The complexity of global governance will reach new heights in 2024, and there should be preparedness for more disruption and volatility, according to Tata Sons Chairman N Chandrasekaran.
In his New Year message to employees of the Tata Group, Chandrasekaran identified three priorities -- execution, customer satisfaction and technology -- for the group as it moves forward with its transformation journey in the next year, asserting the next decade will belong to companies who excel in giving customers excellent experiences.
He described 2023 as "a tumultuous year", when the world faced an array of destabilising trends, from escalating geopolitical tensions to the mass adoption of generative AI (artificial intelligence) to the ever-accelerating push toward sustainability.
"Some of these trends have been welcome; others much less so. But all of them have made the rules and processes governing our world trickier to navigate and all of them have added to the pressure to adapt," Chandrasekaran said.
In the difficult global context, he said, "Our Group performed admirably in 2023. Our transformation following the principles of Simplification, Synergy, Scale, Sustainability, Supply Chain and AI has progressed well across our companies."
Among the many successes witnessed by the group, he listed Tata Technologies' IPO, and the announcement of new gigafactories as "exciting moves that I am confident will bring resilient growth for decades to come".
Also, in 2023, he said, the group's commitment to innovation and progress showed up clearly in its financial results as "the combined market capitalisation of Tata Group companies increased by 32 per cent, nearly double the rate of the Sensex, which rose by 17 per cent."
Looking ahead to 2024, he said, "We must be prepared for more disruption and volatility. The complexity of global governance will reach new heights as the world finds new rules to protect data privacy, curb inflation, reduce carbon emissions and perceptions of AI risk."
Further, he said, "Geopolitics is also a potential source of volatility. 2024 is a year of elections, with 40 nations heading to the polls."
While the near-term global outlook feels shadowed with uncertainty, he said, "India's future is bright. In 2023, we fared better than most. We showed admirable leadership at a historic G20 summit. Our economy is thriving, with GDP on track to double to USD 7 trillion over the next five years."
He asserted that India is poised to benefit from "the aforementioned shifts transforming the world. Generative AI, for example, is a potential antidote to our access and inequality problems provided we are careful and introduce the right rules".
Chandrasekaran picked India's lunar mission to become the first nation to successfully land a craft on the south pole of the moon with a modest investment of only Rs 600 crore and the Indian cricket team's journey in the World Cup despite losing the final as two stories that "stood out" in a year of encouraging news for India in 2023.
The confidence and attitude shown by Rohit Sharma's team on the way to the final was contagious, and a wonderful lesson in the value of resilience, preparation, mental strength and collaboration, he said, adding, "Such qualities will be crucial as the (Tata) group moves forward with our transformation journey next year."
In 2024, execution, customer satisfaction and technology are three areas to prioritise for the group, he said.
"Now that we know what we have to do, and our plans have momentum, we need to think hard about how we can execute flawlessly and with speed," Chandrasekaran said.
On customer satisfaction, he said, "The next decade will belong to companies who excel in giving customers excellent experiences. With our growing footprint in consumer businesses, we have to bring empathy to every interaction, be that in Air India, Tata Motors or Titan. Brand Tata must be recognisable across all companies."
Stressing the significance of technology, Chandrasekaran said, "Our Group's aim should not be merely to adopt, or adapt to, technology. We need to shape it and make it. This New Year, I urge each company to appoint an AI champion to proactively pursue the benefits of AI economically, operationally and socially."