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May A Billion Flowers Bloom!

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By Manoj Chugh, President – Group Public Affairs and Member, Group Executive Board, Mahindra & Mahindra

As I reflect back on the year gone by, I realize how important it is to understand that whilst the World had got into a tizzy on account of the Digital frenzy around, the physical byte is far from being bitten by dust in a big hurry. Too early to write it’s epitaph. After all, Digital apps deliver physical food and products. We shop for our wardrobe online, but wear physical clothes ( Thank God for that!). The digital and physical Worlds have to come together and immersive experiences need to be enabled, which straddle both these Worlds. Digital and Physical interactions have to go hand in hand to make the planet a happier and joyful place. Six years ago, whist delivering a sermon to my team that was readying itself to serve customers digital soup, I made a frantic appeal. I asked them to give our customers who were the kings of the “physical” hill, hope.

The rapid movement to Digital has raised a huge concern around jobs. I strongly believe that if we are able to meld the physical and digital Worlds seamlessly, we will create more jobs in the future, than there will be for the asking. Far more than what we have seen through the earlier transitions. For instance, in the Agri Value Chain, once we bring in Digital Advisory, Weather forecasting, soil health technology, deeper farm mechanization, digitally enabled delivery of crop inputs, sustainable farming methods, marketing platforms and price discovery, millions of new jobs will get created. In a traditional area where today, the average age of the farmer is 50+, youth and experience will come together and leverage digital and physical mediums to create immense new value.

I reached out to a few friends who are incredibly successful entrepreneurs/ investors and asked them for their views on which trends they felt would be game changing in the future. I received some very interesting insights and am delighted to share these with you.

Pankaj, with whom my relationship dates back over three decades, is currently focused on building data warehouses in the cloud for customers in the developed World, amongst his many other ventures. He drew my attention to Web 3.0 and the potential that AI in the Cloud will enable. He also spoke of opportunities that 5G will enable, particularly in the hyper connected World, where experiences will get automated without a nudge.

Shiva- an avid serial investor (and also my college senior) is very motivated by the opportunity being unleashed by Social Commerce. He had the Founder- CEO of one of one of his investee firm’s keep wake till well past midnight on two occasions to help me understand the power of the opportunity. Every smart phone owner can become a potential blogger with the right to earn. Instead of hunting for jobs during the campus hiring season, youngsters can gain valuable experience and pay their way through college by leveraging the opportunity that social commerce will open up. No more waiting for the painful job hunting season. Save yourself the long winded pitches by Corporates and the need to look smart, no rushed upgrade of your wardrobe (or borrow a friends tie, like I did) and the pain of going through the agony of the interview process which repeats till you land up with a job somewhere. Instead, follow your heart and leverage the mega network of social commerce. For those less schooled, social media marketeers will help bring this new skill to millions, through the length and breadth of Bharat.

Salil who is a successful entrepreneur ( we met through a common friend over a year ago) in the RPA space has successfully injected AI into an organization’s guts and built Digital Workers to handle tasks without fuss, alongside human workers. Digital Workers do not take vacation, breaks or ask for a pay hike, as Salil likes to remind me! An HR leaders delight indeed. Core Process Automation significantly improves productivity. As decision making moves from relying on historical data to real time information. Business processes with built in ready-trained digital workers can ease the pain dramatically. Automated end to end workflows enabled through Digital Workers help in breaking down functional silos within organizations and allows processes to run on a data set founded on a single source of truth.

Arun ( we were colleagues over two decades ago) works with several new age start ups. He shared his perspectives on Application modernization, the migration of context applications to the public Cloud and the need for certain regulated Industries to have their Core Apps run on the “on-prem” cloud. The importance of Security and the role of micro segmentation along with layered security is also on his list. Other exciting areas include the graduation from Devops to AI-Ops and the “upgradation” of Bots to conversational AI. Several entrepreneurs I spoke to are working furiously in this area and have marquee customers. Insights into Digital transactions, particularly from a regulatory and compliance perspective are all becoming important. Profiling across touchpoints and instant alerting will become the order of the day.

For my young friends, Naveen and Praveen, as edge computing and WFH gains prominence, the role of network security becomes even more paramount. Cyber Situational Awareness, an area where early success is evident, will play an increasingly center stage role, when it comes to Securing vital assets. Military grade cyber security technologies will find their way into the commercial sector, given the rapid increase in size of data sets ( thanks to the desire to serve customers better and deliver a superior experience) and the need to respond in real time. Deep packet inspection and it’s sophistication will need to be understood much better.

In summary, we are headed into some very interesting and exciting times. The story has just begin and I look forward to exploring many of these areas through the year.

Wish all of you tremendous success and may the New Year bring great tidings and many successes, God Bless!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author. They may or may not reflect the opinions or views of the author’s organisation

Other articles by Manoj Chugh

Making Peace with Green

My tryst with Rajiv Gandhi

Bringing Physical and Digital Worlds together: Enabling India’s Demographic Dividend

Delivering Services the SST Way- The Time Is Here and Now!

Digital Workers at the Doorstep – Are you Ready?

Network Security Quo Vadis?

Guns, Roses and Cyberwarfare

Will Technology accelerate the bounce back?

Mirror Mirror on the wall: Can Technology bring hope to all?

New Year Wish: CIOs, May Your Tribe Increase!

The Second Renaissance – Seize The Moment

Will Smarter Citizens deliver Smart Cities?

Safe Cities: Melding Technology with Compassion

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