Scaling the Next Billion Market

2 very successful leaders who have led iconic businesses, talk about creating scale in the most promising emerging market.
This session will be in a Q&A format.

  • What are the business models which worked
  • Applying innovation to speed and scale
  • The challenges & opportunity
  • Lessons on leadership

Scaling the Next Billion Market

Digital innovation is changing the world faster than we can imagine. The goal of organizations is to grow and that happens when a new market is created or disruption offers opportunities in an existing market.

As business scales, operational challenges heighten. What better to way to understand the travails of scale than two powerful women leaders talk about creating scale in the most promising emerging market. Arundhati Bhattacharya, former Chairman of State Bank of India, and Nisa Godrej, Chairperson, Godrej Consumer Products share the dais on Day 3 of the NASSCOM Technology and Leadership Forum 2019 (NTLF 2019).

Hosting and facilitating this free-wheeling, candid session was Keshav Murugesh CEO & Vice-Chairman, WNS & NASSCOM

Future is almost here

For Bhattacharya, technology disruption is a way for consumers to use services better. Banking and finance see giant volumes of data generated. This mountain of data fails if it doesn’t enable people across rural and urban markets to enjoy and experience services better. If it’s scaling at a low cost, then technology is imperative. The cost advantage must be transferred to the consumer.

But there’s a catch: the rural-urban divide is now blurring. Rural consumer data consumption – and generation – per capita is catching up with urban.

This offers a tremendous opportunity for the markets to scale. Artificial intelligence, analytics, machine learning (ML) can help improve services reach the consumer faster and better. In an environment where the banking customer is prompted by an intuitive system that is reading the data and habits, the possibility to leverage markets is more.

“Indian companies have to be nuanced,” Bhattacharya warns. The Indian billion market is a one with diverse demographic. Companies must learn to employ technology to create differentiated models that centres around the diversity of language, geography, and even culture.

 Big market in the small places

For Nisaba Godrej, the heart of market potential is product diversification. When companies learn to provide value over products or services, scale is relatively easy to achieve. Consumers, she opines, cheaper alternatives are not sufficient; they want value and accessibility. In a mobile-first economy, the combination of businesses to balance – and merge – the offline and online systems is important. In a distributed model, hyper-local offline connect must add to and synchronize data with the centralized system. Only then can data mining work to bring more insights and deploy offline processes better.

Agility in differentiated models
Bhattacharya illustrates the point of adaptation in a digital economy with SBI’s debit card switcheroo during the demonetisation period.
Normally, when a debit card is swiped, the payment is debited from the customer’s account. Yet in the mandis (vegetable markets) where agriculture produce is bought and sold, SBI found a solution around limited cash transaction process: reverse transactions.

Wholesale buyers needed to pay these farmers, who, unlike them, may not have possessed a POS machine, thus making payment collection tricky in the times of demonetisation. When a farmer swiped the card on a POS machine, SBI credited the money. The farmer gets the money directly in his account. It solved a major problem to the advantage of the customer – all of it possible with a technology that was adaptable at scale.

Godrej concurs that companies looking to scale must look to the local. Business strategy empowered with technology infrastructure, must know the market and be able to create demand.

The next billion is where the customer is, and scaling is not a race. It’s a responsibility where digital transformation is embraced and Organizations think about fundamentally changing their business models.


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