Wednesday, 28 February 2018

How Pune’s Startups Can Exploit The Digital Transformation Opportunity

“Forty-seven percent of CEOs are being challenged by the board of directors to make progress in digital business, and 56 percent said that their digital improvements have already improved profits.” – Gartner

Markets and Markets estimates that the Digital Transformation market will be worth $ 493 Billion by 2022.

From being spoken of as a futuristic initiative only a few years ago, it is now clear that businesses of all sizes are embracing digital transformation. This is no longer a case of improving operational efficiencies or of creating competitive differentiation. In several industries, this is now a question of survival. As businesses around the world, and especially in the more developed markets like North America, seek to transform, the solutions and services they look to consume from their vendor partners are also undergoing a rapid transformation. This presents an obvious threat to those that cannot adapt to the new digital age, but it also presents a massive opportunity for those who can get ahead of the curve. Pune’s startups that can ride the Digital Transformation wave stand to benefit tremendously.  But what must they do to exploit this opportunity?
  •      Learn new skills:New solutions call for new skills. Where earlier the knowledge of a particular technology may have been adequate, today’s customer may call for the considered application of that technology to solve a business problem. Big Data technology experts becoming Analytics players is a possible example of this kind of shift. Startups that were earlier relying on their software development and testing skills to serve international clients may have to consider adding more strings to their bow. They may have to embrace an “Automation first” mindset –even in the delivery of their services. Areas like AI and IoT, which rely on the application of technology may offer more opportunity over the next few years as traditional IT services become more commoditized.
  •     Hitch your wagon to new stars: Change is the only constant, could well be the motto of the technology business. Mainframes give way to the Cloud, On-premise Enterprise software gets replaced by “pay as you go” SaaS products. The products and solutions that were the stars yesterday could become the also-rans within a few months. The startups that keep their finger on the pulse of this dynamic universe and proactively equip themselves with the knowledge and the skill of the “next big thing” will command a golden payday when the inevitable occasion arrives. For eg. solutions like ServiceNow that enable automation in the Enterprise are much sought after today and startups that offer solutions around such solutions stand to prosper.
  •   Innovatively extend current offerings: It’s rare for a technology to come about that is completely divorced from all that came before it. Technology evolves and what’s new today often carries traces of the old too. Startups could look to identify such synergies and innovatively extend their current capabilities to address the new opportunities. A possible example is how companies that are skilled in creating test automation could leverage similar skills and tools to enable automation in the enterprise through Robotic Process Automation.
  •     Specialize: Startups, by virtue of their scale, may not be able to offer comprehensive, all-encompassing solutions that resonate across the board. But that doesn’t have to mean that they miss the Digital Transformation bus. Solving specific small, but important problems, may present them a great opportunity to deliver real value. As long as the solution they offer can be woven into the wider tapestry of the Digital Transformation of the enterprise it stands a reasonable chance of succeeding. Another option available to startups is to seek out a specific niche domain and provide rich solutions within that arena –essentially try to become a big player in a small field.
  •       Go digital: When all the customers you are looking to target are embracing the Digital way, isn’t it incumbent upon you to follow suit? In fact, this may well become essential. As clients automate their business processes, the digitization of their interfaces with their vendor partners is likely to follow suit in short order. There are several low-hanging fruits available for startups to pick at the start of their own Digital Transformation. Embracing digital marketing, digitizing their invoicing and collection process, and automating the logging and reporting of efforts and activities carried out on behalf of clients are all options startups could consider as they start down this path.

Progress, in their, Are Businesses Really Digitally Transforming or Living in Digital Denial Report, said that of the business decision-makers they spoke to, 85% felt that they had only two years to significantly achieve Digital Transformation. Any later and they feared their competitors would surge ahead and that they would suffer financially. The message for Pune’s startups is that this is a clear and present opportunity –provided they are ready to exploit it!

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