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April 24, 2015
GICs go digital, gain stature
By: Avnish Sabharwal

The characterization of the global economy as volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous continues. Rapidly evolving digital technologies in large part are fomenting this constant state of flux.

New disruptive competitors are giving consumers unique experiences that they now expect from all companies across all industries: new ways to make purchases—Ola cabs; added value for the products and services they buy—Coca-Cola Freestyle; and new ways to consume products—the Hotstar app.

At the same time, social media is giving consumers greater power as influencers with new ways to voice their opinions as product promoters or detractors.

New companies with digital-driven business models and offerings are seeing rapid growth; traditional companies are seeing flattened revenue and profits. Few traditional companies have fully or even partially exploited digital capabilities. But now is the time for them to move ahead with speed and urgency if they want to stay relevant in the digital world.

Global in-house centres are perfectly positioned to lead their parent companies in traversing the digital divide and strengthening their own positioning within the organisation. But first, many GICs will need to undertake their own transformation.

GICs will need to expand beyond their historical role as a cost-saving organisation focused strictly on head count, high utilization and other measures of efficiency. The digital migration is giving GICs a rare opportunity to drive growth as strategic partners with other units in their parent companies—partners with a direct effect on revenue growth, new product development, higher net promoter scores and other measures of effectiveness.

Pro-active GIC leaders see how technology is transforming their industries and how that transformation opens new business opportunities for them and their parent enterprises. They are aware of the role they can play in leading their GICs into a higher orbit within their companies and they are doing it in a number of ways:

  • They are investing to become Digital ready   and keeping pace with the relentless evolution of social, mobile, analytics and cloud technologies.

  • They are pushing ahead by t partnering with their CIOs or Chief Data/Digital Officers to define and promote the role they will play in the company’s digital transformation.

    They are building end-to-end digital capabilities, even in complex areas such as omni-channel sales and distribution, pricing optimization and social analytics.

  • They are transforming their traditional HR departments to be more aligned with the aspirations of digital natives and complementing their current leadership capabilities with external hires to lead their digital agenda

  • They are instilling a new culture of creativity, fearlessness and risk taking within their workforce.

  • Investing in building a new technology platform which can leverage the power of digital technologies

  • They are exploring external opportunities to drive innovation by leveraging India’s vibrant ecosystem of start-up organizations.

The digital revolution provides a once in lifetime opportunity for GICs to gain the position of strategic partner for their parent organisations. With India’s vast talent resources and its thriving community of innovative new technology start-ups, GIC leaders have the resources at hand to transform their own operations, strengthen their parent organisation and add to the dynamism of Digital India.

Clearly the time for GICs  to act is now!

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