NEW DELHI: “Digital has been a big priority for all our companies. Post-covid there will be an accelerated scaling of digital," said Aarthi Subramanian, group chief digital officer, Tata Sons in a conversation with Anant Maheshwari, president, Microsoft India, during the first-ever virtual edition of Microsoft Envision Forum Envision on Friday.
Discussing a broad range of topics, both leaders said the current crisis will accelerate the scaling of digital across industries leading to increase investments across cloud, data and AI, and cybersecurity.
Subramanian called out four areas of digital transformation opportunities seen across the different Tata group verticals: new end-to-end customer journeys; increased adoption of automation in manufacturing industry; improved employee engagement due to distributed workplaces; and investment in digital infrastructure as a horizontal capability.
Talking about the 25/25 announcement by Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), which aims to have only 25% of the workforce in offices at any given time by 2025, Subramanian highlighted how the forced work from home has resulted in new experiences for employees while making it a new normal across Tata group of companies.
“In a post-covid world, every business will consider mainstreaming the new work from home model by making it resilient, secure, productive, and effective," she added.
Subramanian expects to see significant disruption in commerce due to the pandemic-induced change in consumer behavior suggesting that online penetration will go beyond retail to categories such as automobile, home appliances, and consumer durables which have been largely confined to brick-and-mortar stores.
On working from home, Subramanian added that "across our group companies, work from home has now become the new normal. What’s interesting is how quickly companies were able to switch to this new way of working. We found that most of our companies had day-zero readiness to work from home. With investments in remote working, collaboration, communication infrastructure, business continuity planning (BCP), and cybersecurity, that was already underway, enabling work from home took only a few days, even for areas such as operations and contact centers."
The agility and response has been phenomenal both from companies as well as partners. Non-routine roles such as the call center and back-office are also working extremely well remotely. Remote processes are working with similar levels of efficiency as we knew it in our old world, she added.
Thus, every company in the group will not look at reverting to the old model but explore opportunities to mainstream the new work from home model. "What we are focused on is to see how we can make remote work more effective, productive, resilient, and secure. Each company will have its own model with the right mix of work from home as well as the right operating model," she said.
Talking about opportunities for India during this phase, Subramanian said they expect to see more tech-assisted purchase and sale, a lot more of teleconsultation across multiple categories.
Other emerging opportunities for India will be healthcare transformation at scale, telemedicine, e-education, and e-learning.