Digital India aims to transform the country into a digitally-empowered knowledge economy. These plans have further gathered momentum post the de-monetization exercise by the government in Nov – Dec 2016. Plans to connect rural areas with high-speed internet focuses on three very important components:
- Digital Infrastructure as a utility to every citizen
- Governance and services on demand
- Digital Empowerment of citizens
The government is pushing a variety of schemes helping them reach every citizen directly, and many private organizations such as PayTM, PayU, etc are gaining massively by pushing the use of their technologies across the country. PSU banks are now pushing UPI led digital payments, etc. However, such a thrust to embrace digital technologies has not been led by large PSU organizations, and even PSU banks have followed government directives, rather than leading from the front themselves and becoming force multipliers in the overall Digital India mission.
Large PSU’s have a tremendous reach, and touch the lives of most citizens in the country. Citizens have a lot of trust with these PSU organizations. Leading PSU’s should take advantage of this environment to unleash digital initiatives, leveraging cloud and mobile devices. The right digital initiatives will only help in improving sales and profitability of these organizations.
Why the Public Sector is behind in Cloud adoption?
Indian PSUs are generally lagging in the adoption of Cloud technologies. This can be a bottleneck in the success of Digital India campaign. For example: Indane from the largest Indian PSU giant, IOC delivers cooking gas to over 92 million households in India. Currently, the company is trying to reach the last mile, the last house in India to deliver clean cooking fuel. With Cloud adoption, IOC can streamline their operations like the SMS bookings (which is an active service in the cities) even to the rural zones. This capability has not been rolled out uniformly across their dealer network. This will enable the company to serve customers without having a physical office in every remote area.
Some of the hindrances in Cloud adoption in large PSUs include data security, vendor lock-in period and limited availability of quality IT hardware infrastructure and System Integrators in India. Also, there are too many pressing concerns and fears of unknown implications when PSUs contemplate a Cloud migration and implementation. So, PSUs have massive trust deficit issues while moving to a Cloud environment. We believe there are three key reasons behind this:
- Senior Management Engagement: It is important that leadership of organizations understand the value of these technologies, evolve specific initiatives that deliver superior sales, profitability, brand value, etc. They need to lead from the front in pushing the adoption of these technologies in their organizations within defined timelines.
- Lack of Trained Staff: IT is getting intertwined with functions. The best use of IT cannot be delivered by a disconnected or siloed MIS Department. Leadership has to enable and build crack cross-functional teams to design their digital and cloud roadmap and deliver the same.
- Senior Management Engagement: PSUs still heavily rely on hard copies of documents while work information is shared with external partners resulting in excessive costs. Yet, Cloud solutions take a back seat due to security concerns.
- Procurement Methods: The approach of buying the lowest cost option through a tendering process, does not necessarily result in the best procurement of IT products & services.
- Constraining Implementation Guidelines: Complex tender conditions, with limited flexibility downstream in implementations, resulting in poor success rate of implementations. New initiatives with new technologies do run into challenges at times. The ability to adjust downstream is a must for success of such initiatives. Leadership should enable teams to take such decisions without the mission dampening fear of CVC guidelines, etc.
Besides the above, PSU’s need to leverage the capabilities of strong System Integrators with deep experience of deploying such technologies.