No one saw Covid-19 coming. Nor its massive effect on businesses across the globe. More than anything, it’s proved that businesses cannot rely solely on past experience. We are now living in a dynamic world where the pace of change and technological advancement is exponentially increasing. The key to future success in this environment is resilience and adaptability.
If there is one lesson Covid-19 has etched into enterprise thinking, it is that new problems cannot be solved using old methods. Businesses must become agile be able to survive such extreme events. To do this, they must be equipped to absorb a combination of digital platforms, data science, artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML) and automation into the enterprise to drive exponential outcomes.
To understand how organizations are transforming into Intelligent Enterprises amidst this pandemic, Wipro undertook a study to examine the Intelligent Enterprise landscape through a pragmatic lens. This included understanding how many organizations believed they were an Intelligent Enterprise already, what were the factors that went into creating an Intelligent Enterprise, and examining the most important steps along the journey.
Beyond mere survival, the research shows that valuable business opportunities from digital acceleration are yet to be grasped. The first-mover advantage in the journey to creating the Intelligent Enterprise still exists.
While 80 percent of business leaders reported that it is important for them to be an Intelligent Enterprise, only 17 percent could identify themselves as fully intelligent Enterprise. It appears that most organizations want to go in this direction, but the lack of maturity in this area suggests that there are barriers preventing them from reaching this end goal.
This highlights that the path to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise isn’t always clear. There is no switch to flip to instantly become an Intelligent Enterprise. Nearly every leader interviewed faced a range of challenges. The most pressing was the lack of tools to integrate new information into processes and systems; 91 percent of respondents felt that there are data barriers to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise, with data security being the most important barrier.
Boiling down the report insights, there are four key steps to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise, ready to respond to the dynamic business environment.
1. Business advocacy
Key to technologies’ utilization goes beyond having the right tech. Whenever leadership has shown the desire to change, it has fueled transformation. Today, technology has become reliable and affordable, lowering long-standing barriers and paving the path to transformation. Now, business leaders must reach out and grasp the opportunities that are in front of them.
This drive needs to be lead from the front. For businesses to adapt and truly benefit from technologies they need to embrace their use – starting with business leaders who can equip an organization with true buy-in for the technology and invest in change management.
To provide a simple example relevant to the current challenging times – Video conferencing technology is not new, however many businesses who have international partners and offices have rarely used this as a tool for collaboration. Following the pandemic, everyone embraced video conferencing, many businesses have pivoted to video calls – often seeing their partners’ faces for the first time and much more frequently. This has made collaboration better, brought international teams together and is easily affordable for most companies. Only once video conferencing achieved proper buy-in was its full benefit available.
2. Digital people
Wipro’s first-hand experience from more than 60 Intelligent Enterprise initiatives has shown that reskilling an organization’s current workforce unlocks the full power of new technologies much faster and with high value outcomes. To actually use both the technology and the data insights organizations can now access, it’s imperative to train employees, hire those with the skill sets to exploit this, and to change the culture to one ready to be digitally lead.
The study found that only 1 percent of organizations were not doing anything in this area. 38 percent reported that they were making an effort to change organizational culture, 48 percent were looking to hire staff with digital skills, 51 percent where increasing employee training, and 53 percent were working with external partners. The best way to strengthen digital capabilities of the workforce is by partnering with organizations with vast experience and deep expertise in making the most people.
3. Understanding the right technology
More and more businesses are embracing emerging technology and leveraging its use to enhance business outcomes. As they turn towards digital and draw increasingly on technology, it is paramount that leaders evaluate the right tech that furthers their business objectives and plan for its successful implementation.
Technology is critical to businesses of the future. 95 percent of business leaders surveyed see AI as critical to Intelligent Enterprises, while 74 percent of organizations think that investment in technology is the most likely enabler to become an Intelligent Enterprise. This first mover advantage is present here as only 17 percent of respondents use AI across the entire organization.
4. Applying analytics to available data
The journey of becoming a truly adaptable business is one of constant innovation. Once these organizations become an Intelligent Enterprise, a majority expect to face challenges in putting their new insights to use. The ability to capture petabytes, exabytes, or zettabytes of data is not the same as being able to leverage it efficiently and creatively. Insights bring real transformation and combining them with a host of technologies that work in tandem creates an Intelligent Enterprise.
Insights and data transformation are central to becoming an Intelligent Enterprise. Businesses can make informed decisions only when they have robust processes that mine reliable and timely insights from healthy and secure data. With the right data management, businesses can mine information for meaningful and reliable insights. They can apply analytic models, algorithms, and AI to uncover these insights which, in turn, drive faster and more intelligent decision making.
The pandemic has brought several unexpected twists and turns, and it is risky to depend solely on experience or instinct to reinvent business. This is the window in which decision makers will use facts and insights to reassess their businesses and identify areas of potential risk; they will respond through collaborations with technology partners; they will recalibrate their business to use innovation and will examine alternate ways to grow. Reassess, respond, recalibrate. That appears to be the path to immediate reinvention.
Covid-19 provides an opportunity for a majority of businesses to advance their digital plans and invest in intelligent systems and technologies to drive business. It has called upon business leaders to give utmost priority to address the pain being experienced by their employees, customers, partners and other stakeholders. These leaders are rising to the occasion—some effortlessly, some valiantly and some not-so-successfully. The leaders who are doing it successfully are those who have found ways to create an Intelligent Enterprise that allows them to make fast and confident decisions, truly embracing tech from the top-down. For the rest, it means a change of gears in strategy towards digital-first – lead by technology, data and a culture of empowerment – ready to benefit from this new way of doing business.
Jayant Prabhu, Global Head and VP, Data, Analytics & AI, Wipro