What Digital Transformation Means To Global Businesses

by Divya Makhija    Mar 13, 2018


With the rapid diffusion of technology in our lives and the workplaces, it has become imperative for enterprises to start transforming their businesses in a way which resonate well with the present day technological developments. CXOToday caught up with Bas Burger, CEO, Global Services, BT, on his recent visit to India, where he explored what digital transformation means to global businesses and BT’s plans for the India market. Excerpt.

CXO Today: What does digital transformation mean to you and why is it crucial?

Bas Burger: Digital transformation is simply about better collaboration with digital technology. The growth factor of any business depends on the pace of its adaptability to technology. If a business is slow or non-respondent to their changing environment, which includes technology as well, it is likely for that business to lag behind in the league. For us, digital transformation comes in the form of more efficient, digitized supply chain and organizing ourselves better with data. It is a way of better communication with our end-to-end customer. In this journey, BT aims at being more efficient in the cloud environment whereby it is able to safeguard its networks against cyber threats.

CXO Today: What is BT’s strategy to sail through the journey of digital transformation?

Bas Burger: The journey of digital transformation is going to involve a lot of labour and hardwork. There is a lot of work that is required to accomplish the mission of seeing us digitally transformed. The two most crucial components of this transformation would be, firstly, having the right set of skills and secondly, education about the technology. Talking about the right set of skills, India is a huge market for us which is helping us with its impeccable IT technology skills. India’s innovative technical skills are helping the world in embracing the digitisation swiftly. Gaining the right technology is as important as educating your employees about it. Making our employees about the latest technologies is one of our key strategies to realize our dream.

CXO Today: How important are CIOs and CEOs in this journey?

Bas Burger: CIOs and CEOs hold utmost importance in this journey as they are the ones whose job is to make this happen. CIOs and CEOs are the driving force of any business or organization. Hence, it is through them that any change, new skill set, innovation would percolate down to the organisation. However, their jobs are also getting tougher in the challenging times. There is so much pressure and competition out in the business world that CIOs and CEOs have the double responsibility of building a new structure which can help them stand-out while managing the current one efficiently. It is very important for leaders to embrace technology first, before imparting it to the organisation.

CXO Today: What are the current challenges that you are facing when it comes to the adoption of digital transformation in India?

Bas Burger: There aren’t any specific challenges that India is said to be facing in terms of the adoption of digital transformation. In fact, it is doing much better than others. However, the world economy in general is facing certain deadlocks which are in the form of: inadequate resources, lack of skills and digital divide. The economies in general need to prepare themselves against these challenges if they want to be digitally transformed. The skill set and physical infrastructure needs to be strengthened in order to diminish the digital divide the world is engulfed in.

CXO Today: What is the scope of digital transformation in India?

Bas Burger: India is an important hub of IT skills which puts her in a favourable position to embrace digital transformation. With its excellent skill set, language skills, literacy level in terms of technology and being cost favourable, India is in a very unique position and is high on the transformational curve.

CXO Today: Please throw some light on the importance of digital disruption.

Bas Burger: The end product of digital disruption will be visible in the form of efficient business processes. With the aid of latest technologies like robotics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, companies will become more efficient in manufacturing, operations and managing and processing data. This will further result in the optimization of businesses in long run. With the proper knowledge and usage of technologies like artificial intelligence and analytics tool, the burning challenges like cyber threats and cyber security can also be handled well.

CXO Today: How can government help in boosting the adoption of digital economy?

Bas Burger: Government has a very crucial role to play in bringing any major change and so is true in the case of digital transformation. The government across the regions need to make it easier for start-ups to take-off with their business dreams. The government ought to reduce paper-work and make tax-paying easier so that an entrepreneur can focus more on business ideas instead of government formalities. Along with IT sector, government should actively be involved too in protecting the country against rapidly growing cyber threats and security.

CXO Today: Please share your leadership mantra with CXOs or business leaders.

Bas Burger: Focus on long-term goals instead of reaping short-term benefits, pay attention to your customers and employees and most importantly, be open to changes around you. With all this, you are good-to-achieve any heights you have envisaged for your business.