Digital, new energy, supply chain resilience and health will be the themes of the over $100-billion Tata group's strategy going forward, according to its chairman N Chandrasekaran even as he asserted that all ambitions are contingent on learning to live with the coronavirus.
In his New Year address to the over 8 lakh employees of salt-to-software conglomerate, Chandrasekaran said businesses and society must adapt to the virus by preparing as "best we can for new outbreaks and variants. We are seeing this now with the spread of Omicron".
Reflecting on the year gone by, he said the group is becoming "simpler and financially stronger than we have been in a long time".
"We have also made good progress addressing our carbon footprint and positioning our companies to benefit from revolutionary new technologies.
"Our most important milestone this year culminated in our bid to win Air India. It is indeed a historic moment," Chandrasekaran said.
On the way forward, he said, "Our strategy, looking ahead, has four themes: digital, new energy, supply chain resilience, and health.
"Our companies are already adapting to these changes, and we are witnessing a stronger performance."
The group's new pilots and businesses, from 5G to TataNeu (digital platform) and Tata Electronics, are poised to benefit from these four themes going forward, he said.
Chandrasekaran said that as a business, the group can play its part in the evolution of India, with its ambitions to become a $3 trillion economy by 2024.
"We must keep pushing ourselves to be simpler, more sustainable, and more technologically advanced.
"If we do, we can push our company, and our country, forward."
However, he said "all ambitions are contingent on a more immediate concern: learning to live with coronavirus.
"Businesses and society must adapt to it by preparing as best we can for new outbreaks and variants.
"We are seeing this now with the spread of Omicron."
Asserting that "India's brilliant vaccine program has built a vast wall of protection", he said infections, so far, seem to be mild.
"But, we must be careful. This isn't time to let our guard down," he said, encouraging the group employees to follow the latest health protocols and take booster shots when they become available, not just for individuals, but families and communities.
Chandrasekaran reminded the employees that a year ago, when it has hoped that the worst of the pandemic was seen, but the second wave sadly proved much more difficult than the first.
Expressing sympathies to those who have lost loved ones to the pandemic, he said communities, families, and individuals have suffered a great deal.
While the peak of the second wave was a difficult period, Chandrasekaran expressed pride at how the Tata Group responded to the challenges and "showed the courage and selflessness in the Tata spirit".
"We supplied hospitals with life-saving oxygen and expanded healthcare capacity so more could get the treatments they needed. It was an incredible effort, and I want to thank each one of you and your families for all you put in," he said.
Chandrasekaran further said, "Your COVID-19 contribution is all the more impressive because it coincided with an excellent year for our businesses. Tata Group companies did well, not only in terms of financial performance but also in executing our transformation agenda."