Home >Companies >People >‘We are on a journey from automation to autonomy’

NEW DELHI : The coronavirus pandemic has driven industry to accelerate its move towards automation. The move to automate processes had started before the covid-19 outbreak and the industry is not closer to the goal. In an interview for Mint’s Pivot or Perish series, Sanjay Srivastava, chief digital officer, Genpact, shares his views on how the industry is expected to pivot towards the new normal. Edited excerpts:

What challenges did the industry face during the coronavirus pandemic, which has necessitated the move to automation?

Never waste a crisis. One of the things the pandemic has shown us is that digital transformation is no longer a ‘nice to have’ but a ‘must have’.

The digital transformation choices that organizations make today as they move from offline to online will help them prepare for a future in which they will need to demonstrate a more holistic outlook, act more transparently and ethically, and deliver hyper-personalized experiences.

We are on a journey from automation to autonomy.

We have seen cars go from manual to automated, with lane change warning or cruise control, and we are now looking at auto park or auto steer.

In much the same way, enterprise processes are also moving from automated to autonomous, and the difference is in automating some components of a process to automating the entire process end-to-end.

Is the existing workforce ready for this change? How much upskilling will be required from the industry?

Given the current situation caused by the pandemic, and the resulting evolution of job functions and requirements, there is a vital need for reskilling.

Executives need to shift their approach to close gaps.

Most estimates say that about 50% of tech skills become redundant every two years.

The successful workforce of the future will bring a trainable and curious mindset.

Workers should not fear artificial intelligence or disruption, but adopt a trainable and continuously curious mindset to prepare for a future of constant skills development and retraining.

The way we learn will also change and businesses will put a greater emphasis on reskilling, upskilling and virtual training.

However, mandated, one-size-fits-all reskilling and training programmes do not enable employees to discover their skills, identify their gaps, and hone their potential through customized knowledge paths and plans.

As companies are also cash-strapped, how do they pay for these new services?

These are times when it is important to keep the total value that you are creating for clients in mind and make sure that you are focused on solving their challenges and opportunities.

If that requires flexibility, that’s exactly what we are really good at.

When we went through the global financial crisis many years ago, that is exactly what we did with a certain set of industries. We are doing the same thing with a number of other industries here.

That allows us to create new opportunities, bring in new technologies to actually drive that productivity for our clients, and generate value for them.

As such, it is not necessarily just price concessions straight out of the gate; it’s actually creating value.

Our exposure to the hardest-hit industries, such as travel, hospitality and leisure and energy, is limited.

We are seeing heightened demand for our solutions in supply chain management, consumer banking collections, small business lending through government support programmes, and analytical services to a range of industries witnessing volatile demand and supply patterns, all of which we have strengthened.

Did the increase in adoption lead to new innovations in the industry?

Disruption creates new opportunities for growth, and businesses across the world should look to, and plan early for, that growth, as we rebound out of this crisis.

We are already seeing new innovations and trends like accelerating cloud journeys, more data-driven insights and digital customer experience.

Twenty years ago, the automotive sector used automation to provide lane-change warnings. Today, it has led to a whole concept of autonomous driving. Similarly, other sectors are also filling gaps with automation as they re-pivot.

Which industries are leading the adoption of automation right now?

Every industry is at a different point in the curve of their evolution, but the pace of change has picked up in every industry.

Across the board, this means that for the first time we are closing books virtually, we are shifting from 50-50 online-retail split to 90-10, and we are managing supply chains through dynamic allocations.

Every single industry is seeing its own path towards automation.

Subscribe to Mint Newsletters
* Enter a valid email
* Thank you for subscribing to our newsletter.

Never miss a story! Stay connected and informed with Mint. Download our App Now!!

Edit Profile
My ReadsRedeem a Gift CardLogout