The Next Big Impact

Author: Kris Gopalakrishnan
CEO & Managing Director, Infosys Technologies
The Next Big Impact -By-Kris Gopalakrishnan
Business wants to achieve three things - higher growth, higher profits and better asset efficiency. Together, they impact shareholder value. IT helps in achieving these by enabling operational excellence and innovation.

IT has achieved a lot. The earliest generation of IT – the mainframe generation – brought enormous number crunching power. In the beginning, its application was in simple things like payroll processing, etc. However today, the number crunching power of IT is used for things like gene sequencing, which is extremely important. The next generation of IT brought the computing power to every desktop and impacted business productivity. Then came the Internet generation of IT, brought about by the marriage of the computer and telecommunications, and it has started impacting the quality of our lives. We don’t have to stand in a queue for withdrawing money from the banks or to buy a movie ticket and we can stay connected with friends and relatives today. But I feel that we will be seeing the real impact of IT in the coming years. Whatever has happened till now is only the movement on the runway. The impact of IT is about to take off.

The future impact of IT will be in the area of operational excellence and innovation, but the theatre of action for IT will change and expand significantly. In operational excellence, for example, there will be three significant impact areas – organizational simplification, corporate performance architecture and management and corporate governance.

Organizations have to simplify the entangled web of discrete processes and systems that run today. This will be totally driven by IT. The end goal is to have a flat, agile organization that can respond in real-time with zero latency. Organizations must have a single digital nervous system.

Corporate performance architecture & management will be the skeletal and muscular system of the organization. Strategies must be linked to activities. Metrics processes and systems must get integrated. IT will be the ligaments and the tendons. Companies will model, track and optimize their performance; much like a sportsman or an athlete does to his or her body. The idea is to achieve predictability and sustainability of business results with profitability and de-risking.

And the heart and soul of an organization are its values, its transparency and its corporate governance. It is impossible to create a sustainable organization if it doesn’t enjoy the trust of its stakeholders. IT can help in achieving compliance – through data, monitoring and processes. In areas where there are no regulations, we must put self regulations in place. I feel that it is the responsibility of the board to ensure that we have absolute transparency in all our financial dealings and we adhere to the highest level of corporate governance.

In innovation, the first area will be in enabling sustainability and climate change. Global climate and global economy don’t have to be hostile to each other. We need to innovate radically – and IT has a huge role to play here – for them to co-exist. We require large investments in “green” technologies. Equally importantly, we need to think “green” and incorporate green design principles in all our processes, products and market offerings.
The second impact area will be the ecosystem of digital consumers and networked communities. The power equation between an organization and its customers has changed. Earlier the customer was a discrete entity. But today, they are networked–and then, there are networks of networks. The power of a network is proportional to the square of the nodes. So the consumer networks have become very powerful. Organizations have to learn to use IT to engage with them effectively, understand their requirements and co-opt them in their thinking, planning and creation process. Those who won’t do this will become irrelevant.

Then there is pervasive computing. Almost every device will be a computer of some sort –laptop, mobile phone, gaming machine, TV, refrigerator, microwave oven, car – you name it. And they will be connected –through the Internet and through sensor networks – to each other and to us and to the surrounding environment. Information, then, like electricity, will become a form of energy. The trick will be to be able to harness the enormous amount of information generated.

The fourth impact area for innovation will be the emerging economies. Emerging economies are the drivers of global growth. They offer new growth markets for all organizations. You have to create products that are specific to these markets – and, at the same time be environment friendly. Emerging economies are also going to become innovation hubs as the innovation eco-system takes root in these places.

A lot of these impact areas go beyond the organization, because the boundaries between society and organizations will blur. Just like the boundaries between our personal life and private life are blurring – we take work home and bring our songs to offices.

And then there are a couple of emerging areas where IT will have a significant role to play and the result will impact the society as a whole. One is the new concept of digital commerce – electronic commerce, mobile commerce etc. IT has a huge role to play in ensuring safety and security of transactions and providing visibility and control in flow and supply. At the same time, this new commerce is going to have an impact on society. It’ll enable us in banking the unbanked. It will probably create a whole new thinking towards money. The other is in genomics and related fields. IT has a huge role to play there as well. It will be about preventive treatment and personalized medicines.

Going forward, it will be an extremely exciting time for IT. It’s role will be nothing less than designing the 21st century enterprise and society.

The author of the article is Kris Gopalakrishnan, the CEO & Managing Director, Infosys Technologies. He is an IIT Madras Alumni.
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Posted by: mary lovely david - Monday 26th, September 2011
2: Respected Sir,

"It is impossible to create a sustainable organization if it doesn’t enjoy the trust of its stakeholders."

True! But stakeholders include not just customers and employees, but vendors, custodian of law and even those not directly involved with the business but who might get impacted with certain decisions. In the Indian context there seems to be focus only on customers and employees. Please correct me if I am wrong.

Warm Regards,

M.R. Sriprasad
Posted by: Sriprasad Ramamoorthy - Friday 06th, November 2009
3: Respected Sir,

Your thoughts are really very true and beautifully drafted.IT will continue to gain momentum. We will soon be able to witness a new era where IT will impact our lives more significantly and improve the quality of our living in ways which are actually beyond our imagination right now. Environment-friendliness is also the need of the hour.

Keep on enlightening us with your kind candles of great knowledge and inspiring bouquets of wisdom.

Thanks and regards,
Suchi Arora
(Future leader of Tomorrow)
Posted by: Suchi Arora - Friday 30th, October 2009
4: I agree with you Kris. We no longer discuss the future of India. We say the future is India said the (then) Indian Commerce and Industry Minister at the conference organized by the US-India Business Council in 2004. The present slump in IT sector is temporary. In any business ups and downs are common. IT will continue to gain momentum telecom and wireless will follow the trend. The immense expansion in networking technologies is expected to continue into the next decade also. IT will bring about a drastic improvement in the quality of life as it impacts application domains and global competitiveness. Technologies that are emerging are Data Warehousing and Data Mining. They involve collecting data to find patterns and testing hypothesis in normal research. Software services that are being used in outsourcing will go a long way.

Technology revolutionised and changed lives completely and people now have less trouble with household chores. For example relax by the computer surfing the Internet. People benefited by many other inventions which are important in everyday lives beginning TV and wilted cars. Computers seem to be indispensable in our lives. Since they were invented in 1948, they have revolutionized the way millions of people work, study, conduct business transactions or carry out research. Computers are having an enormous impact on science and technology. Complicated mathematical calculations can be performed in minutes. Also data gathering testing and analysis have been improved by computer use. Computers have many applications in factories where they are used for controlling and analysing many industrial processes. However not only are they used to manufacture certain products but they are incorporated into the products such as cars trains ships weapons cash registers or machine tools.Computers are also being increasingly used in medicine. They are very helpful in medical diagnosis patient monitoring and general hospital administration. In the banking and architecture engineering or machinery are also increasingly dependent on computer design. Moreover computers are revolutionizing such fields as advertising or marketing of new products.

The last 20 years of the 20th century was most significant period for Indian economy. During this period the nation has identified its economic destiny with great clarity. The most precious achievements of this period was the development of Information Technology. The immense expansion in networking technologies is expected to continue into the next decade also. IT will bring about a drastic improvement in the quality of life as it impacts application domains and global competitiveness. Technologies that are emerging are Data Warehousing and Data Mining. They involve collecting data to find patterns and testing hypothesis in normal research. Software services that are being used in outsourcing will go a long way. The IT industry has great scope for people as it provides employment to technical and non-technical graduates and has the capability to generate huge foreign exchange inflow for India. India exports softwares and services to approximately 95 countries in the world. By outsourcing to India many countries get benefits in terms of labour costs and business processes. Also, the Indian companies are broadening the range of services being provided to the customers, which is resulting in more off shoring. Talent acquisition development and retention initiatives taken by the companies have brought down the employee attrition rates thereby providing more stability to the employees and increasing their job commitment.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore (AP)
Posted by: Anumakonda Jagadeesh - Thursday 22nd, October 2009
5: Thanks Krish for this article. It's exciting to know the impact of IT is about to take off.
Posted by: Ravi Janardhan - Wednesday 07th, October 2009
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