messages in this report are quoted in verbatim from the transcript of the tweet chat. Minor grammatical and spelling edits were done.