The Digital Transformation Journey Continues at ARC India's Virtual Forum (Part 2)

By Sharada Prahladrao

ARC Report Abstract


ARC India’s virtual Forum Driving Digital Transformation in Industry and Cities maintained its momentum on the second day, with delegates as keen as ever to get a better handle on new digitalization strategies and technologies.  

digital transformation journeyThe pandemic has changed the world as we knew it.  A speaker on the first day of the Forum referred to it as “an avalanche that is destroying everything that comes in its way.”  During these uncertain times it is imperative for organizations to be flexible, adaptable, and innovative.  As Charles Darwin said, “it’s not the strongest or most intelligent of the species that survives, but the one that’s most adaptable to change.” While technology has opened new doors of opportunity, organizations that do not adapt to the rapid pace of change will become extinct.

The presentations on the second day of the virtual forum emphasized that adaptability goes beyond just embracing new technologies; it involves a change in mindset and organizational culture.   The human angle is critical to the success of any project; although repetitive processes can be automated, many human qualities cannot be replicated.  Presentation topics included: digital strategies to achieve operational excellence; cybersecurity; industrial applications for blockchain and process safety; enterprise strategies for growth; and end user experiences.

Here, in Part 2 of this two-part ARC Insight, we’ll focus on the second day's proceedings.

Digital Strategies to Achieve Operational Excellence

G. Ganapathiraman, Vice President and General Manager, ARC Advisory Group,  India welcomed the attendees on the second day of the virtual Forum and introduced the day’s agenda.  Achyuta Ghosh, Head of Research, NASSCOM gave the first presentation.  This was on adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) in Indian enterprises.  

Adoption of Artificial Intelligence in Enterprises

Mr. Ghosh began with a brief overview of NASSCOM, its mission, and strategic imperatives.  He explained that data and AI could add $450-500 billion to India’s GDP by 2025.  NASSCOM conducted extensive research to determine the pulse of Indian enterprises in evaluating and deploying AI technologies and to assess the implications of AI technology advancements on key sectors.  These include banking, financial services, and insurance (BFSI); retail; healthcare; and agriculture. The key finding was that CEOs across industrial sectors are realizing the need to deploy AI to generate value.  The four key hurdles to adopting AI are:

  • Technology and data (low maturity of external technology and service providers in this area restricts ability to accelerate AI initiatives)
  • Inability to justify ROI
  • Talent shortage
  • Trust, ethics, and regulations

The survey revealed that impactful AI programs converge talent, data governance, and risk management and are backed by management support.  

Kill Chain-based Analysis of Cyber-attacks

Next, Palaniappan Kannan, Consultant, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO) spoke about combating cyber-attacks on industrial control systems by cyber kill chain-based analysis.  He began by explaining the subtle differences between safety and security.  In safety, failures are due to the system’s software/hardware failures; whereas, when it comes to security, failures and consequences thereof are due to planned internal/external attacks.  Planning a cyber-attack is akin to planning a military attack.  Lockheed Martin has launched a general cyber-attack model: Cyber Kill Chain.   Further,  he explained the kill chain phases for ICS through case studies involving Triton, Trisis, and Stuxnet.  

Operational Excellence Across Industries

The baton was passed on to Amit Shrivastava, Director, Business Development - Digital Twin Solutions, Bentley Systems.  He said that operational excellence involves aligning people, processes, technologies, and capabilities to create a culture of continuous improvement.  He spoke about business objectives, such as increasing equipment reliability and uptime; decreasing OpEx and CapEx costs; optimizing resources and increasing manpower productivity; ensuring regulatory compliance; and others.  The focus is on increasing efficiency and the digital twin is becoming a keystone in this  journey to achieve operational excellence.

The key processes towards Industry 4.0 transformation must be part of the operational excellence strategy, he said.  Companies are leveraging digital twins to make informed decisions and provide a digital line of sight for productive workflows.  The digital twin is all about convergence of technologies IT/OT/ET (information/operations/engineering technologies). Further, he spoke about the connected data environment and how it helps integrate multiple systems to get insights for better decision making and outcomes.  

Safety in Process Industries and Industrial Applications for Blockchain

Safety in Process Industries

This session began with a presentation by Vivek Gupta, Assistant Vice President & Head Instrumentation, DCM Shriram on safety in process industries.  He said that safety (of men, machines, processes, environment, etc.) is a part of the organizational culture in process plants.  Workplace accidents and occupational diseases are neither determined by fate nor unavoidable – they always have causes.  By building a strong culture of prevention, these causes can be eliminated, and work-related accidents and occupational diseases avoided.  Further, he spoke about the VUCA world, which has two coexisting expanded forms:

  • Vision, understanding, clarity, agility
  • Volatile, uncertain, complex, ambiguous


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Keywords: Digitalization, ARC India’s Virtual Forum, Digital Transformation, Digital Twins, Pandemic, IT/OT/ET, ARC Advisory Group.

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