Digital Transformation is beyond technology; it’s a culture change

Digital transformation is a buzzword that has taken the world by storm. Is it just about technology or there’s more to digital transformation?

It is a fast moving world, and technology is evolving each day with a rapid pace. The new age customer likes speed, innovation and convenience. That’s where enterprises began to realize the need to reinvent their business models and transform digitally. While most industry leaders are already en route digital transformation, several enterprises worldwide are gradually stepping up.

But what does it take to make this buzzword a business reality? How long does digital transformation really take? From a broad perspective, digital transformation is mostly about bringing in new technology and digitizing business processes. However, if you dig in deeper and take a closer look, there’s a lot more to it than just technology implementation. Digital Transformation is a culture; an ongoing, long-term process. It touches all aspects of an organization, including its various departments, its people, processes and policies.

Digital transformation is beyond digitization; it calls for a change in organizational culture. As a CIO, you must understand that there are several layers to digital transformation hidden beneath technology implementation. Here are 4 critical aspects to an enterprise-wide digital transformation apart from implementing technology innovations.

Change Management

Even the smallest of organizational changes are faced by employee resistance; and we’re talking of digital transformation here. Before you set on a journey to transforming your business digitally, it is important to ensure that your people are comfortable with the new change. There are three key stages to an effective change management in an organization.

Awareness – Educate your people about digital transformation, and the value it holds for the organization and them.
Assurance – Build confidence in your workforce that digital transformation is for good and it will make work easier for them.
Assistance – Support them throughout the transition phase. Be a mentor, be a guide.

Training and Development

Implementing innovative technology and latest applications is a great initiative, but it’s of no good if your people are not competent with it. As a CIO, it is an implied responsibility that you must train your workforce with the new technology coming in.

Conduct Learning & Development programs that equip them with the upcoming business processes and develop their skills to keep up with the change. It will not only prepare them for the upcoming digital transformation, but will also enhance their productivities. Additionally, it will help you retain valuable employees, and drive digital transformation smoothly.

Enterprise-wide Digitization

True digital transformation is when your entire organization is influenced digitally, including your front end activities, back end processes, day-to-day operations and complex business critical activities. It could be as simple as implementing and AI-enabled bot on your company website or as complex as automating your enterprise’s risk management practices.

Digital transformation is not an instant process. It takes months, even years for an enterprise to fully transform digitally. It is a continuous process that fetches long-term benefits for an enterprise. The best strategy to carry out an enterprise-wide digital transformation is to focus on one department (or process) at a time, and integrate them together over time.

Risk Assessment and Plan of Action

Digital transformation leads to massive business change. However, it carries a set of challenges and risks that need to be addressed cautiously. It involves huge investments and business efforts to implement or migrate to new technology. For successful digital transformation, it is critical that you deploy the right technology in the right department and choose the right implementation partner.

Before you start with the implementation, revisit the areas of risk and come up with a plan of action to cope up with the risks. It could be internal risks, such as lack of IT resources to carry out the project, or external factors like stringent governance regulations. A strategic risk assessment can help you manage any risks that come along and implement digitization successfully in your enterprise.

The whole idea behind digital transformation is to help businesses grow and stand out in the cut-throat competition. Successful digital transformation is digitization runs across your entire organization and your people, processes and policies are in sync with the digital revolution.

Prakash Balebail is the founder and CEO of Estuate. He comes with over two decades of experience in driving digital transformation across industries and strong expertise in disruptive technologies like AI, Automation, IoT and Machine Learning.


Is Blockchain the future of Retail?

Blockchain is turning out to be the biggest technology revolution of the decade. This article digs deeper into the concept of Blockchain and explains why it is a game-changer for the retail industry.

Blockchain and Bitcoin have been the biggest buzzwords in the market lately. There have been massive investments in Bitcoins at a breathtaking pace worldwide. It is today one of the most popular and widely explored financial instruments, with a global market value worth $8,409 as of April, 2018. However, despite the huge worldwide spending on Blockchains and Bitcoins, many of us still have our doubts and questions.

This article tries to simplify the whole concept of Blockchain and brings out its use cases beyond money transfer, especially in the retail industry.

What is this Blockchain? Blockchain is the technology behind Bitcoin. In simple words, Blockchain is a ledger or record of digital transactions; each record known as a “Block”. It is a distributed database that maintains a continuously growing list of data records, known as a “Chain”.

So, who can use Blockchain? Blockchain is an open source network of computers connected to carry out digital transactions using virtual currency like Bitcoins; so practically anybody with an internet connection can use Blockchain.

And how does it work? Let’s assume A wants to send some money to B digitally. He communicates the intention through to a peer-to-peer network using a Public Key. He adds money to a digital wallet (say Bitcoin) and allows the money to be sent using an encrypted (protected) digital signature. Once this information is received by the computers in the connected network, they verify and validate the transaction. Once approved, the money is moved to B.

But why all the hype? Blockchain is a revolutionary technology that is reshaping the world of finance. One of the prime reasons for its popularity is the fact that it is an open source technology that brings transparency to financial transactions. It reduces the possibility of fraud to a great extent. Also, it is a convenient and faster mode of carrying out transactions, compared to regular banking, which has its own limitations.

Is there more to it than money transfer? Absolutely! The Blockchain technology runs the world of cryptocurrency. But, it has several other uses beyond digital currency transfer. Some of the key industries, including banking, insurance, supply chain management, healthcare and retail are using Blockchain extensively for varied purposes.

How is Blockchain impacting Retail?
Blockchain is significantly changing the face of Retail. The retail industry is getting digitized every day with technology seeping into all its critical aspects. Here are 4 ways in which Blockchain is hugely influencing the retail industry.

Since consumers today do not settle for less, Blockchain helps retailers establish authenticity of their products in the market. The Chain system allows retailers to track down the product right from the point it was manufactured. It gives a clear picture of what materials were used, what steps went into producing a product and what measures were taken in the packaging too. Especially in an e-commerce set up, where consumers make a purchase only after a thorough research of a product, Blockchain ensures retailers offer only quality products to their customers.

Whether it is a bulk order or single product, Blockchain is widely being used to track product shipment. Every logistical stage of a product’s journey including the information on who handled it, where and when in real time it is being transported can be visualized. It also results in reduced loss and damage of goods. Consumers too can track the movement of products they ordered online through mobile applications.

As mentioned before in this article, Blockchain enables easy, secure and fast payments. Retailers are using Blockchain to accept Bitcoin or Cryptocurrency payments, allowing them to carry out international transactions effectively. They are also widely using Blockchain to procure goods from overseas and make hassle-free, easy payments to global vendors.

Proof of Ownership
One of the biggest advantages of using Blockchain in retail is the fact that it establishes a proof of ownership, reducing the possibility of theft and misplacing of retail products. By tracking product information from the source of manufacture, till the point it reaches the end user, Blockchain allows retailers to ensure that the product reaches the rightful consumer through a proper channel of delivery, leading to improved customer satisfaction and branding.

The Blockchain market is growing at an alarming rate, and is expected to soar to $20 billion by 2025. It is one of the most disruptive technologies of the decade, and is here to stay for many more decades to come. How long until you embrace Blockchain to drive your business and achieve significant tangible benefits?

[Infographics] – Why Mobility?

Today mobile phones can do much more than making calls. There’s been a massive evolution in mobile technology. With an app for almost everything, mobile phones are an indispensable part of our daily lives. We’re in the era of handheld devices and chances are you are reading this infographic on your mobile too. Here are 5 ways mobility is impacting businesses.

The Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal: What you need to know

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has caused a worldwide debate. Here’s all you need to know about it and more.

You thought Facebook was safe? Well, we all thought so until the infamous Cambridge Analytica scandal shook up social media and global politics like never before.

What is this scandal all about? Should you, as an entrepreneur be more concerned about data security at your enterprise now? This article gives you the inside story of what exactly happened and what you must learn from the Cambridge Analytica data scandal.

Cambridge Analytica is a London based data analytics and political consulting firm incorporated in 2013. It helps political parties with data mining and elections strategies. It all started in 2014 when Aleksandr Kogan, a researcher developed a personality quiz app on Facebook. As much as 270,000 Facebook users installed the app and took Kogan’s quiz. Little did they know that the developers were able to access their personal data through the app. That’s not all; they could access personal information of their “Facebook friends” as well (without their permission).

All this personal information, which should have ideally been deleted, was being saved in a private database and sold to Cambridge Analytica. Allegedly, personal data of about 50 million Facebook users was hacked in this manner. Cambridge Analytica used this information to create about 30 million psychographic profiles to influence elections. The company has worked on elections all over the world, including the Bihar Assembly Elections in India in 2010. It is also said to have a major role in influencing the recent US Presidential Elections.

Quite obviously, this massive scam has affected the social media giant too. Soon after the news was out, the hashtag #DeleteFacebook went viral on social media, impelling people to quit Facebook. The company’s shares immediately tumbled in the stock market, and accounted for a loss of $35 Billion in a single day.

Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his account, “We have a responsibility to protect your data, and if we can’t then we don’t deserve to serve you.” He also addressed the media expressing his apologies on the matter and assured that the Facebook team is investigating all applications that use personal user data and auditing suspicious activities more closely.

Cybersecurity incidents affect an enterprise adversely in multiple ways. They lead to legal implications, cause loss of reputation and create financial dents too. But does it affect you? When a data breach as big as that can occur at Facebook, it can affect any business any time. Enterprises collect heaps of information from a variety of devices on a daily basis. The more information you collect, the more accountable you are to protect it and avoid any kind of misuse.

This incident has increased the need for IT security across the globe. It’s time to learn a lesson from the Cambridge Analytica scandal and review your Information Security programs for better. To prevent cybersecurity incidents at your enterprise, you need more than just a data security program. You need to educate your employees about the importance of business data, instill best practices around data privacy and monitor your IT operations more diligently; and continue this throughout the information lifecycle.

Why Automation? 5 Reasons to Automate your Business Processes

Business Automation could sound overwhelming, but it offers scalable benefits to modern enterprise. Here are 5 reasons why you should consider automating your business.

In the business world, there is always scope for improvement. Enterprises are constantly looking for ways to improve performance levels and gain an edge over the competition.

Many businesses worldwide are adopting process automation as a key strategy to stay ahead in the run. When we talk about automation, it usually gives a picture of robots and machines replacing human resources in an organization. Many small enterprises also think that automation is only for big enterprises, since it is an expensive affair.

These are all just myths. The truth is; automation simplifies human activities and it actually reduces operational costs in the long run. Also, a business of any size and nature can automate its processes and improve performance significantly. If you’re still not convinced, here are five key benefits of automating your business processes.

1. Cost Effectiveness
Far-sighted entrepreneurs consider automation as a strategic investment rather than expenditure. Once the initial implementation costs are covered, business process automation proves to be a worthy investment. Automating redundant activities reduces the need for extensive labor, minimizes paperwork expenses, overhauling and maintenance costs.

2. Time Saving
Business process automation is all about simplifying day-to-day recurring activities by letting machines and software do them for you. For instance, humans spend hours together testing application performance and generating reports. By introducing automated testing, test cases can be executed within minutes, saving massive time and efforts. Automation leads to faster processing of voluminous tasks and reduced turnaround timelines.

3. Enhanced Workflow Efficiencies
A reduction in enterprise costs and the time involved in executing operational activities leads to improved workflow efficiencies. As automation takes care of recurring and monotonous tasks, employees can focus their attention towards core business processes and revenue generating activities. Automating business processes allows enterprises to achieve more results with fewer efforts.

4. Accuracy and Consistency in Operations
A huge drawback associated with manual processing is the possibility of errors. Humans tend to make errors; especially when there are huge volumes involved. Manual processing is also inconsistent, as there are chances of missing some steps. Automation eliminates the chances of errors, leading to enhanced accuracy. It also follows a standard operating procedure, ensuring consistency in performing tasks.

5. Reduced Employee Turnover
In contrast to the myth related to automation; many enterprises have experienced a reduction in employee turnover since the introduction of automation. Executing recurring activities on a daily basis gets mundane and monotonous for employees. Automation solves this problem and allows people to take up more challenging and rewarding activities, leading to employee satisfaction. Satisfied employees tend to perform better and stay with organizations for longer times.

Enterprises worldwide are adopting automation solutions across various departments to streamline business operations. Some of the key areas where automation software and tools are being used widely are customer support, marketing, social media engagement, administrative activities, sales and analytics. Regardless of the size or nature of your business, introducing automation can prove to be a winning strategy and transform your business significantly.

How is IoT leading a smart medical revolution?

The Internet of Things is leaving footprints in all industries and businesses. Here’s how the Healthcare industry is being reshaped with IoT.

We live in a world where watches tell more than just time and mobile phones do more than just calling. Internet of Things (IoT) is not just a buzzword; it is a revolutionary technology. The concept of IoT is beyond laptops and mobile phones.

It is a new wave of connectivity that brings daily objects to life using internet. IoT is impacting all walks of our lives, and gradually becoming an integral part of the urban lifestyle.

The breakthrough concept of IoT is spreading like wildfire and impacting all industries and businesses significantly. One key industry that is using IoT to its maximum advantage is healthcare. The global market for IoT in Healthcare alone was worth $20.25 billion in 2015 and is expected to reach $135.87 billion by 2025. Healthcare IoT, also known as Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) offers smart medical care, improves public health and saves millions of lives.

Here’s how IoT is bringing about a smart medical revolution, transforming the healthcare industry phenomenally.

Remote Patient Monitoring
Remote Patient Monitoring or Telehealth is the practice of using technology to deliver healthcare to patients at a distance. Medical professionals are now making use of connected devices to monitor patient health remotely and act whenever required. It is also enabling patients to access healthcare from their places of comfort without having to visit in person. It is especially helpful providing proactive care to elderly patients and in case of critical medical conditions.

Real-time Location Tracking
The real time location system typically runs on location sensors attached to assets and people. Today, about 47% healthcare organizations use location based services in their daily operations. Doctors now track medical assets such as surgery equipment, medicines and apparatus with the help of sensors and access them immediately. Similarly, location tracking devices are also being used to track hospital staff in case of emergency.

eHealth Applications
Now accessing healthcare is easier than ever before with eHealth applications. Top healthcare organizations are designing mobile applications to enable round-the-clock communication with patients, promote fitness and healthcare awareness. Hospitals are also designing eHealth applications for internal communication between medical professionals and to administer day-to-day activities. The revenue from the global eHealth market is expected to be around $12K million in 2018.

Wearable Medical Devices
Wearable healthcare technology is gaining a lot of popularity worldwide among all age groups. The wearable medical devices market is expected to reach $14.41 billion by 2022 from $5.31 billion in 2016. There are literally hundreds of wearable medical devices and gadgets in the market that are promoting healthy lifestyle and fitness. Hospitals also use wearable technology to observe patient health status and improve patient care.

Virtual Health Assistants
Virtual Health Assistants are reshaping healthcare in several ways. A number of voice and chat based virtual assistants are being installed in healthcare organizations to help medical staff improve performance and enhance patient experience. These virtual assistants remind patients to take medicines on time, offer health advices, and also train them to follow treatment procedures. They also assist medical professionals with routine tasks.

IoT has introduced the healthcare industry to a smart world; and this is just the start. Almost 60% of the global healthcare enterprises have already introduced some connected services. Internet of Things (IoT) is soon going to become Internet of Everything (IoE), impacting all industries, all businesses and all aspects of human life in multiple ways. It has just begun to seep in the healthcare industry and the potential for the growth of IoT enabled services in healthcare is endless.