On the Cover
The Heights Enterprises Can Scale with ‘Renew-New’
By Pravin Rao, Chief Operating Officer, Infosys
Pink Plane - Blue Plane
Enterprises today are constantly dealing with challenges and opportunities spawned by the digital revolution. We, at Infosys, believe that succeeding in this new world order calls for a dual mission of Renew-New. Renew existing technologies, systems, processes, and mindsets – represented by the pink plane of human thought, referred to by author Arthur Koestler – so enterprises are ready to embrace a future on which they do not have a firm grip. Simultaneously, uncover completely new areas of technology, business, and thinking – represented by the blue plane of human thought. Renew-New must always go hand in hand.
Sir Arthur C. Clarke observed that, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is equivalent to magic.” Technophilic overstatement? Perhaps. But as the articles in this issue evince, the pervasive hold of technology on present-day industry, commerce, and indeed on human life, is undeniable. So much so, that technology can provide a compelling competitive advantage to businesses that use it wisely. Enterprises have thrived or become obsolete based on their ability and agility to respond to shifts in technology.
There is an essential duality to enterprises evolving in and along with technology. The first is in relation to making changes to the existing construct of systems, processes, and infrastructures, to make them do a lot more and a lot better than they did before. The second is related to embracing absolutely new constructs to do things that the enterprise has never done before. In other words, looking back to review what can be improved, then making these improvements, while simultaneously looking ahead to bring new solutions to emerging challenges. This is more than just another strategic move; it’s a life mission – Mission Renew-New.
Renewing for transformational impact
Under mission renew, the enabling role of technology is elevated way above incremental improvement. The idea is to use clever innovation to create huge performance improvements in existing systems and processes that make a transformational impact on the enterprise. This is not a step-change, rather, a whole quantum leap. A notable example of this comes from a global pharmaceutical giant which renewed its distribution management system, not for some minor gain in supply chain efficiency, but to actually mitigate the threat of counterfeit medication and its tragic effects. A global serialization track-and-trace system built on their enterprise cloud provides visibility into products, supports distribution management, and ensures compliance with product security requirements. The app enables distribution partners to check the validity of medicines using an Android or iOS smartphone. In addition, the company leverages insights from big data to help identify spurious drugs.
Or consider how a Japanese automobile leader digitally transformed dealer communication by replacing its legacy dealer system with a portal that streamlined business processes to increase productivity by a whopping near-40%. The multi-browser, multi-currency, multilingual platform is accessed by more than 1,200 dealers and processes over 400,000 transactions every day. Secure connectivity and 24x7 access help dealers maximize sales and improve customer satisfaction. The scale of renewal is so big that it will deliver 70% ROI over the next five years.
Making new beginnings for new ends
Mission new, on the other hand, is a quest for new solutions to new problems, a veritable journey of reimagination. It is a call to the enterprise to immerse itself into new technologies, business models, and paradigms to discover or give rise to unprecedented sources of value. It is what a multinational office automation company did by employing a machine learning model to predict propensity-to-buy across customer segments and sales territories in the United States. The model costs significantly less than conventional statistical analysis tools and processes more than two million records in six seconds with more than 80% accuracy. Visualization of output data helps sales teams prioritize action and improve service attachment rates through effective cross-sell services.
Another standout example of mission new implementation comes from the world of insurance. One of the largest personal lines property and casualty insurers in the U.S. shook off the industry’s tech-laggard tag with a decisive move into advanced analytics that is enabling it to create new risk / pricing models and new customer value from big data.
The company is trying to build a totally new data science organization that is not only culturally different from one steeped in traditional analytics, but also leverages all new paradigms of data to make better products and enterprise decisions. One goal is to combine computer science and statistics to move decision-making to the front office, where machine learning automates and assists trivial and critical decisions, respectively. Another is to develop a suite of new data products based on the Internet of Things (connected homes, autonomous cars, etc.) to mitigate risk by notifying customers of an impending event so they can take timely, preventive action, and to also measure and price risk at a highly granular level.
Destined for bigger goals
But what use is a mission without milestones? More importantly, is Renew-New one singular mission that necessarily fits all enterprises? These are some questions that enterprises yet to find their Renew-New journeys are bound to ask.
The relevance of this approach is that it is as broad as it is focused. Each enterprise can chart its own course depending on its current context and targeted ‘moving’ end-state – ‘moving’ because renewing the old while doing the new needs to be a constant, unending pursuit of the enterprise. That said, the goals of every enterprise today are the same – to deliver experiences that will survive the acid test of next-generation expectations; to engineer solutions that were only found within the realms of imagination until technology could bring them into the realm of possibility; and to produce significant, unprecedented economic value for all those whose lives they touch. So really, experiences, engineering, and economics are the milestones, as much as they are the mission.