A Board’s Eye View of Digital in Enterprise

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What is common between Merck, Sberbank, Krung Thai Bank, Midea Group, State Bank of India, Stanley Black and Decker, Ford Otosan, Olam International, DBS Group, Cielo, Rentokil Initial, Posco, China Telecom, and Unilever? Apart from being large global enterprises, they are also a part of the 100 Global Gems of Digital Enterprise list – the front runners in exploiting digital to transform and perform.

The 100 Global Gems of Digital Enterprise list was released by Coeus Age, a fast-growing research organization based out of India. The coveted list is part of a global research report titled ‘A Board’s Eye View of Digital in Enterprise’, conducted by Coeus Age between November 2018 and March 2019.

Gauging ‘Digital in Enterprise’

The aim of the research was to gauge the ‘digital in enterprise’ phenomenon in companies. For this Coeus Age scanned through reams of data to figure how digital had become part of the business strategy of companies.  In all, 1,750 large enterprises from the Forbes 2000 list of 2018, across 19 industries and 60 sub industries, 6 continents, and 62 countries were covered. The research scored each enterprise on four dimensions and ten sub dimensions. The four dimensions were –Spread of Digital in the Narrative, Strategic Appreciation of Digital, Concrete Adoption of Digital and Support Environment for Digital. Each enterprise could obtain a maximum score of 30.

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“This is a first of its kind list of top 100 Enterprises, as seen from the digital lens. Though ‘digital in enterprise’ is a nascent phenomenon, our study suggests that it is already a broad based one. It shall become more prominent over the next five to seven years”, said Dr Kapil Dev Singh, Principal Research Analyst and CEO, Coeus Age.

Diversity by Industry and Geography

The report reveals that the global gems of digital enterprise hailed from diverse geographies and industries. The list of 100 Global Gems of Digital Enterprise (GGODE) was obtained by arranging the enterprises by their respective Digital Scores. These enterprises are early and successful adopters of ‘digital in enterprise’ to transform and perform.

  • Merck of Germany is at the top of the list followed by Sberbank of Russia. The third spot is occupied by 5 enterprises with a common score – Krung Thai Bank (Thailand), Midea Group (China), SEB SA (France), Siam Cement Group (Thailand), and State Bank of India (India).
  • Another 6 with a common score occupy the fourth spot Schaeffler (Germany), Stanley Black & Decker (USA), DBS Group (Singapore), Banco Santandar (Spain), Novartis (Switzerland) and Naspers (South Africa)
  • Among the countries, USA leads the 100 GGODE list with 9 enterprises, followed by Germany and Japan (8 each); France and UK (7 each); Spain, China, and India (6 each), and Korea (4).
  • However, continent-wise, Europe and Asia (excluding west Asia) lead the list with 40 enterprises each.
  • In terms of industry verticals, Banking and Financial Services leads the list with 38 enterprises, followed by B2C Marketing (9), Energy & Utilities and Telecom (7 each) and Auto (5).

The list can also be seen by countries and industries.

  • Itau Unibanco Holdings (BFS), Fineco Bank (BFS), Toyota Motors (Auto), ING Group (BFS), Etisalat (Telecom), and GlaxoSmithKline (Bio and Pharma) are leaders in Brazil, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, UK and Turkey.
  • Rentokil Initial (UK), Larsen and Toubro (India), Red Electrica (Spain), Olam International (Singapore), Ceconomy (Germany) and Sompo (Japan) are leaders in the B2B, Construction, Energy and Utilities, Food and Beverages, Retail, and Insurance industries.

“Though the 100 Global Gems of Digital Enterprises are concentrated in few countries and industries, there is a broad representation across 29 countries and 18 industry verticals. This shows that over time, the ‘digital in enterprise’ phenomenon will become widespread as more and more company boards become conscious about its relevance and importance’, said Dr. Kapil Dev Singh.

What Makes Global Gems of Digital Unique?

What emerged from the study was that the leading digital enterprises of the world have some unique characteristics that set them apart from others. The research found the Global Gems of Digital Enterprise to have an explicitly stated big vision or dream about the way the future shall unfold.

For instance, Olam ‘reimagines global agriculture,’ Toyota ‘envisions a connected world,’ and Sberbank ‘strives for a global ecosystem.’

They see themselves playing a big role in crafting that dream, and there is a deep sense of purpose and the goal to be achieved. E.g., Merck is ‘passionate about discovering better drugs through cross border collaborations,’ Midea ‘wants to be a global leader,’ and Posco ‘aims at building smartness across the value chain.’ Not only is the dream lofty, it’s also firmly grounded. They, in no unequivocal terms, weave digital in their strategic discourse, how the new and emerging technologies such as big data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, and internet of things shall be exploited to support the strategic route to realize the big dream. They have a broad-based adoption of a range of emerging digital technologies across multiple business domains for a business centric platform to emerge. This is over the traditional IT as defined in terms of infrastructure and applications such as ERP, CRM, eProcurement, SCM etc.

For the Gems of Digital Enterprise, it’s not digital per se that is important, but its strategic import that is more relevant. They give primacy to the quality of strategy, digital is just an important weapon in the arsenal, an enabler.

These enterprises are also transforming their enterprise through interventions such as culture change, leadership orientation, skill building, new structures of implementation and practicing clearly defined metrics and KPIs. Not only are they focussed on their enterprise but are equally active in building a greater enterprise, one which brings digital start-ups, R&D labs and academic institutions under their ambit for driving the innovation in the digital engine. E.g. Cielo ‘is busy nurturing, closer relationships with the ecosystem of innovation at universities, startups, and other companies,’ and Toyota ‘is running an innovation program Toyota Next.’”

Digital as the Cornerstone of a New Strategic Paradigm

“Enterprises are witnessing a new business paradigm, in which they will have to relentlessly create Small Windows of Competitive Advantage (SWOCA) to survive and thrive.

An insight that clearly emanates from the performance data of enterprises, measured in terms of year-on-year revenue growth, year-on-year net profit growth and the profit margin. When compared across four sets of enterprises (top 13, top 59, top 100 by digital score and all 656 sampled), there is no significant difference in the revenue growth and net profit margin, but there is a clear difference between their revenue growth figures. This indicates a direct and strong correlation between the digitals score and the net profit margin. The higher the digital score, the higher the net profit margin.

It hints at an emerging paradigm of business where it’s becoming difficult to grow revenues, given the high degree of disruption and the unwillingness of the customers to pay more even for better customer experience. This, coupled with increasing input costs is squeezing the margins. More and more industries are finding answers to this dilemma of falling revenues and growing costs by utilizing digital and tweaking their business models. E.g., banks are alluring customers to online banking and are using chat bots to address their queries.

Innovative Methodology

Coeus Age scanned, coded and analysed vast amount of content that is contained in annual reports of the large enterprises. A painstaking process that involved a framework creation, scanning and coding of content and analysis using the framework, took 12 man-months of efforts.

In terms of depth, Coeus Age analysts sifted through thousands and thousands of pages (330,000 to be precise) looking for the narrative around digital (and related aspects that make it) to decode the construct of ‘digital in enterprise’. In total 62,000 digital-related words were identified, and 3,771 chunks of qualitative content were analysed.

Coeus Age is a fast-growing research and consulting organization that develops deep and actionable insights for rekindling business growth. It helps the clients embrace a new growth paradigm in the age of digital disruption.

Coeus Age has always been the first mover in demystifying the construct of Digital Enterprise. It was the first in defining Digital Enterprise holistically (2014), highlighting the importance of Platform Thinking (2016), and discovering the Gems of Digital Enterprise in India (2017) and Gems of Digital India (eGovernance) (2017, 2018). In 2018, Coeus Age took a global stride by launching the initiative A Board’s Eye View of Digital in Enterprise and releasing the first list of 100 Global Gems of Digital Enterprise.

Coeus Age was started by Dr. Kapil Dev Singh, an industry analyst of high repute, who in his earlier stint headed IDC in India for a long 8 years. After moving out from IDC in 2010 and completing his doctorate in 2014, Dr. Singh focussed on spear heading research and consulting on Digital Enterprise.

Dr. Singh has authored several books during this period, notable ones being The Platform Thinking, LEADDDING, Thriving in a Data Economy, 51 Gems of Digital India, CIO Leading Change and Looking Inward.,,


Domestic IT spend to grow 11.9% to Rs 2.59 Lakh Crores in 2019

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Press Release – Immediate

In 2019

  • India domestic IT spend is estimated to grow at 11.9%, reaching INR 2,60,000 Crores
  • Spend on emerging digital technologies[1] by the Enterprise and Government segments to grow at 29% over 2018, thus accounting for 30% of their overall IT spend
  • The growing emerging digital technologies spend shall offset the otherwise stagnating and commoditized hardware and software markets (PC, Server, Storage, Networking, and In-premise Enterprise Software)
  • The Second Wave of Digital in the form of emerging technologies like AI, ML, Big Data Analytics, RPA and IoT shall firm up further


Gurgaon/ Delhi NCR, January 01, 2019.

India domestic IT spending is estimated to grow at 11.9% in 2019 and reach a size of INR 259,762 Crores. The spending grew at 11.5% in 2018 as against a start-of-year prediction of 11.6%. This was revealed by Coeus Age, a fast-growing research organization, in its annual research report India Business and IT Priorities 2019.

The research report is based upon inputs of 108 CIOs/ IT Heads of very large, large and medium sized Indian enterprises. Inputs were sought regarding their business priorities and IT plans for 2019.


‘After an aberration in 2017 due to the disruption caused by the structural changes undertaken in the form of demonetization and GST roll out, the IT spend growth bounced back in 2018. This is on the back of a revival of the Indian economy, which is expected to continue through 2019, translating into a growth of 11.9% in the IT spend’, commented Dr. Kapil Dev Singh, CEO, Coeus Age.

The report reveals that the growth is catalysed by enterprise and government spending on digital and consumer spending on smartphones and digital services. In 2018 digital spend by enterprise and government segments put together, grew by 27.5% over 2017, accounting for 25.2% of their overall IT spend. The proportion of spend on digital is estimated to grow to almost 30% in 2019, implying a growth of 29% over 2018. The commoditized traditional hardware and software products (PC, Server, Storage, Networking, and In-premise Enterprise Software) spend is estimated to grow at slightly below 4%.

There is also an expressed interest by the enterprises towards exploring the latest digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence (68%[2]), big data analytics (60%), machine learning (46%), and Internet of Things (40%).


‘We had predicted that the second wave of digital represented by the likes of AI, ML, RPA and IOT would gain traction in 2018 and shall become mainstream in 2019. That is becoming a reality as the interest of the enterprise and government customers is converting into ‘on the ground’ concrete projects. This is evident in many industry verticals such as BFSI, Automobile, Healthcare, Infrastructure, Utilities, Oil & Gas etc.’  commented Dr. Kapil Dev Singh.


For press enquiries contact Dr. Kapil Dev Singh at +91-9811771187 or mail at

About Coeus Age

Coeus (Koios) was the Greek Titan of intelligence, the axis around which the heavens revolved. In the current age, enterprise intelligence is the axis around which organizing takes place, a true source of strategic advantage and success.

Coeus Age is a fast-growing research and consulting organization that is continuously developing actionable insights for the business and government leaders build value amid digital disruption.


[1] Social Media, Mobility, Analytics, Cloud (Wave1 of Digital);

Big Data Analytics, IoT, AI, ML, RPA, Blockchain (Wave 2 of Digital); and

Cyber Security, Hyper Converged and Software Defined Infrastructure (Digital-ready Infrastructure)

[2] Percentage of CIOs Planning to Implement

India domestic IT spend to grow at 12.9% to reach Rs. 2.14 lakh crores in 2017

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India domestic IT spend to grow at 12.9% in 2017, thus reaching INR 214,012 Crores

Digital technologies to account for 18% of the total IT spend

67% of the enterprises  see Digital as one of the top 2 IT priorities



Gurgaon/ Delhi NCR, December 29, 2016.

India domestic IT spending is estimated to grow at 12.9% in 2017 and reach a size of INR 2,14,012 Crores. The spending grew at 12.3% in 2016 as against a start of year prediction of 13.5%. This was revealed by Coeus Age Consulting in its annual research report Enterprise Business Priorities and IT Plans, India, 2017.

The research report is based on inputs from 100 + CIOs/ IT Heads of very large, large and medium sized Indian enterprises regarding their business priorities and IT plans for 2017.

‘The domestic IT spend has been gradually picking up since its lowest in 2013. This is supported by the emerging strength of fundamentals in the Indian economy, despite the global challenges. With the new tax regime becoming a reality and a massive push by the government on digital, the growth shall pick pace by 2018’, commented Dr. Kapil Dev Singh, Founder and CEO, Coeus Age Consulting.

The performance in 2016 has been below the estimates given the delays in GST implementation and passing of other key economic legislations. The stage now seems to be set for their implementation and emergence of a supportive business environment. The passing of Aadhaar Act, 2016 to spur eGovernance initiatives and the massive push by the government on digital economy, the IT and digital spend will receive a major boost in 2017 and beyond.

The spending on digital (SMAC+) (by the enterprise and government sectors) will grow at 43% to touch 38, 522 INR Crores in 2017. This will be 18% of the overall IT spend.

The study also revealed that 67% of the responding CIOs see digital technologies as one of the top 2 IT priorities for 2017, up from 53% in 2016 and 40 % in 2015.

This is further complimented by 33% and 26% of the CIOs putting architectural or applications overhaul respectively as one of the two priorities for 2017. It shows that majority of CIOs are planning to upgrade their underlying infrastructure and applications for allowing a deeper play of the digital technologies in 2017.

‘The initial flirting with digital technologies in a piecemeal manner is giving way to serious building of digital and converging it with the underlying IT infrastructure and applications. The transformation journey for many Indian enterprises shall begin in 2017, which shall spread to become main stream in the coming years. Today, the boards of many enterprises are asking difficult questions and their CEOs are very seriously contemplating as to how digital can be leveraged to build value’, commented Dr. Kapil Dev Singh.

For inquiries contact Dr. Kapil Dev Singh at +91-9811771187 or mail him at

About Coeus Age Consulting

Coeus (Koios) was the Greek Titan of intelligence, the axis around which the heavens revolved. In the current age, enterprise intelligence is the axis around which organizing takes place, a true source of strategic advantage and success.

Coeus Age Consulting is a next-generation knowledge domain service provider. Coeus Age Consulting intends to bring the latest thinking in the field of leadership, strategic management, economics, process management, information management, and organizational development to enterprises; and enable them to build business value from IT and digital.


3 Questions related to building a Digital Enterprise!

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We believe every organization in every industry needs an evaluation of its digital foray. It’s a myth that only certain industries are embracing digital and all others can continue with traditional ways of doing business. It’s the right time for an evaluation and creating a fitting digital strategy.

Embracing digital and undertaking transformation requires enterprises to change. The change is not simply supeficial but also at the deeper levels. We have identified 3 essential questions, based upon the 7 aspects of market, strategy, capabilities, boundaries, leadership, culture, and technololgy. The enterprise leadership needs to evaluate the organization using the 3 questions before undertaking any meaningful digital journey.

We present a brief description of an assessment framework to do so. The framework is built upon integrating three important aspects- the external market synch, the capabilities and their exploitation and the internal

Let’s understand each of these three aspects.

1. The External Market Synch

Digital onslaught can come in various forms, many a time in small ways but with hidden dangers of becoming big. Are you aware of what’s happening in your industry and in the market place? There are three broad ways in which challenge may manifest.

– Known competitors may be adopting digital to enhance their market reach or their capability to produce next gen quality products or becoming more efficient in carrying out operations. Each one of them is a potential challenge for you.

– Unknown competition from other industries may be extracting a higher share of the consumers’ wallet. E.g. DTH is foraying into areas, which are a direct competition to other entertainment options like movies and game arenas.

– New forms of supply and distribution intermediaries emerging, challenging the market power of the traditional players. They may provide better products, superior services and compete on cost.

2. The (Digital) Capability and its Exploit

An organization cannot become digital for the sake of it. The specifics in terms of how much, why and how should ideally be determined by assessing what capabilities the organization needs to compete and how should digital help build or exploit those capabilities.

A digital capability is not just about technology (though technology is an integral part of it), but about the organizational processes and people competencies, which can be leveraged strategically and exploited for competitive advantage.  These organizational processes may already exist and be converted into capabilities by technology or newer processes can be created with the help of technology. In both the cases organizational capabilities, which are required to compete can be created and exploited.

The question how much digital to go and in what areas to focus should ideally be answered by an assessment of what specific capabilities are existing and must be exploited (or new capabilities must be built and exploited).

3. The Internal Digital Readiness

Once an assessment of the synch with the market place and the capabilities and their exploitation, the internal readiness must be assessed. The internal assessment is not absolute but relative to what specific capabilities have been identified.

The internal readiness has two important aspects-

  • Organizational Enablers (the leadership focus, supporting culture and enabling structures)
  • Technology (the mash-up of core, catalyst and digital technologies)

For a customized presentation on the research findings on Digital Enterprise and how it can help your business, write to us at

Broken Process = Broken Business

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Organizations need agility to survive in an increasingly VUCA environment (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous). They need to develop capabilities to sense the environmental shifts, assess the implications on their business and act accordingly. And they need to do all this together and very fast. Digital technologies promises to enable them to become agile. Agility is a process centered construct and digital driven enterprise- a connected, smart and intelligent enterprise, is the future.

The biggest enemy of a digital enterprise are the broken processes. For ages, a truly process-centric organization, which transcends the functional divide, has remained an unfulfilled dream. Organizations have evolved on the principals of distribution of labor based upon the nature of task and specialization. This has created silos, which operate as separate entities, only shaking hands from a distance. This specialization and the related economic rationale has defined what remains within an organization’s boundary and what is outsourced.

The marketing, customer service and the production functions, each operate in their own silos with their own processes, which often lack integration. They are all working towards finding, serving and retaining the same customer but in their own ways. Huge structural mechanisms have been created to integrate them together. But structural mechanisms have their own limitations and the gap remains.

I recently received a mail from my telecom service provider for a post-paid offer. The irony is that I am already a post-paid customer with two connections. It seems the process of acquiring new customers is not well integrated with the customer database, in other words the right hand does not know what the left hand is doing. I had another incident with my bank where I requested for generation of a new telephone pin. I made that request at the local branch and to my utter surprise, it took the bank three requests and four months to deliver my TPIN. Finally, the staff at the local branch requested it to be sent to them instead of me. I understand that the process broke somewhere. And that broken process may mean that the bank loses customers.

I am sure, there are multiple such examples, which each one of us is experiencing day in and day out with our banks, telecom operators, hospitals etc.

The process breaks can happen in three broad domains- within function, across functions and across enterprises.

1. Within Function

When processes within a particular function break, the functional capability suffers. E.g. when the lead generation process is not integrated well with the sales function, many leads may fall through the crack. I have seen umpteen examples, where manual interventions to integrate the two fail miserably. The mail I received from the telco is an example of such a break. Similar examples can be cited from other functions, e.g. when inventory process is not integrated with the work in progress process, a real time stock situation cannot be ascertained. Another example can be the process of bank reconciliation, which is done by importing transactional data into excel and analyzing it.

2. Across Functional Boundaries

When the process break happens across two or more functions in the same organization, the organizational capability suffers. E.g. when the production processes are not well integrated with inventory and the financial processes, the organizational decision making suffers. It may negatively impact the capability of an organization to become a cost leader. This is a typical situation in most of the organizations.

3. Across Enterprise Boundary

When processes between an organization and its partners, distributors, suppliers and institutions break, an ecosystem level capability suffers. E.g. in order to drive production with lean inventory and reduce downtime due to quality of the input material, a seamless process linkage with the suppliers is required. This may in turn impact an organization’s ability to reduce time to market and gain cost leadership.

Digital technologies enable communication between people, processes, machines and objects, thus providing solutions to the problem of process integration. The biggest advantage of digital is that they can create seamless processes within and across organizational functions and across the organizational boundary.

Businesses need to continually review the process breaks at different levels and their likely impact on the organizational capability to compete in an increasingly VUCA environment.

 For More Insightful Blogs Visit Leading DigitallyMaximum Governance or CIO Leading Change

5 Growth Challenges the Contemporary CEOs Face!

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The growth journey of India Inc is passing through a different phase. It is also a difficult phase. The phase is different and difficult as compared to the earlier decade, where businesses witnessed huge growths. The environment has become relatively volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous due to both global and national issues. Many businesses are facing difficulty in growing and that too profitably.

I have been working with many such organizations and found five challenges they face with respect to growth. I have also been working with them on resolving these challenges by adopting change process aimed at making their organizations more adequate and ready for growth.

1. The Market Challenge

When the market itself is not growing or there are alternatives available in the market for the customers, growing the business becomes difficult. The challenge also arises when there is an over dependence on single market or on single product/ service line or methods of manufacturing.  I have also come across businesses where over dependence on a single customer (e.g. in OEM driven ancillary businesses) becomes a challenge. The internal side of the challenge manifests itself in the form of organizational processes and capabilities developed only from the perspective of single product, service, technology, market or customer.

It’s not that such organizations do not attempt at developing new lines of business but any attempt to move beyond the existing is difficult, to say the least. Its something every CEO must seriously introspect upon even before the crisis starts to unfold. It takes time to build alternative business lines and a timely action is very important.

Solution- Define New Markets

2. The Fixed Cost – Variable Revenue Challenge

Cost in itself is not a challenge. After all, who can do business without incurring costs? The real challenge is when costs become fixed and revenue becomes variable. The upside is certainly good but downside is extremely harmful. Many CEOs are struggling with this challenge where in an eventuality of low revenue growth, the impact comes directly on profitability. Some of the common fixed cost heads they struggle with are the employees cost, over heads and the financial costs.

How can these costs be made variable is the endeavor of these CEOs. It’s a business model issue and involve decisions like disrupting the existing value chain, creating a new value chain, digitizing the value chain, building information based decision making, driving innovation, creating new relationships with suppliers and partners, exploring outsourcing of non core activities, building extended organizational capabilities etc.

Solution- Redesign Business Model

3. The Capability Challenge

If the first challenge was about lack of opportunities, this challenge is about inability to tap the opportunity knocking at the door. The capability challenge is the lack of organizational systems’ development to handle growth. In many such organizations the market offers growth opportunities, but the internal bandwidth is so clogged that their ability to deliver becomes highly compromised. Such organizations are in the early stages of their life cycle and do not focus adequately on developing the systems and processes as they transit over to the subsequent stages. They continue with old ways of working, which were relevant when they were small.

Their decision making is generally centralized at the top, use of technology is low, process metrics are either not defined or data not available, formalization is low, people are not skilled, practices are not standardized and institutionalized. In a nutshell, the organization lacks discipline required for handling available growth opportunities. It more often than not creates chaos for itself.

Solution- Streamline Processes

4. The Leadership Challenge

Leadership challenge is one of the important dimensions of the capability challenge but deserves a special mention. The founder or promoter CEO faces the dilemma of letting go of the control in favor of decentralized decision making and institutionalization of policies. Another related and relevant phenomenon the promoters face is that of succession planning.  Many of them want their next generation to join the board. The second line of command needs grooming to take up independent responsibilities. How are these transitions managed has a big bearing on the capability of the organization and its ability to handle growth.

The emergence of multiple power centers, the power parleys and the power struggle, which often accompanies such transition, can be detrimental to the health of the organization if not managed and contained in time.

Solution- Recast Leadership

5. The Funds Challenge

Financial resource is the life blood of any business. Many businesses find funds challenge hindering their growth potential. There are many reasons for which the funds challenge may emerge. Some of these challenges are external (like high interest rates, market downturn, liquidity issues etc.), while others are internal (like lack of focus on collections, cash flow issues, big leveraged buyouts, bad investments etc.).

Solution- Cut Waste and Conserve Cash

Of course the biggest challenge happens when multiple or all of these five challenges arise together. They are interrelated and one challenge feed into the another. As a CEO you must introspect upon the following five questions.

– Is your organization aware of the challenges it faces?

– Which of these challenges is your organization currently facing?

– Are some of these challenges still latent but may emerge in future?

– Are you taking coherent steps to deal with these challenges?

– How are you dealing with these challenges?

 For More Insightful Blogs Visit Leading DigitallyMaximum Governance or CIO Leading Change

Are we ready for Surajya or Participatory Governance?

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I recently watched the second anniversary of initiative on the television.  Shri Narendra Modi, honorable Prime Minister of India, spoke at length about the virtues of participatory governance. He even termed it as digital governance. Well, participatory and digital are intrinsically related as the later enables the former. It is very inspiring to see the vision, the will and the enabling structures on ground to operationalize the construct of participatory governance.

But is that enough? May be not? That’s at best a good and an honest start. But there is a lot more, which is required beyond the digitally enabled citizen interface. There is a much bigger task remaining, that of building the capacity to handle participatory governance. Based on our baseline research on eGovernance in India, it seems that the work is in progress towards building the capacity but a lot remains to be done.

Why is building capacity so important?

Participative governance is not just about a citizen interface. It may take only some efforts to build a functional interface on any device the citizen may want. That’s good for opinion seeking or lending an ear to listen to people’s grievances.  But that’s not enough for responding with a concrete response.

Participative GovernanceE.g. one of the state governments started an app based service to upload the pictures of garbage citizens may want to be cleared. The app is tagged with the time and location data to ensure that it is a genuine problem. It would trigger the process internally to ensure that someone comes and collects the garbage. The app can help track the time elapsed between the request was triggered and the garbage collected. The real test of the app shall happen when it can help close the loop by posting photos with time and location stamp post garbage clearing. The sheer volume of requests by the citizens has to be handled and each loop has to be closed.   Similarly in case of citizens or citizen groups participating in planning, implementation and monitoring of e-governance services, the government machinery has to work closely with and respond to them. Does the government has the the capacity to do so?

What is capacity?

Capacity is the process, people and structural readiness to deal with citizen requests for services through digital interfaces. Digital can also play a big role in building the capacity through providing a platform for process re-engineering, people (re)skilling and change management around the platform.capacity imageCitizens want empowerment or the power to suggest, question or prod government agencies and agents. There are multiple occasions when each one of us wants to intervene to report an incidence of both commission and omission on part of government agents or even certain kind of citizen behaviors. E.g. a traffic cop taking bribe or chaos in a government office or someone refusing to give the service or someone driving odd numbered car on an even day. Citizens can participate if an interface is provided for them to intervene using a simple mobile app and much better by adding capacity to respond to the citizens’ actions. That’s true engagement and that’s true participative democracy to me.

That will surely require building the adequate capacity beyond the interface.  I am sure we citizens want to participate on many such occasions. To enable participation at these points, it will require both the interface and the capacity to handle the problem. In fact it must start with the vision of those in power, whether they are ready to really empower people. The vision must reflect in the policies adopted by the state. E.g. many states in India are embracing Right to Service in their policies, which is a welcome change.

As part of Maximum Governance initiative, we at Coeus Age have developed a model to map the progression of an e-governance project through five stages of depth – basic information, advanced information, interaction, transaction and participation or involvement. According to a baseline mapping of 1600 projects across India, 21 % qualify as transaction or participation (the later is only a minuscule less than 1 %).

Many projects of interaction type may give the impression of participation but they are simple interface projects without the ability to transact and make room for true participation. True Surajya shall come when each one us will have a say in what’s happening around us and we shall be empowered digitally to act.

For More Insightful Blogs Visit Leading DigitallyMaximum Governance or CIO Leading Change