Manoj K. Mishra Vice-President, IT, Magma Fincorp

During 2016, enterprises across all industry verticals stepped up their investments in IT and telecom infrastructure in order to enhance operational efficiencies and meet customer demands. Internet of things (IoT) and machine-to-machine (M2M) technologies gained significant traction during the year, while enterprises continued leveraging social media, analytics and cloud (SMAC) technologies to get real-time insights into market trends and convert them into actionable strategies. Going forward, the role of new technologies such as artificial intelligence, fog computing, blockchain, machine learning, robotics and 3D printing is expected to increase considerably. Enterprise customers comment on the key technology trends during 2016, the challenges in adopting new applications, and the technology roadmap for 2017…

What were the key technology trends in the enterprise space during 2016? What was the level of adoption of new technologies like IoT, M2M and the cloud?

Digital transformation and a greater focus on analytics, machine learning and cloud computing are the key technology areas that dominated the enterprise space during 2016. AI and robotics also started making a significant impact on enterprises’ business models by automating routine jobs. Enter­prises invested further to dilute the brick-and-mortar model and adopted a more mobile workforce. Advances in secured mo­bile-based transactions helped achieve this.

What are the key challenges faced by Indian enterprises in adopting new technologies? How can these be resolved?

First and foremost, there is a natural resistance amongst the workforce to adopting new technologies. They develop a fear of losing their jobs as soon as there is automation of routine jobs. This issue can only be addressed through effective en­gage­ment at the ground level. Second, new automation technology should be fairly easy to use, or else there is a possibility of slow adoption. Third, enterprises need to learn how to target the business areas that can benefit most from the technological advances. Priori­tisation based on the appetite for investment and the estimated return on investment (RoI) is im­portant. Enterprises in India face a challenge in prioritisation due to difficulty in estimating the RoI for technological projects. RoI is not just about financial retur­ns. Enterprises must also look at financial, brand, compliance, customer and operational excellence parameters to arrive at a more objective understanding of the implications of adopting a technological solution.

Which technology trends are likely to dominate the enterprise space in 2017?

The government’s demonetisation move and the increased focus on digital transactions have made it imperative for Indian enterprises to strengthen their digital transformation and information security. Cloud service providers are investing heavily in India to cater to the market demand. It is expected that more and more enterprises will go for either the public cloud or hybrid cloud adoption. Enterprises would want to offload complex infrastructure management from their end and outsource it as a service. Also, data science and machi­ne learning are going to witness significant investment and focus, as enterprises try to improve the quality of their portfolio, increase the top line and reduce the bottom line through a data-driven decision-making approach rather than a subjective decision-making approach.

IoT has started unleashing new business benefits. We can expect this space to be explored by more and more organisations. The year 2017 will be an interesting one for Indian enterprises with a twist in the economy, which is likely to be driven by government initiatives, including a reduction in tax and lending rates and a higher number of people being brought under the bankng system.