Interview with Mr. Minoo Dastur, Director, President & CEO, Nihilent

The businesses that are feeling dislocated are the ones that are unable to give up their conventional mindset and are rooted in past glory and fall through the cracks, rather than intelligently making up to the altered market realities. Minoo Dastur, Director, President & CEO, Nihilent Limited, emphasizes the need for a strategic and structured approach to change and how Nihilent in the last 20 plus years has crafted compelling digital value propositions to organizations spread across the globe. Excerpts.

Digital from a ‘nice to have’ has become a ‘must have’ for enterprises across industries. From a Nihilent perspective, what is the narrative you are onboarding with your clients and prospects?

Digital transformation is disruptive because it empowers users and buyers like never before and the customer has begun to be seen rather differently. Once companies start to become customer-centric they must rethink all the paradigms of the past. Let me be very clear, we are a Change Management company and technology is just the enabling piece. Since day one, we have embraced a human-centered approach to problem-solving.

And now, we are taking our human-centered approach to the next logical level by onboarding a narrative called ‘Humanizing Technology’. It strengthens Nihilent’s positioning as a human-centric organization with the premise that technology must elevate the human experience to be truly relevant. Whether it is interactions with the physical world or the dynamic digital experiences of always-on life, we are making sure that people’s aspirations and human goals take the centre stage.

The new approach symbolizes what Nihilent is today. After two decades of ushering in systemic change management, it is evolving to the next level and bringing in the much-needed relevance to human problems facing enterprises today. The reason to do this now is that technology and businesses need to evolve and be made responsive to human emotions for the larger purpose of enriching the overall human experience.

What is Nihilent’s approach to digital transformation?  

At Nihilent, we are fortunate to get a front-row seat and witness the spectacular emergence of the experience economy. We have seen the digitalization of businesses with a focus on delivering customer convenience and walked along this path with many of our clients globally. At Nihilent, we are humanizing every business and technological transformation across the globe.

We have a very structured and methodical approach to digital transformation. To achieve sustained improvement seeking operational excellence, we use methodologies such as MC³, a patented framework, that looks at the people, process, technology, and data, holistically to continually tune this aspect. Then validate the findings by comparing the voice of the customer using patented methodologies like 14Signals. For instance, 14Signals is a framework that creates an index from experiential feelings over stimulation feelings to calculate and predict customer delight. To ensure that the transformed digital experience meets the customers’ expectations and is powerfully positive one can validate the heuristics using a patented framework such as Product Lifecycle Development (PROLICY-D).

What I am saying is, we have a seamless blend of IPs, services, strategy, and execution methodologies that fast track digital transformation. We continue to innovate and create unique IPs. The case in the point is our patent-pending latest solution, Emoscape, which is built upon proprietary conceptual and technical frameworks and leverages artificial intelligence to perform emotions analytics.

For an enterprise struggling to get a grip on digital, can you recommend three best practices for them that will give a sense of direction to go forward?

There are already numerous conversations going on and many questions from business leaders, in boardrooms, on earnings calls, in the media, and the government on accelerating digital initiatives. Whatever be the question, digital transformation is inevitable.

I would like to granulate the big picture. The world and its industries have a rare opportunity to consciously redesign itself, on how it operates, integrates into a broader value chain, and develops its ecosystem. The winners will do so because they will break themselves free from their outdated legacy, in favour of business models which will hold value, speed, efficiency, and most critically, flexibility as core strengths. An incredible acceleration is imminent, and we will experience 5 years of innovation in the next 18 to 24months. Digital will offer the firepower for the world’s next economic miracle.

My 3 best practices for seamless digital transformation are:

  • Revisit the business model to reflect consumer preference for a contact-less interaction.
  • Re-design for agility to ensure lean, nimble, and flexible business configurations.
  • Make strategic digital investments emphasizing the adoption of digital and e-commerce technologies.

The world has changed due to the pandemic. How has the IT industry changed and how are you realigning Nihilent for the new normal?

Over the last 18 months, we have shown our mettle yet again by tiding over unprecedented disruptions overnight. We battle-tested a home-shoring model, achieved about 90% plus uptime, and demonstrated to the world, that if we deploy the right remote collaboration tools and practices, this new delivery model can work wonders. Signaling a distinct change in mindset, even companies that never utilized information technology outsourcing took the plunge in the recent months, into the deep end of the pool.

The Indian IT industry has shown its resilience time and again, for we have successfully moved delivery models from on-premise to offshoring, and from capital-intensive to capital-light models. We, as an industry, have managed the Y2K challenge for the world in 2000, cost efficiency challenges post the financial crisis of 2008, steam-rolled the global businesses once again by onboarding them onto SMAC (social, mobility, analytics, and cloud). Over the last decade, we have done wonders by adopting technologies like AI, ML, analytics, IoT, blockchain, AR/VR, and Robotic Process Automation (RPA).

But as we look to the future, we fear businesses can no longer create value just by offering services, but will soon be all about providing memorable experiences, in fact, today, some of our progressive clients are doing exactly that in partnership with Nihilent. Businesses will have to orchestrate memorable events for the customer, for now, the memory will be the product, or in other words, delightful experiences. Our way forward revolves around our new approach – Humanizing Technology.

What are the leading tech trends that you see will have big traction in the next 12 months?

The future is not for the meek, but for businesses that dare to have the audacity to think big and radically. It is for the IT companies who can master new-age digital competencies around Interaction Design, Gamification, Advanced Analytics, Data Visualization, Robotic Automation, Virtual and Augmented Reality, Distributed Ledgers, Geospatial Analysis, Internet of Things (IoT), Machine Learning among others.

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