TCS executive on the necessity of digital reimagination

15 September 2015

Business leaders find themselves at a major digital turning point, is the belief of Satya Ramaswamy, Global Head of the Digital Enterprise Unit of the Indian Tata Consultancy Services (TCS). spoke with the TCS executive about the necessity of embracing digital and how organisations can best address the transition.

According to Ramaswamy the transition to a digital consumer economy will have immense consequences. Not only within industries, where the relationships between suppliers may change dramatically; but also beyond industries, because the boundaries between them will fade. Think of Apple, which began as a computer manufacturer, but later switched to a variety of other products and services. Or Netflix and Amazon, who are competing with traditional media companies by making their own TV shows: they are so successful especially because they are based on intelligent Big Data analysis of online viewing habits of consumers.

TCS Digital Enterprise

How quick will this transition to a digital consumer economy be?
"As we have learned in the past, this sometimes goes very quickly. In 2008 I started Brightfon, my second start-up. We developed interactive, mobile solutions for physical retail environments. In 2009 we were one of the first users of the Hadoop data storage platform, which forms the heart of many Big Data solutions. Back then, almost no one knew that it existed. We also used Twitter in stores, but first we had to explain to retailers what it actually was. But quite soon after that, Big Data and Twitter were fully established. TCS saw the opportunities Brightfon offered and acquired my company in 2010. I moved with it to TCS in 2012 and became the Head of the Digital Enterprise Unit of TCS. Since then I have seen the level of digital 'empowerment' of consumers increase rapidly. Companies must join them, otherwise they will go out of business."

In the approach of your Digital Enterprise Unit, combining digital forces is at the centre stage. Which forces are involved?
"We have identified five. Mobility, Big Data, Social Media, Cloud, and Artificial Intelligence & Robotics. Until two years ago, you saw that companies were using these forces separate from each other. For example, they launched a number of mobile apps but then did not analyse the user data of these apps. In our work with clients, we find that the true strength lies in the combination of these five digital forces."

The Digital Five Forces

What about awareness on the use of digital technologies?
"The immense importance of them is now understood  by now almost everyone: according to the Global Trends 2015 Study by TCS, 95% of the 800 managers that were surveyed worldwide see digital technologies as essential to get in touch, or keep in touch, with customers. The issue is that the majority of these companies - only 6% have appointed a Chief Digital Officer - then take little concrete action; because after all, you are not there with the deployment of just a new digital marketing tool. Not only consumers and businesses, but also 'smart things' (Internet of Things) such as machines, watches, cars, the thermostat or refrigerator are more often online. This offers opportunities for the use of digital technologies. And it can almost instantly make a positive contribution to performance. As shown by the same research, investment in IoT technology often leads to revenue growth: 80% of companies that have invested in IoT, saw their revenues in 2014 increase by an average of 16%.”

If you want to digitalise further, where do you start as a company? Or as a consultant who guides the process?
"I distinguish three categories of digital initiatives; which are phases which you ideally go through one after the other. First, the phase of digitalisation, where you digitalise the physical. In this first phase, you keep your existing structures and processes in place. The second phase is that of digital transformation, which focuses on the digitalisation of distribution channels and the enhancement of online channels, for example, think of the change from a product driven to a user driven web design.

The third phase is that of digital reimagination. Here you redesign, supported by the five mutually integrated digital forces, the most important aspects of the organisation. This is much more radical than the implementation of the incremental adjustments in the first two phases. "

Digital Reimagination

To which organizational aspects is this digital reimagination applied?
"We can identify six. Firstly, our consultants help clients redesign their business models. Connect customers and the products they buy digitally with the company; for example, place smart energy meters in people's homes, or sensors on machines. This provides real-time information on how customers use the products effectively. For an auto insurance company we have developed an application that maps driver behaviour. Based on this output, the insurer can make a risk profile tailored to every individual, who then pays a lower premium if he drives more safely."

And the other aspects?
"To start with products and services: through conversations between clients via social media, a provider can improve his product. Then, business processes, which you can design increasingly digitalised and data driven, with all its advantages. The fourth aspect concerns customer segments, which are moving more and more to micro segmentation or even 1-on-1 segments thanks to technology. The last two aspects concern channels, think of printers which order toner by themselves, and everything around the workplace, such as mobile working.

Companies are only at the beginning of tremendous changes. However, with those changes it is necessary that they know and use the vast range of digital capabilities. Whoever does that quickly and thoughtfully can count on consistent competitive advantages in the near future.”


Robert Park on the launch of his consultancy RWG Enterprises

18 April 2019

Following a lengthy spell as a General Manager at an international materials corporation, Robert Park was keen to rediscover his inner entrepreneur. With the launch of his new consulting firm, RWG Enterprises, Park spoke with to outline his hopes for the future of the company, and how he believes his boutique will be able to challenge the market.

Robert Park commenced his career in retail, taking up a string of General Store Manager positions with companies – including Poundstretcher and The Gadget Shop – before making the 2005 move that would lead him to a 13-year stay with Morgan Advanced Materials. First taking up a role as Production Supervisor with the organisation, Park quickly worked his way to the upper echelons of the group. By 2013, he held the role of UK Operations Manager for the company’s UK ceramic core business, Certech UK, before seeing out his final four years at the firm as General Manager, leading the senior management team and strategic direction of the business.

Despite his success with the firm, however, Park found himself getting itchy feet. A change of career seemed increasingly appealing, and by February 2019, the time to take a new path had arrived.

Park explained: “I was losing the ability to to use the entrepreneurial flair that I had enjoyed in the past; the organisation was moving more towards a structured and common approach for doing things, and that made me feel restricted. I also really enjoy the troubleshooting, problem solving side of my role. However, having been in my last post for four years, the troubleshooting and firefighting was long behind me. I realised that I am really energised by tackling difficult issues or turning around things that are clearly struggling.”

New consulting firm RWG Enterprises launches

His criteria for a new career seemed to point conclusively in the direction of management consulting, and while his CV has no formal experience in the sector, Park believes his career to date has provided him with a wealth of transferable skills. During his time with Certech at Morgan Advanced Materials, he became a Senior Manager at the age of just 21, and went on to succeed in a harsh factory environment where six former candidates had previously failed to deliver results.

Later, he became the group’s youngest General Manager in its history, and was involved in the turnaround of numerous departments. He also developed vast experience dealing with a wide range of ‘people’ challenges, including re-organisation, talent development, talent acquisition and leadership development. Along the way, Park noted that he learned to deal with large, blue chip organisations such as Rolls Royce, securing major long-term contracts worth upwards of £25 million.

Now, he hopes to take that know-how and apply it to the diverse world of consulting work. Park elaborated: “I really want to be able to help organisations that feel that there is no hope or have lost faith in the business… Having been there myself I know how helpful it would have been to have someone to refer to in times of crisis… The firm will also focus on leadership development, as I spent a lot of time with the global graduate program during my corporate career… and I was really motivated to see these individuals grow and develop… helping them to find their own way through challenging situations.

New enterprise

Park’s new Derby-based consultancy, RWG Enterprises, will focus on five key operational fronts. As stated, leadership development and business rescue will be two of these areas, as well as manufacturing – where the firm will tackle challenges such as new product introduction. RWG will also offer financial advisory services and strategic business planning offerings.

While Park is understandably guarded about the firm’s initial engagements, he revealed that he has been “speaking at length to a well-known university and business school about providing mentoring and coaching support to students.” In the long-term, the aim is for RWG Enterprises to take on engagements from clients across the industrial spectrum. He added that as “the company is very embryonic”, it would be “foolish” to become too focused on target clients at this stage.

When asked how RWG Enterprises intends to differentiate itself from the rest of the pack, in an ever-more-crowded UK consulting sector, Park is undaunted by the task ahead. He stated, “I think the main differentiator is that we are small... I have operated at a very senior level for many years but I have enjoyed a very diverse background having worked in most functions within my last organisation. I also won’t take on any work or clients that I feel I cannot deliver value for, I am honest and ethical and am really motivated by seeing others become successful… The main thing I am focused on is 'can I add value' and 'can I help?'”