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Julie Devoll, HBR: Welcome to the HBR Audio Quick Take. I’m Julie Devoll, Editor of Special Projects and Webinars at HBR. In this Digital Leaders Series, sponsored by Equinix, we ask technology executives about the strategies their companies have adopted to create a digital advantage.
In our first episode, we’re joined by Rakesh Inamdar, Senior Director of Core Infrastructure Services at Aon, to discuss everything from the strategic drivers of their technology investments to the key principles that underpin their infrastructure. Rakesh, thank you so much for joining us today.
Rakesh Inamdar, Aon: Thank you, Julie. I’m excited to be here.
Julie Devoll, HBR: Rakesh, to kick us off, tell us about Aon.
Rakesh Inamdar, Aon: Besides the Aon logos that you see on Manchester United jerseys across the globe, we are the world’s leading professional services firm in risk, retirement and health, mainly underpinned by our data and analytics platform. The combination of our proprietary data technologies and advisory services creates meaningful insights that help our clients reduce volatility and improve performance. So we are in the business of managing risk.
Julie Devoll, HBR: What were the business objectives that drove your C-suite to make the commitments and investments needed to become a leading digital business?
Rakesh Inamdar, Aon: For Aon, a risk mitigation business is ultimately based on its success at predicting the future. Investment in digital technology — such as big data analytics, elastic compute and AI — and in advanced network capabilities to connect them all is a priority to drive success for Aon.
Julie Devoll, HBR: As a digital leader, what business advantages does Aon have against competitors who may not be as far along in their digital transformation?
Rakesh Inamdar, Aon: There are a couple of different factors, Julie. The first one would be speed to market. Aon technology and platforms allow our business to move from ideation to market in the shortest time possible. Cost advantage, savings and run rate reductions allow our business to remain cost competitive. Innovation — the global on-demand footprint of capabilities that we have enabled — allows our business to continue to develop newer solutions and stay ahead of the competition. Even if the concept does not work, we are not hampered by fear of sunk costs. This drives a culture of innovation, and we believe in failing fast and trying more things.
Julie Devoll, HBR: What are the key features of the digital inf