Let's Go agile
DataQuest|October 2020
Let's Go agile
As new-age users become extremely demanding, the time is running out for organizations to up their stake and provide a hyper-personalized customer experience
Aanchal Ghatak

The year 2020 will always be remembered as the year of Coronavirus and the fact that it has pushed the world into a new reality, and the new normal. Organizations have increased their information technology (IT) capabilities and investments in order to aggressively push digitization and accomplish their transformation goals. While digital transformation can help solve specific business challenges, organizations are using the opportunity to also augment their IT and supply chain capability, and organizational agility.

A big question for many organizations that are looking forward to going the digital path is how to adapt, and what lies ahead in 2020?

Experts point out that businesses need to set themselves up for development today and in the future to improve customer satisfaction and engineering capacity by focusing on quality and bring disciplines together through connected pipelines. No wonder then, most companies – irrespective of their size and scale of operation – are focusing on IT investments to achieve their objectives.

IT capability does contribute to firm agility through enhancing inter-firm supply chain processes and role of ITenabled intermediated processes and the ways in which IT is used by firms to upgrade core business processes. According to a McKinsey Global Survey of executives, over one-third of the companies have accelerated the digitization of their supply chains, over half of them have speeded up digitization of their customer channels, and two-thirds have moved faster to adopt artificial intelligence and automation. Many other workforce changes are also in progress.

Reports also indicate that adoption of digital and innovative solutions has helped improve business environment and increase business sector resilience during the pandemic. In fact, IT is fast emerging as a huge investment opportunity for both the industry and enterprises and today constitutes the largest single segment of the market, obscuring all others, including the financial and the industrial sector.

The pandemic has also brought to forth the fact that a sustainable future is the major need for us and only businesses that make bold moves during challenging times can turn adversity into advantage.

DEVELOPING DIGITAL AND IT CAPABILITIES

Digital or IT capability is the term we use to describe the skills and attitudes that businesses need if they are to thrive in today’s world. At an organizational level, we need to consider the extent to which the culture and infrastructure of a business enables and implies digital practices. The use of ICT-based devices, platforms and services enhance the digital proficiency. It not only has an impact on businesses by reducing paperwork and overall documentation, it also enables the system to become a lot more transparent and plain-sailing.

According to ICICI Lombard Chief of Customer Service, Operations and Technology Girish Nayak, “We have always been at the forefront of using new technologies that help us in acquiring, retaining, or servicing our customers better. With ever-increasing customer expectations, customer-centricity has become more important than ever. Moreover, you no longer have years of time to experiment and get your model right in this VUCA – volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous – world. Either you adapt or you perish.”

He pointed out that the new normal warrants that insurance companies design new products and distribution partnerships that can suit the lifestyle of today’s generation. “So, we continue to move in the direction of helping the customers to buy an insurance policy as seamlessly as possible and in settling claims for such policies in near real-time. Every interaction with the customer is helping us in better understanding their needs, which in turn has helped us in designing some of the new products and services.”

“However,” Nayak added that the agile and fast-moving world requires that organizations constantly keep looking for new and innovative technologies that can help in creating solutions for customers and stakeholders.

Nayak also highlighted that a lot of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) solutions for ICICI Lombard are developed in-house by data scientists who have learnt these skillsets on the job. “We have deployed these AI/ ML solutions on the cloud platform. We have worked with both leading technology providers to arrange for training programs for our employees and in certain cases, company-specific hackathons, which has helped our employees to learn and also create solutions on these platforms,” he stated.

In terms of developing capabilities, the World Economic Forum predicts that by 2022, over 42% of core skills required to perform existing jobs are expected to change and that more than a million jobs are likely to be transformed by technology in the next decade.

“While it is true that there will be a larger need to develop technological and scientific skills, it is also going to be equally important to develop specialized skills in how people interact, collaborate, and create new products and solutions. The best way to learn some of these skill sets is to learn this in a real-world scenario. We constantly encourage our employees to develop innovative solutions using some of these new technologies,” Nayak said, highlighting the strategy of developing in-house capacity to meet the specific requirements.

Adds Mashreq Global Services (MGS)-India Senior Vice President and Head of Technology Sesha Sai: “As a global in-house centre for Mashreq Bank, we play an essential role by ensuring that the bank remains at the forefront of all technological development. The disruption caused by the pandemic has enabled us to fast-track our vision to redefine the banking journey by digitizing services end-to-end.”

According to Sai, to develop industry best IT capabilities, MGS has adopted a multi-fold digital transformation approach. “As the industry is working remotely, it is critical to adopt a cloud-native strategy and embrace a data-led culture by leveraging big data to ensure seamless and personalized experiences for customers. At an enterprise level, cloud enables us to induce collaboration amongst teams across various geographies. AI and blockchain have also significantly changed the technological dynamics in the financial services sector,” he said, adding that the organization has invested in these leading technologies to increase automation, reduce error rates, utilize resources better, leading to higher cost efficiencies for the bank and an overhaul in customer experiences.

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October 2020