Today, the words “Going Digital” or “Digital Transformation” are constantly heard by us when we talk about businesses and their plans to thrive and grow in these pandemic times and in the future. Digital approaches and strategies have become cornerstones for businesses to move forward and make a mark for themselves in the prevalent highly competitive environment. It is worth taking a pause here to clearly understand what it means to ‘Go Digital’, and simplify its meaning so that a shared understanding of the concepts can be created to facilitate rapid progress on the Digital journey.
At a granular level, the word “Digital” relates to the use of computers & electronic systems that make use of the digits - 0 & 1 in their cellular (binary) form to perform tasks. By this definition, everything from a scanned piece of document to giant cloud servers falls under “Digital”. For that matter, the way this edition of CHANGE is put together, is Digital and the way it will be read using a device will be Digital. Today, Digital is all pervasive – difficult to draw the line!
Digitization is simply a process of converting information from analogue to digital. Scanning of a photograph or converting a paper report to a portable document format (PDF) are some of the examples of digitization. Here the data itself is not changed; it is merely encoded into a digital format.
Digitalization is about embracing the ability of digital technologies to collect data digitally and use it to transform the way customers & businesses engage with each other. The data is also used to arrive at better decisions.
Digital Transformation is the process of using new and emerging digital technologies to modify the existing business models or create new business models in anticipation of dynamic, ever-changing business and market requirements. It is more associated with the cultural change within businesses which involves leveraging of technologies to empower and enable employees as well as customers. In the end, it is more about people than technologies!
In the wake of the current COVID-19 situation, Digital transformation has emerged at the top of the priority list for businesses. The pandemic has forced companies to redraw their strategic IT roadmaps, with many adopting cloud software, building apps and implementing policies policies that would benefit both the employees and customers. With serious measures such as lockdowns enforced by the Government, adoption of digital technologies stands accelerated. For example, in 2020, Microsoft Teams had 115 million daily users as against only 20 million daily users in 2019; a growth of 575%.
G&B embarked on its Digital Transformation journey in 2019, where multiple Digital initiatives like O365, Microsoft Teams and OneCRM were successfully implemented by cross-functional teams. These initiatives laid a good foundation for the new central Digital team that was created in September 2020.
In a world that is increasingly going online, businesses need the help of digital strategy teams to stay relevant and competitive.
Constant consumer contact is the new rule in the acquisition game. To emerge as winners, our larger businesses need their own core digital teams who must work collaboratively with the corporate digital team. The Corporate Digital team at G&B is a diverse team with each team member acting as a ‘change agent’ for enabling and supporting businesses in different aspects of digital technology. The team has a diverse set of knowledge and skills in areas such as emerging technologies, creative design, product visualization, business transformation, data architecture and the like. Amalgamation of this knowledge and skill base with the existing knowledge and skill base in our businesses will bring forth broader thinking, creativity, greater empathy, and newer perspectives to the ways they conduct their businesses and their business plans, both annual as well as strategic. Our approach is to determine the experiences that consumers demand and then work backwards to the features and technology necessary to meet those demands. After initial analysis, our team members can help embed digital into the existing core business processes and help create new digital ones. With this approach, digital percolates into the DNA of the business itself, empowering it for faster response to new consumer needs and making constant innovation infinitely easier.
In order to make the Digital Transformation at G&B more sustainable & scalable, we decided to take a closer look at an important building block – the Enterprise Architecture of G&B.
The purpose was to create a map of Digital, information & operational technology (IT & OT) assets and their capabilities. We also wanted to articulate governing principles, targets and transient architecture that would drive ongoing discussions about business strategies and how the same should be expressed through technology, platform strategy and the roadmap. We are also working with our businesses to help them design, select and implement platforms & updated architecture for new systems keeping in view the requirements of their customers and users. We are attempting to keep Total Cost of Ownership low by adopting the best practices, optimizing performance, and improving security, now and in the future.
Right from the onset our focus has been customer centricity, both at the front and back end. At the front end, we are bringing a strong focus on designing a superlative user experience and customer journeys for our applications. At the backend, we are implementing technologies to automate and optimize processes that impact the customer. We believe that this holistic approach will make G&B more customer-centric.
To maintain uniformity, we are creating a set of standards, processes, and guidelines for user experience (UX) design at G&B. This will help us develop engaging & intuitive digital products and solutions to serve our external & internal stakeholders. We have also started our journey for implementing product visualization technologies, such as AR & VR. Recently, as a part of the Diwali 2020 campaign, we launched G&B’s first range of augmented reality filters for four of our businesses on Instagram & Facebook. These were created in-house in a short span of only three weeks to keep up with the trend and engage better with our audiences. On the website front, the new godrej.com is live and we plan to integrate it with our common customer relationship management (CRM) system to optimise lead generation and conversions.
To configure the next-generation workplaces, we are looking at implementing process automation using software bots called Robotic Process Automation (RPA). For this to happen in a bigger way, we have set up an “RPA Center of Excellence” comprising of process and technology experts. In Phase 1, we have identified a few processes along with our BU’s, where we will adopt industry best practices to deliver the required automation in a short span of time. By consolidating various platforms and processes across G&B, we have saved approx. 22% cost of RPA licenses and conserved a significant amount of manual efforts. To ensure RPA becomes a common phenomenon across G&B – all businesses and corporate departments, we are encouraging everyone to identify additional processes that can be enabled by RPA for serving customers better at lower costs.
No digital transformation is complete without people. In the future, all organizations are going to be technology organizations, and all workers will have to be technology workers. If this were to happen, upskilling of the workforce becomes an imperative. To increase the digital quotient of the workforce, we are looking at upskilling through various initiatives including online courses, digital events, virtual trainings etc. In partnership with Microsoft, the Digital Team has already set up an ‘Enterprise Skill Initiative’ to upskill the workforce through guided learning paths and interactive, hands-on modules. We will also be conducting awareness sessions to keep up with the emerging technologies.
We are also planning to start another program called “Digital Champions” soon, which will identify individuals from businesses and create curated learning journeys for them to enable them to contribute to the digital transformation of G&B. Digital Champions will be required to contribute to areas such as design thinking, analytics, change management and the like.
We have also conducted digital awareness sessions, the first one being “Culture of Innovation at Amazon” through a masterclass in collaboration with the HR team. A senior executive from Amazon spoke about Amazon’s approach on innovation from his own firsthand experience. He also shared how this could be aligned to any specific end-customer problem or opportunity to define new product, service, or experience.
Our digital team gave a presentation on “Product Visualization Technologies” to G&B’s marketing council, explaining in detail various visualization technologies such as 3D Media, AR, VR and Virtual Stores. The team also shared alternate approaches, benefits and case studies.
As we move ahead...
Our aim is to facilitate the transformation of G&B by leveraging technologies, upskilling people, and changing the way we work. Going forward, we want everyone to go digital and embrace innovation to transform G&B to be more competitive and sustainable.