The segment breaks down to financial service, broadly telecom, manufacturing, and let me call the rest as commercial. Each of them is on a digital path from an overall end-to-end business perspective
Nothing ever said is enough about digital. Organizations across the world are building their digital capabilities and adapting to change as quickly as possible. Sumit Bhattacharya, Executive President - Strategic Businesses & Marketing at HCL Infosystems and Ravichandar N, Senior VP – Emerging Technologies, HCL Services Ltd, discuss how they are building their digital capabilities inside out, during a conversation with Sachin Nandkishor Mhashilkar, Director – Community Engagement at CIO&Leader.
How do you help enterprise architect the digital strategy?
Sumit: From a business enterprise perspective, I call it the 3Cs, among which, one is obviously the consumer. The 3Cs are shaping how enterprises will perform in the future and whether they will succeed or not.
Ravi: The segment breaks down to financial services, broadly telecom, manufacturing, and let me call the rest as commercial. Each of them is on a digital path -- from an overall end-to-end business perspective. Looking at BFSI, we want conventional banking to move to 'everything digital'. Manufacturing industry is also going to perform the IoT and the automation to create smart factories, smart plants, etc. The telecom sector is fundamentally moving in terms of being both the service as well as the content provider. This leads us to the rest of the commercial space that is making this journey of moving from datacenter to cloud – a hosted model to everything on a cloud, from consuming everything earlier as a solution, and consuming everything as a service.
For each of them, the paths are almost converging at some point in terms of making it easier for customers to consume services through mobile phone or cloud.
How will you cope with the velocity of change that is happening? How do you deal with the changes and match the expectations as well as solutions?
Sumit: The simple thing is you think about 20 years ago, you had organizations invent everything. That has now changed; it is now more about collaboration and partnership. Therefore, there isn’t one company that manages the transformation in technology. Therefore, your ability to take something rapidly to market increases exponentially because you are no longer responsible for the entire industry.
The other aspect is when you look at each of these technology changes, most of them have to do two things: First, they either have to deliver on operational excellence or customer experience. Both of them are crucial to competitive advantage for anyone. Hence, as service and solution provider, we have to be able to align to what the businesses require. The second thing is that the whole model is changing from capex to opex. The whole model is changing from investment to consumption. Our commercial and engagement model has changed. As an overarching requirement, we have to change. There is no other alternative.
Ravi: In case the changes like you said are huge, some fundamentals haven’t changed. So the way the consumption is happening, the channel has changed. The way the service is rendered fundamentally, that hasn’t changed. The core of the service remains the same. But the delivery mechanism and the model that is getting consumed are different. So yes, what is very clear is the long-term IT roadmap, it used to be probably for nine quarters, a couple of years back, but now, it does not extend beyond nine months; the change is that fast.
Sumit: One of the things is that IT earlier was more production-oriented. The level of intelligence that is going into information enables enterprises to actually get the service. I mean we used to get terabytes of customer data. They were stored on hard discs. Today that live data can be used to change the business model and transform the business performance. Those are some of the things that are making IT's ROI so much more valuable. In the old days, we couldn't figure out IT's ROI. However today it is possible. So when you take terms like IoT, you could actually calculate the ROI.
Ravi: We always had the data. In the last two years or so, we now see intelligence, newer analytics and computer power. A lot more decision-making power is available based on which you could decide somebody’s technology strategy. This is helping us with the amount of time we spend sifting through data and making informed decisions. This has helped us as a service provider.
We need innovation that is sustainable. How do you see the adoption of cloud and IoT in businesses? What is your advice to keep this secure?
Ravi: The fundamentals of technology have changed. Earlier, what were seemingly inside the enterprise and inside the datacenter is now both technologically, commercially and even in the security sense, hosted on cloud. Cloud computing is here to stay. As far as IoT is concerned, it exists in several forms in the industry where IoT is dedicated to the petroleum or the oil industry and so on.
In the commercial sense, IoT sensors have specific price points. Any physical assets can be monitored with IT assets. We are combining IT and the IoT, in terms of how does any of these processes work, whether manufacturing or a banking transaction. On the security aspect, there was an initial fear how secure is data on cloud, how secure is the data that is being spurned out of IoT devices. Actually the answer is somewhere if you look at the trends. Coming to the sensors part, in India where IoT data is still kept on a private cloud, there still seems some apprehensions about whether these IoT sensors can be hacked. It will take a bit of time. As of now, in terms of investment, as long as it is on a private cloud, inside your datacenter, and it is only the periphery information that is available on the cloud for analytics, I think we are safe. The larger question is about how secure are IoT sensors from hackers? I think there is still some work left to be done in that space.
What is your take on HCL’s roadmap?
Sumit: We are focused on two major areas: Operational excellence and customer experience. And what we are looking at is both in terms of what we call a covered core service, which is infrastructure management, to our emerging service, which are solutions built around cloud, IoT, analytics and mobility. How both of these align are two key metrics of our business.