Intelligent Automation and Digital Transformation to Drive Accelerated Growth in India

The greatest learning from the ongoing disruptive times has been that effective digital transformation is undoubtedly the way forward for enterprises. However, as the wheels of change keep spinning faster than ever, getting it right becomes as crucial as embarking on the journey.

In a special event hosted by Forbes India – Influencers of Change, in partnership with UiPath, digital transformation facilitators came together to discuss the theme, ‘Leveraging automation to drive digital transformation in business’.

Moderated by Gautam Srinivasan, influencers of change, comprising Deepa Ranjeet, VP & Head of Digital, Group Technology Office, Mahindra Group; Anand Laxshmivarahan R, Group CDO, Vedanta Limited; Scott Hunter, VP, Customer Strategy & Solutions, UiPath and Anil Bhasin, MD & VP, India and South Asia, UiPath, shared their valuable experiences of how they went beyond industry standards, while orchestrating digital makeovers for enterprises.

Anand Laxshmivarahan initiated by expressing his views on considerations that should guide digital transformation decisions. He then moved on to describe how technology enables customer-centricity. Talking from experience, he enlisted three key tenets of digital transformation in large conglomerates, which guided him in making decisions that now enable Vedanta to be digital-first.

Firstly, he stressed the importance of putting business at the forefront of any digital transformation exercise, rather than making it a technology conversation. “When we look at the array of emerging digital technology that is available, it must be through the lens of solving very specific business problems and creating business opportunities; it has to be business-led and not technology or digital-led,” he said.

His second tenet, which is a softer aspect of transformation, was the criticality of personal leadership or entrepreneurial ability. Lastly, given the dynamism that exists, not only in the business scenario but also in emerging technologies, he underlined the need for mental flexibility and adaptation.

With her vast experience in a number of multinational projects, Deepa Ranjeet revealed how she defined, designed and delivered business outcomes through digital implementations. “For me, the key is business outcomes. If you begin with business outcomes or a business problem statement, you know where you are headed. On the flipside, if you start with the power of technology, it’s imperative to at least define what you would like to derive from a potential benefit perspective,” she advised.

The masters of enabling transformation from UiPath pitched in next. Scott Hunter narrated how his company enabled conglomerates to successfully embark on and navigate their digital-first futures and convert data into profits. “When I talk to customers at the C-level, I enquire about their business vision, in terms of where they would like to go and how they would like to get there. I also ask, strategy-wise, how fast they would like to get there,” he said, adding, “Then we break it down into business processes and use cases and put a structure around the problem at hand.” Lastly, he underscored the need to measure the progress of the digital transformation journey, with tangible metrics and KPIs associated with those metrics.

He also explained four types of value that are relevant in digital transformations. These were, ‘hard dollars’ that add to the top line and bottom line of the income statement; intangible value that usually has to do with governance risk, compliance and regulatory reporting and security; the total cost of ownership, which estimates how much it costs to run the IT portfolio and finally, strategic value, which revolves around the fall-out of M&A-type activity.

Getting more specific, Anil Bhasin articulated what UiPath brings to the table in terms of enabling conglomerates to view the company not just as an enabler during implementation but also as an advisor during the blueprint phase, while the problem is being framed. “We see ourselves as a strategic partner to our customers, by trying to understand their business problems and business priorities,” he said. “Then we help them bring clarity to the automation vision that they have and work with them to craft a clearly differentiated strategy for the enterprise.”

He proceeded to elaborate on how the company pulls together its best skill sets, industry consulting teams and value engineering teams, to help frame a fully automated enterprise and bring in global transformational best practices.

He clarified that UiPath has morphed towards being a strategic business partner which holds itself accountable to business outcomes. To do this, it had to consider the entire ecosystem at play, and arrive at a complete, integrated solution. “It’s not about creating a department-wise set of use cases but how these use cases bring value when tied to business outcomes. It’s about consumption and value realization that the board expects, for the digital transformation journey to be seen as successful,” he affirmed.

The discussion then deep-dived into the finer points of the digital transformation stories that were underway at Vedanta and Mahindra. These entailed automation at various levels for the creation of greater efficiencies in processes and delivered benefits at the overall enterprise level too. The experts from UiPath also shared their insights on how large conglomerates stay ahead of the curve through automation, which streamlines workflows and enhances customer experience.

The takeaway from the discussion was clear. Intelligent automation will be a key factor in enabling India to retain its status as the world’s fastest growing economy. Over the past few years, many companies have been thinking and planning around automation, undertaking pilot exercises and scaling up in sections. In the next couple of years, there will be mass intelligent automation, driven by business outcomes. Effectively, intelligent automation will drive production volumes, help reduce operating costs within enterprises and drive growth.

After Globalization, Digitization and Mobility, the next irreversible trend is Automation. It has moved from being a tactical necessity to a strategic business enabler. Going forward, business-impacting organizations will have very clearly defined automation-first strategies for every aspect of their functionality. These will be imbedded at the core of the strategy and not added on as an after-thought. The trend has only just begun and there is a long road ahead.

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