Experts weigh in on why and how technology can empower businesses to do more with less
Digital transformation has been at the forefront of every industry – particularly, post the pandemic. Consumers demand greater efficiency today, which can be fulfilled with the adoption of technology. But how does it pan out across both small and big enterprises? Can the fears around data leaks, which is a glaring issue today, be addressed through technology?
These pertinent issues were discussed during a panel discussion - 'Leveraging technology to do more with less' - that was held on Day 2 of TechSparks 2022 in Bengaluru.
The panel featured Kapil Chawla, Director, Digital Natives and Startups, Microsoft India; Norman Sequeira, Customer Success Lead - Digital Natives, Microsoft India; Khilan Haria, SVP and Head of Payments Product,; and Sagar Agarwal, Senior Director of Product Management, .
The growing need for efficiency
To kickstart the discussion, Norman highlighted how the pandemic has proved to be a game-changer for enterprises of all sizes. Digital transformation has accelerated to unimaginable levels within a few months, something that could not be foreseen in the past.
"While it enabled business continuity; at the same time, it also created multiple tools that were deployed for employees. The technology workforce has been used to doing more with less, but I believe that the same philosophy must also extend to tools that are used for internal collaboration," he shared, adding that companies can look at having a single digital platform like Microsoft 365 for a unified experience.
But while growth in technology is yielding positive outcomes, there are also concerns around data leaks, particularly in the SME and MSME sectors. How can those be addressed effectively?
Mitigating data risks through technology
Sharing his views on this critical issue, Kapil reassured that Microsoft runs a multi-cloud, multi-platform security business worth 10 billion dollars. Currently, 90+ out of 100 Fortune companies rely on Microsoft for security solutions across identity, privacy, control, and compliance.
"The entire focus of Microsoft is to empower large and small organisations with cloud solutions, and with built-in security. This is present across the entire tech stack, not just one layer," added Kapil.
Further, he explained that security isn't limited to protecting the Azure cloud, but all the clouds as well as productivity tools. That's because the threat surface has increased today – offices are no longer restricted to the parameters of a building. This is why it is crucial to have the right partner to deploy solutions across the tech stack.
Resolving environmental concerns
With the world of work going hybrid post-pandemic, things may look bright in the future. Most startups typically have supporting functions up and running, but as they grow, they have a tendency to hire more people, highlighted Sagar. At the end of the day, linear hiring is very short-lived and organisations go back to getting tech and product resources to automate everything.
"If startups were to invest in these functions early on, they will be comfortable in trying hybrid," added Sagar.
Elaborating on the same theme, Khilan shared that the environment is certainly a concern, but as humans, we can't completely wipe off social interactions. But what's interesting is "what cloud did to the democratisation of technology; pandemic has done to the democratisation of talent”.
Similarly, Norman, too, believes that hybrid [working] is the future. Speaking on carbon consumption, he shared how Microsoft has created an emissions dashboard that gives details on how much carbon one has saved, and what is being done on-premise.
"At Microsoft, we have been looking at incorporating sustainability across all verticals, be it products and devices. It is about optimising the entire supply chain. We have launched a Microsoft Sustainability Manager, which can be used as an automated extensible platform to capture information about where you stand today from a sustainability perspective," he explained, adding that they believe in three Rs – record, report, and reduce.
Latency and its influence on efficiency
As a startup serving businesses, it is important to think of non-functional requirements too. Latency plays a critical role, particularly if one has a platform that has low latency and creates a business advantage.
"Enterprises and super enterprises see this as the key criterion through which they will select the right partner, especially if they are evaluating platform infrastructure partners. It is important for partners like Razorpay to deliver offerings at the lowest latency. Those become our advantages when we scale and go to market," shared Khilan.
Agreeing with Khilan, Sagar added that as Cashfree grew many folds, they were conscious that they had to consistently keep a track of the performance side of things, especially latency.
"The expectations are only going to increase from hereon. Innovation has to keep happening," he said.
When it comes to payment and security, Kapil believes that these aspects don't get noticed until they fail. "The best experience is as a consumer, when you have no experience," he added, sharing that the sky's the limit today, both from the consumer as well as a business perspective.
Since consumers are accustomed to certain experiences while using consumer apps like Facebook and WhatsApp, they expect a similar experience from an enterprise product, and that's going to be an area that will need to be fulfilled.
In the future, Sagar believes that the trends of low code and no code, as well as health and IoT, will only grow. On the other hand, Khilan is of the view that personalisation will reach 100x levels, making it critical for organisations to further up their game.
"Voice is another trend, and I am certain that we will see voice experiences becoming dominant. Foundationally, it's the digital infrastructure that is scaling and changing, especially money movement," he concluded.