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Competing With Digital Natives: Where to Begin


Nidhi Srivastava
Vice President, Enterprise Intelligent Automation and AI Practice, TCS
26 June 2018

Google and Amazon are companies that should pop into your head when you think of digital natives. They’re among the best and brightest companies today and are creating the most exciting products and solutions in the market. Undoubtedly, they’re a force to reckon with, irrespective of what industry, sector, category, or geography you operate in. 

Compared to the traditional organization you steer, these digital natives place large bets and win big – even when they’re battling the established titans that own the turf. They have three distinct capabilities: 

  • The ability to re-invent the wheel and think outside the box. Uber and Lyft do not have to maintain a fleet of vehicles to compete with other taxi services. 

  • The aptitude to rapidly develop and test digital systems. Amazon makes continual adjustments to its web store offerings to ensure success. 

  • The propensity to use a lean-agile approach to develop the digital systems. Airbnb, Spotify, and Google have left behind the conservative waterfall approach. 

To compete, businesses too must find a way to acquire these capabilities. 

However, achieving enterprise agility takes commitment and cannot be done at once. It must be undertaken in a phased manner. Asking every department and division to adopt the agile mindset at the same time might disrupt business as usual, and the negative experience may boost resistance to the change. Doing it right, however, will help your business get ahead of the competition. Although agile requires a flatter organization, it encourages teamwork, investment in people’s skills and new tools. 

Immediate benefits are also plenty. It improves collaboration, helps develop a higher quality of products and services, reduces time to market, improves processes for creating demand and for generating supply, strengthens customer service, and boosts overall productivity. 

If you’re wondering where to begin when you’re going agile, read along for some useful suggestions that will set you up for success. The short answer to “what’s the first step to going agile?” is easy: take an agile readiness assessment. This is an evaluation of your business that will help identify the most suitable business area. The assessment determines how people are organized in a particular business area, the prevailing culture and processes, and the tools and technology infrastructure available. When performing this evaluation, you must treat software development divisions differently from business function divisions such as strategy and marketing. At the end of such evaluation, you will have a fairly clear idea about which business area to select as the pilot project and how to transition it from a traditional operation to one that’s agile. 

Where leaders empower, people develop skills to take on multiple roles, and the team follows a modular architecture with micro services, that is when the transformation begins. If you are motivated to embrace and want to know how to go about it, reading my article Embracing Agility Means Agility by the Business, for the Business in our management journal will be a great place to start. 

About the author(s)
Nidhi Srivastava
Vice President, Enterprise Intelligent Automation and AI Practice, TCS

Nidhi Srivastava is a Vice President at the Enterprise Intelligent Automation and AI Practice of TCS. She has more than 25 years of experience in selling and delivering consulting solutions across the breadth of technology landscape. Nidhi has worked as a trusted advisor to Business Leaders in driving transformation across the Business and IT Landscape. Her service portfolio includes Strategy and Consulting, Intelligent Process Automation, Robotics and Application Services Automation. Nidhi is a member of the International Process Research Consortium with the Carnegie Mellon University.