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Digital transformation has been a buzz word for long, but the contours still seems to be as nebulous as ever. Depending on your knowledge of technology, you end up defining digital transformation. Conversely, whatever helps you in improving your current drudgery and provides some precision in your functioning is termed by many as digital transformation. The blend of business requirement with the tools and tech expertise available to elevate the enterprise to a different level of functioning is the idea that has still not filtered in the heart and minds of the people who matter.

To mention the analogy of COVID-19 forced digital transformation would not be out of place. Work, office and schools / colleges went on to the virtual level, and the world kept on functioning and that too in extreme existential crisis. This can be termed nothing less than magic. The word physical was literally removed out of our lives. The scale was mind boggling, and so was need. It had to function. The digital transformation which all companies and governments combined could not usher in, in decades happened overnight. That scale and purpose was different and it was a crisis management exercise too. Nonetheless, there are lots of learnings out of it.

Digital transformation of Indian governance or of an enterprise, connotes thing different from the Covid infused transformation. Now it is a business case. You need a blueprint. You need resources. You need a strategy. It has unfolded in phases each merging into the other, creating what we call as digitally transformative nation or an enterprise. The crux of the problem is to get over the siloed system of our functioning whether it is government or an enterprise. Left hand does not know what the right is doing. The business owner does not know what the IT is doing and vice versa. They don’t seem to be interested in knowing it as well.

What is the end result of digital transformation? Data will reign supreme and every activity of the government or an enterprise will be mapped only on that touchstone. Knowledge in tangible and verifiable terms will reign supreme. Estonia is a perfect example of the desired state of digital transformation. How does an ERP, Smart Cities, CCTVs, connectivity and cloud merge to create this digital transformation? This is just illustrative, there are any number of digital elements / datapoints which need to become a part of it. We need a Digital Ringmaster, who can understand and execute. Behind every critical infrastructure, there is a critical information infrastructure. In the very manner a shadow digital CEO, shadow digital PM, CM, Ministers Secretaries to make it happen, with all the expertise and power at his command. You can call that expert executioner by any name or designation. We cannot remain digitally archaic.

Sanjay Sahay

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