Digital transformation is real, it’s happening, and it’s here to stay. Harnessing the growing demand for digital, PwC’s Digital Transformation Center (DEC) enables rapid and scalable prototyping which can be tested and deployed by clients within a few days versus the standard industry norm of a few months. This brings in efficiency in terms of time, investment and opportunity cost.
In a tête-à-tête with CIO India, Ashootosh Chand, partner - Digital Change, PwC India, shares the idea behind DEC and how it serves to bring about transformation at an unprecedented pace.
"You need to be extremely agile in terms of building mobile applications and in terms of turning around those mobile applications," says Chand.
"So, now we're talking about a completely new way of building software. You're able to create a piece of software in six hours, push it out there into the reduction environments within two hours, and within another four hours, people can provide feedback on those features. In another six hours, you can make changes to those features, and again push it back out there," he explains.
So within a 24-hour period, you have a complete life cycle for a software application, unlike in the past, where a software release used to take six to twelve months. But then again, in six months, the market has already moved, and it's not really what the market wants.
Throwing light on how PwC stitches together AI, digital, and DevOps, Chand says, "We're talking about technologies like DevOps - where development and operations can come together. Now, this is where cloud also comes into play. With cloud, you can automate a lot of these things."
So, how do you take artificial intelligence and marry that with digital technology?
If you look at the automobile industry for instance, there are a lot of parts that go into making an automobile. One of the biggest challenges in terms of supporting an ecosystem within the auto industry is helping people find the right parts and the right information they are looking for.
“So, we're looking at an AI-based interface that first greets you, and then asks you which machine component you are looking for. It then asks you for the make and model of the car. Now based on this, it lists the set of components,” Chand explains.
By using AI, you can significantly reduce the complexity of an experience for a customer. Also, in the back end, this reduces the need for you to bank on contact centers.
This also reduces the time taken for an organization to train the workforce, and eases the knowledge transfer process.
"A lot of companies also come to us for advice on who should they partner with. We have partnerships with large technology companies like Google, Amazon, or Microsoft. On the industrial side, we also have a partnership with GE. So, GE has pretty much transformed its business by adopting Digital for its manufacturing business," says Chand.
"So, they've come up with a platform called GE Predix, which brings together IoT, cloud, and big data, in terms of managing your entire manufacturing operation," he adds.
Whether it's about monitoring assets or predictive maintenance, it's all done through Predix. PwC was able to build an application using Predix to monitor a compressor that is running in one of the manufacturing plants in the US.
Now, this entire model can be transformed to any vertical - whether it's healthcare, retail, or industrial.
Fantastic! But wouldn't bandwidth pose a challenge, though?
“In the industrial case, these sensors are sending very small packets of data - say 1 KB or 2 KB of data per hour. So, bandwidth is not the primary bottleneck, as it's not a bandwidth-hungry application,” explains Chand.
Coming to the deployment, the first-mover verticals were of course financial, industrial, retail and healthcare. “And then of course, there's some traction we're seeing in the government sectors - owing to smart cities initiatives. A lot of customers in the utilities space have also expressed interest in this solution,” says Chand.
The PwC differentiator
Chand believes that what sets PwC apart is the fact that the company comes with an industry-practitioner and consultant perspective, coupled with the fact that it does this rapid prototyping and innovation.
“And we adopt a path that covers right from strategy through solution. What we're observing is that more and more customers are wanting us to take a stake in their outcome,” says Chand.