raj nair amey

Raj Nair, president of IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry addressing the 110th Annual General Meeting at Taj Colaba, Mumbai | Amey Mansabdar

Digital disruption is the biggest challenge for today's businesses and companies should be ready to change completely and adopt to the evolving technologies or will perish, feels Raj Nair, who took over as the president of the IMC Chamber of Commerce and Industry on Wednesday.

Nair is also the chairman of Avalon Consulting, Avalon Global Research, Germinait Solutions and Ugam Solutions. Set up in 1989, Avalon is among the leading consulting firms in Asia. The company Ugam Solutions offers big data and analytics to retailers, brands and market research firms and counts five of top ten US retailers and four of the leading Australian retailers among its clients.

Speaking on the sidelines of the annual general meeting of IMC, he wanted to ensure that all the businesses and members of IMC understood the importance of and need to embrace changing technologies, which he feels is nothing short of a fourth industrial revolution.

“Today, the biggest problem is because of digital technology, every industry is getting hit... You have to change your business completely otherwise you are dead,” said Nair frankly.

We are fast moving into a world of connected devices and internet of things (IoT). He pointed out that currently global population was around 7 billion and there were 20 billion connected devices, which is expected to rise closer to 9 billion people and 150 billion connected devices in the coming decades.

Adoption of new technologies will make business processes more efficient, he said. He does not believe that things like automation, IoT and artificial intelligence will lead to job losses, but rather these technologies would give rise to totally new jobs and overall jobs will increase only over time. However, this would also need people to retrain themselves.

“Technology is going to create new jobs that are more respected and paying. Old generation that is not trainable there will be a problem, old generation that can be trained there will be no problem. Similarly, companies, which are not nimble, will get disrupted,” said Nair.

He said it is important that industry bodies like IMC to educate companies the need to adapt to the looming disruptions. IMC has a skilling expert committee, which does provide training in certain skills. The chamber is also collaborating with other corporates and industries in training people, Nair added.