Interesting Interview on Digital Transformation:
Almost every organisation and every CEO now acknowledges that Digital is no longer an option. It is a competitive differentiator and a way to improve customer engagement. However, there are still some laggards who are slow to adopt digital.
In an exclusive interview with Brian Pereira of BW CIO World, Kiran Bhagwanani, CEO, Dimension Data India tells us about the consequences of not moving to digital. Kiran also gave us an insight on how his company is helping customers in their digital transformation journeys.
BW: What are the key drivers for Digitisation today? How would you define Digital?
Kiran Bhagwanani: I think digitisation is becoming a key differentiator between the kind of companies that might survive and thrive together, and some companies which have done well in the past, or may not continue doing as well, because they don’t take efforts for digitisation.
There is no single definition of the word ‘Digital’ as there is no single definition of the word ‘Cloud’. It is different things to different people. But essentially, when we talk about our clients, (we see that) the people who are most worried about digital, are the people who are most worried about their businesses. Our clients ask, ‘how do we interact with our consumers in a way that is much more efficient and faster?’ At the same time, the consumers are deciding new ways to do business with the companies. And companies are trying to align their business models the way consumers prefer to do business with them. Therefore, it is about the agility of the business response to the business needs, and being able to connect with their consumers to better the consumer experience.
Once you adopt new processes, digital enhances and leads to internal efficiency, organisational robustness and better P&L benefits. But more than that, it is external market facing, to interact with consumers in smarter and much more efficient ways, to give better experiences. It is no longer a competitive differentiator; it actually is a fight for survival.
BW: What are the sectors where you see a lot of digitization in India?
Kiran Bhagwanani: Now if I look at sectors, financial services are the first ones to adopt multi-channel, right from branch banking to ATM banking. Then there is Internet banking and now mobile banking. I think financial services has been in the forefront of the digital journey.
Instead of comparing sectors, it is companies within sectors that are laggards. In each sector there are early adopters in digital in their own way, in terms of going from brick and mortar models to digital models, and there are models which are taking time. So it’s more a company specific situation. I mean, one could expect that, some states, some governments are very progressive, while others take more time. And there would be government departments which have not even started.
BW: We hear that the biggest obstacle to digital transformation is lack of buy in from top management – in terms of budgets. While the awareness is certainly there, the willingness to spend money on this is lacking. Do you agree?
Kiran Bhagwanani: My experiences are different. Barring a few exceptions, we are finding that the CXOs and the boards are very concerned about the digital transformation journey, and committed to it. Everybody has embraced it, in principal at least. And they are finding their way through this maze. But from an intent perspective, CXOs and boards are committed to digital transformation. They see what’s happening in the world around and they want to adopt that. Similarly, when it comes to cyber security, we find that it is the board which is as concerned about security as the technical team.
That said, with digitalization gaining more momentum, cybersecurity is now becoming quintessential. As companies use multiple cloud providers along with their own IT footprint, they are simultaneously opening more attack surfaces for potential hackers. Added to that, going forward, companies will have no option but to put the information assets out there for ease of use and give their consumers unique access. The only way around this is the organizations invest in and manage their security posture in a proactive and agile methodology.
BW: What are the unique set of capabilities that you bring in to help clients with digital transformation? How are you different from say a Wipro, or any other system integrator?
Kiran Bhagwanani: One is hygiene, but it’s taken for granted, and therefore clients value us because we don’t own a plant or machinery or anything. Our assets are our people. The intellectual capital which we have is the skill of our people, and I think Dimension Data has been known in the last two decades. We have been in India as a company with impeccable service credentials and the client’s satisfaction, which we use as a term internally; client ‘delight element’ is very strong.
So first is, the service quality in our India business; we have deep rooted commitment. We keep investing and that shows in our service levels in our clients. The second thing is the consulting capability, helping clients start their digital journey. It really is looking at their business domain and coming up with the IT infrastructure, which is based on the business requirement, and business value that we can create. The team of enterprise architects, whom we have invested in, look at the vertical domain and then take it to IT. This is one of our key differentiators.
Third, would be obviously our managed services capability. Which is the autonomics platform that we have invested in. That makes sure that we are using the latest state-of-the art-management tool to give clients a unique experience.
Fourth is the big change that we are trying to bring to our client’ mind-set. That is to move away from the static security posture, like PC to PC and PC to network security coverage such as firewalls and IPS, and onto something called security services management and identity management. We do not want to over protect the perimeter, we would rather protect each data asset on its own so that we can control the services which can be accessed and manage the identity of the users as well.