'Digital is about creating sustainable revenue and business value for organization'

At Max Bupa, Anubhav Rajput is leading several digital transformation initiatives jointly with other business lines

'Digital is about creating sustainable revenue and business value for organization' - CIO&Leader

A lot is written about the digital transformation efforts in Indian organizations. Some surveys have gone too far to claim that 84% of Indian businesses are seeing moderate to significant improvements in their ability to differentiate from competition through digital transformation. In your discussion with your peers, how true is this?

I think it is largely true. There are two dimensions to it. On the one hand, investments in digital for organizations in certain sectors such as e-commerce, travel, insurance etc, started a couple of years ago.

On the other hand, other sectors such as manufacturing and utilities are now realizing the potential that it has. The user cases are now starting to emerge and these will start delivering results in the next 12-18 months.

We all have heard of the five force model in business transformation. However, technology is emerging as a sixth force that each and every organization should reckon with.

Overall, there is a lot of flux. Some sectors are getting the results now and some are on the verge of it.


Some companies argue that a digital transformation effort/digital initiative must originate in a small part of the organization whereas others feel that the entire digital effort has to be seeded into an organization's DNA. What is your opinion?

In my view, it depends on three factors.

First, what is your organization's DNA? While the ecommerce and consumer based industries are inherently tech adaptive; therefore, they are much more disruptive and innovative in nature. These organizations can start in a big bang way when it comes to digital transformation. Other organizations must test the waters, understand the pitfalls, go through the cultural shift, and start smaller initiatives that can deliver large value for the organization. This way, their confidence measure will start building up for leaders in their digital journey.


Should there be a separate budget for digital initiatives for organizations looking to commence their digital transformation journey?

Those organizations that have tasted some success in digital, have already started ear-marking funds, but they are not calling it digital. Instead, they are referring it to as business transformation.

Others that are just starting, their intention is to start the proof of concept (POC) and launch smaller initiatives. It is because that their business is still sceptical in terms of setting aside a separate budget for digital efforts.

Therefore, to answer your question, organizations need a separate budget for digital. So whether you call it business transformation or tech trials or digital innovation, is just a matter of terminology.


Who should lead the digital transformation in the organization?

I strongly believe that the CIO is well poised to lead digital transformation in most organizations. The only reason when the job is not attributed to him/her is when the IT leader does not showcase enough comfort or confidence to start thinking from a business transformation perspective.

Digital is not about small feel good initiatives or employee engagement wow moments. Rather, it is about creating sustainable revenue and business value for organization.


If the CIO has to evolve to take up the digital responsibility, what are the top three immediate things that he needs to do?

The first thing that a leader should is lead the change. He/she must know where the sustainable streams of revenue are going to come from.The second critical thing is to spend more time with business instead of internal IT functions. They must not get stuck in the quagmire of micro components and won't have time to innovate or deliver business value.

And finally, IT leaders think of themselves as a balance sheet manager and must constantly ask themselves, “what is the value that I need to create?” and focus on executing it.


What are some of the digital transformation efforts that you are spearheading at Max Bupa?

At Max Bupa, we are leading the digital transformation jointly with other business functions. From enabling sales to assisted self service, and delivering a magnificent customer experience, we are leading the digital innovation and addressing important aspects of security, anywhere or anywhere scalability and compliance. These are important tenets of our digital transformation journey.


What are some of the digital trends in the insurance sector?

One of the most important digital trends in insurance sector is around enabling and ensuring seamless customer experience through various digital touch points.

The other trend is transformation through technology. Blockchain has tremendous potential in the insurance sector and we are seeking answers on how can we make smart contracts, our operations and process claims more efficient and at the same time,  avoid significant risk to my organization.

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