ISB Updates

Digital will cause emergence of new business paradigms

Picture a scenario where you are leaving for home from your fully automated factory run by robots. As you get up from your chair a sensor actuates your driverless car, and your car in turn communicates with your home computer informing that you will be home in twenty minutes. The computer receives alarm signals from the refrigerator that there’s no milk and that you want your tea when you reach home. The car is routed to the grocery store where the milk is ready and is picked up by the robotic arm of your car, given to your refrigerator and you get your tea.

Doesn’t that sound like science fiction? However, it is already happening and we are in for surprises if we are not prepared for it, warned Dr Ganesh Natarajan, Founder & Chairman of ‘meta-startup platform’ 5F World, speaking at the Dean’s Speaker Series (DSS) at ISB.

“According to GE everything that rotates creates data. A statement like that opens up a whole new world of digital possibility,” said the former Vice Chairman of Zensar Technologies in his nearly 90 minutes speech and interaction which had the audience in a bind as he spoke of the digital transformation sweeping the world, causing the emergence of new business paradigms.

“The whole world of connected everything is what digital is all about and it will become the mainstream for business,” he said adding business models were being turned on their heads with more computing power in the palm of our hands today than in the computer that put man on the moon. The adoption of technology today is happening at a mind-boggling rate. The crucial question is can we keep up with the dizzying speed of adoption of technology?

The impact on business is enormous, resulting in improved customer experience, enhanced productivity, and innovative business models.

“The likes of Uber, Alibaba and Facebook are aggregators. They build platforms and aggregate. This is the model of the future. Anybody who thought business means having better factories and better corporate offices etc. will have to think again because ultimately business will have to be transacted in the minds. Value will be created not by the physical assets. It will be the return on exchange of information that will shape the future businesses.”

Interacting with ISB Dean and Professor of Marketing Strategy and Innovation, Rajendra Srivastava, he felt no business would remain untouched by digital applications be it insurance, financial services, consumer durables or even training. Complete consumption and financial supermarkets through new products and services, technology enabled wellness centres, pay per use models are all a reality already happening.

The audience found the session extremely absorbing and informative and this was reflected in the highly engaging Q&A that followed.

The inspiring and engaging Dean’s Speaker Series is an initiative of Dean Srivastava. DSS is delivered by eminent thought leaders visiting the School through the year. The DSS is designed to bring together leading academicians and global thinkers who engage with ISB in line with our vision of making an impact on management practice, scholarship and policy. This was the fourth in the series, sessions with strategy and innovating thinker Vijay Govindarajan, Infosys founder N R Narayanamurthy, breakthrough management and TQM expert Shoji Shiba having been conducted previously.