New Delhi: Research tells us that firms that have deployed sensors in machines and wearable devices have to use the computing capability available today to make sense of the data, said Jaideep Mehta in his keynote address at Mint’s Enterprise Technology Summit 2017. Mehta was managing director, India and South Asia, International Data Corp. at the time of the summit; he is now chief executive officer of VCCircle.com.
Increased connectivity is “driving some very profound changes" in the industry, according to Mehta. “Today, you have CEOs of sportswear companies wondering if a phone manufacturer is going to come ‘plundering’ into their industry and what it means to them; you have got the world’s biggest search company investing billions of dollars in making cars, and so on," he said.
One of the things the whole connected world is doing, said Mehta, “is changing the very definition of the word industry". “Traditionally, it meant land, labour, capital and so on; then it moved to capabilities; and now it has become even more diffused. Many companies we see today, even in India, are on a journey of discovery and really inventing new businesses as they go along," he explained.
Mehta cited the example of the Mahindra Group and the “phenomenal work" it is doing. “For instance, they have this tractor business and now they have created an Uber for tractors, which is housed within the tractor business. The thinking inside the group is simple: ‘I would rather cannibalize myself than let somebody else cannibalize me.’ We have heard that many times but we struggle when we try to find examples of that," he said.
Mehta believes companies in India are using some of the digital technologies in a “more tactical" way. He supported it with the example of GatewayRail, a logistics company that has used Internet of Things (IoT)- and radio frequency identification (RFID)-based technologies for asset tracking and monitoring the flow of goods and services, thereby bringing down pilferage. Its use of technology has a very “measurable business impact", according to Mehta. “I cannot emphasize enough that the companies that are winning in deploying digital technologies are those that see these as business transformation programmes. Conversely, the moment you see it as an information technology (IT) project, it is pretty much doomed to failure."
The challenge for the tech community, he said, is to really “engage the CXO community" to understand what a project really means. For business leaders, it is equally important to understand what is possible with new technologies, he added.