Building Intelligent Enterprises: Path To Digital Transformation

Q&A With Author Anup Maheshwari

Steven Lerner

In the future, intelligent enterprises will stay ahead of the curve by leveraging the most innovative next-gen technologies and using them to modernize outdated processes. The path to achieving digital transformation can be challenging, from C-Suite down to the business users.

Anup Maheshwari, author and consultant, just wrote another book that provides IT leaders with guidance during this treacherous process. Digital Transformation: Building Intelligent Enterprises, which will be published in September 2019, covers design thinking, the Internet of Things, machine learning, blockchain, cloud computing, and every technology impacting enterprises today.

In addition to the book, Maheshwari is also going to serve as a speaker for the Fall 2019 Digital Transformation Online Summit. Maheshwari’s session will occur on October 1 at 10:00 a.m. EST.

To understand more about the upcoming book and about the session at the Digital Transformation Online Summit, Enterprise Digitalization chatted with Maheshwari.

Enterprise Digitalization: What is this new book about?

Anup Maheshwari: Being in consulting these days, anytime we talk to C-Suite it is all about how to incorporate these technologies so that they’re competitive going forward. There are already books available today on each technology. But the problem is that after five or 10 pages, you will get lost because there is so much technical language in those books. This book has been written so that every person, whether they have a technology background or not, will be able to understand and get a good grasp on what the technology is all about, how it works, and more importantly, how it gets incorporated in the business.

ED: When you were researching this book, who did you speak to?

AM: I speak to the C-Suite executives almost on a weekly basis That's my job. In various other contexts, this is always a topic that comes up, no matter what. Every CIO's agenda is to complete their digital transformation. But then I had to do a lot of research. I've been involved in this for a couple of years now. That's how I grasped this and I was able to provide something that should be beneficial to the business units.

ED: Is there one particular topic that stands out to you as one that really doesn't get a lot of attention in the industry?

AM: There are certain topics which I believe are very interesting because they are being utilized on a daily basis at home or in the office. For example, robotic process automation has various levels within it. This includes automating the manually executed business processes, but you can take it to the next level, which is like intelligent process automation. You'll see the smart sensors in your home or office. Those are very basic ones that are being used. There could be a lot of embedded AI/ML that can be incorporated. That is something where an advanced version of it is yet to be seen. Let's take the case of augmented and virtual reality. That is something which I believe will be a very big thing maybe five years down the road. I'll give you one very simple use case: Broadway shows are something that not everybody can afford to go to. One, ticket prices are quite expensive. And secondly, you may not be physically in New York. You can watch it on YouTube or somewhere else, but the enjoyment that you get when watching the show live is something that's an experience in itself. So that is one area where I believe the technology of augmented and virtual reality can be used. You can actually have that AR device sitting at home and you will almost be able to get that same experience that you actually get while sitting and watching the show live. That is something that has yet to take off at a grand scale. But I foresee it to be a huge success going forward.

ED: What is the biggest mistake that enterprises make when trying to focus on digital transformation?

AM: If you see some of the mistakes, it’s sometimes because of so much hype in the market. The C-Suite, whether it's a Chief Information Officer or the CEO, jumps into digital transformation either too early in the game or with too many technologies getting implemented at the same time. You should go with a phased approach. For example, if you're in the oil and gas industry, maybe it’s the predictive maintenance of your assets because that’s important. If you're in the rail industry, it's making sure that there is no break down of the engine because you will have revenue losses if there is a break down, and a lot of customers would be unhappy because they will miss the train on time. The priority is to implement and then make other enhancements going forward. There are also instances of jumping into technology without even doing the proper business analysis. For any technology that you have to implement, there is a proper procedure, particularly for digital transformation. You have to completely do your due diligence before even going there. Also, for each of these technologies, there are multiple vendors and multiple products available in the market. So again, vendor selection is really key in making it a successful implementation.

ED: Is there something that surprised you when you were writing this book?

AM: For me personally, not really. I started my journey of writing this book on digital transformation since I've been involved with digital transformation for almost four years now. I felt that going forward this will be the most talked about subject. Whether you're at home using the technology or whether you are in the organization implementing the technology or managing the technology, you will be involved. I thought this is the best time to write this book, particularly for the general employee who is not into coding and the technical aspect of things, so that they are aware of what these technologies are all about and how they can utilize it or contribute towards the betterment of the organization.

ED: What is one thing that attendees will take away from your session at the Digital Transformation Online Summit?

AM: One thing that they should not expect is anything to do with coding. I would say there is a general misconception that whenever people hear about digital transformation, they think they must know Java or C++. But that is not true. That is just one small chunk of workers who do the coding and implement that for the organization. But 80% of the work is getting to the point where it can be implemented starting from the business case to the analysis, to the vendor selection, to managing the project, and to thinking from a solution architecture perspective. It's how all of these technologies shape up and benefit an organization. My focus in this session is to make the users aware of all the technologies that are in this market at a very high level, and what that means to the users. Basically, my idea would be to go through these technologies at a very high level and just give them insight about what the technology is, and maybe give one or two use cases so that it gives them the thinking mindset after the session so that they might focus on some technologies going forward, and maybe make a career out of it, or continue more advanced learning of it.

Catch Anup Maheshwari and other industry thought leaders at the Fall 2019 Digital Transformation Online Summit. Sign up today to secure your place for the Online Summit.