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Cover Story- Interviews (10-14)

| 3/2/2017 8:50 PM Thursday

Madhusudhan KM
Chief Technology Officer, Mindtree

"IT spend will increase over next 4-5 years"

How has the technology ecosystem been evolving in the country with respect to adoption of technology?

The mainstream digital technologies are Mobile, Cloud, Social, Big Data & Analytics. All the leading IT service players are well positioned and invested in this space. The new technologies that will power Digital transformation for enterprises are IoT, Cognitive Computing, VR/AR, Blockchain & Autonomic Computing. There is a huge market opening up in these spaces not just in US/Europe but also in India. NASSCOM predicts that IoT market will touch USD 15 billion in India by 2020. There are a number of interesting startups solving various enterprise problems using these emerging technologies. NASSCOM is also supporting this movement in a big way. One such example is the creation of an IoT Centre of Excellence, launched at NASSCOM’s startup warehouse in Bangalore.

Do you see Indian businesses increasing their IT spending in the times to come? 

Gartner recently predicted that IT spending in India will reach USD 72.4 billion in 2017. Another NASSCOM report indicates that the Government of India is committed to spend 1B USD on Smart Cities. There were seven Indian firms that were featured in the “Fortune 500” list in 2016. This will definitely increase by 2020. This means, all these firms and other emerging firms across industry verticals will look at transforming themselves using digital technologies. Therefore, there are several indications that IT spend will increase in India over the next 4-5 years.

How in the true sense can India become a digital economy? 

India is extremely well positioned to become a digital economy with India stack in place, which is a combination of Aadhaar, UPI, eKYC and Digilocker. With the central theme being financial inclusion, and the intent to reach the grassroot level, India is positioned extremely well to become a digital economy. Post demonetisation, Paytm’s traffic increased by 435%, app downloads grew 200%, and there was 250% rise in overall transactions and transaction value.

Glory Nelson - Senior Vice President - IT, SpiceJet

"Technology is used to handle technology disruptions"

Can you specifically tell us how technology is helping SpiceJet in cutting down its cost and improve efficiency? What are the new technological initiatives undertaken by SpiceJet in recent times which has impacted business operations ?

In a first-of-its-kind initiative by any airline in the country, we launched Smart Check-in facility using BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy) and NFC (Near Field Communication) technologies at the Hyderabad Airport in close coordination with GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. (GHIAL). This feature is available for all SpiceJet customers who have booked their tickets through the SpiceJet Mobile App. The most interesting feature about this application is that the customer does not require carrying the itinerary printouts nor has to Key-in the PNR number to initiate Check in. Customers can also avail a touchless beacon based check-in to receive their boarding pass on the smartphone. In another use-case, we have implemented self-service check in and bag tag printing from SITA CUSS kiosks across Mumbai airport. The initiative will not only improve customer convenience but will also ensure ease of operation by knocking off the long queues and decongesting the check-in counters.

As the ways to do business is evolving across the globe: how do you see the role of technology in airline industry? 

While the airline industry has a huge contribution towards globalization of the world economy, the sector is highly dynamic and characterised with cut-throat competition. Aviation being a highly customer centric industry, besides assuring enhanced customer satisfaction, reiterating the value proposition of the services that one offers becomes critical to create the desired brand ifferentiation. Thus it becomes imperative for the industry to keep itself adept to new innovations and technologies. Summarising the Role of Technology should bring in simplicity in our complex business structure. 

What are the future technologies which SpiceJet is looking at in order to improve upon its rivals? 

Spicejet is looking at IoT, AR, BOTS to improve customer experience and to reduce cost.

Sangram Kadam - AVP and Head, KPIT Technologies

"Automation & digital to contribute heavily in our revenues"

How has been the technology ecosystem evolving in the country with respect to adoption of technology?

I see a big shift in how both government and corporates in India have moved forward to adopt technology. In the recent years, two forces—the internet and mobility—have been central to this, and in some cases even leapfrogged organisations to transform from being low adopters of technologies to digitalfirst enterprises. 

What has also emerged, as a result, is that adoption of information technology and digital transformation no longer remain a CIO-driven mandate. Technology has progressed to meet larger, as well as strategic enterprise goals traversing finance, sales, human resources and marketing functions. While strengthening backend processes using ERP (enterprise resource management) and CRM (customer relationship management) continue to remain core, enterprises are exploring new technologies such as cloud, big data, IoT (Internet of Things), virtual and augmented reality to radically change the way customers engage. 

The next two decades will be that of exponential growth. Investments in technology to support digitisation will accelerate to give Indian firms the opportunity to compete faster globally and come out with more digital-based business models. To fully leverage the benefits of technology, businesses will need a partner that is nimble and agile, and at the same time brings the technological expertise and experience to drive outcome

What role is KPIT Technologies playing in the Indian markets to help its client when it comes to technology adoption?

In India, we have built good traction for our IT and engineering services across industries, led by our unique strength in integrating IT and OT or operational technology. When IT (Software-as-aService and mobility) converges with OT (Smart Things, Predictive Analytics), it results in Intelligent Solutions – Smart Manufacturing, Smart Grids, etc. to give customers enhanced service and a new revenue model where we predict outcomes based on varying utilisation levels of solutions within the enterprise.

We are working with various enterprises that are at the cusp of adopting technologies to redefine their business outcomes as well as those companies which are moving from legacy to newer technology platforms based on digital solutions. In the manufacturing space, we provide IoT solutions for shop floor management to help customers enhance their productivity and deliver customer value.

Life sciences is an area where we have started partnerships. With growth of social media and prospective subjects/ patients sharing their concerns related to medical field in social platforms, life science companies are spending money to monitor this data and reach out to people proactively, thus creating a trust relationship with patients. In the energy sector, we have a wind farm monitoring and action platform called IntelliWind that visualises, analyses, predicts and diagnoses wind turbine performance.

Automotive, which contributes significantly to our revenues, is another area where we are working with customers on cutting-edge technologies in the domains of connected and autonomous vehicles, remote monitoring and diagnostics and ADAS (advanced driver assistance systems) Our other area of business is products and platforms for IT solutions. 

Over the last few years, we have developed products such as smart electric bus and ITS (intelligent transport systems), which are in line with Government of India’s smart cities, Digital India and Make in India initiatives. Amongst the other products, we see good growth potential in automotive diagnostics, AUTOSAR (Automotive Open System Architecture) and infotainment.

D D Mishra
Research Director, Gartner

"Technology driven creative destruction of organisations are essential to their success"

The ways to do business are evolving across the globe, so how do see the role of technology?

 Today, the way I see it is that every company is becoming a technology company. Technology is no longer an important enabler but part of business itself. Digital business is reshaping industries and redefining the role of IT. Every business will be a digital business, and every leader needs to be a digital leader. A significant shift is happening in the control of business over technology and we will see more shift towards business-driven technology procurement decisions. Gradually, the technology folks are also seen playing bigger business roles as the role of a digital officer is becoming significant and more powerful. More and more, we see that IT is becoming a broker. Hence, the demarcation between business and technology has already diminished and they have intertwined so much that it is difficult now to differentiate the two.

How tech innovations can change IT industry? 

Technology and innovation led growth is becoming the key. Just take the example of the lock industry. Technology-driven creative destruction of organisations are essential to their success. We need to anticipate the headwinds generated by technological changes and drive changes within. If we fail to synchronise internal and external changes, possibility of extension becomes stronger and we have scores of examples. By 2020, organisations, their value chain and their ecosystem must become fully digitalised in a way that extends well beyond mere automation of existing processes. With the rise of the internet of everything, information will shape physical reality. This will unleash new capabilities at an accelerated speed.

Do you see spends on technology and related entries increasing in next three to five years?

By how much percentage? Yes, of course. Technology spend will continue to increase. In fact, the surprising results came in our 2017 CIO Survey. Compared to other regions, much higher percentage of Asia/Pacific representatives indicated that their organisation participates in a digital ecosystem. Even though absolute spending levels differ regionally (North America and Latin America at 16% and 17% respectively, compared with APAC at 22%), there is a global consensus among CIOs that they expect a 10% increase in digital spending by 2018. Not only do APAC CIOs expect the largest growth in the average budget, but also non-APAC CIOs expect IT budget growth at a rate that is half of their expected revenue growth. In comparison, on average, APAC CIOs are growing their IT budget at a rate roughly two-thirds of their expected revenue growth rate. If we look at service provider revenues, share of digital business-linked revenue is gradually increasing. 

What will be new innovations to change the way of working for various industries?

We see significant work happening in IoT and it is becoming mainstream now. During the second half of 2016, we saw significant client interests generated in execution and planning, which indicates that it is no longer in the conceptual stage. There may be some corrections to earlier hype but then we see 20 billion connected sensors and endpoints by 2020. IoT architecture has entered into peak of inflated expectations in our Hype Cycle for Enterprise Architecture for 2016. In our recent IoT backbone survey, we saw more than half of the customers both globally and in Indian organisations have internal IoT (e.g.in its internal operations) experience. More than 15% have external IoT (e.g. touching customers or suppliers) in both India and globally, where globally this percentage of external IoT experience is much higher compared to India and exceeds 25%. 

Hence IoT and related technologies is something which endusers and providers should keep an eye on. Another technology which is becoming very important is smart machines. Smart machines will continue to grow and we see that in the making. Gartner analysts have interviewed more than 40 service providers, and 100% reported making some type of investments in smartmachine-enabled services. More than 10 have made investments of more than $50 million. Consulting and service Integration opportunities in smart machines is nearly $500 million globally today; most companies are still in the experimental phase and implementing small initial projects, and very few are undertaking complex programmes.

 However, this opportunity will grow at a five-year compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of more than 100% to reach nearly $29 billion in 2021 as more companies adopt smart machines, existing clients expand the use of smart machines, and more clients push into more complex, transformational smart machine programmes. Another important area which is emerging is Digital Twins. A digital twin is a dynamic software model of a physical thing or system that relies on sensor data to understand the state of the thing or system, respond to changes, improve operations and add value. Digital twins include a combination of – metadata, condition or state, event data, analytics. They will be widely used for repairing and servicing, predict equipment failure, planning manufacturing process, operate factories and perform enhanced product development. Industries with high-value assets (for example, transportation and manufacturing) and industries with mission-critical remits (for example, aerospace and defence) instrument and model complex things (for example, cars, aircraft, spacecraft, machines and pumps). 

However, the degree of integration between the digital model and the operation of the physical thing varies greatly. These industries can use digital twins to evolve from a traditional preventive maintenance schedule to predictive, condition-based asset maintenance.

N. H. Bhansali
CEO- Finance , Strategy & Business Development, Emam

​"Technology is fuelling better collaboration and productivity of people"

Can you specifically tell us how technology is helping your company to cut down fixed cost to increase margins?

Adoption of IT in company’s value chain has enabled management by exception, sharpened focus on improved stock availability, enhanced order fulfilment and reduced cost of managing complexity. Technology is fuelling better collaboration and productivity of people within and across functions and higher responsiveness to market needs.

How much percentage of your topline goes to company's technological innovations?

Emami is committed to creating an IT-capable business environment adding value to the company’s performance. To achieve this, we will keep on staying invested handsomely in this direction.

How will manufacturing of FMCG products benefit from adopting new technology going forward?

IT will enable manufacturing to be perfectly in sync with the market demand and drive flexible manufacturing with smaller batch sizes. 

How is Emami using technology to market its product?

Emami is quite active in digital marketing, social media and web presence. Some of the product launches have been initiated with digital marketing and social media

"Technology is fuelling better collaboration and productivity of people within and across functions and higher responsiveness to market needs."

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