Coronavirus pandemic is a tech-opener for organizations

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Indian firms across sectors must step up digitization to remain relevant and grow business, as customers and employees increasingly adopt technology to collaborate and engage with their stakeholders. Technology and data leaders from companies such as Google, Hero Moto Corp, SAP Labs India, Diageo India, HDFC Bank and the Embassy group were unanimous that the disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic had crunched the time of technology adoption from years to weeks, as remote working became mainstream.

While companies engaged with their customers and employees through digital channels, factories adopted artificial intelligence and machine learning to practice social distancing and tracking supply chain, and ensured goods reached customers across remote corners of the country. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will make changes that could help transform businesses as well as countries across the world. Nicolas Darveau-Garneau, the Chief Evangelist at Google, said the Internet had revolutionised a lot of things, but now the machine learning and intelligence revolution is going to be even more impactful for businesses.

After decades of actuarial science work, insurers were only able to forecast which of their customers will be in a car accident with only 35-40 per cent accuracy, but with machine learning, AXA currently could forecast these large-loss car accidents at an accuracy rate. He added that it going to 78% from 35%. It is a kind of powerful machine learning has to reinvent industries and change them. They are seeing it in risk forecasting and marketing and many different areas. Due to machine learning, the improvements of some companies are seeing are dramatic.  The auto industry has one of the largest supply chains of any industry in India and the entire sector has adopted a common data exchange due so that there is minimal disruption.

Technology leaders saw the pandemic as an eye-opener for organisations. The pandemic has compelled them to understand what it is to adapt quickly to unusual situations as compared to anything they have experienced in the past. SAP Labs India managing director Sindhu Gangadharan said that, with the lockdown, they have realised those businesses who kind of relied on physical interactions with their customers and did not make that jump early on really suffered but the people who had embraced their digital transformation journey early on could nicely tide over this pandemic crisis and come out really strong.

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