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Digital Era - Opportunities and Challenges

By Rajnish Khare, Head of Digital Transformation, Social Media & New Business and Mobility Banking, HDFC Bank

Rajnish Khare, Head of Digital Transformation, Social Media & New Business and Mobility Banking, HDFC Bank

Digital revolution, also known as ‘The Internet Economy’ or Internet of Everything (IoE), is expected to generate new market growth opportunities, jobs and become the biggest business opportunity of mankind in the next 30 to 40 years. To surge ahead and leverage upon the digital revolution, Digitally Native, Intelligent, Social and Connected (D-I-S-C) are the themes that will help digital and business leaders.

1 Digitally Native

As the digital world has become an increasingly detailed reflection of the physical world; digital leaders should start the roadmap for digital natives who accept digital as a natural part of their physical world. Virtual Reality (VR) and Augment Reality (AR) have helped in creating an immersive environment and enterprises are looking out for targeted applications of AR and VR. For example: VR has been used for training whereas AR enables a blending of the real and virtual worlds.

2017 also saw a lot of hype, misconception and uncertainty around blockchain. The near future will see a more concerted effort in identifying blockchain use cases with the promise of transforming industries. Another important aspect of digitally native is the user experience across digital channels. Customers will experience most brands and services via digital channels before physical and therefore, the coming years will see a growth of investment in this area as companies leverage the sustained advantage of superior digital experience.

2 Intelligent

Creating intelligent systems that learn, adapt and potentially act autonomously rather than simply executing predefined instructions. AI and machine learning will increasingly augment and extend virtually every technology enabled service. They will encompass more advanced systems that understand, learn, predict, adapt and potentially operate autonomously. This will unleash a new era where artificial intelligence (AI) will be as synonymous to the ‘software’ that powers all electronic devices.

"Digitization is creating a demand for the right professionals—engineers, network and solution architects, big data analysts and several more with the right skill set"

Intelligent apps backed by AI will include technologies like virtual personal assistants (VPAs) which have the potential to make everyday tasks easier and more effective. Going forward, it is expected that most of the Fortune 500 companies will exploit intelligent apps and utilize the full toolkit of big data and analytics tools to refine customer experience. Also, IoT devices that surround us 24/7 will become ‘Intelligent Things’ and deliver the power of AI-enabled systems everywhere.

As they evolve in the coming years, there will be shift from a stand—alone to collaborative mode wherein intelligent things can communicate with one another and act in collaboration to accomplish tasks.

3 Social

You cannot focus on customers without focusing on ‘social’. Social taps into customer behavior and engagement like no other aspect of digital.

For organizations to benefit from social media technology and collaboration, employees need to be enabled with ‘time’ through productivity tools. Investments in making ‘time’ available and a well thought through Advocacy Plan (both internal and external) backed by the correct partners and tools will help digital leaders add exponential value to their businesses. Along with social media technology and collaboration, online communities will play a critical aspect, not only for advocacy but for product research, segmentation and long range planning as well.

4 Connected

‘Connected’ means Dynamic connection of people, processes, things and services supporting intelligent digital ecosystems. Conversational systems range from simple informal, bidirectional text or voice conversations to more complex interactions like human conversations with multiple interpretations and emotions. Conversational systems have shifted from a model where people adapt to computers to one where the computers adapt to a person’s desired outcome.

The communication across devices will result in inter– connected intelligent devices. The inter-connected intelligent devices will lead to the rise of cloud and server-less computing, containers and micro-services as well as APIs to deliver modular, flexible and dynamic solutions. In the near future, banking industry will see wide-spread acceptance of cloud computing across various industries. This evolution of inter-connected intelligent devices needs to be coupled with security which is challenging.

Multilayered security and use of user and entity behavior analytics will become a requirement for virtually every enterprise in the coming years. With these trends, I hope the near future is full of excitement for all my colleagues in digital leadership.

Challenges

With the exponential growth of IoT and digitization, connecting everything, securely and seamlessly require industry to enable architecture that allow for convergence of a growing array of access technologies. The development of IoT has suffered from a lack of standards. Efforts in the market to “self-standardize” are delivering a huge boost to the overall development of IoT.

Harvesting and leveraging big data is becoming mainstream yet plenty of issues remain, especially in the public domain, with issues concerning ownership, privacy and cyber security hovering in the background.

Cybersecurity poses a major challenge as the world currently deals with 2.5 million cyber security threats per second.

Digitization is creating a demand for the right professionals—engineers, network and solution architects, big data analysts and several more with the right skill set. Digitization is triggering an economic revolution. Government and enterprise will have to collaborate in order to anticipate and respond to the exponential change digitization produces.

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