I recall walking into a conference very recently, when an IT head I am acquainted with, stopped to take his tea and snacks at the counter, just before the event was about to kick off. I exchanged pleasantries with him, and he asked me what most digital leaders ask us at the beginning of every calendar year – what is the new mantra we are promoting this year?
The question might have been in genuine curiosity or part jest since the industry and analyst communities are famous for “pronouncing the next big thing for the year.” But, I have an honest response to it – you are the practitioner, so create your own. A good many among your peers have already done this. If you know what your organization is going to stand for, for the next 12 months, then you are well on your way to creating your own mantra. And it does not have to be linked to the name of any particular technology. It is about an idea, a vision, what we call the larger picture.
Some recent meetings with digital decision makers have been very enlightening in this regard – a VP is charting his new digital agenda, through technology, yes, but more by aligning with his CEO’s larger vision of drilling the message down the line, as part of the culture shift in the organization. The gentleman, who has been recently elevated to the post, was stating as a matter of fact, “We make sure the last worker on the shop floor knows something about Industry 4.0.”
“The question might have been in genuine curiosity or part jest since the industry and analyst communities are famous for ‘pronouncing the next big thing for the year.’ But, I have an honest response to it – you are the practitioner, so create your own.”
This missive does not end with a few tokenisms such as pamphlets and mails – this organization takes the change seriously by reskilling its workforce. Again, not at a surface level – there is a rigorous, 6 week training for batches from the shop floor, meaning those 6 weeks those hands are totally off work and in state-of-art labs – learning and structuring their learning ground up.
If they are not there, then it is viewed very seriously, and if they show up and still don’t apply themselves enough to learn during the 6 weeks, then it is finally decided they might be unfit to work in the organization. Else, there is absolutely no attrition, whatsoever. In my eyes, the CEO, the digital leader, and the organization as a whole have found their magic word – Culture Shift, Reskilling – and these are closely tied to any technology change that is ensuing or will ensue.
In another case, the digital leader, a veteran in the space, is fairly new to the organization, and was still kind enough to meet. He confessed while it is still early days, he is seeing tremendous opportunities in the under leveraged segments of the business, which is the nucleus for one of India’s oldest and fastest growing financial market segments. His intent is - Create new digital revenue streams.
In the process, among other things, he was also looking to decentralize part of the closely held B2B portfolio front end access to B2C users, while keeping it fast and secure. In effect, he knows his mantra for this year, and he will work towards it – by creating use cases from global counterparts, by selling the story internally to the management and by investing in the right technologies towards this.
So, why are you waiting to hear the next buzzword? Create your own raison d'être this year!
Shantheri Mallaya is the Executive Editor, IDG Media