A recent market study by Cognizant reveals that while most Asian businesses were quick to respond to the pandemic—compressing many long-term digital projects into the space of weeks and months—and are therefore emerging stronger from the pandemic, Indian companies weathered through the pandemic much better than most of their regional and western counterparts.
Only 36% of companies in India (compared to the regional average of 44%) experienced slightly negative to a very negative impact on their business performance in 2020. According to the study, businesses in APAC and the Middle East have reached a point of clarity in terms of the real purpose of digital tools and made great strides in understanding what the human-machine balance of work should be.
To understand the changing nature of work, commerce and success in this new world, Cognizant’s Center for the Future of Work surveyed 4,000 senior executives (1,200 from Asia Pacific and the Middle East, including 160 in India) across 23 countries and 14 industries: BFSI, Consumer Goods, Education, Healthcare (including both payers and providers), Information Services, Insurance, Life Sciences, Manufacturing, Media and Entertainment, Oil and Gas, Retail, Transportation and Logistics, Travel and Hospitality, and Utilities. The objective of the study was to gain insights into how organizations worldwide are gearing up for the second act of digital and why Asia seems to be leading the charge.
Key findings among Indian enterprises:
• Indian companies are most bullish on embracing digital ways of working as 52% of them (highest among APAC countries) agreed that the pandemic had accelerated the adoption of new, digital ways of working practices.
• Revenue from digital: Indian companies currently generate 12% of the total revenue from digital channels (highest among APAC countries). By the end of 2023, they aim to take their digital-driven revenues to 17%.
• The top three forces that will have a strong impact on work in India by 2023 are hyper-connectivity as billions of people, machines, and devices become connected (49%), concerns about security and privacy relating to business practices (46%), and process automation (44%).
• Human-centric skills will continue to gain prominence: Top five skills that will become more important in 2023 than they are today: Decision-making (62%), Analytical (54%), Learning (55%), Strategic Thinking (54%), and Communication (54%).
• Three ways work will be transformed by 2023: Jobs to become more specialized (54%), we will work faster (50%), and work will require greater technical expertise (47%).
• Top three technologies that companies are leveraging to augment business processes (from some implemented projects to widespread implementation): AI (40%), Sensors/ IoT (35%), and big data/ analytics (35%).
• Machines will augment humans by taking over data-oriented tasks and providing insights for better decision-making. Top three tasks that machines will pick up by 2023: sifting large data sets to filter and identify errors or actionable items (25%), evaluation of options/recommendations to take decisions (23%), and execution of routine, rules-based decisions based on data inputs (23%).
• Top three business benefits companies aim at achieving with the augmentation of processes by 2023: decision-making i.e. more informed, accurate, intelligent (70%), operational efficiency i.e. cost savings, increased output, improved asset and inventory management (62%), and customer experience i.e. interaction and personalization (59%).
“Although the digital revolution is 74 years old, it’s kicking into second gear now,” said Manish Bahl, Assistant Vice President, Center for the Future of Work, Asia Pacific, Cognizant. “The first phase saw the dominance of Big Tech giants in West leading the global digital agenda. The second phase will be marked by AI, automation, analytics and IoT – all of which are more aligned with industry and business strengths in Asia Pacific. The work ahead will be all about striking a balance between machine-driven and human-centric work. Even when machines can do everything, it will still be people who are the ultimate X factor.”