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Digital transformation of an organization sounds like computer jargon to most of us but basically it is about companies using technology to enhance performance and to improve interface with customers.

For the IT software industry digital transformation is the latest earning opportunity. The segment is emerging according to software industry as businesses have recognized the importance of technology for increasing sales in a completely net driven world. Many global biggies have jumped into this space while in India too software players have started earning revenues from the latest service. As yet though there are handfuls of players that are pushing the product to their clients.

Dr Siddhartha Chatterjee, chief technology officer, Persistent Systems Ltd., recently visited the Goa office in Verna to deliver a lecture on digital transformation of enterprises. His technical lecture was attended by engineering students, computer start-ups, IT academia  touched upon the ‘how to’ of  transformation and concluded with the assertion that  customer engagement is vital to increase sales and the best way to do it in today’s times is digitally.  Dr Chatterjee touched on a range of issues related to the topic in brief interview with Shoma Patnaik

Q: According to you where or rather in which industries of India is the digital transformation taking place?

The transport and hospitality industries offer good examples. Travel companies like Ola, Uber, Airbnb are heavily using technology to drive business. They offer seamless services to customers as well as their stakeholders (drivers). Customer’s book and pay through app and the entire process is very easy. The financial services industry such as banks is another sector where digital technology is taken hold strongly. Healthcare is also another sector that is picking up but in India we lag behind vis-à-vis abroad. Of course the nature of digitization in healthcare in India will be different in India than it is in the US. Here it would be about rural healthcare devices and accessibility to all.

 

Q: How will this latest service drive software industry revenues in future?

As an industry I see all players talking of digital transformation although they may use different words for it. In Persistent Systems it is a strategic area of focus although the business module is still very much in early stages. As a company we have strong focus on innovation and digital transformation is the heart of our growth story. It helps us define and hone our technology prowess.  Specifically we are doing projects for clients in India and overseas.

 

Q: Goan industries is made up of small units, mining companies and hotels. Can you see them going in for digital transformation?

Of course, technology is necessary for all companies. Traditional businesses, leading companies, or start-ups all need to augment their core competency with technology and experiences to make their offerings swift and agile in response to market dynamics. A small and medium unit typically focuses on core competence but anything beyond and they are lost. Technology can help micro units in R&D, and other areas. Similarly mining companies have large operations and make use of equipment and trucks. Technology can help them in tracking the equipment, shipment of trucks, etc.

Goa has large number of pharmaceutical companies that through technology can track down to tablet level the supply chain. All this tracking for the pharma industry is because of new regulations. Producers can check through radio frequency identification chips on the inventory. Lot of businesses confuse digital transformation with IT modernization. Both are different and have different set of objectives.

 

Q: Goa has five engineering colleges with most students passing out in IT. How can they equip themselves with necessary skills for emerging field such as digital transformation?

Some things do not change. The basic skills remain the same. Students have to learn the fundamentals taught in the course and learn it well. Data science is a hot field but students who want to enter the field should know statistics and their analytical skill in computers has to be extremely good. You can only be a professional if you have fundamentals. My advice to IT engineering students would be not to sacrifice college education then find a place where you can grow vertically. In Persistent we are putting fresh pass-outs through JAVA scrip technology big data technology, mobile app. To be successful in the digital transformation segment you need to have combination of technology and business skills.

 

Q: As the CTO and responsible for your company’s R&D what are the new areas in IT software where growth will occur?

I think security is becoming very important as we advance more and more in the digital world. If mobile banking were not secure than no one would use it. Keeping information secure will keep programmers busy in future. Artificial intelligence is one more area where I see lot of future activity taking place. The intersection of biology and computing is also another area although I barely understand it. But smart pills, genomics, ingestible sensors are some latest tech products.

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