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View from India: Digitise workplaces for better productivity

Workplaces in India are becoming more digitised for better outcomes. The adoption of digital technologies is being backed by changes in people, leadership, products and processes.

“Digitised workplaces have an ensemble approach which is an amalgamation of various stakeholders like HR and IT personnel, among others. At a strategy level, the GDP (gross domestic product) is growing at a particular rate, the Internet usage is increasing rapidly and the foreign direct investment (FDI) has opened out newer channels for various verticals along with the defence. All this culminates into workplaces that are digitised,” said Anil Nair, Managing Director, Cisco Systems. He was addressing the gathering at the 19th Nasscom (National Association of Software and Services Companies) BPM Strategy Summit 2017 that was held in Bangalore.

Other factors also boost the digitisation of workplaces. Though our workplaces have been wired, networked and connected long time ago, the need for complete digitisation is being felt acutely for a number of reasons. On the one hand, shrinking geographies and working out of remote locations have created new opportunities for workplace digitisation. On the other hand, young millennial professionals who are entering the workforce year after year need to be skilled. India ranks second in the global community of STEM graduates. The community has been represented by 2.6 million graduates in India in 2016, as indicated at the World Economic Forum.

“Digitisation is imperative as it’s no longer a choice. Our workplaces are aligning themselves to a digitised environment by bringing services together in order to drive the desired business outcome,” said Pradeep Menon, CIO (data and analytics) at GE Digital Hubs.

Is there a template for digital transformation? Strictly speaking, there’s no fixed thumb rule as each vertical has its own requirement. At a micro level, one company varies from the other in size, vision and goal. In order to digitise companies, what’s important is to create a culture built within the DNA of the organisation. This can happen by stringing together services and operations executed through disruptive technologies that are intelligent and smart enough to reduce costs and ensure last-mile decisions. Legacy systems are ramped up with new tech tools, lean manufacturing, analytics and machine learning to connect people and augment decisions. At the base of all this lies the data and this includes both structured and unstructured information.

In the insurance industry, it’s a growing concern to get the data into the right hands and integrate it quickly into the system so that the customer, sales personnel and everyone involved gets an insight into it. When data is centralised, you build analytics around it and have a security officer for regulatory measures. All this makes services more efficient.

Clearly workplaces are being digitised to ensure employee centrality and bring in a higher degree of productivity. Business models are changing and this is a change for the better. “We’ve leveraged industry 4.0 as a basis for our customers operations and this takes into account aspects such as intelligence, agile, automation and on cloud services. This helps shed clarity on real-time business for a diverse section of customers. We have different kinds of customers, they range from pre-Internet customers to Internet customers to recent cloud-first industry customers,” explained Dinanath Kholkar, vice president and global head of analytics and insights at Tata Consultancy Services Limited.

It’s not just the corporate world, but even government services are latching on to digitisation. The Government of Rajasthan has around three million pensioners, of whom about 10 per cent expire annually. Ever since the pensioner records have been digitised, it has stopped money pilferages towards the deceased. To that extent, it has resulted in precision and is a cost-cutting measure. 

Digitally transformed workplaces should lead to digitally transformed societies, ideally.

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