Millennials Will Define Smart Enterprise Transformation

Date:   Wednesday , August 17, 2016

Headquartered in Pune, KPIT Technologies is a product engineering and technology solutions company that enables its clients to run their businesses more efficiently and smartly by assisting them in building products that are energy efficient, cleaner, safer and yield more comfort for their end-customers.

Imagine an app which would allow you to check the food menu in your office cafeteria, use the e-wallet and even give notifications when the food is ready. In turn, you avoid waiting time at the cafeteria and plan your break time better. Or maybe, an app that lets you search for a parking space in your office even before you\'ve entered the building. This isn\'t aspirational thinking, but the result of a new wave of digitization which is transforming workplaces today.

Smart or digital enterprises are being built for the millennials - a generation of young adults born between the 1980s or 2000s. The 2013-14 Economic Survey estimates that India will become the youngest country by 2021, with 64 percent of its population in the working age group of 20-35. With changing workforce demographics, businesses need to redefine the notion of what defines workplace to make it more relevant for the new generation. Millennial employees are typically tech-savvy, keen to embrace and learn about new technologies in their personal life. For instance, millennial shoppers are more likely to use a variety of apps for shopping, which help discover new ways of exploring customer experience through analytics and virtual options for trying products. They expect a similar experience in the corporate environment also.

A technologically-enabled workplace should resonate with the millennial mindset and aim at better efficiency, agility and productivity within the organization. It should be able to connect the physical environment of the employees with devices and apps which allow secure access to company information, data, resources and applications from anytime, anywhere.

The Pillars to Achieving Digitization

A smart workplace has seven pillars - smart campus, smart business applications, smart collaboration, smart insights, smart workforce, smart relationships and smart infrastructure, with technologies such as social media, mobility, cloud, analytics and IoT at the cornerstone.

It\'s about adopting a technology-first approach and embracing the benefits and new practices that both digital technology and millennials bring into the set-up. To ensure that employees have access to information, there is a need to bring together a unified platform, which helps in achieving efficient collaboration. The traditional communication suits, including email interface, instant messaging, IP calls, and video calls should be integrated under one social medium, where apart from unified communication experience, people also are able to share experiences, search contents, update status on the tasks in hand and in turn improve collaboration and personal productivity. Also, such a platform should not restrict employees to desktops and laptops, but allow inter-operability with hand-held devices as well. This flexibility results in wider networking within the organization and employees get the added advantage of mobility.

Such systems of social networking also enable the management to evaluate the interests of its employees, making it easy to assign right tasks to the right people. This in turn makes solving customer problems faster by benefitting from the crowd sourcing approach. It also streamlines processes like appraisals, reward & recognition systems, and reaching out to various organizational functions such as HR, IT, marketing and others.

Beyond collaboration, we added a whole new dimension to our workplace transformation process through mobile-based context aware apps which empower our people with smarter insights about their workplace. These apps are being used by employees to check the real-time availability of parking space in the campus, pre-order meals at the cafeteria, see their bus schedules, or even take actions using the single mobile app interface for various systems like approve/reject purchase, travel, leave request or various service requests raised by team members in various ticketing systems.

To enable such data-driven transformation, a combination of private cloud, public cloud, enabling infrastructure for cloud native applications works the best. The hybrid solution reduces technical hurdles, maximizes the benefits of every element and generates cost benefits.

Information Security, A Priority

The huge amount of information available on the cloud which is getting accessed from any device (BYOD) calls for a foolproof cloud computing strategy that supports information security. Foremost, avoid storing critical data on the end user devices. Store the data at the central place either in private or public cloud and implement data security policies at the source itself. This will ensure that data protection policies are consistent, irrespective of the device from where they are accessed. Security also depends on the devices that people are accessing information from. If data is consumed on hand-held devices, organizations can use tailored tools to integrate the enterprise mobility space. This helps to control and keep track of the corporate information being used. For example, files that have been downloaded should get deleted after a predefined timeframe, thereby keeping information safe and protected. Also, documents can be rights protected so that security policies flow along with the document.

Aligning Smart Enterprise with Business Outcomes

The time for smart enterprises has evidently arrived. The tenet of transformation will rest on how successfully businesses eliminate the boundaries between people, processes and technology. There is no one way of going about it. It is important to understand the dynamics of the \'connected\' ecosystem while making the transformations, and its alignment with the overall talent management and business goals.

No matter at what stage of technology journey your organization is in, it is pertinent to have a robust digital strategy in place to get the right returns on investment. At the same time, while going the digital way, it is imperative to also sieve necessity from gimmick for deriving the desired value.