For the Population at Large, Digitalization is almost like an Information Revolution: Aditya Chaudhuri

Having about three decades of experience, Aditya Chaudhuri, MD, Communications, Media & Technology, Accenture India, carries his business acumen to whatever role he gets into. He has worked across multiple roles in strategy, business development, sales, operations, service delivery, etc. In a chit chat with Voice&Data, he talks about content being the new king.

Voice&Data: Today, the buzz is around data and content. How do you see the transformation ?
Aditya Chaudhuri: Content is all form of data. Let’s understand the difference between the two. Data can be an email, voice call, bits and bytes, that’s how it is transferred. Simplistically, data is a synonym for anything that is flowing out from your mobile device to another mobile device or wherever. WhatsApp is a data, a tweet is a data. The only difference between content as video and the rest of the content (text, tweets etc) is that video is bandwidth intensive and requires high performing devices. Companies develop content for specific network speeds: for example, 2G content that works on 2G phones eliminates buffering. Today it is 30 percent and in 18 months it will be 70 percent.

Voice&Data: How do you see the Jio effect in consumption of data?
Aditya Chaudhuri: No, it is not Jio effect. It is the usage. If you send a video to four people – assuming you look at two to three videos in a day and you send across to four people and they in turn circulate it to another three people. So people see these videos posted on YouTube, Facebook, and other social media sites and you get a million hits on that video, which means everybody is downloading the same video and it is creating traffic on your network. Jio or no Jio that will happen. It is because the networks have been open there are much of content available, including OTTs. You have Hotstar and other similar applications where users can view video content.

Voice&Data: Talking about the Digital Transformation, if you can just help me understand what exactly Accenture is doing in digital transformation and how do you see digital transformation taking place gradually?
Aditya Chaudhari: When one talk about Digital Transformation, you look at the population, you look at the role of the telecom companies – the service providers and you look at the rest of the ecosystem. Accenture is a part of this ecosystem.
For the population at large, digitisation is almost like an information revolution. India is the third largest economy in the world and the changes which earlier took five to ten years are happening in a year. Your ability to book taxi used to take a lot of time, now you do it on an app. Digitization has changed banking. Five years ago you would visit a bank to deposit a cheque. Now you hardly use a cheque, you pay by a credit card or an app and you are done. People can open a bank account in less than 5 minutes. So the impact of digitization is huge. Another example is booking of flight or movie ticket – most of the things can be done on a mobile. So your time is getting freed up with digitization and it still continues to evolve. For example, a farmer can call up different markets to find out the best rate offered to sell his produce and decide to sell it where he gets a better rate.
Today entertainment is available in the form of streaming of songs, videos etc. The sim card gets activated in fifteen minutes because of the Aadhar card, which earlier used to take more than three days. Government has adopted digitization and as a result brought transparency to its practices. Government has started digitizing the basic building blocks using mobile phone as a connected device. Then there are applications or the internet for accessing information on the government websites. Using digitization, government agencies are able to track subsidies provided to the population. Then you have Aadhar which lets people validate their identity. There are multiple things that the government can do. The third part of the change is with the telecom service provider. They need to digitize faster in order to connect with the customer.
However, there is lots to do when you examine the role of a telecom service provider. There are still some aspects which are not yet digitized and if they want to garner the customer’s share of wallet, they have to move quickly and digitize faster.
So digitization is helping the customer. Telecoms have to work towards digitizing the partners from where they are buying goods and getting services. It is an efficient way of working as it cuts down paper work.
As I mentioned earlier, banking is a best example of increasing efficiencies using digital. In a way the telco works with their own partners, they do RFP’s which are online, whoever gets the lowest rate gets the order. And then it’s dispatched, it’s digitized, it moves from Singapore to India, payment process is also digitized. Because of digitization, telecom company’s interaction with the government has changed for good. All the taxes are payed online. All the external interfaces that they have are all digitized which reduces the cost of transaction. It also improves the turnaround time, and vendor and customer experience. Partners’ bills are paid in time because the bill gets raised digitally. For example, identity validation is done using Aadhar in 15 minutes. However, for this to happen in the stipulated time the external and internal processes have to be aligned using digitization.
Accenture is leading in the digital ecosystem space and we are helping customers digitize. Digital is the future and key for companies to survive. It’s like if you don’t sell your products on Amazon or Flipkart, your products will not be sold. Digitization is a process and will take time for full fledge adoption. Governments’ push on digitization has helped. Government too is using social media as a tool to connect with public and solve problems. The actual power of democracy for the individuals has come in with this social revolution.
Voice&Data: What are your thoughts on monetization of content?
Aditya Chaudhari: Most telecom operators did not monetize content, they had a subscription service for their customers. Then third-party service providers came up with applications related to music, video, news etc. Third party applications available today have better reach as they are built using crowdsourcing model. Which is why a WhatsApp runs better than any local chat application that we would have built. Normally, people use five to six applications on their phones daily which help them enhance productivity, connect socially, access entertainment and news. A large number of app developers are working on such applications.
Now to answer the second part of the question. Monetization will come through collaboration, because that’s the fastest way.
Voice&Data: Digitization comes attached with a challenge called security. How to keep such challenges at bay?
Aditya Chaudhari: Security will always remain an issue, it’s like physical security – no one would like to go to isolated spots because we want to be secure but accidents still do happen. Companies can only be cyber-resilient – have contingency plans in place and move quickly to implement them.
There will always be loopholes. Let’s take an example of a house. There are various entry points in a house and you secure all of them – all the doors have locks etc. However, what if the thief enters a house from the window. A theft could still happen. Its similar for companies. As I mentioned earlier – we can only be resilient.
Companies should start building protection layers so your physical or data assets to prevent theft, put in place strong cyber-resilience programs and act on them swiftly in case of an incident.
Voice&Data: But there must be some percentage, like out of hundred how much percent you can ensure that it is not going to be affected?
Aditya Chaudhari: It is difficult to define because data available on security is limited. Everybody doesn’t go out and announce about data theft. So, incidents which come to light, they provide insights. We collaborate with large number of companies including ethical hackers to be able to go back and work with our clients, then we plug in the loopholes. It’s very interesting, the world is in a state of flux, and security is paramount. Companies need to increase the level of security because the amount of impact it has on brand reputation is huge. Prevention is better than cure.

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