Connecting Technology and Business.

The four pillars of Digital Transformation

The challenge. The sole driving force of enterprises to transform digitally is to put the customer at the heart of every activity in the business.

Customers determine the success and leadership of an enterprise. And customers are now becoming tech savvy rapidly with the availability of cheaper devices packed with digital power. What was a distant mirage for the common man has landed in his hands with little effort from his side. Apps that span from e-commerce to health monitoring to entertainment apart from official collaboration are available for free or at an affordable rate. Most of these apps are provided by sellers to increase touch points for gathering data and feedback from their customers. Valuable inputs from customers can help enterprises design a very personalized experience for customers. Targeted marketing campaigns can be created for very special category of customers to promote stickiness and to improve brand loyalty.

The reality. With the increase in complexity in organizations due to rapid growth in staff and exponential growth in information, there is a need to create a conducive atmosphere for seamless communication and collaboration. Today’s business scenario requires enterprises to remain agile to changes mandated by customer behavior. And customer behavior is unpredictable and highly volatile. Empowering employees with the right kind of platform and tools to collaborate and connect better is essential to address this challenge. Establishing more channels to bring people and information closer in an enterprise will pave way for better decision making and customer retention. Anywhere anytime access to the enterprise resources through any device will improve mobility. Democratization of information with actionable insights will place seamless power in the hands of the relevant people to cater to the need of the customer dynamically.

Enterprises have organically grown internally but not all functions and departments are well knit together as a fabric to function in unison. Ad hoc projects and committees that mushroom time and again result in horizontal expansion that operate in silos creating real challenge for effective governance and control. Enterprises might lose focus on customers and their needs when firefighting happens internally to contain the challenges in running the organization. Teams that function in geographically separated locations are prone to remain isolated from the overall functioning of things in the enterprise unless there is an efficient collaboration mechanism. Optimizing these operations would result in functional and operational teams working together to pay increased attention to the customers’ needs.

Trends are changing today with consumerism calling the shots in enterprises. Established businesses are finding it difficult to keep up with the changing behavior of customers. They are just one mouse-click away from losing a customer forever. Flagship products are losing their relevance in this changing world of varied customer preferences. Startups are ruling the day with their innovative products and enterprises are forced to package their products as services to remain competent and retain customers. Airplane engines are replaced by air times. Capital goods are offered as subscription services. Real estates are let for rent rather than being sold. Taxis are hired instead of cars being bought. Banks operate with literally no physical presence; room-stays and holiday packages are available with no property owned; content is proliferating while nothing is originally created; Food lands on the table from virtual kitchens. Customers want all of these in the comfort of their homes and work-spots and in their familiar devices that they carry day in and day out.

Digital transformation is both inevitable and mandatory

The challenge. The economic environment is undergoing the 4th industrial revolution with the advent of new technologies brought about by the nexus of forces – Social media, mobility, Information pattern and the Cloud-  as Gartner puts it.

What started as an internal networking tool for students at Harvard 13 years ago has grown into a $525 B enterprise called Facebook. It has more than two billion (two hundred crore) monthly active users as of June 2017 – nearly one third of the world population. Twitter has nearly 280 million users and it is only growing by the minute. Instagram has 150 million users sharing their updates and photos every day. Social media is here to stay and becoming more powerful by the second.

More and more hours are spent online by people as there is proliferation of devices, availability of internet connectivity and usage of apps for everything – from official work to personal use, social networking and entertainment.

Availability of data connectivity almost everywhere has resulted in people accessing the internet from anywhere anytime through any device. Mobility of employees has increased manifold as people have started using multiple devices in contrast to a desktop being shared by more than one person some years ago.

The arrival of the public cloud for enterprise consumption has turned the game against investing for technology in millions upfront. And the huge resources that the cloud can now bring to the enterprises has resulted in increased use of digital technology for business purposes like never before.

The availability of huge resources on the cloud has also favored the exponential growth of data – not just in the form of files, mails and structured data but also in the form of continuous inflow of digital data from various embedded devices called the Internet of Things – the emergence of web 3.0 that now captures data from every user and device connected to the world-wide web.

The reality. The coming together of these forces has ultimately brought in a disruption to our normal way of working in the enterprise. All efforts to keep employees from the social networking sites have failed, enterprises that fail to provide mobility to the staff have started lagging behind, maintaining an on-premises infrastructure has become a huge challenge and providing infrastructure to capture, store, manage and safeguard huge data inflow has become costly.

Enterprises are now forced to look at these challenges in a different angle – putting these forces to work for the growth of the enterprises rather than to shy away from them. As a survey predicts, 25% of the world economy will be digital by 2020. So, a significant number of enterprises have already launched out to capitalize on the opportunities they see in this disruptive environment. Non-starters and late comers face the risk of being left behind and getting lost in these times of change.

Digital Transformation – Buzz word or reality?

The challenge. The third industrial revolution flooded in the digital technology and pervaded every desk with a desktop or a laptop. However, this took nearly a quarter of a century to make a man’s dream come true. But here is the deluge – the fourth industrial revolution that tries to bring digital in every realm that man has set his foot on. The volume and pace with which this has invaded this planet is unprecedented.

While technology promised a lot triggering huge investment by enterprises over long periods, the results had always remained a mirage for decision makers. A major reason for this might have been because of a lack of a unifying vision across technology deployments. Another reason might have been the lack of seamless information flow for businesses to make intelligent decisions. Data kept flowing in in bits and pieces, from various silo systems and in disparate forms that contributed little to the enterprises for sustenance and growth. Various functions in the enterprise could not harvest actionable insights from business data that had been accumulating over the years. The data just remained dead in systems for enough time that it had only increased the cost of safekeeping day by day.

 IT and digital had remained a supportive function with limited business role for quite long but has now quickly moved to a state where it is currently playing a transformational role spreading an all pervasive intelligent mesh touching and transforming all aspects of business.

The reality. Now, there is a realization that technology infrastructure should talk to each other and work in unison to produce value for the enterprise. Data that has been lying fallow for years should be harnessed to show reality and predict the future for the enterprise to device its course of action. There is valuable IT infra in the enterprise datacenters and a rich collection of data that contain a wealth of information for executives to strategize their approach for expanding their business, reaching potential markets and increasing their revenue and profits.

All industries have started investing heavily in digital transformation as they realize that digital business is intelligent business in the current state of IT affairs. The top ten highest spending industries are expected to spend $151 billion (approximate Rs.10 lakh crores) in the next two years capitalizing on this unprecedented opportunity. Financial services lead the pack with the highest intended spending during this transformation journey. Manufacturing and Retail business have also jumped into the bandwagon so that they don’t want to be left behind by the startups and digital leaders that rely heavily on digital for their success and leadership.

Digital Transformation – Beware of these three sure ways to failure

An enterprise is ensured of leadership in the respective industry if it is already digitally transformed or is transforming at a quick pace. All that is required is build capabilities in digital as well as in leadership. It is essentials that the enterprise excels in both these dimensions. Falling short in one of the two might not yield desired results and would sometimes wreck the journey.

Companies with strong technology leadership alone might not qualify for a digital transformation success. Alternatively, enterprises with access to enough technology but with no good leadership and vision is sure to fail in the effort to transform.

Beware! If an enterprise does not have a digital vision at all, it is sure to fall behind rapidly. Enterprises might think that they are not the best candidates for the digital transformation journey or that there is no threat to their existence as far as they can perceive. Remember Kodak? A latecomer in the journey is also sure to miss the bus. While ignorance might not be the reason, a wait-and-see approach might be the spoiler in the already frenzy business environment. Such enterprises wrongly assume that the transformation journey is not necessary now as the environment does not provide a compelling reason to launch out right away. A few lack leadership capabilities to make thing happen. Others complain of regulations or lack of privacy that might be undesired by-products of the transformation process as social media and the Cloud are its integral parts.

Beware! There are enterprises that keep acquiring the latest technology just for the sake of being trendy in the market. They flaunt it to the outside world but little seems to have changed in the core. Such fashionable approach might only seem to bring progress but ultimately would limit bigger opportunities. A lack of strong digital leadership and / or governance might result in wasted expenditure. Sometimes, enterprises might want to reverse what has been done due to no clear vision on integration and scalability. Putting in place incompatible technologies or those that do not bring in a synergy might result in frustration in the part of the consumer – employees or customers. Devising different and multiple marketing strategies that overlap markets might confuse the consumer and result in undesired internal clashes.

Beware! Enterprises that take a conservative approach cannot become successful and might be beaten by others, sometimes, by greenfield players and startups. Possessing leadership capabilities is not everything. Enterprises must also build digital capabilities. Such enterprises are very cautious, ensuring every digital investment is carefully considered and strongly coordinated. They don’t want to commit mistakes resulting in wasted time, effort and money. This might result in the company falling into a governance trap that focuses more on controls and rules than making progress. The top management – and therefore the organization as a whole - cannot be mobilized too. Enterprises that are trying to prevent failure will not make progress at all.

- some inputs gleaned from Leading Digital - HBR Press

Digital Transformation – Why and How?

A global car rental company that does not own even one car. A global hospitality services provider that does not own even a room. A food services provider without a kitchen or even an oven. A leading manufacturer of Airplane engines that does not intend to sell their product anymore but is seeing unprecedented revenue growth. A leading Indian paint manufacturer who is no longer interested in selling its paints but expanded globally and have earned profits of more than 15% year on year for nearly a decade.

All these businesses mentioned above are today leaders in their own way because of a transformation that has been brought about by digital technology – the business disruption that has emerged because of the nexus of forces – Social, Mobile, Information flow and the Cloud.

It is rare to find an enterprise that can be called leader in digital transformation – where the company uses digital technologies to transform the way they do business all the while driving significantly higher levels of profit, productivity and performance. There are very few such enterprises in India to date.

A business enterprise that leads digitally will outperform its peers; according to a survey they are at least 25% more profitable than their average industry competitors, generate nearly 10% more revenue with their existing physical capacity and drive more efficiency in their existing products and processes.

Becoming a leader in Digital is not an impossible task. All it requires is time and a courage to lead. Time – as it is a process and does not show results overnight. Courage – as it involves taking risks and bold steps to explore, identify and pursue the change.

There is a torrent of data that is generated by the Internet of Things that the digital leaders use to combine it with Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning and visualization to help them make informed decisions. They can see the future more clearly, drive out inefficiencies and better understand their customers.

Digital leaders build digital capabilities by rethinking and improving their business processes, their customer engagements and their business models. They also build strong leadership capabilities to envision and drive transformation.

Digital leaders go beyond websites and mobile apps to engage with customers. They also break some of the paradoxes of traditional operational excellence and build capabilities that improve efficiency and agility, power new customer engagements and enable new business models. Delivery models are reconfigured, new products and services are created and sometimes whole new industries are created.

Enterprises who want to lead digitally take a top-down approach. Senior management shows the direction and workers are engaged to make the change happen. Creating a transformative vision is the first step, though. The onus of energizing the employees to make the vision a reality is on the CXOs. Governance at every level will keep the transformation engine on track. Technology is the fuel that will power this transformation engine.

- some inputs gleaned from Leading Digital – HBR press.

Isn't AI a part of your investment today? You might be left behind!

"Harley-Davidson Uses Artificial Intelligence to Increase New York Sales Leads by 2,930%", reads an article in HBR this May. Today’s leading organizations are using machine learning–based tools to automate decision processes, and they’re starting to experiment with more-advanced uses of artificial intelligence (AI) for digital transformation. AI is already transforming web search, advertising, e-commerce, finance, logistics, media, and more.


Here was the status of what AI currently could do (as of November 2016) as per a founding Lead of the Google Brain team: 





Are there human faces?

Photo tagging

Loan Application

Will they repay the loan?

Loan approvals

Ad plus user information

Will user click an ad?

Targeted online ads

Audio clip

Transcript of audio clip

Speech recognition

English sentence

French sentence

Language translation

Sensor from hard disk, plane engine

Is it about to fail?

Preventive maintenance

Car camera and other sensors

Position of other cars

Self-driving cars

Corporate investment in artificial intelligence is predicted to triple in 2017, becoming a $100 billion market by 2025. Last year alone saw $5 billion in machine learning venture investment. In a recent survey, 30% of respondents predicted that AI will be the biggest disruptor to their industry in the next five years. This will no doubt have profound effects on the workplace.

Machine learning is enabling companies to expand their top-line growth and optimize processes while improving employee engagement and increasing customer satisfaction.

Here are some possible applications of AI to Businesses today:

Personalizing customer service. The potential to improve customer service while lowering costs makes this one of the most exciting areas of opportunity. By combining historical customer service data, natural language processing, and algorithms that continuously learn from interactions, customers can ask questions and get high-quality answers. In fact, 44% of U.S. consumers already prefer chatbots to humans for customer relations. Customer service representatives can step in to handle exceptions, with the algorithms looking over their shoulders to learn what to do next time around.

Improving customer loyalty and retention. Companies can mine customer actions, transactions, and social sentiment data to identify customers who are at high risk of leaving. Combined with profitability data, this allows organizations to optimize “next best action” strategies and personalize the end-to-end customer experience. For example, young adults coming off of their parents’ mobile phone plans often move to other carriers. Telcos can use machine learning to anticipate this behavior and make customized offers, based on the individual’s usage patterns, before they defect to competitors.

Hiring the right people. Corporate job openings pull in about 250 résumés apiece, and over half of surveyed recruiters say shortlisting qualified candidates is the most difficult part of their job. Software quickly sifts through thousands of job applications and shortlists candidates who have the credentials that are most likely to achieve success at the company. Care must be taken not to reinforce any human biases implicit in prior hiring. But software can also combat human bias by automatically flagging biased language in job descriptions, detecting highly qualified candidates who might have been overlooked because they didn’t fit traditional expectations.

Automating finance. AI can expedite “exception handling” in many financial processes. For example, when a payment is received without an order number, a person must sort out which order the payment corresponds to, and determine what to do with any excess or shortfall. By monitoring existing processes and learning to recognize different situations, AI significantly increases the number of invoices that can be matched automatically. This lets organizations reduce the amount of work outsourced to service centers and frees up finance staff to focus on strategic tasks.

Measuring brand exposure. Automated programs can recognize products, people, logos, and more. For example, advanced image recognition can be used to track the position of brand logos that appear in video footage of a sporting event, such as a basketball game. Corporate sponsors get to see the return on investment of their sponsorship investment with detailed analyses, including the quantity, duration, and placement of corporate logos.

Detecting fraud. The typical organization loses 5% of revenues each year to fraud. By building models based on historical transactions, social network information, and other external sources of data, machine learning algorithms can use pattern recognition to spot anomalies, exceptions, and outliers. This helps detect and prevent fraudulent transactions in real time, even for previously unknown types of fraud. For example, banks can use historical transaction data to build algorithms that recognize fraudulent behaviour. They can also discover suspicious patterns of payments and transfers between networks of individuals with overlapping corporate connections. This type of “algorithmic security” is applicable to a wide range of situations, such as cybersecurity and tax evasion.

Predictive maintenance. Machine learning makes it possible to detect anomalies in the temperature of a train axel that indicate that it will freeze up in the next few hours. Instead of hundreds of passengers being stranded in the countryside, waiting for an expensive repair, the train can be diverted to maintenance before it fails, and passengers transferred to a different train.

Smoother supply chains. Machine learning enables contextual analysis of logistics data to predict and mitigate supply chain risks. Algorithms can sift through public social data and news feeds in multiple languages to detect, for example, a fire in a remote factory that supplies vital ball bearings that are used in a car transmission.

Other areas where machine intelligence could soon be commonly used include:

Career planning. Recommendations could help employees choose career paths that lead to high performance, satisfaction, and retention. If a person with an engineering degree wishes to run the division someday, what additional education and work experience should they obtain, and in what order?

Drone- and satellite-based asset management. Drones equipped with cameras can perform regular external inspections of commercial structures, like bridges or airplanes, with the images automatically analysed to detect any new cracks or changes to surfaces.

Retail shelf analysis. A sports drink company could use machine intelligence, coupled with machine vision, to see whether its in-store displays are at the promised location, the shelves are properly stocked with products, and the product labels are facing outward.


Machine learning enables a company to reimagine end-to-end business processes with digital intelligence. The potential is enormous. That’s why software vendors are investing heavily in adding AI to their existing applications and in creating net-new solutions.

- gleaned from the pages of HBR

How to keeping winning the battle against hackers

Office 365 is the fastest growing SaaS offering globally. It is also the most targeted by hackers today as phishing and Ransomware transform into business models in the Dark Web world. Breaches come from emails and misused identities and the attacks only accelerate by the minute. It is high time that Office 365 admins hack-proof their environments – and it is possible with the tools available from Microsoft – tools for studying, analyzing, warning and preventing attacks and plugging vulnerabilities.

The recent Wannacry ransomware attack has created a sense of panic among enterprises using Office 365; remember other cloud services too, are not immune to hacking attacks. Attackers use Social engineering to gain access to the victim’s identity, data and device. It is a security attack vector that involves tricking someone into breaking normal security procedures.

A social engineer runs what used to be called a "con game." Techniques such as appeal to vanity, appeal to authority and appeal to greed are often used in social engineering attacks. Many social engineering exploits simply rely on people's willingness to be helpful. For example, the attacker might pretend to be a co-worker who has some kind of urgent problem that requires access to additional network resources.  

Popular types of social engineering attacks include:

  • Baiting: Baiting is when an attacker leaves a malware-infected physical device, such as a USB flash drive in a place it is sure to be found. The finder then picks up the device and loads it onto his or her computer, unintentionally installing the malware.
  • Phishing: Phishing is when a malicious party sends a fraudulent email disguised as a legitimate email, often purporting to be from a trusted source. The message is meant to trick the recipient into sharing personal or financial information or clicking on a link that installs malware.
  • Spear phishing: Spear phishing is like phishing, but tailored for a specific individual or organization.
  • Pretexting: Pretexting is when one party lies to another to gain access to privileged data. For example, a pretexting scam could involve an attacker who pretends to need personal or financial data in order to confirm the identity of the recipient.
  • Scareware: Scareware involves tricking the victim into thinking his computer is infected with malware or has inadvertently downloaded illegal content. The attacker then offers the victim a solution that will fix the bogus problem; in reality, the victim is simply tricked into downloading and installing the attacker's malware.

Security experts recommend that IT departments regularly carry out penetration tests that use social engineering techniques. This will help administrators learn which types of users pose the most risk for specific types of attacks while also identifying which employees require additional training. Security awareness training can go a long way towards preventing social engineering attacks. If people know what forms social engineering attacks are likely to take, they will be less likely to become victims.

Fortunately, Microsoft provides enough tools to protect its users and especially Office 365 subscribers from such attacks.

Exchange Online Protection (EOP)

Microsoft Exchange Online Protection (EOP) is a cloud-based email filtering service that helps protect your organization against spam and malware, and includes features to safeguard your organization from messaging-policy violations. EOP can simplify the management of your messaging environment and alleviate many of the burdens that come with maintaining on-premises hardware and software.

As a part of Microsoft Exchange Online   By default, EOP protects Microsoft Exchange Online cloud-hosted mailboxes. Exchange Online Protection provides protection against malicious links by scanning content.

Advanced Threat Protection (ATP)
  • Securing mailboxes - With Exchange Online Advanced Threat Protection, admins can protect mailboxes against new, sophisticated attacks in real time. By protecting against unsafe attachments and expanding protection against malicious links, it complements the security features of Exchange Online Protection to provide better zero-day protection.
  • Protection against Unsafe Attachments - With Safe Attachments, admins can prevent malicious attachments from impacting the messaging environment, even if their signatures are not known. All suspicious content goes through a real-time behavioral malware analysis that uses machine learning techniques to evaluate the content for suspicious activity. 
  • Unsafe attachments are sandboxed in a detonation chamber before being sent to recipients. The advantage is a malware free and cleaner inbox with better zero-day attack protection.
  • Protection of the environment when users click malicious links - Safe Links expands on EOP by protecting the O365 environment when users click a link. While the content is being scanned, the URLs are rewritten to go through Office 365. The URLs are examined in real time, at the time a user clicks them. URL detonation provides deeper protection against malicious URLs. Not only does Microsoft check a list of malicious URLs when a user clicks on a link, but Office 365 will also perform real-time behavioural malware analysis in a sandbox environment to identify malicious attachments. URL reputation checks are part of Advanced Threat Protection. If a link is unsafe, the user is warned not to visit the site or informed that the site has been blocked. Reporting is available, so administrators can track which users clicked a link and when they clicked it.
  • Dynamic delivery— Better performance and lower latency for emails with attachments. Users will see a placeholder while attachments are scanned in a sandbox environment. If deemed safe, attachments are re-inserted into the email.
  • Rich reporting and tracking links in messages — Gaining critical insights into who is being targeted in the organization and the category of attacks the organization is facing. Reporting and message trace allow admins to investigate messages that have been blocked due to unknown viruses or malware, while URL trace capability allows admins to track individual malicious links in the messages that have been clicked. Get better insights to malware activity. Security admins will have a new reporting dashboard to see details of malware that Office 365 Advanced Threat Protection is analyzing.
  • Intelligence sharing with Windows Defender Advanced Threat Protection— Security admins will be able to see malware activity and relationships across Windows 10 and Office 365.
  • Broader protection— Advanced Threat Protection extends to include protection for SharePoint Online, Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneDrive for Business. 
Threat Intelligence
  • The office 365 Threat Intelligence service provides information on security using data from various sources. The data is harvested via the Microsoft Intelligent security Graph technology. Organizations are being targeted with increasingly sophisticated attacks. 
  • Threat Intelligence, which helps admins proactively uncover and protect against advanced threats by analysing billions of data signals across Office consumer and commercial services.
  • It also provides deep insights from cyber threat hunters to create a comprehensive view of malware trends around the world. In addition, Microsoft is integrating signals from Windows and Azure to help customers realize the full benefit of the Microsoft Cloud.
  • Security admins will see a dashboard with rich insights to do deep investigation of malware and will be able to integrate data with existing security management tools.
  • Threat Intelligence takes it a step further by alerting security admins and proactively creating and suggesting security policies to help protect against malware. For example, if analytics show that attacks are happening in the financial industry, the service will alert customers in finance and related areas to the trend. Threat Intelligence will also dynamically create and suggest additional security policies to help protect you before they get to your network.


Advanced Data Governance

Microsoft has also brought Advanced Data Governance to Office 365 to help customers manage the exploding volume and increasing complexity of corporate data. Microsoft applies intelligence to help admins achieve organizational compliance and automate data retention.

Enterprises will be able to classify, set policy and take action on the data that is most relevant for their organization and industry, with recommendations driven by behavioral analysis and machine learning.


Advanced Data Governance includes the following capabilities:

  • Import—Intelligently import only the data needed from on-premises and third-party archives using classifications such as age, data type, user or groups, sensitivity or importance.
  • Policies—Policy recommendations are provided, based on machine assisted insights of the data, classifications, tenant, organization, industry, geography and more. Recommendations may include delete, move, encrypt or share.
  • Retention—Intelligently preserve only what’s important to the organization by using classifications such as keywords, age, data type, user or group, sensitivity, importance. Integration with line-of-business systems allows admins to trigger retention based upon events, such as creation of a human resources record.

 Advanced Data Governance will help organizations apply the right actions to preserve high value data and purge redundant or obsolete data.


Advanced Security Management (ASM)


Microsoft has launched Advanced Security Management to help give organizations visibility and control over security in Office 365.


They have added a new feature lately called Productivity App Discovery, which will help IT pros and security operations teams understand their organization’s usage of Office 365 and other productivity cloud services. This will help them to better determine the extent to which shadow IT is occurring in their organization.


Productivity App Discovery shows usage of Office 365 and other productivity cloud services. App Permissions will assist in monitoring applications that users are connecting to Office 365.


Office 365 Secure Score

The Office 365 Secure Score is available to help organization evaluate their security level in Office 365. Secure Score analyzes an Office 365 organization’s security based on their regular activities and security settings and assigns a score. It is a credit score for security.

Secure Score figures out what Office 365 services an organization is using (like OneDrive, SharePoint, and Exchange) then looks at the settings and activities and compares them to a baseline established by Microsoft. O365 admins get a score based on how aligned they are with best security practices.

Using Secure Score helps increase an organization’s security by encouraging them to use the built-in security features in Office 365 (many of which they have already purchased but might not be aware of). Learning more about these features as they use the tool will help give them piece of mind that they are taking the right steps to protect their organization from threats.

Admins must check secure scores reports weekly. A sample list of reports is presented here:

  • Sign-ins after multiple failure report
  • Sign-ins from unknown sources report
  • Sign-ins from multiple geographies report
  • Mailbox access by non-owners report
  • Malware detections report
  • Sing-in devices report
  • Account provisioning activity report
  • Non-global administrators report
Making use of these features that are made available by Microsoft will help enterprises not only defend themselves  from hackers but also keep winning the battles against them.


If you thought managing Financial Capital was difficult, how about Human Capital?

Bain’s Macro Trends Group estimates that global financial capital has more than tripled over the past three decades and now stands at roughly 10 times global GDP.

Indisputably, finding Financial capital is easy these days. It is superabundant. As its supply is far more than the demand, it is cheap. Skillful allocation of financial capital is no longer a source of sustained competitive advantage for enterprises. There is a scarcer resource that business owners don’t focus much on or track in their annual balance sheets but which invariably has a greater impact on the businesses - Human capital.

The assets that are in short supply at most companies are the skills and capabilities required to translate good growth ideas into successful new products, services, and businesses—and the traditional financially driven approach to strategic investment has only compounded this paucity.

“Unemployability is a bigger crisis than unemployment”, said an India Labour Report a decade back and this still continues to be the challenge for the country which has launched into the Make in India mode lately.

A country-wide survey found that only 25% of the Indian professionals are considered “employable” by multinationals and the difficulty of employers in India to fill job vacancies had increased to 67% in 2011. The situation has only worsened ever since.

What exactly are employers looking for? Personal attributes like a positive attitude: a ‘can do’ approach, good work ethic and willingness to learn, good personal presentation, honesty and integrity, reliability, timekeeping and personal organization, team working, collaboration and co-operation, flexibility, commercial awareness and customer focus are considered as essential skills. Other skills include, communication – oral and written, numeracy and computer literacy/IT skills.

While acquiring human capital is a drastic challenge today, there is an urgent need for managing effectively the available human capital if enterprises intend to lead from the front. Unfortunately, unlike Financial capital where metrics like ROA, RONA, ROIC, ROCE, IRR, MVA, APV etc. are available for measurement, there are no significant measureable metrics to gauge the value, growth or decline of Human capital.

Broadly speaking, human capital is the sum total of the time, talent and energy of the workforce in an enterprise.

Technology to the rescue - Office365 MyAnalytics

Microsoft MyAnalytics, can provide detailed reviews of how we use time. 

MyAnalytics is an application that analyzes data gathered from user activities within Office 365 to provide users with an insight into how they use their time dealing with email, attending meetings, and interacting with key contacts. It is an information discovery and knowledge tool to track your time, because that’s the valuable resource you have.

The concept underpinning MyAnalytics is that by observing and understanding how someone interacts with the components of Office 365, you can build up a picture of their day-to-day activities. You can also compare how they spend their time against an anonymized set of data drawn from other tenant users.

Based on data drawn from across Office 365, Microsoft knows that the average office worker spends up to 20 hours per week working with email while senior managers will be glued to their keyboards for between 40 and 70 hours. Your data might vary!

All of the data used by MyAnalytics is available to users if they care to look. For example, it is possible (but tedious) to count the number of messages you create and send. You can also figure out how much time is taken to respond to other people within your company by looking at the timestamps in message headers and calculating the difference between when a message was sent and when a response was generated. The same is true when it comes to analyzing the number of meetings you attend, who also attends, the topics discussed, and the outcomes. You can assess whether meetings were effective, ineffective, or just so-so.

MyAnalytics is included in the Office E5 plan. MyAnalytics is also available as an add-on for the E1 and E3 plans.

- based on some articles in HBR and another article in IT Pro Windows

Cooking up a storm with the cloud!

A cloud kitchen or a digital restaurant is a fast growing trend that has quickly established itself as a formidable restaurant format. Internet-first restaurants are stepping on the gas and companies such as Zomato, Swiggy and Fresh Menu have already started grabbing a slice of this fast-growing sector.

So what is cloud kitchen a.k.a Internet-first restaurant?

A cloud kitchen is basically a restaurant kitchen that accepts incoming orders only through online ordering systems and offers no dine-in facility. They just have a central kitchen that delivers food at customer’s doorsteps.


The primary source of revenue for these internet restaurants is through the various food ordering platforms, such as Swiggy, Food Panda, Zomato, etc. Critical to their business model is a Point of Sales software that accepts orders from multiple sources. 

Food, at the click of a button

Digital technologies are reshaping our daily experiences as consumers and businesses, and these cloud kitchens are no exception. They have the potential to redefine the contours of the restaurant business. For example, take Swiggy, the trending food delivery app that has its roots in Bengaluru. It was the first among the crowd in the cut throat market to venture cloud kitchen in India. Swiggy has set up ‘The Bowl Company’ in Bengaluru joining hands with the popular restaurateurs to offer a wide selection where the restaurant need not have a physical presence.


Following this, Zomato has opened its first cloud kitchen in the suburb of Delhi, Dwarka as a pilot for its new project, Zomato Infrastructure Services, in which they provide their partner restaurateurs with 300 square feet of space and kitchen equipment. So, an aspiring chef has to just walk in and cook on gas while Zomato takes care of the rest. This could be a great opportunity for budding chefs and entrepreneurs.

The secret sauce!

Inexpensive access to pervasive computing power via cloud and mobile technologies is the secret sauce. Market reports indicate that Swiggy’s technology stack comprises of Amazon (EC2, RDS, Cloudfront and Route53) while Zomato’s technology stack also includes Amazon Route53.  With cloud and mobile technology facilitating online ordering, cloud kitchens suddenly seem like the only rational thing to do to manage the high rentals and poor margins in the F&B industry.

Why is this restaurant stuff important for my business?

Just as cloud and mobile technologies are redefining a traditional industry, the ramifications are just as huge for any other business. It’s no longer about “technology has no role to play in my business”. Chances are, if you don’t know how technology can impact your business, your competitor already does.


With a plethora of services provided by cloud, every business can benefit - from SMBs to large enterprises; from education to hospitality.  The cloud is like this huge switchboard where anyone can plug in and use it when they want to but they don’t have to carry the switchboard, they just use the “service”. Gone are the days of expensive, complex IT infrastructure which deterred many businesses from taking advantage of technology.

The cloud allows you to focus on what you do best - run your business. You can move from being a reactive business to a proactive business that offers transformational products and services. The cloud is also highly resilient, especially during these trying times.


For instance, during an unprecedented natural disaster like Cyclone Vardha, which shut down many businesses, or even during a watershed day like Flipkart’s Big Billion Day, the cloud has played knight in shining armor through its various features like instant scalability, disaster recovery, backup & restore and many more. A survey says 60% of SMBs pull the plug after a disaster but with the advent of cloud technology, they could surely turn the tables and cope up equally with large businesses in this uphill battle.

Your technology GPS

At Quadra, we can help you plan and prioritize your cloud journey by helping you formulate well defined business objectives, along with a business and risk analysis that considers multiple dimensions such as long term cost savings; data criticality, security and privacy concerns; audit and assurance; and regulatory norms, right down to service provider agreement review.


Our job is simple – we put the cloud to work for your business, and free you from the complexity of choosing and managing multiple vendors. We aim to let you do what you do best – run your business!

The Smack of the “SMAC”:

To start with, I should ask, Is your Business model ready for disruption from digital transformation? No? Don’t be afraid! we’re here to help you! The four megatrends, Social, Mobile, Big Data (Analytics) and Cloud seems to have a clear positive Impact on today’s transforming world. Digital transformation is occurring rapidly at almost all sectors. These four technologies will not only boost efficiency and cut costs, it will help you craft new business models.

Social – The easy global reach:

You want to publish an ad and you select the medium as paper. What is the people response on it? How many like it? How many don’t? What are the suggestions from the end users? What are the expectations? Costs incurred? Manpower Incurred?

Lots of questions with no answers in hand! Think about Digital on Social Media – An ad can achieve a global reach in seconds. No significant Manpower required, No high investments, Immediate suggestions from customers.

You’ll have a wider scope of Improving things when you go on Digital rather than going through any other medium.

The key capabilities of Social media are:

·         Increased ability to effectively communicate with customers

·         Increased employee collaboration

·         Improved ability to provide customer service

Mobile has become a new norm:

The smartphone era is emerging like never before. A mobile has become the true face of digital. Behind the scenes, we must cope up with technology. The mobile has become the interface between your brand and your customer. So, one must leverage the mobile to the max to accelerate the digital transformation and also transform the customer experience you deliver.

So, to help increase productivity of your employees, give them the luxury of working from anywhere whereas keeping your company data secure. Make changes to your internal IT to provision a Bring Your Own Device Environment.

A Real estate agency, Foxtons wanted to enhance employee mobility by deploying smartphones that run the Windows Phone 8 operating system and two productivity-boosting apps. But Foxtons needed to be able to remotely manage and secure the devices. To deliver this solution, Foxtons subscribed to the Windows Intune PC and mobile device management solution. Employees now use their smartphones to conduct business from anywhere, furthering their reputation for fast, attentive service.

The key benefits of using mobile devices and the LOB applications of your company are:

·         Access to corporate data from anywhere

·         Increased Employee productivity

·         Increased employee collaboration


Collect - Analyse – Identify – Decide is a way which we follow unknowingly. And Yes, this is the key role to success anywhere.

Organizations today have the ability to process and analyse large quantities of structured & unstructured data to generate real time business insights. The amount of data that organizations have to analyse is set to increase exponentially.  

However, leading companies aren’t just integrating more data into their analysis, they’re also using the results to develop new products and services.

This is how most of the e-commerce sites will work. Their key to success is to have different dimensional data and generate results by using that.

The key benefits of using Analytics are:

·         Integrate more data into decision making processes

·         Ability to generate faster insights

·         Integrate desperate data sources into analysis


Only cloud has the ability to deliver flexible capacity as needed.

Companies need to be agile, flexible and fast to meet customer expectations. Cloud computing can be the key to that responsiveness. “We have customers who give us 90 days to get something up and running,” observes a user of the Cloud. “There’s no way I can do that in my traditional data centre.” The public cloud delivers a time-to-market advantage that’s hard for enterprises to beat. “We see a lot of traction with customers who have projects that have a short window of time to deliver results,” says the user.

Heavy initial investments and massive operational costs is something that IT is afraid of. With the agile built-in, flexible environment, cloud helps you avoid that.

The stunning capabilities of cloud which helps you move faster:

·         Flexibility: Ability to scale up & down on demand

·         Increased business agility: Ability to respond quickly to new opportunities

·         Lower costs / Pay as you go

Conclusion of SMAC:

While it is clear that each of the technology has a tremendous impact, it’s always good to deploy the integrated solutions to achieve the greatest impact.

Any successful running business will have the SMAC concept deployed.

For example, let’s take PayTm (My Favorite), an Indian payment & e-commerce company. How quickly it coped up with the demonetization effect. Started promoting (Social) the payments bank. While the Indians were facing severe currency issues (Analytics), PayTm made India “Go Cashless from mobile” (Mobility) anywhere. Scan and Pay with no minimum purchase amount barriers. It helped the merchants to do a smooth business and also the customers to go cashless. They use a flexible environment on demand (Cloud).

Get Ready to face Disruption! SMAC – Social, Mobility, Analytics & Cloud!