Indian corporates need to lead the charge to create a local technology infrastructure and industry. Within India among corporates, usage of technology is still quite poor. It is very necessary for Indian corporates if they are going to counter global competitive challenges. Creating a bigger domestic market will also help in widening the pool of companies doing work and provide them with an alternative revenue stream. In addition, it also increases the talent we have in India working on technology. So, what can corporates do to adopt technology at the core of their business?
- Integrate the Internet Internally: Email and Internet Access for all are the building blocks. Email does not work if half the company has it and the other half does not! This also requires a cultural change: people must read and reply to emails quickly. Combining Instant Messaging and email for communications can also dramatically bring down the cost of communications. It also helps in faster flow of information within the company. Providing access to the Internet for everyone helps create a Net culture. Yes, there will be some misuse but over time, the advantage far outweighs the downside. The next step here is to web-enable internal processes, like leave applications, travel arrangements and reimbursements. Any process which has a form can be put on the Intranet of the company.
- Set up an Extended Collaboration Network: This is at the heart of setting up an eBusiness. Think how the company’s processes would be different if Internet technologies were to be at their core. Think how providing real-time information to employees, partners, customers and suppliers can change the way you do business. This will create opportunities to rethink about what your business should really be doing. A logical extension is the creation of a private marketplace where a company’s value chain can interact. Here, the challenge is as much cultural as technological: companies need to be more open and transparent in their dealings internally and externally.
- Invest in Analytics: The information that will be generated by the real-time connected enterprise will dramatically increase. It means investments in data mining, data warehousing and analytics software to focus on exceptions, trends which may not easily be obvious and providing customized information to the interested entities. Think for example how would your business be different if you could find out in near real-time the market response to your advertising campaign? Think what you could do if you knew who your best (and worst) customers are.
Some of the other derivative steps companies will need to take will involve training the workforce, setting up eLearning and investing in educational institutions. This positive feedback can lead to a spiraling effect in terms of not only creating a domestic market for technology, but also in making companies more efficient and competitive, and therefore, more profitable. The Internet is a discontinuity, and it will lead to upheavals. Look at the music industry worldwide and how Napster has caused turmoil in it. The challenge for India is to ensure that the Napster-equivalents in eBusiness can orginate from here.