INTERVIEW OF THE MONTH
INTERVIEW WITH MR. DHAVAL MANKAD,
Vice President IT,
Havmor Ice Cream Private Limited
What are some of the good practices that enterprises can adopt to drive cultural change for technology adoption, given that this is an indispensable factor for driving returns?
I believe that adopting technology is now a need for organisations seeking to grow, gain a competitive edge, or transform into process-driven or agile organisations. I firmly believe that these transformation journeys will be more successful if they are led, and they should to be business driven rather than IT-driven. The objectives of business are a major factor in driving adoption of technology.
I can give a few best practices or success levers based on my knowledge and past experience.
Given that this a journey and not a project, one must allow time for the digital journey to reach a particular level of maturity. It is also crucial that such journey be relevant depending on the existing culture, size of the organisation, and overall business strategies. Something good or working for others may not yield the same benefits to you, or vice versa.
Digital transformation has to be purpose-driven and aligned with business strategy. It could be consumer centric, business revenue models, operating efficiency and productivity, automation, or a data driven decision.
Many organisations do recognise or incentivize larger projects by forming a core team, we also did it for a few of our large-scale projects. Doing small pilot projects to fail fast or move on is the best ‘Mantra’, teams should be encouraged to celebrate small wins.
The another good practise is to integrate shared KRA towards digital transformation by the business team and IT; such KRA with only IT team ownership This requires a top down approach and conviction at the functional leadership level, but is extremely effective in driving digitization and process automation if Functional head don’t focus on job description based KRA for team members.
There are several examples of lots of digital transformation initiatives failing. Is there any ‘rule book’ or equivalent that when followed increases the chances of success.
I have been driving digital transformation initiatives over the last 15+ years after getting into senior roles, There is no rule book, but based on past experiences, I can share my experience, which is kind of a success mantra for digital transformation initiative success.
- It must be top-driven, owned by functional heads, and it has to be business initiatives, not IT projects.
One must revisit processes before taking a transformation journey, or explore what I call new ways of working (New WoW)—going digital without simplifying underlining processes may not help in succeeding. Digital transformation is all about people, processes, and technology; technology comes last. Hence do not try to tweak technology as per current process.
- People Process Technology is referred to as the “Golden Triangle and is a very important aspect of the transformation journey: to innovate interface people-technology, to automate process-technology, and to scale-up interface people-process! One can’t ignore humans, even with AI.
- All Digital initiatives must answer “what is there in for me?” , if this is place, half of the job is done. One needs to be relevant, define objective,
The term digital transformation has different connotations for different enterprises. What is your view of digital transformation? Do you believe that the term ‘digital’ itself has evolved in the past few years, and if so, how? What kind of competitive advantage can enterprises get with early adoption of new and emerging technologies?
Absolutely. Digital transformation has different meanings for different organisations. Unfortunately, since the beginning, there has been inappropriate use of these terms, irrespective of what is being done.
For me, digital transformation is a journey that organisations embark upon to leverage information technologies and other digital tools. It is a holistic approach to simplifying processes, streamlining operations, fostering a culture of digital, exploring new business models with the use of technology, and making data-driven decisions.
The digital eco-system has always existed before, it was known as normal developments or IT enablement at that point, but in the now newer era, it is “digital.” New technologies such as AI, RPA, block chain, IOT, etc. have significantly changed the digital landscape. No doubt, emerging technologies have made people start thinking differently, exploring possibilities, and taking unconventional approaches to working.
Any digital transformation typically has three stages, which start with digitization, a first step to start capturing data. The second stage is digitization, where digitised information is leveraged for data-driven, informed decisions, processes are streamlined, automated, etc. Digital Transformation is the ultimate state of digital technology adoption, where it becomes part of the organization’s DNA or culture, digital becomes a way of life, the organisation explores new business models, and much more.
What are some good practices to build an agile and effective digital strategy? If could share with examples as what impact has a digital transformation on revenues and shareholders?
The first step towards developing an effective digital strategy should be to align it with business objectives and goals. As previously said, people, processes, and technology are essential components of digital transformation; hence, the involving stakeholders and mapping their expectations is essential. This strategy will alter depending on whether the purpose is operational efficiency, excellence, or customer-centricity, or new business models.
There are several tools available to conduct internal surveys with respect to digital leadership and digital capabilities assessments. Such assessments provide a more comprehensive picture of where the organization stands. I recall using one such assessments in the past from a book titled “Leading Digital” It is also a process of change management, fostering cultural changes and driving objectives accordingly.
Successful digital transformation brings several benefits: revenue, productivity, agility, simplification of processes, doing more with less and better, newer business models, innovation, customer experience, and so on. For instance, using CRM provides customer insights to define customer-centric approaches. Digitalization brings automation, simplification, and decision-making using data.
If I give our insights, with all the digitization and digitalization initiatives over the last 4 years, certain support functions are able to manage 2x growth, whereas actual employee strength in these functions has gone significantly lower. There would be a productivity increase equivalent to about 25 FTE at least.
CIOs are transforming from traditional IT service delivery to a more strategic role. What’s your opinion on evolving role of CIO? What are few of the characteristics / important skills that best-in-class CIO display to lead digital transformation and influence stakeholders?
The CIO’s role has evolved over the years and is continuously evolving as it is further enhanced. If I could quote the number from the recent IDC CIO State of the CIO report, about 85% of CIOs are saying that their role is more towards being changemakers, leading business technology initiatives, driving new revenue models, and putting more focus on digital.
Gone are the days for the CIO to remain in technology silos; it is more about managing business expectations than technology management.
For a CIO to successfully drive in the current world, one must start understanding business and speak business language; there is no need for technology jargon, but one must show business benefits to get budgets. I don’t think getting budget is an issue if the organisation is focused on digital transformation and there is an ROI.
We have adopted that model and are operating with a lean team. All the standard support is outsourced to partners, which has helped eliminate people dependencies and talent management issues and provide an almost 24-hour support system.
The CIO must promote a culture of business ownership and give up the internal vendor/consultant concept to achieve success. Of course, it is extremely difficult to find talent who wants to work as a business partner with technology on the back end.
How have digital solutions helped enterprises to improve actual business processes? Are you seeing any trends relating to this in the past year?
Digital initiatives are about experience; once everyone starts seeing the benefits of digital initiatives, there is no looking back; in fact, from an IT point of view, it starts bouncing back.
Over the last couple of years, we have been able to eliminate human interventions and paper-driven processes in many areas. For example, all our internal approvals are happening through the portal, and our entire asset management, which is our largest investment outside manufacturing units, is completely paperless. Of course, we have many other data-driven processes within SAP S4 HANA, like MRP, actual costing and profitability analysis, etc. The list can go on, and with each successful initiative, we only see a rise in demand from business groups.
Havmor Ice Cream Private Limited is a 75-year-old brand now part of Lotte Group, Korea. Havmor has a presence across India with a strong distributor, CFA, and reseller network, catering to all channels of the FMCG market.
i.e., general trade, modern trade, HoReCa, and parlour for customer experience. Havmor is equipped with two state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities, and one additional facility is coming by December 2023 to expand further.