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Getting Ready For Smart And Intelligent Organization

Rajiv Vaid, VP & Global Head - Operations Strategic Accounts, TCS

Rajiv has over 26 years of experience of which 18 years with Citibank in Japan and India. Currently, He is with TCS as Global Head of Operations ­ Strategic Accounts, Business Process Services from 2014.

The corporate world is embracing a large scale innovation. This is primarily driven by the latest technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Blockchain. The deluge of the change is coming very fast like never before. This paradigm shift needs a broad-based change in the business model within a company. To begin with, the culture of the organization needs to alter to the new requirements and employee's mindset needs to be reset. Simple jobs will be automated and will disappear rapidly. Only jobs remaining for the humans to perform will be the complex ones. Education and experience are the two pillars on which most of the employees build their career. These two pillars will have a very short expiry date in the new structure, where one will find that their worth in the organization is eroding very fast. Many CEOs boast that people are their biggest assets and differentiator. These assets will start to depreciate fast and turn into a liability. However, there is way out of this madness and some of the early adopting companies have already started to work upon it.

The change has to start from the top, at the CXO level. It is to be recognized that this change will have a big impact on the business model, something very similar to other special events like M&A and IPO. These need strategic intervention by the CXOs, who need to put all the corporate resources and energy wholeheartedly. They need to evaluate if there are right resources within the organization to drive this agenda. Not everyone is cut out for this journey. Some people may need to move up, some need to go out and some need to come in from outside.

Next layer of management needs to be fully aligned

with the new way of working. They need to be comfortable in working with small teams, doing complex work. This requires a democratic style of working, which is in contrast to the hierarchical style. Many senior leaders have become masters in managing a large team, a skill which will be not required anymore.

Many experts believe that in the new environment, one will need to change his or her job 4-6 times in a career. This change could be within the company or outside the company. The success will depend on one's ability to learn throughout the career. Humans will be required to work along with the robots and computers. In this scenario, man and machine will need to collaborate. Humans will have a job of training the robots so that they become productive. Once these trained robots began to produce output, humans will be required to interpret the output and ensure its relevance.

CXO level intervention would be needed to make sure that the data is made available to the right user, irrespective of who politically owns the data

Performance of humans will not be measured alone on their capability, but also the capability of the machine. It is like the performance of an F1 driver is now measured jointly along with the performance of the car he is driving. The machine will provide the understanding of the customer behaviors which will then become the competitive advantage for a company. Today most of the computers are churning reports which are helping to describe what the customer required, as of yesterday. They work on the past data. That has begun to change to predicting what the customer is most likely to demand tomorrow. However, the transformation will only come when the machine will tell why in the first place customer has such a need. This will open new vast array of opportunities to serve the customer.

One of the critical needs will be to not allow the machines to become too powerful. They need to have an emergency button to stop the machine and allow humans to manually take over the work. This is similar to an autopilot in the aircraft, where the pilot can decide to switch off the autopilot, at any time. He then needs to have the required skills to manually fly. Likewise, the employees will need to have the capability and ability to stop the machine and take over the function of the machine. Many pilots claim to switch off autopilot from time to time so that they can continue to hone their skill of flying and are never out of practice. A similar process would need to be put in place so that humans can always take over the work and never forget the skills.

Data will be the new currency in this environment. One needs to start asking question about the data one needs to make decisions. Then they have to find out where in the organization the data resides and how they can get access to that data. This is very different from today, where most of the leaders accept that they will not have enough data and will need to corroborate that with their experience and instincts. Once again CXO level intervention would be needed to make sure that the data is made available to the right user, irrespective of who politically owns the data. Once you look at the data, one needs to find out what are the gaps in the need and availability. These gaps will need to be plugged to make the decision making predictable and repeatable. This can propel a corporate into the world of immense opportunities with the new technology.

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