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Make the Change Or Become the Change

On landing at the Bengaluru airport last week, I ferried my backpack to the shared cab stand on a pleasant 18 degree Celsius morning, and waited for Uber. In a few minutes a cheerful person in mid-forties showed up and opened up the trunk to put my cabin bag over and looked over at my backpack and said “Nice bag, sir!” Appreciating my fully stuffed overnighter ready Tumi laptop backpack. “Where are you coming from, Sir?” Being the conversationalist, I went “Thank you. I am coming from Pune. Where are you from?” He goes “I am from Assam, sir” as he turned on the car and started the ride on his uber app.
I observed him navigate through the traffic and as we rode along, I learnt a lot about how this Assamese driver with no formal education moved to Bengaluru in his early forties and learned a new language & culture (he spoke broken Kannada at the toll booth) and how to use a smartphone and this App and figured out a way he can earn livelihood. As I chatted with my new Assamese friend for a few minutes on the post demonetised economy and its impact (which BTW is my current favourite topic for cab driver conversation), I could see the change that this guy with almost no education embraced in the last 3 years – language, culture, distance migration into a new state, learnt new technology & embraced a new business model of shared cab services, battled with taxi unions and figured out a way to co-exist – A mammoth change for a security guy turned entrepreneur driver. I wondered whether this super senior IT leader, I am meeting at Flipkart today might be ready for this much change? He was. As I discovered later.
At Searce, as we help businesses become ready for the future, one of the key challenges we face is “ongoing change management” –  getting companies ready for the change is easy given the current trend on modernizing IT and getting future ready etc., but resisting the status quo post the change is a super interesting challenge. And driving change management after the decision & purchase, battling status quo as the new senior executives join in the finance department (with the dinosaur age experience and the mere nature of their profession, they definitely carry a lot of weight) and go “But, I could do this on my excel spreadsheet and this cloud version does not carry that exact button. And I don’t have time for this as I need to prepare this budget that needs to go to the Chairman tomorrow.”
First thought that comes to mind is to point them to my dear new friend – “The Change Superman” – Assamese driver in Bengaluru. BTW: We have internalized a concept for this at Searce, “finding the same old buttons in the new car.” And ‘finding this buttons business’ becomes especially challenging when you just moved them into a Tesla. And when the Finance department (or for that matter Operations, Sales etc.) insists on putting petrol in the charging inlet of your Tesla S, we need strong change advocates in the top management to put their foot down and say, “get used to the buttonless car, dude! or go drive your ford on uber or ola.” But my Assamese friend crush them there too. He’s definitely more change ready.
This is the single-most driver for success in today’s businesses – Is the CEO or leader or the board (depending on the size of the company) going to make the change or become the change? While leading the digital transformation journey through cloud, automation & analytics for 1200+ businesses, our experience has been counter intuitive Just like my friend ‘The Change Superman’ – the normal tech laggards in traditional industries like manufacturing, retail and logistics have been more “ongoing change ready” than some of the large tech/IT/ITES/e-commerce companies – given the depth of baggage they carry at times.
If you are an entrepreneur or wannabe entrepreneur starting now – It is super exciting times to help futurify businesses. Advancements in cloud and automation technologies are changing the industry landscape for good. Conversations have shifted from ‘Why cloud?’ to ‘How can I best move to cloud?’.
Gartner predicts that by 2020 anything other than a cloud-only strategy for new IT initiatives will require justification at more than 30% of large-enterprise organizations. It is also highly likely  that by 2025, 80% of organizations will move their processes to cloud. Rest won’t exist! For businesses to stay relevant in such a rapidly changing environment, adaptability to new age technologies remains the key. As an entrepreneur, if you are not asking ‘How is my business being changed by digital technology and How do I adapt?’, a non-competitor might soon be emerging around the corner with a tech-led disruption. Don’t get blind-sided. Digital Transformation is forcing us to plan for a radical, long term evolution in the ways we interact with our customers and employees. Visionary C-level leaders are not just riding the cloud and automation wave but are using it as an opportunity to fundamentally disrupt their own business models before someone else does. Digital transformation not only requires strong leadership to drive change, but it also requires a clear vision for what parts of the company need to transform and how soon. Helping leaders in defining and executing this vision is where Searce continues to play a strong catalytic role.
As we work with businesses and help them futurify (stay relevant for future), we constantly challenge ourselves and our partners to get out of the ‘comfort zone’ and to ‘think beyond’. While driving digital transformation, our consultants continually experiment with new age technology and help business discover what to improve, where to innovate and how to transform. Transforming Work & Operations by digitizing processes and enhancing employee collaboration, Transforming Culture & People Processes by having democratic more social way of doing things, Transforming Customer Experience using customer analytics & Transforming Business Models by digitally modifying existing businesses remain the main foundations for driving a successful Digital Transformation strategy.
Technology advancements have always been beneficial for the humankind in the long run & Industrial Revolution 2.0 is going to be no different. Let us embrace the changes and prepare better for the future, now!
About The Author
Hardik Parekh, Founder & CEO of Searce, is a vibrant, straight talking, tech-enthusiast. Besides his significant prowess in front­loading information, Hardik shines as a natural design thinker, who valiantly discovers new domains and achieves expertise in the same.
Being an engineer, he has worked as a management consultant in the area of Technology-led Business Process Improvement. He holds a MS degree in Industrial Engineering from Texas A&M University. Entirely meticulous, spontaneous, dedicated and observant, Hardik is the energy core that powers Searce.
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