India is experiencing huge demand for digital leaders: Charul Madan, Partner, Heidrick & Struggles India

The market is witnessing unprecedented rates of technological disruption, and the demand for digital leaders who have the relevant tech understanding to successfully lead in this era is high, says Charul Madan, Partner and Member of Global Technology & Services Practice, Heidrick & Struggles India

Some edited excerpts from an interview:

Digital transformation is the new normal. How are organizations planning their IT and infrastructure?
As the world continues to see tremendous digital and technological innovations, companies across industries are beginning to rethink their business strategies to support these changes. There are three main ways I see organizations planning their IT and infrastructure. Firstly, many organizations are transforming their existing IT organizations away from classic infrastructures, shifting their mindset from an IT-supported business to an IT business. This will enable organizations to create a competitive edge, as IT and its infrastructures are embedded directly into businesses’ operations and thinking. Companies are also beginning to build out their internal IT capabilities.

Secondly, companies will need to understand how they can capture and leverage data to make better business decisions. For instance, data can help manage and create a more efficient manufacturing and supply chain process and help businesses think of the customer journey holistically.

And finally, as businesses shift towards cloud-based technologies, they will need to leverage what is currently available in the market. Low-code zero code allows individuals without the technical expertise to start adopting these technologies and applications easily.

Technology today has become more dynamic than ever. What role does the top leadership play in guiding their organizations in such an environment?
The market is witnessing unprecedented rates of technological disruption, and the demand for digital leaders who have the relevant tech understanding to successfully lead in this era is high.
In an environment where technologies are constantly evolving, the concept of agility is particularly key for companies. Agile leaders must prioritize a test-and-learn mentality, resilience, and adaptability, to continually adapt their strategies for digital success. When leaders are able to represent developing agility themselves, it can help support and change the mindset of others as well. Businesses will also need strong leadership skills, to help develop and lead teams and their people toward a common business goal.

The thrust now is on emerging technologies such as IoT, big data, artificial intelligence, machine learning etc. Do we have skilled professionals to meet talent needs?

India has leapfrogged into the mobile-first age and business leaders are increasingly aware of the critical need to have talent in place to meet the momentum of technological advancement.

Recent research has revealed that more than half (63%) of Indian companies are reporting a shortage of IT and engineering experts. The region is experiencing more demand for digital talent than it can keep up with. With the small talent pool in India, many local companies are looking westward for talent. Another way for businesses to combat these challenges is to look at upskilling and reskilling their current talent pool through training and development programs within their organizations.

In your view, how can enterprises make their infrastructure more resilient and future-ready?
Organizations are continuing to wrestle with new ways of working and adapting to the changes of the ever-evolving business landscape. To ensure businesses have resilient infrastructures in place, they will need the right leadership to help build thriving future-ready organizations. A successful leader will need to have the foresight to identify the threats and potential cyber-attacks within the market, the agility to adapt to various circumstances, and the passion to inspire and lead their people into the future. Those who are willing to lean into technologies such as cloud or AI/ML will also have a competitive advantage. All these capabilities will allow leaders to drive execution and transform the organization through new thinking.

How are technologies like cloud/AI/ML helping in business growth?
Technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and cloud are powerful tools that play a significant role in enabling organizations to be disruptive. Emerging technologies can help businesses scale on demand, improve resiliency, operational efficiency, track customer journeys, and attract, retain and cross-sell to customers. These innovations will not only require buy-in from the top, but also from all members of the executive team. Leaders will need to embrace an innovative mindset and agility and have an eagerness and openness to experiment.

Are organizations investing more in technology in the post-pandemic world?
The pandemic has encouraged businesses to reconsider traditional technology spend, causing a shift in their approach to technology investments. We have seen how remote work, the rise in the digital economy, supply chain, and automation enhancements have all impacted the ways that technology spending has changed. In the past two years, revenue from tech companies has been unprecedented and the adoption of tech will only continue to accelerate. Moving forward, it is safe to say that organizations will continue to invest more in technologies as they rethink their digital strategies and future-proof themselves for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Heidrick & Struggles IndiaHRIndia IT Hiring
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