The Corporate Digital Governance Summit 2017 was organized by the Academy for Innovation and Management (AIM) in collaboration with IIM Bengaluru on Monday, 15th May. It was one of the first corporate-level discussions on digital governance, which is a vital aspect of digital transformation.
An additional secretary from the central government, industry leaders and opinion makers across various fields came together to exchange ideas and concepts at the iconic event on this year’s theme – Digital Governance and Transformation in India. The event was graced by Dr Ajay Kumar, Additional Secretary to the Ministry of Electronics and IT, Government of India, as well as Mr. Anand Kripalu, MD and CEO of United Spirits Limited (USL) and Mr. Shiv Shivakumar, Chairman and MD of PepsiCo India.
Prof. Anil B Suraj, Centre for Public Policy at IIM Bangalore, set the context of the summit by highlighting the legal and contractual basis for digital governance. Dr. Ajay Kumar spoke about the Digital India program being implemented by the government. He explained the importance of many of the initiatives within the program to strengthen the IT ecosystem of the country for better governance. He noted that the need to push for digital payment channels and the opening of JanDhan accounts would help build a more financially inclusive society.
The talk by Dr. Ajay Kumar was followed by a stimulating discussion by a CEO panel moderated by the Academy for Innovation and Management’s Founder & Managing Director, Dr. Ram Nidumolu. The panel featured the CEOs of USL and PepsiCo India. The discussion revolved around the meaning, scope, relevance, need, and challenges of digital governance in relation to their companies, the industry and India. Mr. Shivakumar referred to business governance as the ‘why’ behind a company’s existence and the integrity of its values in relation to society. Mr. Anand Kripalu said that at the most fundamental level, governance is about “doing the right thing” with the law of the land.
The panel discussion then transitioned to challenges related to digital business governance in an organization. Mr. Shivakumar pointed out that the digital revolution is changing the consumer’s behavior where the customer has been given a voice and trust has gained more importance than the truth. He said, “Digital is giving rise to a host of businesses that remove the middle man and disaggregate whatever is happening. You take the music, travel and book industry, in all these industries the middle man adds no value. The digital business model becomes bigger than the physical model.” Mr. Anand Kripalu pointed out the need for digitization of regulations that would help standardize procedures and build transparency in businesses as well as in the government.
Both panelists agreed that digital governance was increasing the need for trust and accountability between the company and its consumers, and required the different silos in the companies to work together. Moreover, the success of a business in the current digital environment depends not only on the agility of the company’s strategy and decision making but also its ability to build digital capabilities among its employees.
The panel discussion was followed by audience interaction with the 100+ corporate executives and managers. Questions about data quality for digital governance, the role of non-traditional competition, the changing nature of decision making in a digital context, and the future of jobs were discussed. Questions came in through the WebEx-based Webinar, Facebook Live and Twitter during the audience interaction. A futuristic question, ‘When do you think a computer will join the board of directors?’ asked on Twitter won the award for the most interesting question, which was a copy of AIM’s founder Dr. Ram Nidumolu’s book on business leadership, “Two Birds in a Tree: Timeless Indian Wisdom for Business Leaders.”