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Product Leadership Meets Digital CxOs From Business At NPC 2017

by Kavish Kothari and Ramkumar Narayanan

Enterprise Digital Transformation is driving the future strategies of enterprises worldwide with over $1T expected to be spent over the next 5 years in making digital core to how organizations will cater to their customers, open new business avenues and make their employees much more efficient using technology.

In a first of its kind forum, over 80 Digital CxOs from some of the largest Indian Enterprises and Product Leaders came together at the Nasscom Product Conclave 2017 which was attended by over 2000 delegates, to have a free exchange of ideas about achieving impactful transition of businesses to use digital at its core. The key agenda item which drove the overall discussions was “changing customer demand across industries and sectors”.

The new-age customer is well-informed, quality & service conscious, and mobile. In today’s inter-connected world to stay competitive, organizations need to have single view of their customer, cost-efficient customer acquisition & retention strategy, well defined mobile/online strategy, and overall nimbleness in their decision making. To achieve this goal, product managers need to develop/procure relevant tech solutions in close co-ordination with the business CXOs. Organizations need to evaluate their overall business and tech strategy considering the hiring, training, and retention of their existing & future talent.

Some of the key insights derived from the sessions are as below:


  • In this dynamic business environment, the organizational strategies need to be personalized for each company – no one size fits all. Digital and Tech need to be core competencies of the business
  • Digital customers are prone to churn hence, organizations need to be selective about how much, how soon, and for whom
  • Traditional enterprises are not looking for co-creation opportunities with their customers which is a huge opportunity lost
  • Organizations need to constantly experiment with modern technology to understand what will serve their business needs best by a) Running 100s of Proof of Concept experiments at any given time, b) Collaborating with young start-ups to be well ahead of the curve of the new innovations in their industries
  • Monetization models are changing at a rapid pace and there is a need to have differentiated business models which evolve much more rapidly than those in the past. Sales and services models also need to be rethought along with the business models
  • Rental, Sharing, and Peer-Peer business models are being enabled by recent technologies like Blockchain
  • Enterprises are not getting the right support from either large consulting houses, who are not delivering the strategy that is needed for the digital world, nor Product Companies who are delivering pieces of solutions that need to be stitched together. “Is this a system integrator problem all over again?” is a resonant question
  • Interoperability and dynamism in tech is key to drive efficiency and business now-a-days need to demand more cloud ready / API driven tech platforms to ensure future continuity
  • How long does a digital plan last? How do all the stakeholders together contribute towards making and revising such as plan?


  • Customer insight on lifestyle should drive company strategy – understand the customer journey
  • Customers are demanding that businesses conform to their way of working rather than the other way around, for example, disruption caused by the sharing economy in many of the traditional industries
  • Millennials are fueling the sharing economy since they don’t want to buy things other than experiences. 90% of the buying decision is made before the actual purchase
  • Customer expectation on personalization has not been met in traditional businesses that are going through Digital Transformation
  • However, in some industries (e.g. BFSI) there is a need to balance experiences with trust and security expectations of the customers
  • The biggest challenge is for Companies to build a strong real-time customer feedback layer which can be fed into the internal innovation system to implement relevant changes to the product / service
  • Splitting online-offline does not work to deliver the right experiences to customers
  • How do you penetrate the Indian heartland with its variations on culture and language?
  • It is not far when customers will take control of their data and then reveal it to businesses selectively based on how they want to be served. This will need innovation in business models


  • People capital needed to deliver physical world services in a digital world
  • Functional silos are being dissolved in organizations but still startup agility is not coming into traditional enterprises
  • HR is not in line with the needs of the new digital era – hiring the right talent, mismatch in market salary expectations of digital workforce, L&D not aligned to new requirements
  • Traditional workforce does not transition easily into the digital world due to several reasons – too set in their ways, incentive models don’t align, new technology solutions are not intuitive, etc.
  • How can organizations build relevant tech solutions and bring current employees along to be efficient? What is the right training required for existing middle layer of employees?
  • How do you let employees experience what their customers are experiencing? How do you make them customers as well?
  • Is encouraging employees to move on instead of life time in a company is healthy for everyone involved?
  • Employees may hold multiple jobs during the year in the future – gig economy will become prevalent.
  • Some organizations have taken a radically different method for hiring and retaining talent driven directly by the business units. They are hiring from smaller towns where they are hungrier to learn and contribute rather than having as sense of entitlement. They have built in-house training institutes which handles all the requisite L&D requirements and HR only acts as a facilitator/enabler in the hiring and training decisions.
  • Is Rip and Replace an option? {People/Process/Tech}
  • Businesses need to structure divisions and incentivize employees in a manner which removes any potential online-offline business conflict as they move in the digital era. KPI alignment becomes very important for organizations following an omni-channel strategy

The overall sessions were insightful and there was tremendous interest in continuing this type of an exchange of ideas, that Nasscom will strive to facilitate.


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