Interview

“The Expedition of Digital Transformation is a Positive Outcome of The Pandemic”

Vikas Bhonsle, CEO – Crayon Software Experts India
The strategy for digitization must be for the long term. So it is advisable to choose carefully before investing in digital tools.

Being in the business of digital transformation, what are the major requirements that you come across from clients in India?

Indian organizations are currently seeking digital transformation assistance in cloud solutions, cloud storage and cybersecurity measures. The pandemic drove most organizations into the remote and hybrid work model, which led to the rising demand for cloud services. Also, companies have come around to understand that digitization is now a major priority for their businesses to be efficient and stay relevant in the long run, much before the COVID-19’s advent. The pandemic increased that pace and made it an overnight necessity. Today, we are helping companies in cloud storage, digital workspaces, unified service delivery platforms, and other tools that can bring speed and efficiency to their business processes.

How is India coming up as a digitally smart country?

The researchers at Harvard University have emphasized that India is leapfrogging into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We are now the second-fastest digitizing economy and a recognized global IT force. India’s expertise in information technology has broadened the country’s possibility of innovation in every aspect of its economic engine. It has helped optimize resources across sectors ranging from e-education, manufacturing, agriculture, healthcare, retail, financial services, banking, national defense, and security to public utilities.

However, it is one thing to be digitally equipped and another to utilize the benefits of data generation. Several drawbacks such as data skills gap, data silos, manual processes, business silos, and data privacy and security weaknesses have kept Indian companies from taking full advantage of their data pool. With data analysis, companies can derive predictive knowledge for improved decision making, mitigating risk & fraud, improving customer service, and optimizing and improving customer experiences.

How much advantage are Indian businesses deriving from the Big Data boom?

Surprisingly, Big Data is proving to be a bane than a boon for many organizations at present. Some companies are still reluctant to pursue any data analytics strategy, while others are keeping their data in their own data centers despite knowing the benefits of data processing at the edge or the cloud. According to new research by Dell and Forrester Consulting, 82% of organizations in India generate data faster than they can analyze and use and 71% of businesses say they constantly need more data than their current capabilities provide. 

The research further highlights that 63% of Indian businesses struggle with security and compliance requirements, and 67% are already overwhelmed with their current data repository. 

Many of them don’t possess the technical skills required to manage a data lake. The situation can improve if companies start shifting to an as-a-Service model for most of their applications and infrastructure. It will allow businesses to save time and resources from moving and tracking data from one platform to another and help derive actionable insights faster. With an as-a-Service model, companies also gain better control of their IT spend, improve their outdated IT infrastructure, and better support their data teams — all without committing to heavy Capex costs.

How do you see the COVID’s impact in the digital landscape of India?

With any crisis. come greater opportunities. The nationwide lockdown in 2020 unwittingly accelerated the digital transformation process amongst businesses, as they had to ensure business continuity at all costs. This expedition of digital transformation is a positive outcome of the pandemic.

COVID lockdown protocols resulted in people resorting to virtual proximity. The frequency of using digital services and platforms was on the rise like never before. From learning to working to entertaining, all happened online through digital modes. Therefore, it was a natural progression for businesses to deliver seamless digital solutions to their consumers. As per a McKinsey report, the digital transformation has impacted Asia in a manner that it is at least four years ahead, which means we achieved as much digital prowess by 2020 as expected to achieve not before 2024.

What are the key aspects companies must keep in mind while transiting to digital mode?

In normal times, while making any drastic change to the business processes, companies usually take sufficient time in planning and consulting with experts, treading carefully and after running several pilot projects, they make their final moves. However, in the new normal, there is less time for companies to spare in planning, especially when it comes to digital transition. Planning at times is dilly-dallying in disguise, which companies must be aware of. Playing safe and taking it slow can prove to be a strategically bad move.

To get a digital transformation process on track, companies must now reassess their digital initiatives. Two major areas that companies need to assess in their digital initiatives – one, that provide immediate help to the workforce, customers, and the broad set of stakeholders to which the business is responsible, and two, that strengthens the company’s positioning for the new normal world.

Also, companies must also understand the magnitude of the undertaking. Business leaders must understand and comprehend the fundamental importance of heavyweight management commitment and must be willing to make significant investments, and set clear, ambitious targets.

Businesses must first calculate how much they want to allocate for their digitization project and jot down clear goals that they seek to achieve from the process.  It will help them to underscore their priorities and what they should hold back on.

With everyone racing towards becoming digitized, it can be easy to be either too short-sighted or too far-sighted with digital up-gradation. The strategy for digitization must be for the long term. So it is advisable to choose carefully before investing in digital tools. 

According to a McKinsey report, organizations that can leverage things like design thinking into their new offerings will see significant first-mover advantage. In terms of going digital, most organizations are looking for virtual replacements for their previously physical offerings, or at least new ways of making them accessible with minimal physical contact. This could be coming out of the comfort zone, as digitization will initiate new partnerships or the need to access new platforms and digital. Design thinking, which involves using systemic reasoning and intuition to address complex problems and explore ideal future states, will be crucial. A design-centric approach focuses first and foremost on end users or customers. But it also helps make real-time sense of how suppliers, channel partners, and competitors are responding to the crisis, and how the ecosystem that includes them all is evolving for the next normal emerging after the immediate crisis fades. To make this job easier, companies can always bring in a third-party digital transformation partner, who can help to make smarter decisions and avoid making investment blunders.

How have Crayon Software Experts India’s journey been so far?

We are comparatively a new entrant in the industry, and with passing time, we are maturing very well in the data transformation business. We have spent the last several years developing and diversifying our offerings. We came into the market when companies were going through a real-time need of digital transformative assistance. Hence, we got to understand the pain points of the businesses better, took note of the nuances of migrating digital assets to the cloud, and had the best advice for businesses on achieving transformational results.

We are currently focusing on bringing the best cloud solutions to our customers to help them move and innovate faster. Businesses are eager to modernize their ageing infrastructure, scale globally, get better insights from their data and restructure organizational models to create better customer experiences. We are dedicated to helping companies in achieving impressive cost savings while building scalable infrastructure.

How COVID-19 impacted your business in India?

At Crayon, we share the pain, confusion and anomaly that the pandemic has caused with everyone else. The business spirits across markets and industries have indeed dampened during this phase. But at Crayon, we kept up the business momentum and did not let the pandemic diminish our effort in bringing the best solutions to our customers and partners.

We prioritized the wellbeing of our people first, and our business only came second. I am honored to say that we have an excellent and dedicated team here in India. During the pandemic, the team gave their two hundred percent in keeping the engine moving, even though everyone was scattered across different locations and facing personal inconveniences. I cannot be more proud and inspired.

Also, we have always learnt to evolve with the changing times. We have kept a rigorous marketing and messaging strategy during the COVID phase across media. Our messaging medium and tools include seamless customer & partner communication, outbound email, inbound lead nurturing, digital, mobile, social, content curation, website, SEO, Events, GTM with Alliances, PR & Corp Communication, and Media led initiatives.

Now that COVID-19 situation is improving, what are your plans for the next year?

Firstly, we want to assure that our employees are still in safer zones because though the COVID situation seems to be quiet for a while now, we cannot make a mistake that it has gone.  Keeping that in mind, we will continue reaching out to all our current customers and partners to understand where they are currently with their digital needs and requirements. Also, we will continue to upgrade and add more solutions to our portfolios, especially in cloud and cyber security solutions.

In the last two years, we have been expanding our teams by onboarding many promising and talented professionals. So, together with them, we have some major plans to expand our businesses in India.

The 2022 business landscape already looks very promising, as businesses are now better prepared with their goals and budgets for digital transformation. The global spending on digital transformation (DX) for 2020 is projected to reach 1.78 trillion USD. And between 2020 and 2023, direct digital transformation investments are forecast to amount to almost 7 trillion USD. We are very hopeful that the coming year will bring positive prospects of business for Crayon India as well. All it takes to be is being in the right place at the right time, and from Crayon’s perspective, with just the right offerings.

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