Micro Focus helps you run and transform businesses. Driven by customer-centric innovation, the software provides the critical tools you need to build, operate, secure, and analyze the enterprise. By design, these tools bridge the gap between existing and emerging technologies – which means you can innovate faster, with less risk, in the race to digital transformation.
Saurabh Saxena, Country Director – India, Micro Focus, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: How is the demand for smart digital transformation? What is the digital preparedness of enterprises pre-Covid-19 vs post-Covid-19?
Saurabh Saxena: Recent reports have revealed that most of the business leaders overestimated the state of their digital transformation efforts and readiness that hampered their ability to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic. 74% of business decision-makers said, the crisis exposed more gaps in their operations and systems than they initially expected.
Some of the priorities that Micro Focus realises is, the priorities that the customers had six months back have changed now. They need to probably redefine their priorities and they have started doing it now. Things that were not their focus area then have now become imperative, and hence we need to look at our primary messaging – to run from business continuity perspective.
How we can help them transform, looking at the new focus areas? In the meantime, how we can also add an element of how to adapt in this new scenario?
Many industries have already come on this path. Whether you see industries which were delivering back-office services to the whole world – they already know of these processes. The telecom industry experts that sit on CRM or support your networks, are already ready for a digital workforce – and, they are handling their employees remotely in any case. In various industries, the processes have been physical in nature — supply chain, manufacturing, where the lack of maturity to enable their workers to have the least contact with each other, etc.
That’s where the focus is now – whether it is through authenticating using advance authentication, robotising the processes, which were physically done before in the organisations. If you look at today’s scenario, people are working from anywhere – it can be working from a Starbucks, a beach, or any place for that matter.
DQ: What is the digital preparedness of India CIOs, in your opinion?
Saurabh Saxena: While digital transformation was an existing objective for many CIOs in the region, there is no doubt that the Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated this strategy. Many organisations have had little choice to look to digital tools and help themselves survive during these unprecedented times. These digital tools have enabled companies to keep a sharp laser focus on their business goals.
According to Research and Markets, the digital transformation market is expected to grow at CAGR of 22.7% from 2019 to reach $3,294 billion by 2025.
We have seen a lot of CIOs and CISOs getting involved in the business aspects. With Covid-19 and the lockdowns, a massive focus has been on trying and creating contactless business environment. CIOs are trying to create more zero contact service capability to the people. Most of these are created out of new business models.
While large enterprises immediately sought to ensure their infrastructure could handle a significant upsurge in digital demand, enabling employees to work securely and productively from anywhere, smaller businesses too have faced similar challenges; with many leveraging existing or new digital tools to continue to offer their services.
So, while Digital Transformation was undoubtedly on the way before COVID-19, its impactful arrival means there is now no other option but to embrace this strategy for business resiliency.
DQ: Elaborate on the five stages to recovery that every enterprise must be aware of.
Saurabh Saxena. According to IDC, there are five stages to recovery.
Stage 1: Covid-19 Crisis Business Priority:
- Business Continuity – Whether we are dealing with the current pandemic or the shock to the global market, hyper volatility will increasingly become the norm. Business continuity plans are being rewritten and will have to become more dynamic in nature, moving forward as they have been regularly tested.
- Tech Supplier Guidance – Organizations in this stage are desperately looking for new ideas, emerging best practices, and inputs from technology partners and is not a time to boost the product. More importantly, the support which helps the technology partners provide in this period will be the basis for genuine long-term partnerships.
- We are in crisis mode. We have had to rip up our continuity plans and look at everything from scratch.
Stage 2: Economic Slowdown Business Priority:
- Cost Optimization– In this stage, organizations are in the cost-optimization mode, where a business looks at technologies which can either help them manage the economic hardships or generate financial outcomes from the current fiscal year. These organizations look for financing assistance or OPEX options to manage their cash flows and working capital. Their decisions are driven by short-term as they seek projects that provide productivity gains and savings in the cost-to-create or serve.
- Tech Supplier Guidance – Organizations in this stage tend to prefer technology vendors, SIs and service providers who are near to them –in both proximity and cultural alignment – who have lower price tag offerings, flexi-pricing and payment terms or modular offerings.
- We are in the cost-savings mode, and we prioritize projects/programs that can tide us over this challenging period. We are not interested in exploring bleeding-edge technology use cases or jump-starting any transformation program.
Stage 3: Recession Business Priority:
- Business Resiliency – Organizations have overcome the initial phase of the COVID-19 crisis and stabilized financials. Their focus currently is to build business resiliency – ability to adapt to the changing circumstances while maintaining the organization’s central purpose. The purpose or mission is articulated as part of a company’s digital transformation and will remain primary focus even as a remediation action are taken to reduce costs or take advantage of pandemic-related revenue opportunities.
Various organizations will recognize an opportunity to ‘flatten the curve’ or minimize the impact of the recession by leveraging technology. These same organizations will double down on technology investments to emerge more agile digitally prepared and more ready to catch their share of new opportunities on the other side of the curve.
- Tech Supplier Guidance – At this stage, organizations at organizations prefer technology vendors with a proven footprint and ability to execute in their geographies and who have the financial resources to ride through this crisis.
- We are set to move our organization at the next level of response and understand the criticality of technology and reprioritizing our focus and investments completely different post COVID-19. Adaptability and agility are our main thrust.
Stage 4: Return to Growth Business Priority:
- Targeted Investments– Economic development is rising to pre-crisis levels, and companies are looking to spend more vigorously while concentrating on technology that improves digital capabilities within an enterprise. As they get back on the path of being significant in the digital economy and will focus on their efforts around resiliency to ensure that they are more prepared for a similar shock in the future. IDC anticipated that corporate boards and government bodies will have a better understanding of the value of technology and will prioritize digital initiatives.
- Tech Supplier Guidance – This will be a critical stage for technology vendors as organizations look for a safe place to innovate. Financially healthy vendors have a scale, and dynamic ecosystems will be preferred. At a broad level, vendors will earn strategic partnerships that will shape post-recession spending and permanently impact market shares.
- We consider the phase of market volatility as opportunities that well-prepared organizations embrace and exploit.
Stage 5: The Next Normal Business Priority:
- The Future Enterprises – As companies will recover from the recession, they will be working and operating in a new type of economy – the Next Normal. It will be the beginning of the digital economy with some new twists as a result of Covid-19.
- Tech Supplier Guidance – Strategic vendor relationships are established during the fifth stage, and the fortunate vendors who have earned those positions must prove that they can innovate along with speed and scale to maintain them. Resiliency will also remain as a fundamental requirement, not just to alleviate against the potential repeat of the pandemic event, and to enable companies to quickly recalibrate to the changing demands of customers, citizens, and patients.
- Operating as a digital enterprise is a vital success in our business. We are going to continue to invest in technology as it will be a competitive advantage.
DQ: What are Micro Focus India’s growth and traction plans?
Saurabh Saxena: A lot of business decisions are being taken using analytics. Today, if you look at analytics, it is more towards understanding the shift in consumer demands. Therefore, business analytics is essential. The shift in user access or internal employee access to applications have shifted to user behaviour analytics or insider analytics or analytics around process – service desk, better support, etc.
- Security for our customers and clients to ensure that they can confidently do the Smart Digital Transformation of their applications and workforce.
- Application performance – application that was hot off in the past – it could be re-engineered to support workforce.
- The agility to host the workloads either in the data centres or move across to cloud and back and ensure the service is available.
The only area where we are seeing a big uptick is the public sector. Micro Focus is working strongly to provide solutions to the customers so that they are able to automate, analyze and secure to scale. These are things which are very important as every organization emerges from the pandemic and prepares for the next normal of growth.
If you look at the current scenario, it is more of a business resilience and cost optimization. Going forward, it will be more of a targeted investment and organizations will need to look at automating and securing everything and that is where we are helping our customers. At same time, we are working with them to ensure we give them an open ecosystem so that they can work with partners of choice, integrate technologies of choice and help them with flexibility.
Ultimately, we are providing our customers with a Smart Digital Transformation approach so that they can run, transform and adapt, at the same time.
DQ: What is Micro Focus’ competitive advantage, and how will the core focus areas will be a road to recovery?
Saurabh Saxena: We need to think about how we can accelerate in a hyper-competitive and unprecedented changing world that we live in right now. At Micro Focus, we believe that the best approach to do that is Smart Digital Transformation (SDT). And we believe it through our four key elements to SDT:
- Prioritize outcomes – Determine which of the key outcomes are highest priority: Speed, Agility, Security, or Insights
- Run it like a business – Think about the end-to-end capabilities & functions that are needed to run IT like a business and how they can be optimized
- Automate, analyze and secure – Use data to drive insights and help decision making, use automation to scale and secure everything where you can
- Be open and integrated – Leverage the eco-system of commercial and open source, partners and alliances as well as looking at organic solutions
IDC forecasts that the digital transformation spend will reach $2.3 trillion by 2023, which is increasing as a result of the current crisis and demand for remote work and collaboration. So, the opportunity for the company to capitalize on digital transformation spending is significant as Micro Focus seeks to be a trusted partner that will enable customers to successfully digitize their business operations
Instead of rip and replace, we enable companies with:
- Bridging old and the new, enabling mission critical applications and data to continue to be leveraged across the organisation
- Latest innovative features and functions that are enterprise grade & scalable into core products, to element switching process
- Choice in deployment and commercial models so that one can select what works for enterprise and budget
- Open and integrated so that one can build an ecosystem that support organizational needs
Companies will need to look at growth and help themselves prioritize as they work with the speed of high-quality software with enterprise DevOps; manage complex hybrid IT ecosystem; secure what matters most to them with risk, security and governance, and gather insights with predictive analytics.
DQ: What are the likely technology trends for the IT industry, post-Covid-19?
Saurabh Saxena: Globally, the IT industry shifted towards high gear to accommodate the transition and was forced to rethink strategies. While the scar will take time to heal, IT industry is more poised to take the lead and ensure that going back to business is more secure. As the recovery takes shape, we will witness important shifts in the make of India’s economy and functioning to usher in a better and sustainable future. IDC’s 5 stages to recovery will play extremely crucial.
Here are some trends that we see:
- Smart digital transformation will be the next normal for enterprises across sectors.
- Enterprises will focus on engaging people with the right amalgamation of expertise and experience to achieve their goals, while enabling new ways of working and enhancing virtual work support systems.
- Focus on data security would be essential for enterprises to invest in technologies and ensure data and information are not compromised.
Post Covid-19 era will continue to see a surge in upskilling and corporate trainings. Companies will invest more on their learning budgets and commit to reskilling which will in turn strengthen companies for future disruptions.