On the Cover
Being Digital. Being Human.
Embarking on a Human Revolution
Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys
Every walk of life is being fundamentally transformed by software in ways we could have never imagined even a few years ago. In the convergence of a host of powerful new technologies and concepts – from artificial intelligence to design thinking, from deep analytics to ubiquitous authoring – we now see an amplification of our potential, our intellect and our collective imagination and creativity. This empowerment is helping us deal with two complementary themes that are the very essence of future opportunity, the first being the renewal of the known – bringing massive, transformational improvements to existing systems and experiences and bringing more and more innovations through automation, repeatability and AI to known things, and the second is a simultaneous focusing of our creativity and imagination on the unknown – completely new kinds of next-generation solutions that solve new kinds of problems and create value in new ways. This transformation, from atoms to bits, will continue to grow, create exciting new avenues for new, unprecedented experiences, and empower all of us to look at the world in entirely new ways.
We see there are three dimensions to our ‘Being Digital’ – the economics, the engineering and the experiences.
When it comes to economics, in the world of atoms, we are accustomed to a natural value chain – that’s prevailed over the centuries – connecting the producer to the consumer. At each step, between the producer and the consumer, there are intermediaries that add specific value but also bring in complexity and create partitions within the chain. This leads to a fundamental delay in the matching of supply and demand; in matching the visibility of what-is-needed with what-is-produced. This inevitably also creates an inefficiency in pricing. But in the world of bits where the makers of products and providers of services can reach end customers directly, there is no longer a raison d’être for intermediaries, and this has ushered in greater efficiency across industries. Bankers can conduct their business directly with those seeking financial services, without having to sustain branches staffed with a dozen tellers and support staff, musicians and writers are free from the tyranny of publishers, distributors and even the stores. And several more such examples abound. Producers can finally reach customers – in the digital world - as easily as they did in the natural value chain but without having to deal with the intermediaries that don’t always add enough value. There is a much closer matching of demand and supply, the production of goods is more streamlined – and in the very near future will become instantaneous.
The second dimension – that of engineering – deals with the making and enabling of this disruption. This is largely driven by the hardware revolution governed by Moore’s Law which causes processor speeds, or overall processing power for computers to double every two years. And this incredible improvement in price-performance will continue unabated in the foreseeable future. We can therefore work this incredible and burgeoning compute power into our plans and strategies and work it to our advantage. On the other hand, computer chips and the underlying transistors are shrinking in size making it increasingly easier for sensors to be embedded into the very environment we operate in. This is making our world pervasively digital.
All this enables us to create and enjoy both immersive and immersed experiences. We can completely rethink almost everything we experience – the way we learn, the way we shop, the way we connect and communicate, the way we avail services…all of this can all become immersive - based on pervasive digital technology. New immersed experiences can also be created by digital innovations like the edible sensor which, for example, when consumed as part of prescribed medication can help healthcare professionals track patients’ adherence to their medical regime.
My sense is that a new economic reality is upon us, where across industries we can see a more agile and responsive connection between production and consumption, enabled by technology, and it is up to us to create this new reality.
Undoubtedly, the digital revolution has changed our context.
We can already see that in younger generations, there are now deeply held assumptions and convictions about the ways in which we work, interact, consume goods and services and communicate. Let us embrace these changes and in fact surpass these expectations, and bring new kinds of products, services and consumption models forward. All of you are looking at these trends and these new assumptions amongst your customers, your partners, your end-users and consumers.
The digital transformation opens our imaginations and creativity in new ways, changing the context for all of us. This new shared context changes the ecosystems in which we operate and connects us in new ways I believe that together we can discover and scale these new frontiers, learn in new ways from each other and create a great shared future. A future where we are both visionaries and beneficiaries, and more relevant than we’ve ever been. It would be the beginning of a human revolution.
I look forward to learning more about your ideas about digital transformation and how you see this unfolding for your organization.