Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Anant Maheshwari, President Microsoft India Speaks on Digital Acceleration as Lockdown Eases in India

Excerpts from Anant Maheshwari, President Microsoft India Discussion with Aarthi Subramanian, Group Chief Digital Officer for Tata Sons on digital acceleration as lockdown eases in India.

As new work norms evolve and we continue to work from home, organizations are realizing they need a comprehensive solution that brings communications, collaboration, and business continuity together on one platform. Speaking at the Microsoft Envision Forum recently, Anant Maheshwari, President Microsoft India shared his perspective on the role that digital acceleration will play in rebuilding the industry as the lockdown eases.

Aarthi Subramaniam: “So Anant, since I spoke about technology playing a big role. I’ve a question for you. You know with Microsoft being at the forefront of technology and driving technology leadership. What role do you see for Microsoft and for technology in general and digital acceleration from a broader economic revival point of view”

Anant Maheshwari:

So maybe I build on what you said Aarthi. I’ll first speak about tech and digital as a key trend. I think as you spoke about the context of India and Tata group.  It’s been seen across the world that tech intensity will go up and digital acceleration will happen. Just a few days back, Satya in one of the meetings said that the last 2 months have seen digital transformation that we may have normally seen in 2 years. That’s the level of acceleration that the world has seen in digital transformation. If I just look at the trend lines, initially when we all got to work from home, the first need was getting maybe a videoconference solution that enabled us to see each other and talk to each other. But very quickly I’ve seen people move from just the need for video conference to collaborate, to actually get work done, to integrate business processes inside the solution. And there is then just one solution for people to actually work together and to create together in this work from home environment

So, moving very quickly, within 40 – 50 days people who said listen I don’t want to do video or calling because I like to meet people in person - I see many of those executives and  CEOs and CXOs being so comfortable with this now, and actually saying, hey, this is giving me more opportunities to do many new things. So ideation is changing as it’s happening.

What does it mean from a tech and Microsoft point of view? I think the Teams platform, which we were talking about just now, is a huge canvas, a huge enabler because it goes way beyond video conferencing into actually getting work done together, integrating business process into this, so that can become the normal way in some forms to work. So, that’s the first big change that I see as a transition point.

The second -  as you also mentioned  - I think data and analytics will become really critical. There will be  a lot of understanding of what data and analytics says. Companies and people will also say, I want to be more productive, so I need more data and more analytics coming to me as tool kits.

The third trend line I see is the ability to scale all of this digital experience. Therefore, the power of the public cloud in terms of  enabling that scaling is going to be well appreciated by a lot of people and therefore been seen a lot of that being used dynamically. And more innovation will happen in the combination of public cloud, the data analytics and the collaboration process

Now given all of this, I think we’re recognizing today that cybersecurity, privacy becomes even more important… because in the past when we were in the confines of a building in an office, the firewall and the physical separations in some form were helping the security envelope. But today when you’re working from home you’ve got to think about the entire security and privacy envelope very, very differently. And therefore, new norms will come in, new tools will come in to enable that security and privacy for every individual. And I think a lot of innovation can happen, which is good for the world in general to have that security and privacy discussion involved.

Finally I would say, I think governments will use technology a lot more.  The crisis management that they’re doing for Covid is all with these tools. So, I think there is a lot of policy frameworks also that will change to enable this from the government because this is the new normal that we’re working out. So, if I put all of this together I think it’s is a lot of innovation that’s going to happen in the next few weeks and months as we live through this and as we emerge from this into the post Covid world, hopefully soon.

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