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The new champions of digital disruption: Q&A (Includes interview)

The Infosys report found that each incumbent can be categorized into one of three corporate personas – Visionaries, Explorers and Watchers – based on the business objectives behind their digital transformation initiatives. The findings show that while all personas are in agreement on certain issues, such as the level of disruption in their business or key transformation success factors, the Visionaries see disruption drivers more clearly – even drivers that the others don’t see (such as the potential to create and leverage ecosystems and circumvent risks from obsolete business models).

To learn more about the analysis, Digital Journal spoke with Anant Adya, Infosys SVP of Cloud, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure.

DJ: How important is digital transformation for business?

Anant Adya: Businesses are either disrupting their industries or being disrupted themselves by the digital revolution. The institutional and traditional ways of working can no longer deliver expectations of today and of the future. To enable business value with speed and agility, to leverage data for insights and to reinvent the trifecta of Process, System and Customer experience, enterprises have no option but to embark on the journey of Digital Transformation.

DJ: Is this so for all businesses?

Adya: Absolutely, going digital is all about reinventing how products are made, sold and delivered. This is a cyclical process as changing customer demands will required doing this all over again with speed and agility.

DJ: For established businesses, where do the main disruptors come from?

Adya:Mobile apps, Wearables, Sensors, Cloud, Data-driven insights and cognitive computing All of these have a significant impact on customer behavior and generate new expectations.

DJ: How did you go about running the research study?

Adya:Infosys decided to start this study because we wanted to understand the decision-making processes and challenges around the digital transformation journey businesses embark on by conducting a market research. From March to April 2018, we interviewed over 1,000 senior management level executives who have a role in digital transformation initiatives from global organizations with 5,000 employees or more and $1 billion global annual revenue.

The research shows that each incumbent can be categorized into one of three corporate personas. What are these?
The research categorizes enterprises into one of three corporate personas – Visionaries, Explorers and Watchers – based on the business objectives behind their digital transformation initiatives.

DJ: Please can you elaborate on the personas

Adya:These personas are: Visionaries (22 percent) understand the potential of the digital revolution to completely transform their business. They identify the opportunities that can be utilized by changing to new business models as well as transform the business culture. They understand that digital is now central to the success of their future endeavors.

Explorers (50 percent of organizations) commit to digital programs driven by the need to enhance customer experience
They use digital either to enhance customer experience or enable seamless customer engagement across multiple business channels. For these organizations, a greater commitment to digital initiatives is on the horizon for the coming 12-24 months. These respondents identify the most with ‘low hanging fruit’ initiatives that directly impact their clients’ perceptions and experiences.

Watchers (28 percent) see digital transformation through the prism of efficiency. Partial deployment of digital initiatives has begun, but they are largely focused on efficiency-driven outcomes of digital adoption, rather than digital for differentiation.

DJ: What do the personas agree on, in terms of digital disruption?

Adya:The three personas agree on the level of disruption in their business. Visionaries: believe that the level of disruption is ‘very high’ while 26 percent believe that it is ‘high’ followed by 31 percent who say that the impact is ‘moderate’. It is important to note that 9 percent of visionaries also feel that the impact is ‘extremely low’. Explorers: Only 21 percent respondents in this category feel that the impact is ‘very high’ whereas 35 percent feel it’s ‘high’, 26 percent say its ‘moderate’ and 12 percent say that is impact is ‘low’. Watchers: 7 percent of watchers feel that the impact is almost negligible or ‘very low’ whereas 30 percent feel the disruption level is ‘very high’ followed by 29 percent who feel the impact is ‘moderate.’

DJ: What are the main differences between the personas?

Adya:The main difference between each of the personas is their understanding of digital disruption as an influencer in digital transformation. Visionaries, for example, see emerging technology as the biggest driver of digital disruption followed by competitive activity and evolving end customer needs. In addition, visionaries are more cognizant of broader/macro view of ecosystem and models compared to others. For explorers, competitive activity is thought to be the biggest driver of digital disruption followed by emerging technologies and customer needs along with changing partner ecosystem. While watchers digital disruption is thought to be the combination of all those categories together.

DJ: What are the core lessons for businesses from the findings?

Adya:The core lesson from the findings is digital transformation is inevitable and the main cause for it is digital disruption. In turn, companies, specifically senior management within companies, should approach digital transformation as a journey with an open mind and be flexible with the change it brings. Additionally, the barriers to achieving a successful digital transformation are lack of digital skillset, low risk or experimentation appetite in senior management, and lack of change in management.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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