Executive Traits for Recognizing the Bountiful Opportunities Ahead

Business is on the cusp of a new digital future. A perfect storm of technologies — cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), automation, big data and analytics, and the Internet of things (IoT) – is transforming industry after industry.

However, some businesses are moving much faster and better and others. How are the leaders of the most digitally savvy companies different?

We’ve looked at the CEOs of three of the most dominant companies in this digital age: Apple, Amazon, and Netflix. We found that they share five traits:

1. The imagination to see what others didn’t
Abundant imagination is essential. Twenty years ago, Netflix’s Reed Hastings saw what others didn’t – that the proliferation of high-bandwidth Internet networks would dramatically change the movie distribution market. Consider Amazon. Jeff Bezos has tapped into big technological trends. One of his pilot projects has been experimenting with putting machine learning to use in Amazon’s delivery drones.

2. A voracious appetite for compelling and competing ideas
Senior leadership has to not only be imaginative, it also must inspire imagination in others. Steve Jobs and Apple’s executive team believed that great ideas, and internal debates about them, were paramount — no matter where those ideas came from.

3. A relentless customer advocacy
Competition, product, business-model, and technology can make or break a company. But a laser-like attention to customer needs, increasing customer value, consistently improving customer experience, and building customer loyalty are equally potent.

4. Exuding calmness in the storm
Competition and market chaos affect all. But futuristic leaders are not distracted by the noise around them. When Netflix began distributing movie DVDs through the mail, it was competing against much larger companies. Unfazed, Netflix calmly marched on.

5. Loyalty to great people, but not to their current jobs
In today’s digital first economy, there is immense confusion around deployment of AI and job losses. A hallmark of these successful leaders is their ability to identify valuable people and retain them – even if their current jobs must change.

Read Krishnan’s article Executive Traits for Recognizing the Bountiful Opportunities Ahead and learn more about these five traits.

Krishnan RamanujamWith more than 20 years of global consulting experience, Krishnan Ramanujam is an expert in the execution of complex, global transformational initiatives for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies.Krishnan focusses on driving profitability for organizations by spearheading their evolution from IT-centric to customer-centric models that streamline and align business functions. With a keen understanding and deep knowledge of key industries, market changes and client needs, he has directed the development of new products and solutions…
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The Big Opportunities at the Junction of AI and Analytics: An Interview with Tom Davenport

Tom Davenport, a professor at Babson College near Boston, a Fellow of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, a co-founder of the International Institute for Analytics, and a senior advisor to Deloitte’s analytics practice, shares his views on AI and analytics in an interview with TCS. He is co-authored the 2016 book ‘Only Humans Need Apply: Winners and Losers in the Age of Smart Machines.’

Davenport, the man responsible for making big data and analytics a topic of boardroom discussions, explains his views on the connection between analytics and artificial intelligence, automation and augmentation, opportunities arising from cognitive technologies, and how companies should address AI’s impact on jobs.

Davenport argues that the largest and most sophisticated branch of AI today is machine learning. While asserting that AI is primarily based on big data and analytics, Davenport believes any company that would skip analytics and go straight to AI is less likely to be successful. He explains that every industry has major opportunities from cognitive technologies and AI. However, the winners will use analytics and gather huge amounts of digital data.

Because most companies are using AI to augment employees’ work – not automate it — the job losses to date have been minimal. Davenport assures it will take longer for jobs to go away than what most other observers opine. Interestingly, he observes that the more niche your job is, the less its chance of being automated because no one would view it as economical to automate.

Read the full interview The Big Opportunities at the Junction of AI and Analytics: Interview with Tom Davenport, featured in this edition of Perspectives, our management journal.

Tom DavenportTom Davenport, a leading chronicler over the past 30 years on how information technology has radically transformed the work and very essence of large businesses around the world. Since the late 1980s, Davenport has been a pioneer of business process redesign/reengineering, business analytics, and other leading concepts. He has published several classic Harvard Business Review articles and bestselling books on the business value of enterprise systems, knowledge management, big data and analytics, and most recently…
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Raising Your IoT Security Game

Using Internet of Things (IoT) technology, many companies are transforming their businesses. By embedding sensors and wireless communication devices into their systems and products, they are collecting voluminous data and opening up new possibilities.

However, using IoT technologies is not risk-free. The technology provides hackers with new opportunities to hack into corporate networks through vulnerable consumer devices. For example, users of Amazon, Twitter, Reddit, and Netflix suffered major Internet failures in 2016 due to the hacking of consumer IoT devices. IoT security breach is a reality. Companies must act now to secure themselves.

Since IoT uses a large number of interconnected yet geographically dispersed devices that are run on heterogeneous platforms, security is a challenge. To better protect themselves, companies need to understand their IoT footprint and conduct an eight-step review:

1. Appoint a centralized team that is accountable for securing your IoT devices and ensuring ongoing compliance with risk management policies.
2. Locate your company’s critical IoT assets and then determine which ones represent a significant security risk.
3. Identify the software vulnerabilities in your IoT assets to assess which software governs the actions of each piece of hardware.
4. Discover which devices gain entry to your corporate networks, whether the devices are company owned or used by customers, business partners, and contractors.
5. Watch out for emerging threats by monitoring all connected devices for evidences of new threats.
6. Inspect new devices before they connect to your network by including security features in their hardware, software, and network connection.
7. Demand best practices from your business partners including strong security programs and compliance with your procedures.
8. Have backups ready. Incorporate elements of your cyber security program into your existing plans for disaster recovery and business continuity.

A number of companies are reducing their IoT security risks. To learn how your company can do the same, download Satish Thiagarajan’s article Raising Your IoT Security Game, in this edition of Perspectives, our management journal.

Satish ThiagarajanSatish Thiagarajan is the Global Head, Cyber Security Practice at TCS. Satish has over 24 years of experience across industries and IT involving consulting, business analysis, process re-engineering, concurrent multi-project delivery management in Application support, Infrastructure management, Enterprise Security and Testing. At TCS he is the Head Enterprise Security and Risk Management, Head Technology Office and Head of Testing Centers of Excellence. Satish has handled multiple roles like Business Analyst, Application Support Manager, and Relationship…
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Why Agile Software Development Requires Radical Changes in Budgeting and Scoping

In the digital marketplace, the speed with which companies upgrade their products and services has a big impact on the customer experience. Companies that use agile approaches to improving their offerings are gaining a competitive edge and leaving competitors behind.

But moving to agile development approaches requires a company to replace its traditional ‘waterfall’ method of software development. Agile differs from traditional software development in five primary ways:

1. Scoping: High-level estimations and a flexible scope of work is drawn up, based on how much work can be done for a fixed time and cost.
2. Schedule: Time is fixed.
3. Cost estimates: Costs are fixed.
4. Deliverables: The end result is a working product that is much more likely to meet customer needs.
5. Key success factors: Teams are kept intact over the product lifecycle so they retain critical knowledge. Changes to scope are made with ‘inspect and adapt’ approach.

Agile methods are built on the premise that if developers release pieces of a system to users early in the development process, they will have a much better idea about the scope of the system. Those pieces are completed in short time frames, in “plan>do>check>act” cycles.

Despite its success, agile approaches sometimes fail for a common reason: The company funds these projects the traditional way – that is, phase by phase. This locks agile development teams into building pieces of software that might not be useful to customers. It also increases the risk of disbanding teams and thus losing valuable project related knowledge until the next round of funding is approved.

To learn more about how you can ensure that agile methods of software development are successful at your organization, download Nidhi Srivastava, Apala Mukherjee, and Somnath Ghosh’s article Why Agile Software Development Requires Radical Changes in Budgeting and Scoping, in this edition of Perspectives, our management journal.

Nidhi SrivastavaNidhi Srivastava is the Global Head of the IT Consulting Group for Tata Consultancy Services. She oversees the growth and development of technology consulting services for Agile, Service Management Architecture and Information Management practice areas across the firm’s Global Consulting Practice.
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Apala MukherjeeApala heads the Agile Consulting Practice at TCS. She has over 20 years of experience working with market-leading companies in driving transformation through process changes and improvement. Apala has extensive experience in managing global teams and programs amidst tight timelines. She has successfully managed many complex engagements to successful conclusions. She has helped develop solutions, facilitated establishment of governance, risk management and stakeholder alignment within client organizations undergoing transformation. Her expertise includes all aspects of…
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Somnath GhoshSomnath Ghosh is a Technology Leader in large scale strategic enterprise transformation initiatives for scaling of Agile and DevOps. Somnath has successfully introduced Agile and technical practices to new and experienced adopters of executives, stakeholders, PMO, product owners, collocated and distributed delivery teams to achieve higher team collaboration and efficiencies. Som has a Master of Business Administration in Management Information Systems (MBA/MIS) and a Bachelor of Engineering. He is a Thought Leader and frequent speaker…
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What Happens When You Turn Your Products Into Services

A number of manufacturers are differentiating themselves by tapping sensors, software, and wireless connectivity. In doing so, they are rushing to build an ecosystem of connected products. The result is shifting from an “open loop” system in which they lose track of how customers are using their products, and how those products are performing in the field, to a “closed-loop” system in which they know everything about how customers are using their offerings.

Emerging technologies such as the 5G network standard and powerful public cloud-computing infrastructure make closed-loop systems more economical to build, easier to deploy, and simpler to manage.

A closed-loop system also allows manufacturers to change their business model — from making products to delivering a service through a product. Better known as servitization, here is how this model helps manufacturers add value to customers:

1. Enhancing reliability and uptime: Monitor products and either alert customers or send in a maintenance team before product failures occur.
2. Making customer operational improvements: Tap into sensor data to learn how customers use the product and advise them about how to optimize performance.
3. Selling new product capabilities: Embed service delivery capabilities to tap into new product, subscription, and streaming revenues.
4. Creating new revenue-generating businesses: Develop new businesses through a deep understanding of customer needs and experiences.

While servitization is an exciting business model, some manufacturers are struggling to adopt it. To learn more about the opportunities, challenges, and how to overcome them, download Regu Ayyaswamy’s article What Happens When You Turn Your Products Into Services, in this edition of Perspectives, our management journal.

Regu AyyaswamyRegu Ayyaswamy (Regu) is Vice President and Global Head of Internet of Things (IoT) and Engineering and Industrial Services (EIS) business unit at TCS. Regu leads TCS’ efforts in bringing digital transformation to companies across industries and is responsible for bringing innovation and speed to product development (R&D) and for integrating seamlessly to Manufacturing. He has varied experience spanning project management, customer relationship management, competency development and human capital management. He is a steering committee…
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Now You Can Simulate Nearly Anything

Thanks to the availability of massive yet economical computing power from cloud computing, powerful simulations are affordable for businesses large and small. These simulations can predict the outcome of projects, new products and services. Early adopters are using it to optimize their supply chains, pursue an omnichannel marketing strategy, and schedule asset maintenance among other things.

However, while many simulations are now affordable, businesses shouldn’t necessarily simulate everything. Depending its industry, strategy, and tactics, managers should have very specific questions before they decide to invest in simulation.

Early adopters of simulation share a number of characteristics, irrespective of what industry they are in:

1. They have ready access to huge amounts of data, which enables them to run a simulation in the first place.
2. They identify situations where cloud-based simulations can make a big business impact to significantly improve revenues or outcomes, or reduce costs and risks.
3. They do simulations to react faster and better to daily business conditions, saving precious time in taking new products and services to market.
4. They do simulations to reveal new business models that make business operations more efficient, profitable, and capable of driving new revenue streams.

Organizations are reaping the maximum benefit of cloud-powered simulations in such areas asset management, research and development, human capital management, customer experience, fraud detection, customer and field services, and inventory management.

While not every business problem is right for simulation, there are undoubtedly simulation opportunities for all businesses across industries. To learn how simulations could help your business, download PR Krishnan, Satishchandra Doreswamy, and Suranjan Chatterjee’s article Now You Can Simulate Nearly Anything, in this edition of Perspectives, our management journal.

PR KrishnanPR Krishnan is the Executive Vice President & Global Head, Enterprise Intelligent Automation at TCS. In his current role, he defines how emerging and disruptive technologies such as artificial intelligence, smart automation, machine learning and cognitive thinking can solve complex business challenges. Over 35 years, he has worked with more than 600 TCS customers, helping them adopt transformative digital business models that use the latest advancements in data center, network infrastructure and cloud technologies. In…
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Satishchandra DoreswamySatishchandra Doreswamy, known as “Satish”, is the Vice President and Global Head of Cloud Infrastructure at TCS. In his current role, is responsible for building TCS’ Enterprise Cloud business to address the rapidly growing market demand. Satish, in his previous role, has led many TCS’ Global Business Transformations, working closely with the CEO’s office spanning across innovative products, platforms and start-ups. An industry veteran with more than 25 Years of experience, Satish has provided leadership…
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Suranjan ChatterjeeSuranjan Chatterjee is the Global Head, Cloud Apps, Microservices & API Unit. With 21 years of experience in IT services, he has held several leadership positions, including consulting, pre-sales and program management in enterprise applications space. Suranjan is currently responsible for driving business growth for the TCS' Cloud Apps Practice, delivering digital transformation services covering PaaS/API innovations to global customers, and leading the strategic initiatives to develop next-gen application modernization & integration service offerings on…
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Why Your Products Must be Smart and Connected

Embedding sensors into products has become incredibly cost effective. It is fueling an ecosystem of connected products.

Manufacturers of both high- and low-cost products are using digital sensors to their advantage. They are turning their products into new services built upon the vast amounts of data they generate.

To survive in this marketplace, every manufacturer must explore how it can make its products smart and connected, and how by doing so it can increase value to customers.

If you’re still determining whether to make your products smart and connected, here are seven good reasons for moving faster:

1. Faster, more effective product updates and development will improve customer satisfaction.
2. Cheaper, more efficient maintenance and repair becomes possible thanks to real-time monitoring of products in the field.
3. New and better business models will be created as manufacturers evaluate how they can transform into service providers and offer new business lines.
4. Improving how customers use your products through online support means they will engage more deeply with your brand.
5. Being able to continually monitor your products in the field can reduce your product recall costs and any reputational damage.
6. By controlling what happens to your product in the customer lifecycle helps you recycle it and reduce its environmental impact.
7. Intelligent, adaptive supply chains help you identify and remove distribution and manufacturing bottlenecks.

Despite such benefits, companies must be prudent. To better understand if smart, connected products could help your business, download Sreenivas Chakravarti and Anurag Jain’s article Why Your Products Must be Smart and Connected, in this edition of Perspectives, our management journal.

Sreenivasa ChakravartiSreenivasa Chakravarti heads Innovation & Transformation Group in the Manufacturing Busines Unit, responsible for Consulting, Innovation & Transformation. In his role, he is responsible for leading the Digital Reimagination Strategies for Manufacturing Industry Clients of TCS. Sreenivasa bring in close to 25 years of Manufacturing Industry experience, including direct industry experience, strategy & consulting and technology solutions, practice management, global account management (with P&L responsibility) and product development.
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Anurag JainAnurag Jain leads Transformation Consulting Practices in the area of new product innovation, product lifecycle management (PLM) and master data management, for its global discrete manufacturing and process industry clients. He has over 27 years of experience in the industry and in consulting arena, and has been with TCS since past 12 years. He possesses rich industry experience in achieving Business Transformation comprising Product Innovation, Product Design and Development, Plant Engineering, Service & Quality and…
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Where to Turn AI and Automation Loose in Your Company

Rapid advances in artificial intelligence (AI), sensors, statistical models, and algorithms have made it possible for today’s technologies to possess near-human capabilities. That opens up myriad new opportunities.

AI has not only taken over the steering wheel, it is making transformational changes in other industries. Market research firms are capitalizing on AI’s image recognition capabilities by using it to collect market data. Data providers are using AI to analyze legal documents. And telecommunications companies use AI to diagnose network problems.

Now – not next year or the year after that — is the time for companies to determine where to use AI in their businesses. However, they must realize there are three traps to avoid in prioritizing their investments:

1. The deep pockets trap: Irrespective of what department has the biggest technology budget, make sure AI investments are aimed at maximizing the benefit to the business.

2. The robot trap: The tangible, physical presence of robots might be alluring. But other areas for using AI might provide a bigger impact to your business.

3. The pure insights trap: Remember that AI is just a tool and will yield insights only when you connect it to your business and focus it on your goals and needs.

We have found a three-step approach to be useful in identifying where to focus AI investments:

1. Concentrate on functions that require human intervention
2. Don’t focus on functions that are costly to automate at the pilot stage
3. Look hard at functional activities that promise the greatest ROI potential. These aren’t apparent from superficial analysis.

In evaluating potential AI and automation investments, organizations must take a holistic view of their strategic priorities, pain points, and the competitive landscape.

To learn more about exactly where to apply AI and automation technologies in your business, download Ashok Pai and Krishna Mohan’s article Where to Turn AI and Automation Loose in Your Company, in this edition of Perspectives.

Ashok PaiAshok is Vice President & Global Head of Cognitive Business Operations at TCS. He helps organizations leverage digital technologies to reimagine their business models, products, processes, and services. He specializes in helping enterprises make major cost and operational improvements through digital transformation initiatives. Prior to this role, he headed TCS’ Business Process Services team and was responsible for more than 100 customers in North America, Asia Pacific, and other regions. He joined TCS more than…
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Krishna MohanGlobal Head of IT Infrastructure Services Krishna is Deputy Head, Cognitive Business Operations at TCS. He helps organizations harness next-generation technologies with minimal internal disruption. He believes enterprises need flexibility, scalability, and agility in their IT infrastructure to move to a hybrid cloud model. Krishna has helped numerous large global companies create transformation roadmaps that drive growth and leverage technology.
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The View Inside: Technologies Collide and Industries Transform

Shapes within Concentric Circles
Whether or not you believe climate change is real, it’s hard to dispute that we’re witnessing a fundamental change in the “climate” of technology. Cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), mobile devices, and the Internet itself have come of age. They are converging to totally erase the boundaries that once separated industries, and make it difficult for some companies to remain competitive.

On the flip side, however, this change in the technology climate presents unparalleled opportunities. We live in an exciting age of digitization where smart machines and software can analyze, prophesize, customize and optimize.

Companies using technologies to increase utility of their products and transform them into services are calling the shots. Think of General Electric and the Internet of Things, or Apple’s iTune services. Other companies are upending industries by making “sticky,” unbreakable online connections to consumers. Google, Facebook, Netflix and Amazon come to mind here.

Using technology to your greatest advantage is only possible if you know where the best business opportunities lie and how to pursue them. The latest edition of our management journal, Perspectives, features eight articles that provide insights on this from TCS and other experts.

They’ll show you how to identify the best places to use new technologies and why manufacturers should turn their products into services. We discuss the potential to simulate every aspect of your business.

We dissect opportunities to generate revenue, scope and budget agile programs, and guard against cyber threats. In the final article, I discuss the common personality traits of digitally successful CEOs.

These articles will help you understand the technological revolution and the far-reaching implications. For a sneak peak of the journal, download my introductory article.

Krishnan RamanujamWith more than 20 years of global consulting experience, Krishnan Ramanujam is an expert in the execution of complex, global transformational initiatives for Fortune 500 and Fortune 1000 companies.Krishnan focusses on driving profitability for organizations by spearheading their evolution from IT-centric to customer-centric models that streamline and align business functions. With a keen understanding and deep knowledge of key industries, market changes and client needs, he has directed the development of new products and solutions…
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