How Software & Product Engineering is Furthering Business Resilience?

How Software & Product Engineering is Furthering Business Resilience?

Coming from an entrepreneurial background, Niraj Hutheesing possesses over three decades of experience working across diverse industries like Manufacturing, Textiles, Chemicals and IT. Currently, he is busy chartering the overall growth of Cygnet Infotech, his brainchild and a software development company with a vision of creating a leading Technology brand where quality, innovation and personalized services outdo low cost, and make-shift solutions. It is his unmatched and progressive technical acumen and business insights, that Cygnet Infotech has today grown from a workforce of 7 to 1000+ people working for clients in 35 countries. Being a philanthropist by heart, he is also actively involved with several notable CSR activities. With a cumulatively growing interest towards Software & Product Engineering, Niraj is delivering value and sustainability to ever changing business environment with emerging technology trends. In a recent conversation with the Editor of siliconindia, Niraj Hutheesing, Founder & Managing Director, Cygnet Infotech, shared his thoughts on the how advancing Software & Product Engineering can help build Business Resilience.

How do you think is Software and Product engineering vitally contributing in improving business resilience, overcoming the COVID-19 effects.

Clients inherently seek solutions from businesses, whether B2B or B2C. Every interaction with a company can trigger an immediate and lingering effect on their sense of trust and loyalty, while in times of crisis, it is amplified. A business's commitment to client’s success builds resilience in the relationship. In times of disruptions, the opportunity is to redefine your business systems and culture with the help of software, because we live in SDx (Software Defined Everything) world or are migrating to it by choice/compulsion. The SDx markets can be witnessed growing at attractive rates close to 30 percent year-on-year.

Conceptually, SDx presses all the elements of the tech ecosystem to work together in sync to achieve the desired output for the business, breaking the operational silos. For every action there’s required an access to historical customer account information. A human-centric design thinking and cloud-enabled software platforms are the way forward to the forefront of the longer-term shifts in consumer behaviour. The shift can come from anywhere, be it a natural crisis like COVID-19 or market disruptions with tech.

What factors have enabled India to be a robust global marketplace in digital engineering services?

In India, the demographically dominant and rising middle class emphasizes education, opportunities for learning, and skills, where there is an increasing focus on tech & infrastructure. 

Among the enablers are:

  • Talent availability: India can only be the marketplace leader with a talent pool of more than 2-million STEM graduates, out of which, there are a considerable number of them with AI/ML, Cloud, Cybersecurity, and 5G skillsets.
  • Improving the quality of talent: In India, organizations have started to adopt strategies to increase and enhance the quality of the existing talent pool. Some have begun collaborating with academic institutions to develop digital curricula, while some are creating alternate talent pools through targeted skilling programmes.
  • Ecosystem collaboration across start-ups, fintech, and academia: India is the world's third-largest start-up ecosystem. Across the BFSI, healthcare, and CPG/retail sectors, many domestic and global companies compete with these startups to co-create new products through collaboration and incubator/accelerator programme models.

While most Indian enterprises are going digital, which aspects should they consider which will yield the maximum benefit?

In India, digital transformation has gained momentum after demonetisation in 2016. Due to this, Indian enterprises have started leveraging technology more aggressively to stay competitive in their respective market segments. Digital transformation refers to integrating digital technologies into all aspects of a business, including people, processes, and platforms. This can involve implementing new software and systems, automating processes, and upskilling employees to improve efficiency, increase competitiveness, and drive innovation.

Some of the critical ways include leveraging of digital technologies: enterprises can improve the customer experience by providing personalised, seamless interactions across all channels. Automation of repetitive, manual tasks can improve efficiency and reduce errors. By collecting and analyzing data, enterprises can gain insights into customer behaviour, market trends, and operational performance and help make more informed decisions. Moving to the cloud can help enterprises reduce costs, improve scalability, and enable access to a wide range of digital technologies. Cybersecurity measures and techniques will safeguard vital systems and confidential data against evolving digital threats. Also, digital transformation can increase employee engagement by providing employees with better tools and processes. Indian enterprises should consider these aspects to drive their digital transformation and reap maximum benefit.

What should be the critical parameters for businesses to evaluate digital engineering service providers?

Typically, Software product engineering services can be characterised as an activity that systematically develops future-ready software products while accelerating time-to-market and maximizing RoI. You may evaluate service providers on:

  • Capabilities: Provide the proper ability in terms of technology and delivery model. They should deeply understand their target industry, customers, and business processes.
  • Experience: The digital transformation partners should have experience in delivering similar services or projects with similar clients. This helps them understand what works and what doesn't, and thereby build credibility. 
  • Industry Intimacy: An in-depth understanding of the client's target industry, customers, and business processes helps them provide insightful solutions relevant to their client's needs.

The ability to execute any project or part of a project within a time-frame is another essential feature to look at while evaluating potential digital transformation partners. 

Businesses should look for more than a digital engineering service provider, a co-innovation partner who continues to advance modern digital engineering roadmap across industries and areas of expertise.

How digital engineering services can support different industries in achieving their growth, and what role Cloud-first approach will play?

Today, most industries need software development, data analytics, automation, and digital transformation consulting services. For example, in the manufacturing industry, digital engineering services can help to implement Industry 4.0 technologies such as IoT and ML to improve efficiency and performance. In the healthcare industry, digital engineering services can help to implement electronic health records, telemedicine, and other digital technologies to improve patient care and reduce costs.

A cloud-first approach provides a flexible, scalable, and cost-effective platform for digital transformation initiatives. They allow businesses to access the latest technologies and services without significant upfront investment in hardware and infrastructure. The access can help companies to implement new digital technologies quickly and easily, such as AI, ML, and Big data analytics. A paradigm shift in how companies approach their IT operations can be attributed to the cloud, which is not just a technology platform. It is the new normal for many organizations globally because it allows Scalability and flexibility, Advanced security, and Accelerate innovation.

What are the top trends to look out for, according to you, and how can these change the market dynamics?

To stay competitive, businesses need to automate traditionally manual processes and reduce overhead costs. Automation and low-code technologies are changing the way we automate processes at work. They are making it possible for us to do more with less effort and time while automating repetitive tasks that used to take hours or even days. Automation is helping them generate more revenue through increased efficiency in operations.

According to a recent study conducted by McKinsey & Company, 43 percent of organizations surveyed have already adopted automation across at least one aspect of their operations. However, only seven percent have fully automated all critical functions within their businesses. An exciting trend noted by this report was that financial services firms were leading adoption rates by far (63 percent). Low Code reduces the time taken for developers to build complex applications and allows them to work on multiple projects at once. It also provides greater flexibility than traditional application development methods, which often results in slow turnaround times when changes are required in the application code. 

A recent Forrester Research study found that over 80 percent of organisations use low-code technologies to speed up their processes and go to market. This trend is a massive change in market dynamics. We have seen a shift from the traditional method of developing applications to that involves writing code in low-code languages like Python or Ruby. It is about creating APIs for these languages and connecting them to business process engines like SAP and Oracle BPM. It helps more users access and build their custom applications.

What future challenges are expected in the growing digital engineering space? 

People's needs are being redefined. They expect a seamless experience across all channels. As a result, there is an increase in the market for a better customer service experience, lesser resources, staff, and higher speeds. In doing so, a few challenges could be:

  • Data will be collected and stored digitally, and protecting them from breaches and unauthorized access will be increasingly important.
  • Data collection and analysis will become increasingly complex as more data is generated, requiring new technologies and methods to be developed.
  • Ensuring those systems are reliable and can be trusted, with more critical systems becoming digitised, will be essential.
  • Working in digital engineering requires staying on top of the latest technologies and trends.
  • The increasing use of AI and automation raises ethical concerns about how these technologies are being used and the potential impact on society.