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Leading India into Industry 4.0

October 9, 2018

Sumeet Walia   

Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Tata Communications

Keeping up with the pace of industry change is a challenge all businesses across the globe face on their quest for success. Increasingly, a priority for businesses is digitisation, which is the key to larger industry as well as business transformation. It is this fast-paced change which has led to a new revolution: Industry 4.0.

In India, this transformation has not been as smooth compared to some other markets, and some are questioning whether India’s infrastructure is prepared for it. A study titled India’s Readiness for Industry 4.0 by Grant Thornton and Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) found that as of 2016, India was globally ranked 91st in network readiness for innovation. Consequently, Indian businesses still have a far way to go before being able to compete on level footing with many other global organisations.

There is no doubt that there is a need for digital transformation. The key question is, how can India match the rate of innovation and achieve a standard that can compete with the rest of the world?

Barriers to digital transformation in India

To answer this question, we must recognise the barriers that currently exist. The first is security. Growing digital capabilities creates an increased risk of data security and privacy breaches, not only in India but across the world – exemplified by the number of breaches we’ve witnessed all over the world this year. This is a large cause for concern for businesses and can lead to inaction. However, not embracing new digital functions could mean falling behind competitors.

Another problem involves securing talent – skilled and experienced workers who can carry out these essential changes. The issue is further complicated for businesses in India where there is a big talented workforce, but few people with hands-on experience in emerging new technologies. This skills gap can make it difficult for organisations to embark on the digital transformation journey.

To overcome these and other similar barriers, Indian businesses need to take a collective approach to collaborate with the government on these issues.

Government and enterprise collaboration

Identifying some of these concerns, the Indian government has already launched initiatives aimed at accelerating digital transformation across India. For example, there have been programmes designed to help India’s cities become smart cities. Coupled with projects like Make in India and the digitisation drive we’re seeing, these initiatives all aim to make India a world-leading technology hub. But government involvement does not guarantee results, if industry leaders themselves don’t also take the initiative.

CII and Tata Communications saw this missing link as an opportunity, and through our collaboration created the CII-Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation.

The mission of this initiative is to evolve and leverage a digital transformation movement that transforms India by e.g. building systems of intelligence and helping organisations adopt intelligent cloud solutions to reinvent their productivity and business processes. It’s all about enhancing their effectiveness and inclusive growth.

The first step is helping organisations understand where they are in their digital transformation process, while taking key learnings from our research on digital readiness to influence the right policies in India.

Experience lies at the core of understanding how businesses work; the centre will leverage this fact by building a best practices knowledge repository. Looking at past use cases is crucial for progress, as people learn from both missteps and successes.  The centre will also conduct studies on the impact of AI in the workplace and emerging smart city technologies.

As a response to the rising security threats that can sometimes follow digitisation, the CII-Tata Communications Centre for Digital Transformation is also planning to launch a skills-building programme for cybersecurity to meet the challenges of an increasing digital world.

The centre will be dedicated to reinforcing the foundational pillars for digital transformation, and become a key part in enabling India to seize the opportunities digital technologies offer.

Read more about powering India’s digital ambition here.