Takeaways from Infosys Analysts & Advisors Meet, September 1-2, 2020
With the ongoing pandemic many stories emerged of resilience, responsiveness, and innovation, as many of us are forced to live in the future. People were asked to act against their nature and shift from a collaborative workplace environment to isolation at home, further blurring the lines between work and life. This led to a need to strengthen the digital muscle hinged around remote-first working, cloud acceleration, smart IT operations, and automated business operations.
Infosys seems to have already laid down the digital rail tracks which helped boost revenue and profit, reflecting resilience and adaptability of its business model in this time of crisis.
Digital acceleration holds the key to increase resilience
The ongoing pandemic has brought a sense of urgency to digital transformation. Implementation cycles have been shortened from years to days. Enterprises are facing pressure to increase resilience through improved use of the cloud, making better use of data, and securing an enterprise that suddenly has a very different perimeter than before the pandemic.
“Being resilient through digital transformation” was the overall theme of Infosys executives at a virtual analyst and advisor summit held Sept.1-2, 2020.
Infosys CEO Salil Parikh highlighted how, in the last few years, the digital capabilities share per deal has grown.
“What we see today is more of a digital acceleration approach across the enterprise landscape. Large enterprises are leveraging digital more and more,” he said.
In the last two to three years, Infosys has gone through an internal transformation and focused on becoming a digital organization, with its digital share growing from 25% in FY2018 to 40% in FY2020. The major growth contributors include cloud, data, and experience. Since assuming the CEO role in December 2017, Parekh has set Infosys on a growth path by drawing out a three-year roadmap in 2018., Infosys Chairman Nandan Nilekani further emphasized the greater need for enterprises to go the digital route.
“One of the lessons we have learned in the last five months is that digital is more important than ever. We see a K-shape recovery where those companies and jobs that are digital have flourished, while those that have proximity to people have really been hurt badly,” Nilekani said.
He highlighted six technology trends that would define the workplace of the future: acceleration of cloud, adoption of open source, data and AI, cybersecurity, core modernization, and consumerization of experience.
Accelerating cloud transformation
Hybrid cloud and multi-cloud IT environments have become the norm in most enterprises, as per Avasant’s Cloud Platforms 2020 RadarView™ report released in July 2020. In fact, 80%-90% of Global 2000 enterprises already have a hybrid IT environment, while more than 60% manage more than one cloud. The challenge is optimizing complex cloud-centric environments, both in terms of application performance and overall cost.
Ravi Kumar, President and Deputy COO, Infosys, highlighted that the cloud eco-system is fragmented and ripe for orchestration.
“Cloud is an ecosystem that we all have to orchestrate. There are hyperscalers, private cloud companies, innovators, and infrastructure companies which all come together to power the value of cloud,” Kumar said.
To address this need, Infosys introduced Cobalt, a polycloud platform. It enables a multi-cloud environment as it abstracts different services provided by hyperscalers, as well as private cloud providers via a curated catalog and deploy open source-based cloud-neutral solutions to prevent vendor lock-in. It leverages 200 industry templates that Infosys has built over the years and 14,000 assets categorized into knowledge, learning, and engineering.
According to Saju Sankarankutty, VP, Delivery Head, Cloud & Infrastructure Services at Infosys, “Cobalt is a platform that enables enterprises to procure, build, and manage vendor-agnostic solutions across multiple hybrid cloud providers.”
He highlighted three main patterns of multi-cloud adoption:
- Cloud Native: several enterprises are going through a cloud-native way by adopting unique cloud services offered by cloud providers.
- Cloud Neutral: where consumers like to avoid vendor lock-in and use commodity services provided by cloud providers
- Innovation and PoC (Proof of Concept) are developed using a cloud-native solution by production is entirely cloud-neutral
Priya Almelkar, Head of Digital Leadership, Global Foundaries, shared her experience of how Global Foundaries approaches hybrid cloud adoption by focusing on the small number of cloud providers with a capacity to scale globally. It already has collaborated with AWS for public cloud and plans to take some processes and policies to the private cloud. “First and foremost, the approach that we are taking is building a strong foundation of governance, business processes, and security,” Almelkar said.
Enabling resilience with data and AI
The rapid evolution of cognitive technologies is not only improving existing AI & advanced analytics solutions but also enabling newer and more complex use cases. Deployment of AI and analytics is rising in judgment-intensive and high business-value processes such as predictive and prescriptive modeling, adjudication, and customer experience enhancement. This is encouraging enterprises to undertake function- and enterprise-wide AI deployments. Some of the use cases include loan default predictions in banking and financial services, demand forecasting in utilities and resources, fraudulent claims in healthcare and life sciences, and inventory management in the retail and CPG segment.
AI is now an integral part of digital transformation blueprints. However, projects are struggling due to legacy environments and lack of implementation experience. Strategic partnerships with service providers are helpful for successful large-scale AI implementations.
Satish H.C., EVP, Head of Data & Analytics, Infosys, emphasized that data is enabling new experiences, products, innovations, business models, and ecosystems. “We manifest data across three horizons,” Satish said, “to drive discussions, to enable enterprise decisions in real-time, and to enable innovation.”
Many Infosys customers also participated in the virtual analyst event. One of those was DNB, a Norway-based financial services group. Aidan Miller, Chief Data & Analytics Officer, DNB, shared his perspective on the importance of data and digital and how it has become a critical capability in the pandemic.
“Social distancing has really fueled the acceleration of digital, especially in the financial services industry. There is increased need to leverage predictive analytics capabilities when it comes to data,” said Miller.
Securing the enterprise
Responding to COVID-19, tens of thousands of companies around the world have adopted work-from-home policies. However, as companies virtualize their systems and users access data remotely through personal devices and home networks, risk increases significantly. Adoption of emerging technologies, including 5G, robotics, and quantum computing, create a good opportunity for threat actors to orchestrate multi-fold attacks.
Since March, there has been an 85% surge in cyber-attacks, with data thefts and ransomware becoming a significant threat vector. In a way, this pandemic provides an opportunity for enterprises to reassess their IT infrastructure from the following perspective: Identity and Access Management (IAM), AI-driven security operations, data containerization, mobile security, among others.
Raj Badhwar, SVP, Chief Information Security Officer, Voya Financial, shared how the threat landscape has evolved and highlighted aspects that need to be considered while redesigning the security architecture:
- Network activity: as people are working from home using VPN or VDI, one has to ensure this activity is secured end-to-end
- Monitoring: for the security professional to make sure the internet traffic goes through a managed process
- Defense services by using constructs like application segmentation or network micro-segmentation
- Focusing lot more on identity management
- Data security, data orchestration, data management, and digital rights management
We have seen a paradigm shift in the way companies are operating, engaging with their employees, and delivering on customer experience post-pandemic. Enterprises need to formulate a digital transformation blueprint that includes an organization-wide unified data strategy and digital roadmap, to lay the foundation for AI and analytics initiatives across business functions. As cloud becomes central to digital strategy, enterprises need to invest in realigning the hiring process, change management, and training to develop skills around cloud management, development, cloud brokerage, spend optimization, and automation.
Also, as the risk parameter is expanding significantly with the inclusion of next-gen technologies, it becomes imperative for CISOs to involve themselves in board-level decisions to proactively address cyber risks, data breaches, and financial losses. Enterprise leaders should be cognizant of the importance of strong, strategic cloud security initiatives.
To conclude, as enterprises invest in resilience tools, including automation, cloud, and cybersecurity, their strategic partnerships can help accelerate the digital journey and bring required stability, reliability, and resilience to their businesses.
Analysis by Gaurav Dewan, Research Leader at Avasant.