We are well and truly living in a period of great change – a time when our businesses are being fashioned by digital transformation. And the pandemic has accelerated this process. In this “new normal,”it is imperative that companies adopt digital-led models to help them survive future disruptions if they are to stay resilient in business operations.
Little wonder then that analyst firm IDC believes by next year, over 60% of global GDP will be driven by digitally enhanced offerings, operations, and relationships. We will witness new approaches to technology, design, and communication in a new,“intelligent world.”
At the same time, the pandemic has also served to remind everyone of the need for sustainable growth. Organizations are increasingly looking to make their operations sustainable, and their business purpose-driven. While technology isn’t a silver bullet, it holds incredible potential to rapidly transform society globally, and enable widespread changes across industries.
Technology with sustainability: A trade-off or workable system?
The next stage of digital transformation is here. Companies are digitizing key industrial parts of their businesses using embedded software, data, and new-generation wireless connectivity.The combination of cloud, data, smart sensors and AI is driving companies to both build their talent pool while staying on the lookout for smart best-in-class solutions for every function.
Autonomous vehicles or surgeries guided by immersive reality are no more part of fiction; they are actively being used by businesses. Researchers are making dramatic leaps in quantum technology. Drone deliveries are already real in several parts of the world. Edge Computing power and AI techniques are leading our digital age towards unprecedented innovation. An estimated 70% of new value created in the economy over the next decade will be based on digitally enabled platforms.
The advent of product-as-a-service is making it simpler for end clients to have greater tech access. For example, the manufacturing industry will see significant shift by leveraging IoT, 3D, AR/VR, 5G and Edge Computing in its supply chain processes. We are already witnessing its impact on sectors like telemedicine, e-commerce, education, etc., and creating pathways to what’s called the contactless economy.
In the new normal, however, with technological innovation becoming a key lever of progress through the use of embedded software, data, and new-generation wireless connectivity, the thrust is to make technology useful, accessible, and ethical. In short, the aim is to ‘unleash human energy through technology for an inclusive and sustainable future.’
Let’s consider AI, again! Scaling AI may be a tough proposition, but more organizations are moving beyond pilots and proofs of concept to ‘achieve the larger good.’Similarly, we see AI Computing assist in medical surgeries, improve farmers’ yields, help teachers spread education or scientists in weather modelling or generating clean fuels.
Response, Restore and Relaunch – the business paradigm for the future
As technological innovation becomes a key lever and determinant of progress, this is also a time when stakeholders are becoming more demanding and expecting more from large organizations – for instance, consumers are increasingly looking at brand values before opening their wallets;employees want to work for companies that are committed to climate emergency, sustainability, and mental health; and investors are going beyond traditional measures of corporate performance and looking at ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) metrics to determine what activities truly constitute business success.
Enterprises should respond accordingly! This will require enterprises to adopt new strategies to unfolding events, through a structured 3R approach:
- Respond: Limit the disruption and respond accordingly
- Restore: Stabilize and get back to business faster
- Relaunch: Perform and reimagine the New Normal
In short, organisations should look beyond traditional systems and approaches and towards a more agile roadmap. What is needed is a pragmatic, fit-for-future vision to navigate towards scalable digital excellence and business resilience. Yet, given the very different levels of maturity in how companies have prepared themselves in digital, the road ahead will still be challenged by the “new normal.”
There is a real need to transform business culture today, and business leaders should drive this agenda– to use digital transformation to power a sustainable world.We stand at a critical juncture to make decisions and put in place a governance architecture with profound and lasting impacts on society. Companies should think ahead when it comes to issues like purpose, climate emergency and sustainability, and assume responsibility to fulfill their roles.
The New Normal – A pivotal point in history
This is a critical time where corporate purpose must translate into action. A higher purpose is not merely about economic exchanges but reflects something more aspirational. Purpose-driven organizations are focused on multiple stakeholders, from employees to communities. And the 3R approach is a structured way of addressing the questions raised by the pandemic.
This is also the time to be proactive in our actions and find profit in new business models of sustainability, diversity and inclusion, and more.Our tomorrow will be shaped by what we do today. Our new ways of working will be a manifestation of agility and adaptability, which are key to sustainability initiatives.
The message is clear: Make your choice… and Get The Future You Want!
(The author is Sandeep Bhatia, MD, Capgemini Invent, India and the views expressed in this article are his own)