The second leg of the CISCO YourStory Future is Digital series of events in New Delhi saw entrepreneurs and founders of SMBs come together to explore and find solutions to the challenges and opportunities that come with digital transformation.
The evening put the spotlight on how an experienced technology partner can help businesses understand the nuances of digitalisation and help them traverse the digital journey with flexibility and ease. Delivering the keynote address Vivek Srivastava, Security Lead India at Cisco India & SAARC, said, “The definition of digitalisation does not limit itself to adopting latest technologies or getting your business online via a website. Today, it’s a gamut of new processes and strategies that a business needs to follow besides upgrading to new-age technologies – right from educating and reskilling the workforce to staying abreast with the latest digital trends to securing the business from online fraudsters.”
Vivek reiterated his viewpoint quoting a Gartner report which stated digitalisation can help a business in its focus, enhancing capabilities, engagement with customers, and outputs and outcomes. “The digital transformation journey needs to align with five key pillars - security, automation, analytics, integration and being outcome focused,” he said. Sharing his take on how businesses can kick-start this digital transformation journey, “Businesses have to first assess the outcomes they wish to achieve, then select tools and technology to help you reach those outcomes, and then continuously observe and make relevant optimisations.”
The digital security veteran went on highlight the relevance and importance of analytics in the digital journey. Because digitalisation gives access to numerous data points, “you will need to build in analytics to make sense of the data generated in the digital transformation journey. Analytics help to uncover pattern and insights to make business operations efficient, planning strategic, build competitive strength and helps to keep the business on the upward growth track”.
Vivek also stressed on the important link between security and digital strategy, its importance for business and why organisations should step up efforts to align the two: “You may have a security system built already but if you do not have a strong digital strategy and vice versa, there are chances that you may be overtaken by your competitor,” he said.
Defining digital transformation
The evening hosted a discussion where a panel comprising entrepreneurs shared their perspectives on what digital meant for their business and the digital trends transforming their respective domains as well as the Indian economy as a whole. Mahesh Gupta, Cisco Digital Network Architecture Sales Leader for Cisco's Asia Pacific and Japan (APJ); Prateek Barara of NowFloats (a startup that helps SMEs go digital); Sandeep Srinivasa, Founder of Redcarpet (a startup that lends to customers in India to finance their online purchases - ecommerce, travel, etc); Rahul Garg, CEO & Founder of Moglix(An e-commerce platform specialising in B2B procurement of industrial tools and products); Rajat Gandhi, Founder and CEO of Faircent (peer-to-peer lending platform) took part.
“Our business wouldn't have been possible if digital or internet was not there. All our services are on cloud. We are here because we are digitally enabled,” said Rajat. And, Sandeep echoed the same viewpoint saying, “For us everything is digital – right from our core business idea to the operating model.”
“Being a digitally-enabled businesses and transacting with companies of all sizes, we believe that be it innovation or disruption, they need to be driven top-down. Because, you need to invest a budget to make the environment conducive for innovation and then work its way through implementation,” explained Rahul.
“For me the interesting technology trend is chatbots. It is a fast-emerging trend in today's time,” said Prateek of NowFloats. Rajat opined that AI, IoT, Blockchain, and cryptocurrency are four significant technology trends. “Right now, these technologies are moving parallelly but once they converge we will see a new world,” he said.
The event witnessed an engaging audience who posed questions on various aspects of getting aboard the digital bandwagon like privacy, security, business models, cryptocurrency and others.
Mahesh of Cisco gave an overview of Cisco’s contribution to digital transformation and the support it provides SMBs to go digital. While speaking about the new-age technology trends, Mahesh placed his bet on AI and automation. “Cloud and mobility are no doubt big enablers but AI and automation are big transformers,” he said.
With events in Bengaluru, Delhi, and Mumbai, the Cisco-YourStory series is engaging with startups and SMEs and driving a conversation on digitalisation, its relevance, and trends that businesses need to keep a tab on as they continue to build and drive their business in the Indian economy that is going digital faster than ever before.