Everyone is raving about automation and agility, but how do the details work? And would this roadmap change thanks to the pandemic? There is a slow lane and a fast lane – but are we shifting lanes now?
A recent Dataquest webinar on ‘Autonomous Digital Enterprise (ADE)’ unlocked some new routes. The panel saw experts from BMC Software put their heads together and translate the thrust that ADE brings in.
Help from a crisis?
While many countries are ahead of the curve in the network revolution, India is stepping on the curve. All the big technology forces around need a major shift in the enterprise mindset. But is that happening, argued Shubhendu Parth, Editor, Dataquest, and Voice&Data.
Ram Chakravarti, CTO, BMC Software, explained that while strategic priorities vary from enterprise to enterprise, there is a continuous focus on data analytics initiatives, a renewed focus on customer experience, and also focus on de-risking one’s overall cybersecurity risk. “The COVID-19 phase has accelerated resilience and emphasis on connectivity. Automation continues to manifest as a judicious infusion of AI in specific use cases. Differentiation will require bold bets in data and analytics for high-value use cases as well as killer customer experiences with conversational AI and DIY customer service.”
COVID-19 has accelerated resilience, and emphasis on connectivity. Automation continues to manifest as a judicious infusion of AI in specific use cases.
— Ram Chakravarti, CTO, BMC Software
SMEs need to approach their digital transformation in an agile manner. Digitally empowered SMEs have twice the revenue projections than others.
— Sunil Thakur, Country Director – India, BMC Software
But the post-wave-to-recovery phase would be quite stark and might necessitate enterprises to carve a careful strategy. What would that be? Parth wondered.
Looking back at how we faced them earlier waves can help with some insights. “In the second wave, we were past the steep learning curve that was required earlier and there was lesser disruption. The return to work was much faster. But some supply chain disruptions had an impact on manufacturing operations. We learned to work from anywhere. This was a big shift for both the employee and employer. Reluctance in adopting technology has changed into a mindset of investment in technology,” pointed out Sunil Thakur, Country Director – India, BMC Software.
While many countries are ahead of the curve in the network revolution, India is stepping on the curve. The big technology forces need a major shift in mindset.
— Shubhendu Parth, Editor, Dataquest and Voice&Data
ADE helps here with roots in Industry 4.0. “The explosive growth of devices, data proliferation and rapidly changing customer preferences are upending how companies operate. We believe in the constancy of change imposed by technology. Black swan events such as the pandemic have created a perfect storm forcing companies to rethink their operational models. Evolving into ADE is akin to Industry 4.0 on steroids,” Chakravarti explained.
India’s own path
So what is stopping India, even now? Parth put the spotlight on some innate struggles.
Thakur rewound how Industry 4.0 was primarily aimed at rebuilding manufacturing and supply chain operations. “The primary incentive was cost optimisation. But it actually drove efficiencies. Now, this term is not just for manufacturing industries but for every industry. Cloud providers are making all the latest technologies available to everyone. In India, automation for a long has been viewed as a manpower-reduction enabler. But the pandemic has pushed enterprises to change their view on automation. Now enterprises want to talk a lot about automation.”
As to the complexity and proliferation of IoT devices, there are many other spillovers of automation. Will it be a digital infrastructure nightmare? Parth reflected.
Chakravarti dismissed that possibility contending that currently many industries are following the central computing model – characterised by one or more hyper-scalers, virtual private clouds, on-premise clouds, etc. “But in the next couple of years, edge computing will complement this model. We will need to solve for latency and security then. If we do not address those issues, we would be in a nightmare. We are working on edge computing platforms as a bridge between edge asset portfolio and BMC products known for their scale and resilience.”
Then there is the long tail of SMEs that are critical for driving the growth in Indian market. Parth asked the experts about their role and relevance in the digital adoption mindset.
Spelling out agility
Thakur feels that SMEs need to approach their digital transformation in an agile manner. “This is where technology companies have to advise on the right points of entry, and the journey of digital transformation. They should address specific challenges. Digitally empowered SMEs have twice the revenue projections than others. So, SMEs should adopt automation in a strong way as an enabler for getting value out of data and technology. Irrespective of the size of an organisation, data is going to be the biggest asset and ally in the face of adversity as well. A strong foundation of automation is necessary for this scenario.”
The future of work which has become agile, augmented, borderless and reconfigurable is driving cloud adoption. Plus, there is intelligence everywhere with AI.
— Deepak Bhatia, Product Account Manager – DSOM, BMC Software
Cloud technology was also discussed from an Indian perspective. Thakur described how much impetus the WFH trend would give to cloud adoption. “There is an absolute requirement for effective communication and collaboration. When you have a requirement of this nature, it helps to move into the cloud and scale quickly. There is going to be a significant interest in moving to the cloud.”
The possibility of a hybrid multi-cloud as an operating model also came up during the session. “Hybrid cloud will allow enterprises to not have limitations or reliance on a single model or provider. In the public cloud, resources are shared. In the private cloud, costs are high but the control is high too. So hybrid would help companies strike a balance.”
Deepak Bhatia, Product Account Manager – DSOM, BMC Software, explained how the company’s Helix strategy fits in the new landscape. “In the past few years, the market has been continuously changing. In the last two to three years, India has demonstrated major cloud adoption. Public cloud spending has been considerably increasing in APAC. We are spotting drivers such as the platform economy, and rising customer expectations for more convenience, customisation, and control. Also, the future of work that has become agile, augmented, borderless, and reconfigurable is driving cloud adoption. Plus, there is intelligence everywhere as AI explodes and pervades.”
He listed many CIO pain points such as the cost to support and administer infrastructure, painful upgrades and outdated versions, poor service quality, lack of transparency into IT performance, difficulty in gaining support, and slow manual processes. “We always look at how our customer’s customer feels and experiences a platform’s impact. So how to take away all these problems and focus on speed, customer experience, and agility? That’s where SaaS gives benefits of reduced maintenance overheads and other costs. There are no infrastructure management worries and there is more time to focus on business priorities and delivering customer value. SaaS helps improve scalability, reduce costs, accelerate time to innovation, and enhance security and compliance while strengthening agility.”
In these small and big ways, automation and digital renaissance will continue to take a solid shape across Indian enterprises. The word agility has been redefined in the last two years. It’s time to see it set a new language.
By Pratima Harigunani