TCS: A Machine First Approach to Digital Transformation
Digital transformation has historically been a human-led endeavour, relying on solid strategy and development of core technology products. But, according to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), there is greater value in developing a digital ecosystem as a platform for success.
TCS points to a number of high-profile disruptors. It cites Google Maps, which inverted the need of traditional map makers such as Rand McNally to make money from consumers buying maps by supplying the map for free and collecting revenue from businesses who wanted to attract those consumers.
It also singles out Amazon, which developed Amazon Web Services (AWS) by selling access to its homegrown technology infrastructure to third parties, then integrated later acquisitions into its ecosystem.
GitHub, a platform for software developers to share code and collaborate on projects and problems, was bought by Microsoft for $7.5bn in 2018. The platform would be easy to replicate, yet its dominance among developers would be a high barrier for a new entrant to the market, even from one of the world’s software juggernauts.
Building the right digital ecosystem
In order to succeed in building an ecosystem, TCS identifies three core components. There is an ‘ecosystem orchestrater’ (say, a tech leader or CIO), a consumer and – most importantly a ‘modular producer’. The latter is the crux of this arrangement, allowing a fluid dynamic between businesses and consumers without a middle man. It is developed by someone and used by someone, but operates independently, often relying heavily on automation and machine learning.
An example of a modular producer would be PayPal. As TCS notes, “[It] provides financial services used in multiple digital ecosystems as a lingua franca of e-commerce. Its core service can meet the needs of buyers, sellers, consumers and businesses.”
Three steps to creating an ecosystem strategy
While machine learning and automation might be core features of a modular producer, they need to be conceived and built by leaders and engineers. TCS has developed a three-step process to creating an ecosystem strategy.
1. Identify the ecosystems in which your company must play a part.
TCS recommends a SWOT analysis of your business to identify your position and potential in the market. This includes value propositions and value exchanges of goods, services, money, credits, information and intangibles.
2. Determine which roles you should play in relevant ecosystems.
This includes ecosystems you currently participate in, or those where you could play a major role. It is important that you have, or can build, a platform that is attractive to stakeholders. For this reason, you need to focus on a core interaction (for instance, Google focused on businesses instead of travellers as its core interaction).
3. Determine how to monetise your role in the ecosystem.
Where does your business’s expertise lie? Do you have assets that have not previously been monetised, such as data that may be useful to other companies or individuals? What is that worth?
Digital transformation from traditional business to digital ecosystem operator is a big step. But it’s a proven model with high market valuations for the victors. If it seems futuristic, that’s because there is wide field of opportunity. TCS argues that tech leaders who create a digital ecosystem strategy now may be those who find their businesses outperforming their traditional model in new digital markets.
How can technology help cut business costs?
Businesses are always looking for ways to cut costs and help increase profitability. Choosing quick fixes that reduce expenses, such as redundancies, can often decrease quality, and also impede the company’s reputation.
Upgrading technology and how the company use it can improve the business, although it may require an upfront investment, it will help save money in the long run. We take a look at some of the different ways that technology can help improve business costs.
Time is precious when you have a business, every hour counts, and the budget accounts for each hour, whether that be operating costs or paying employees. Implementing efficient processes is a way to decrease delays, and make sure the business runs smoothly.
Technology can help to quicken everyday duties such as:
- Communicating with team members
- Accessing and locating files
- Scheduling meetings and tasks
- Monitoring progress and results
- Managing annual leave and absences
Going paperless is becoming more common, and there are many advantages of paperless environments in the digital age. It eliminates the need for physical storage solutions, so you don’t need to pay for using an off-site storage facility. If you usually keep files in the office, storing them digitally will create more space so that you can grow your team.
With a paperless system filing documents no longer means printing them out, then having to search for them manually later on. Digital storage can be done in seconds, and retrieval involves a quick computer search. The reduction in employee work hours spent on menial tasks is significant.
Moving to the cloud
The 2021 Flexera State of the Cloud Report shows that COVID-19 has had a significant impact on cloud adoption in 2020. The report found that multi-cloud continues to be the dominant strategy, adopted by nearly all surveyed enterprises, 92% of respondents reported having a multi-cloud strategy. 82% are taking a hybrid approach, combining the use of both public and private clouds.
With cloud computing, businesses can store and access data over the internet no matter where they are. It helps employees who are located in different areas to collaborate in a highly convenient and secure manner. Cost saving is one of the biggest Cloud Computing benefits. It helps you to save substantial capital cost as it does not need any physical hardware investments. Also, you do not need trained personnel to maintain the hardware. The buying and managing of equipment is done by the cloud service provider.
Running your business digitally gives you the option to operate remotely, full or part-time. With employees working from home, it enables businesses to downsize or remove the office altogether, to save on rent costs. With minimal staff onsite there will be other savings such as electricity and cleaning. Having remote employees could also reduce the cost of serving refreshments/catering, which some companies offer.
Ensuring your staff members can operate efficiently and safely from home is extremely important. Providing equipment such as laptops, monitors and mobile phones is essential, but to also make sure these devices are secure and have sufficient security measures.
The past year forced businesses to adapt quickly to remote working, and video calls become the norm. Zoom, a popular video call app, generated $2.6 billion revenue in 2020, a 317% increase year-on-year. Instead of paying for travel for client meetings, you can conduct them for free through a video conference tool. You can also access or host webinars through video conferences.