Cloud, Data, AI and Cybersecurity to Drive Businesses: Microsoft Envision Forum

May 2020
Cloud, Data, AI and Cybersecurity to Drive Businesses: Microsoft Envision Forum

Industry leaders from banking, financial services and insurance (BFSI), manufacturing and retail sectors deliberated on the need for innovation and real-world digital transformation to reimagine businesses in the new reality at the Microsoft Envision Forum on Friday. Senior executives and experts discussed the current challenges facing different industry verticals and also shared best practices they have adopted for employee safety and business continuity. Anchoring the dialogue at the first ever virtual edition of Envision, Microsoft reiterated its commitment to enable every organisation to sustain, innovate and grow its business.

In the keynote session Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India and Aarthi Subramanian, Group Chief Digital Officer, Tata Sons analysed how the COVID-19 pandemic has triggered digital acceleration and the role that it will play in rebounding and building resilience in a fluid and evolving environment. Calling for a collaborative effort, Maheshwari said, “As we continue to work through the current situation and plan for the future, it’s clear that the change required is enormous – as is the potential opportunity across industries. Technology will play a stronger role than ever before, enabling economic recovery and helping each one of us achieve more.”

According to Subramanian, COVID-19 will accelerate the scaling of digital across industries and investments in Cloud, AI and cybersecurity. “Digital transformation in companies will focus on new end-to-end customer journeys and we will see an increase in adoption of automation in manufacturing industries. They will also invest in enhancing employee engagement given the remote working model. Enterprises will build world-class digital infrastructure as a horizontal capability,” she said.

Maheshwari added that technology will play a major role in management of social sector programmes across education, health, and public distribution, helping to strengthen the economy. He also called out the need for robust security solutions and trust as organisations build tech intensity for a new future.

Intelligent Manufacturing for a Better Future

As manufacturers cope with fluctuating supply and demand and disruption in production, they are reconfiguring their production, supply chains, and services to stay operational and sustain deliveries in these unprecedented times. Mayur Danait, CIO, Pidilite, said, “Manufacturing has always been a traditional business but post COVID, the sector will have to reinvent to enable a seamless partner ecosystem. Use of IoT to drive shop floor efficiencies and the use of digital collaboration, predictive analytics, bots and gamification of experience to drive engagement with end-users and channel partners are likely to be the norm going forward.”

Reimagining the Retail Industry After the Lockdown

Over the last couple of years, technology has enabled retailers to transform every aspect of the value chain. With the novel coronavirus crisis, the sector is trying to steer through major health and safety concerns for their employees, mandated store closures, drastic shifts in demand and evolving customer needs. Sanjay Bhattacharjee, Head CRM, Titan Company Ltd, said, “How brands are interacting and engaging with their customers makes a lot of difference. Going digital is the key to enable a virtual experience for customers, right from viewing products on the app to booking a product to its delivery. Through remote communication platforms, retail brands have the opportunity to establish a deeper connect with the buyer community than before.”

Rebuilding the Financial Services Sector Post-COVID-19

Banking and financial services providers have adjusted operating models and services to support customers and help those who need the most assistance, while meeting regulatory and compliance obligations. According to Anoop Mahapatra, Deputy Managing Director, State Bank of India, “Around 90 per cent of the total transactions go through anytime channels, i.e., other than branch channel and as such the post COVID impact on customer service is insignificant. Although there has been some drop in loan requirements, to overcome this SBI has a strong end-to-end AI and machine learning (ML) platform with number of AI based pre-approved loan products, to provide loans with ease and we hope the traction for the same will be built up in the coming days.” SBI has also leveraged Microsoft Teams for its large workforce to stay productive and collaborate while working from home.

A key focus of the conference was the importance of reskilling the workforce as employees and organisations shift gears for the road ahead.

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