Indian enterprises will scale up their digital push and reskilling efforts: Aarthi Subramanian on Covid-19 impact

Venkatesh Ganesh Mumbai | Updated on May 15, 2020 Published on May 15, 2020

A file photo of Aarthi Subramanian, Group Chief Digital Officer, Tata Sons

She expects to see significant changes in consumer behaviour.

In the post Covid-19 world, Indian enterprises will scale up their digital push and reskilling efforts, which could open up new commerce opportunities, assisted by technology.

In a conversation between Aarthi Subramanian, Group Chief Digital Officer, Tata Sons and Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, during its virtual edition of ‘Envision’ event, Subrmanian touched on four areas of digital transformation opportunities seen across the different group verticals: new end-to-end customer journeys, increased adoption of automation in manufacturing industry and improved employee engagement due to distributed workplaces.

Customer engagement is going to become more contactless and more connected than before. What we are expecting is to see more tech-assisted purchase and sale, a lot more of teleconsultation across multiple categories and contactless purchase will redefine the model of physical purchase that is prevalent today, she said.

Major disruptions ahead

Subramanian expects to see significant disruption in commerce due to changes in consumer behaviour.

“Online penetration will go beyond retail to categories such as automobile, home appliances and consumer durables, which have traditionally happened in brick-and-mortar stores,” she said. Further, she is of the view that purchase and sale in the traditional sense is going to get disrupted. “Customer engagement is going to become more contactless and more connected than we ever saw in the past,” she said.

Another area of change would be in the adoption of automation in a manufacturing set-up, a lot more focus on enabling remote operations, data-driven and automated operational decision-making.


“We already see the scaling up and faster adoption of automation industrywide, whether it’s connected plants, connected assets, connected supply chain, or connected safety in a factory set-up. From an operations perspective, we are expecting a lot more focus and investments on automation,” said Subramanian.

Even the way businesses will work is expected to change going forward. “In a post-Covid world, every business will consider mainstreaming the new work from home model by making it resilient, secure, productive and effective,” she added.

She referred to TCS’ new delivery model which aims to have only 25 per cent of the workforce in offices at any given time. Subramanian highlighted how the forced work from home resulted in new experiences for employees and work from home has become the new normal across the Tata group of companies.

Reskilling of workforce

All these changes require reskilling. “Within our group companies, there is a clear shift in investment beyond the traditional learning management systems to investment in digital learning platforms. And these digital platforms will enable nugget-based learning, learning on the go, learning on-demand, and anywhere anytime learning,” said Subramanian.

She is also of the view that the reskilling will go beyond tech roles and a significant focus on reskilling for enterprise consumers of tech. I think we going to see a lot more acceleration and broad-based adoption of talent development across enterprises, she said

Published on May 15, 2020

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