Workshop on Digital Transformation

Evolution of technology services
SRITNE conducted the Workshop on Digital Transformation on October 12, 2018, at ISB. The purpose is to bring together an interdisciplinary leader from industry, government and academia to push our understanding of the future of technology services, including, not limited to technology-enabled service innovations, newer forms of organisation of service delivery, and human capital management. A few highlights from the workshop are presented.
Jayesh Ranjan, (IAS, Secretary, Industries and Commerce, IT and EC Departments, Govt. of Telangana) delivered the keynote address where he touched upon key government initiatives such as Blockchain, women entrepreneurs running internet cafes and drone technologies for women safety. “Unless we convince everyone we need digital measures, it will not be fruitful. There is tremendous potential, but we need to choose what to pursue.” Following this, their was a panel discussion on ‘Technologies to solve Challenging Problems’. It highlighted various experiences from both the Government as well as industry on their efforts to digitise services especially through increasing citizen friendly services and digital inclusion through public awareness systems and data personalisation. Professor Deepa Mani (Associate Professor and Executive Director, SRITNE, ISB) set the tone for the discussion by bringing up the requirement of complementary services and the challenges faced when technologies address citizen issues.

N Balasubramanyam, (IPS, CEO, e-Pragati Authority and Transport Commissioner, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh) pointed out the need for upskilling of staff as ideally, we would want to transform businesses but not just overlay technology on existing services. Both Amitabh Shukla (Director, Digital Transformation, Cognizant Technology Solutions) and Nitin Bhate (Chief Marketing Officer, GE Global) mentioned that while big data was available, it was critical to analyse and draw insights from them.

The fourth panelist, Amit Sharma, (Microsoft India), gave examples of specific uses of big data analyses that Microsoft had initiated in partnership with other firms and expansion of better-quality education and health services through e-kiosks. On a related note, featured presentations by Rakesh Ranjan (Advisor, NITI Aayog), J.A. Chowdary (Special Chief Secretary and IT Advisor to the Chief Minister, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh) and Milind Sohoni (Associate Professor and Deputy Dean, ISB) touched upon evidence-based policymaking and the effect of digitisation across different sectors.

Panelists representing the financial, power, consumer and internet services sectors discussed various issues underlying their respective businesses in the context of ‘Emerging Technologies: New Business and Service Models’. Moderator Professor Anand Nandkumar (Associate Professor and Academic Director for Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, ISB), opened the panel discussion with a few words on business model innovations and the different instances of business model innovations in their respective fields. Arun Rajappa (Group Product Manager, Microsoft Kaizala, Microsoft) mentioned how the start-up Kaizala came into existence in Microsoft garage, which promotes entrepreneurship within the Microsoft Business framework. Pointing out the importance of large corporations giving the luxury of doing research to individuals, both Gunjan Kumar (Director, Wealth Business, Barclays) and Bhartendu Sinha (Managing Director, Autogrid) stressed that allowing individual entrepreneurial pursuits in large corporations was an important business model innovation which inherently depended on the head of the firm and his/her vision for the management practices that will encourage ramping up of entrepreneurial ventures spun from the firm. In his featured presentation, Professor Vasudeva Varma (Dean, Research and Development, IIIT Hyderabad) gave a basic primer on the differences between machine learning and deep learning.

Following this, the presentation ‘Returns to Digital Innovations: A Group-Based Trajectory Approach’ by Professor Anandhi Bharadwaj (Endowed Chair Professor, Goizueta Business School, Emory University), argued that while there were still early stages of another major technological shift or disruption, (one that is rooted in AI and analytics but enabled by several underlying infrastructure technologies) there was an ongoing search for value from these investments. She called for firms to understand that artificial intelligence requires numerous complementary innovations - including new products, services, workflow processes, and even business models.

Professor Sumanta Singha, ISB, set the tone for the concluding panel discussion on artificial intelligence that followed. Exploring the question of ‘What role does AI play in businesses’, the panel acknowledged that recently there was a lot more excitement about AI and its implications for business. However, Swastik Bihani (Head of Products and GM, India at PayPal) and Ram Kiran Dhulipala (Head - Digital Agriculture and Youth, ICRISAT) pointed out that adaption of AI for customer needs must be addressed clearly. Manish Jain (Partner and Head - Digital Strategy, Innovation and Fintech, KPMG) cautioned that one must be clear between AI and automation as they are not interchangeable terms. The concluding panel discussion brought out the need for increased understanding of the true power of AI and machine learning- in financial markets and agricultural sector - for the creation of an ecosystem that can transform India into a digital economy that promotes innovation.