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Navigating Digital Transformation With Ganesh Mahadevan

Portrait of Ganesh Mahadevan

Director, Chief Data and Insights Officer & Head of Digital Transformation

Key Takeaways

  • Ganesh Mahadevan has nearly two decades of experience in the IT Industry. He has worked with tech giants such as Accenture, SAP, and now Bosch. 

  • Besides having worked for Fortune 500 companies from the tech capital of India in Bangalore, Mahadevan is also enrolled in the country’s most prestigious MBA program for working executives.   

  • His lifelong curiosity, quest for knowledge, and large capacity for learning might be some of the reasons behind his massive success in the field of information technology. 

Ganesh Mahadevan works in Koramangala, Bangalore, the Silicon Valley of India. Despite being massively successful at his job as an executive leader in the IT industry, he believes in the power of continuing to upskill, learn, and grow.  Over 17 years of experience in the Information Technology (IT) industry has led him to his current executive job as Chief Data and Insights Officer and Head of Digital Transformation at Bosch Global Software Technologies (BGSW). As if that wasn’t impressive enough, he’s also currently enrolled in India’s flagship MBA program for working executives at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in Bangalore. 

An Expert at the Forefront of Technological Innovation

Mahadevan has worked in varied cross-functional leadership positions, from product development, innovation and technology, sales, and presales to delivery and thought leadership. Having previously worked with tech giants such as Atos, Accenture, and SAP Labs. He’s also co-authored a book on high-performance analytical appliance (HANA) technology titled "SAP HANA Cookbook." 

“At Bosch Global Software, my job is to keep exploring different avenues through which digitalization can help drive business. To identify technologies that can be leveraged to enable our business to run faster, simpler, and fit for the future. As a digital organization, we aim to simplify, connect, and transform business to achieve its objective.”  — Ganesh Mahadevan 

Ganesh has a wealth of knowledge and expansive practical experience in everything at the forefront of global technological innovation today. Data, AI, Cloud, SAP, Emerging Technologies you name it, he knows it, and he’s been there. He also has two patents, one for a smart pill box in the healthcare industry to support tuberculosis treatment and a second for professional software services aggregation. 

Working at Accenture vs. Bosch 

Comparing his experience at BGSW with that of Accenture, Mahadevan says that while both are Fortune Global 500 companies, they have very different organizational focus, position, and structure. Accenture is a global information technology consulting and services giant that’s a top player in the industry. Mahadevan worked as part of the core technology consulting division at Accenture. 

On the other hand, BGSW is the software wing of the Germany-based multinational engineering and technology conglomerate Bosch. So Bosch Global Software was designed for the sole purpose of driving more value and business for Bosch. Admittedly, Bosch is higher up the Fortune Global 500 list. Despite Accenture being the largest consulting firm in the world and the consulting company for more than three-quarters of the Fortune Global 500. 

Insights on Digital Transformation 

Ganesh Mahadevan broke down his insights on digital transformation strategy into a series of high-level steps to achieve success in digital transformation for us. He says one should always start with understanding the key basics of the business. 

Understanding the business model is also important because what might apply to an enterprise might not apply to a digitally native business model. Having understood the business model, the next step is to determine the strategic vision for digital transformation. To determine how it can align with organizational objectives—connecting all fronts, like technology, people, business, and customer needs. 

“Digital transformation is not a  purely technological problem. It requires sensitivity to business dynamics, market changes, and key stakeholders such as customers, consumers, partners, and sometimes even machines. ”  — Ganesh Mahadevan 

Further steps include integrating cross-functional aspects of the business to achieve organizational success. The next process involved more specialized steps according to the industry in question. For example, the Internet of Things (IoT) industry may look for ways to drive transformation in discrete process manufacturing. On the other hand, professional services organizations may focus their digital transformation on enhancing customer experience and so on. 

AI generated image of man holding a tablet with business insights graphed out in front of modern Indian city
This image was created with the assistance of DALL•E 3

The Power of Design Thinking 

Mahadevan approaches challenges in digital transformation with the help of a design thinking approach toward problem-solving. It is an extremely useful methodology for tackling complex, ill-formed, and abstract problems. It involves tackling technological problems in human-centric ways by first understanding the human needs involved. The design thinking process involves five main stages: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. 

Mahadevan believes this methodology can be applied in digital transformation processes to understand customer pain points. He says customers are usually vulnerable, unsure, and unable to articulate their needs or what they want from your business. Ganesh thinks it’s the business's responsibility to engage its customers with the help of design thinking. By understanding their needs, identifying their problems, and then coming up with solutions to those problems to drive business for your organization.  

The Future of Enterprise Resource Planning

The core of any organization is its enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, says Mahadevan. For those of our readers who do not have a technical background, an ERP is a type of software system that helps organizations automate and manage day-to-day core business activities for optimal performance. Core activities may include accounting, project management, risk management and compliance, supply chain operations, and procurement. The top 3 global leaders in ERP systems are SAP, Oracle NetSuite, and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central. 

However, according to Mahadevan, the core is not where technology innovation and digital transformation occurs. It involves the basics of running the everyday functions of a business. He says that innovation takes place at the edge of an organization. Meaning that new technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, and language learning models exist at the edge of a business, where they can drive business transformation.  

For Ganesh, the future of ERP includes integration with AI and Generative AI technologies by working with hyperscalers or large cloud service providers such as AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. He predicts that 2024 will be an interesting year for advancements in ERP technology. It is undergoing digital transformation and innovating AI-based ERP solutions by harnessing advanced machine learning algorithms. This will result in ERP systems having the ability to analyze large amounts of data in real-time and identify patterns to make intelligent predictions for the future. 

Cultural Shift Towards Technological Entrepreneurship

Ganesh looks at entrepreneurship as more of a culture in the current era of advancements within the field of information technology. He says it’s a school of thought. A way of thinking that demands innovation, creativity, and taking risks. Ganesh believes that the gig economy is the latest trend within this entrepreneurial culture, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a gig economy, companies hire independent workers or freelancers for temporary positions on all hierarchical levels for short-term commitments. Many remote jobs are based on this model, which offers more independence and flexibility in work at the expense of little to no job security. 

“The speed of technological advances, especially in AI, is mind-boggling. At this rate, I’m afraid we might reach technological singularity before 2045. ”  — Ganesh Mahadevan 

Mahadevan predicts that with the current advancement in AI technology, the future will involve monitoring and governing the global talent delivery network shift towards augmentation, distribution, and gig-based work. New challenges might arise with such technological advancements where the new global talent pool will have to be trained in terms of cultural sensitivity, cross-collaboration, and diversity inclusion. Interpersonal soft skills will also remain crucial in the digital sphere. So, ensuring a balance between soft skill development and digital inclusivity might be a big challenge for the next generation of IT leaders. 


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