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NASSCOM Product Connect hosted an AI Roundtable in Gurgaon on the theme of `AI-Platform Play’. An engaging discussion with a diverse group of stakeholders – startups, VCs, accelerators, industry leaders, GICs all brainstormed on the impact of AI. My 5 takeaways from the session included:

 

  1. The best products hide AI under the hood to create a magical user experience. The worst put AI on the label.

 

  1. Obsession with the problem being solved, great design, tangible value proposition, the discipline of charging for pilots, selling top down. The basics still apply.

 

  1. The biggest challenge to enterprise AI adoption is data availability, quality and silos.

 

  1. If selling to enterprise, solve visible problems like process inefficiency, human error & bias, mundane jobs. Most enterprises are not yet ready to adopt AI for transformation.

 

  1. The biggest constraint to growth of AI product ventures is shortage of Human talent. Learn AI technology to supercharge your career.

Product Name: Apiculus Xaas Cloud Convergence platform

Name of Organization: IndiQus Technologies

At the helm: Sunando Bhattacharya, K.B. Shiv Kumar, Swati Samaddar

Year of Incorporation: 2013

Website:  IndiQus  

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Cloud space

 

“It is important to keep focusing on your business, especially  if  you don’t have the luxury of funding. Cash is king and today, we are a fairly cash flow-driven company that pays attention to collections and paying its vendors”.

 

- Sunando Bhattacharya, Cofounder & CEO

 

Innovation:  IndiQus has deep domain knowledge in Managed Cloud  services and has developed Open and flexible solutions that service providers, enterprises and telcos can adopt to enhance their Return on Investment.

 

Its innovations  provide Cloud business solutions to these organizations, setting up  Clouds in  emerging markets, and transforming enterprises and service providers into businesses running on the Cloud.

 

About the product: IndiQus’ apiculus CSP is a Cloud Business Platform software which enables Cloud service providers to sell “anything-as-a-service” (XaaS) and create a 360 degree customer engagement. A one-stop solution for Cloud  service providers, the product enables them to manage, analyze and monetize XaaS  Cloud offerings. The software has been built for the needs of emerging markets. apiculus CSP is being used by large telecom companies as their primary Cloud business portal.

 

Journey so far: The company was set up in 2013 as a systems integrator, a boutique consulting  firm, whose Founders had around 15-17 years of experience in the cloud computing space. The company shifted gears in 2015, working to productize and turn its Cloud-building processes  into ready-to-deploy solutions.  As it began offering an integrated story to enterprises, it got a chance to set up a Cloud implementation for Sri Lanka Telecom. At that time, IndiQus was deploying a third-party product from Citrix which was built for European markets. Then, however it decided to develop a product for emerging markets, where it saw a Cloud surge. The company  began signing  up customers that would help it to build the product. In 2015, it tied up with Airtel and in June 2016, delivered the product to the customer. It is  now in the second version of the product and the third version will be out at the end  of the year.

 

Recognizing that in smaller countries there is demand from governments  for data residency, IndiQus  also began setting up micro Amazons (mini-Clouds) in nations such as Estonia, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, Malaysia, and Indonesia, which it scales as the business grows. The company adopted an on-premise model, selling to companies that are using its platform to deliver to their customers.

 

Among the challenges it faced in its journey was a  loss of direction in the early days, when finances were a problem. At that time, IndiQus found itself spending more time on raising funds than building its business. Dealing with the government also proved to be a big issue. Initially, the company was slapped with fines because it was unable to file its returns owing to archaic laws and an apathetic and unsupportive attitude of the government towards start-ups.

 

Way forward: IndiQus acquired Dartboard, a company which works in predictive  analytics, in 2017 (while it took over data analytics start-up Amicus in 2016), to enhance its product portfolio with the much-in-demand analytics solutions for Cloud platforms. It has  also on-boarded a dedicated Data Scientist who is building various models for enhancing customer data visibility on the Cloud and deriving actionable intelligence from this data.

 

 “My advise to other start-ups is that they should be sure before they jump on to the bandwagon. It is a very challenging journey. But once they are sure, they need to give it their full commitment regardless of the difficulties. They shouldn’t enter the market for the heck of it”.

 

 See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10.

Product Name: FirstHive

Name of Organization: eMart Solutions

At the helm (all cofounders’ names): Aditya Bhamidipaty

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website:  FirstHive 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: domain of Sales and Marketing

 

 “We are excited about engaging with a marquee organization such as NASSCOM. We create a lot of in-house White Papers on marketing. Since we have the only product in the market that does what it does, we are keen to leverage the NASSCOM platform to building thought leadership in the field of marketing”.

-- Aditya Bhamidipaty, Founder/CEO, eMart Solutions

 

Innovation: eMart discovered significant opportunities in the Sales and Marketing space, where it saw a need for brand building through personalized communication with consumers and helping enterprises drive efficiencies in the marketing matrix. It innovated to develop a product that could talk to consumers personally, where instead of broadcasting one message, companies could have a unique conversation with each consumer.

 

About the product: The company conceived FirstHive in order to send the right message to the right person, through the right channel, at the right  time. It was developed as a multi-channel, on-demand loyalty engine that would build Unique Customer Identities by collecting data from all sources of customer interactions.

 

Journey so far: eMart began working on the product in July, 2015 and launched it in January, 2016. In October, 2016 it introduce a beta for international users. Within four-five months there were 1,100 trials of the product from 64 countries! The company gathered feedback on the product’s functionality from this beta and began to build partnerships with systems integrators and resellers.

 

One of the big challenges that eMart faced during its journey  was putting in place the right team and getting the right resources who could design and execute the product and put in place a robust product management plan.

 

Way forward: eMart has acquired good customers in India and is now aiming to address the needs of clients in the ASEAN and North American geos.

 

The company will also continue to focus on helping Fortune 500 and Forbes 2000 companies to create and manage large loyalty and customer/channel programs while delivering  measurable RoI.

 

 See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

Product Name: Elastic Beam

Name of Organization: Elastic Beam

At the helm (all cofounders’ names): Uday Subbarayan and Bernard Harguindeguy

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website: Elastic Beam

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security

 

 

Innovation: Recognizing that guaranteeing the security of the API infrastructure of organizations was critical, Elastic Beam innovatively combined Artificial Intelligence and real-time techniques to develop a product that protected API  investments from cyber attacks. The product’s  innovation lies in the fact that unlike generic behavioral analytics  tools that don’t take into account API-specific usage, it leverages its in-depth API intelligence to provide a precise and accurate detection of API misuse.

 

About the product: The company’s Cloud neutral solution encompasses  API Behavioral Security (for detecting, reporting and preventing cyber attacks on data and applications exposed through APIs of companies) and the API Artificial Intelligence engine (that blocks ongoing attacks on API gateways, API Management platforms or APIs directly). It is available for hybrid Clouds, Public Clouds or on-premise.

 

Journey so far: Elastic Beam began its journey in 2014, when it brainstormed on its security product. Based on the existing experience and expertise of its Founders, it thought it appropriate to build an automated solution in the security space. It took the company five-to-six  months to put the plan together.

 

One of the key challenges the company faced initially was finding the right people for the job, as engineers did not have a clear understanding of how to build an infrastructure start-up. Also,  since it was building an infrastructure product for the first time, it was felt that monitoring had to be done on a regular basis.

 

Way forward: The company is looking to expand its sales and marketing as well as engineering teams for business development. Product innovation will continue to happen as the product evolves. The company is already in the third generation of the product.

 

See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the opening session. 

 

Mr Atul Batra, the CTO of Manthan Systems & the Chair – NASSCOM Product Council welcomed all participants to the 14th edition of NPC Bangalore, which is now widely regarded as the most important event for software product companies. The audience was a diverse mix of people, across the globe – especially from the Bay Area. Besides the industry folks we also had the investors and people from the academia. In terms of the quality of participants it could not have been more wholesome. He thanked Ravi Gururaj, the previous Product Council Chair for having created such a robust platform. There was a special mention of the network of volunteers and partners who had helped most industriously to put the conclave together.

 

As he introduced the theme, “Innovation fueling India’s digital revolution” he remarked that India was in an advantageous position, because unlike the western countries it wasn’t burdened with a legacy which made it easier for us to leapfrog towards digital. And, that product companies were leading this revolution. Perhaps for the first time, NPC Bangalore was witnessing the participation of a large number of Chief Digital Officers, a growing tribe of professionals who are instrumental in driving change through digital, and it was a great opportunity to interact with them. While briefly touching upon the format of the event he urged everyone to increase engagement through tweets, blogs and such other formats. With that he invited MR Rangaswami the Cohost of NPC.

 

This was MR’s 8th straight year at the global conclave. He introduced the next speaker, the Chairman of NASSCOM who is commonly regarded as the Father of the BPO Industry, Mr Raman Roy. Earlier, in the previous evening, the council had prevailed upon Mr Raman Roy to be dressed in casuals and forsake his characteristic corporate attire. A nugget which the speaker readily agreed to in a jovial manner.      

 

The startup ecosystem is shaping up to be a digital powerhouse and a 1 trillion $ digital economy as envisaged by PM Modi was well within bounds given the rapid rate of adoption and talent available in the country. Rambunctiously, he pointed to the audience and declared authoritatively that “it’s YOU who will make it happen” which instantaneously drew a loud round of cheer. Advanced Technologies were fundamentally changing customer experiences and in the midst of all this the importance of cybersecurity products can never be over-emphasized. As the recent spate of Ransomware attacks would bear testimony. Having weathered the Funding Winter of 2016, it was back to the fundamentals once again – RoI and unit economics.

 

The front row seats were tagged as reserved. In Delhi, Raman Roy remarked, it would have meant nothing as people are accustomed to flouting rules with gumption. Whereas in Bangalore he was rather surprised to see people abiding by the norms. Roy added that he wasn’t sure whether to be delighted or worried, this of course on a lighter vein. Entrepreneurs are meant to be rule breakers! Finally, his messaging was about creating employment opportunities and not to remain contented as job seekers. The Product Conclave every year brought together a robust ecosystem to discuss and deliberate on a range of issues – a mighty step forward towards fostering the ecosystem, he acknowledged.  

Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

Product Name: Cardiotrack

Name of Organization: Uber Diagnostics

At the helm: Ashim Roy and Avin Agarwal

Year of Incorporation: 2013

Website:  Uber Diagnostics 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Healthcare vertical

 

Innovation: As it became operational in 2012, Uber Diagnostics realized that lack of cardiac diagnostic facilities both in terms of expensive equipment and expertise at the family care level was making it difficult to provide good cardiac healthcare in India’s urban, rural  and tier 2 cities. The ability to understand the output of the machines was another challenge as was the paucity of cardiologists. The company decided to develop an innovative solution that was low-cost, simple-to-use by a physician and whose output could be made available to a cardiologist or its Artificial Intelligence (AI) platform to get a quick and efficient diagnosis.

 

About the product: The company’s automated, disruptive healthcare diagnostics   solution, Cardiotrack, uses AI, Machine  Learning and Data Analytics to analyze the scans of ECGs to provide accurate predictive  diagnosis and interpretation for faster cardiac intervention. It ensures that even if a cardiologist is not immediately available, an accurate diagnosis is done to save a life.

 

Journey so far: Ashim Roy and Avin Agarwal had a chance meeting that led the duo to discuss the gaps in the domain of cardiovascular diseases in India. The two decided to do something about it together and conceived the idea of the company.  Initially, the organization faced many challenges including its inability to develop an in-house  AI  platform owing to lack of expertise, time  and funding. It licensed a solution from a French company to deliver it at the ground level.

 

The company took a bank loan and after its clinical trials were over, went to overseas investors in Singapore to fund its venture.

 

Way forward: Uber is looking to develop its own AI once it can raise the necessary funds.  It  will set up its own R&D team for AI and expand its solution by adding the parameters of diabetes and hypertension. Uber will also look beyond India and target the US market.

 

 See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

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:

Business:

  • 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?

Customers:

  • 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

Organization:

  • 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.

 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Kishore Biyani, Founder & CEO, Future Group

 

Towards the end of the day, at times the energy levels can drop. Especially when the day has been rather intense. At NPC Bangalore the end of Day 1, we had the much respected Kishore Biyani, Founder & CEO, Future Group to perk us up – and how he did! In conversation with Siddharth Zarabi, Executive Editor, BTVI.

 

On being asked, what drew him to the conclave, he retorted, “because we are in real business and not an imaginary one”, cheekily taking a dig at futurists. He added, that sometimes it almost felt like that a new religion was being created, referring to the swathe of new technologies that are available. There are only 7 tunes, 5 colours, 9 emotions and 10 actions – life is not as complex as it is often made out to be, yet underscoring the need to keep things simple.

 

To build brands, one needs to have a deep understanding of technology which gets the desired results. Technology increases human capability, creates more available time for increased human interaction, but understand this - he emphasized - humans will have to kill time anyway and will always seek new ways of doing it. We found out later that this was an oblique reference to many app-based solutions for problems which never really exists to begin with.

 

He also spoke about mini drones and their impact on retail. Retail 1.0 was about brick-and-mortar, Version 2 was about e-commerce and now Retail 3.0 is what he calls “Tathastu” - ask and we will deliver. In comparison, he likened Version 2 to an electronic typewriter. The Tathastu version will have all features imaginable – you can shop physically, activate through voice, app, call etc. just about any interface without any dearth of choices whatsoever.

 

They are pretty ruthless about data. Customer behavior is deconstructed methodically with the help of data, and heaps of it. He touched upon the heterogeneity of the Indian market which is best captured through 72 major festivals. At Future Group, they had created an almanac of sorts on India – its cultures, mythology and the likes. Both subjective and transactional data were used.           

 

But, the consumer is changing very rapidly and sometimes in more ways than retailers can fathom. Packaged popcorn, recently introduced in stores, most surprisingly, clocked daily sales upwards of 1 lakh even surpassing the more common bhujia. This wasn’t their “gut feel” at the time but a subsequent revelation from data analysis. On being asked about the phenomenal success of Patanjali, he had no qualms about saying that they stored this brand as well. Perhaps Baba Ramdev’s incredible mass appeal was what it was all about.   

 

Also on competition, especially 5 years hence, Kishore Biyani remained candid and remarked that competition was always welcome and not to be shied away from. He didn’t sound too upbeat about the idea of serving the “Bottom of the Pyramid.” In his opinion, there’s nothing at the bottom. A rural consumer on an average consumes only about 100 SKUs in a year; in comparison his urban counterpart consumes about 60 – 70 k SKUs annually. The returns were just not attractive enough to think big in those markets.

 

3 Key Challenges: Managing the speed of change; managing people who do not believe in you and making others believe in your vision, said Biyani majestically as he signed off. 

  

Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

Product Name: Hug SmartWatch

Name of Organization: Hug Innovations

At the helm: Raj Neravati

Year of Incorporation: October, 2014

Website:  Hug Innovations 

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Security and lifestyle

  

“I could not have imagined that Foxconn, the company which manufactures Apple products, will one day be our own manufacturing partner for the Smartwatch. The fact is that all through the company’s journey of hardships, I remained persistent, didn’t give up and created a world-class product and organization”.

--Raj Neravati, Founder and CEO, Hug Innovations

 

Innovation: Hug Innovations has developed the Hug Smartwatch, which is not only a promise of safety, but also the world’s first gesture-controlled device. Hug innovated a wearable Smartwatch with an SOS button that a person in danger can press. The watch sends an SMS with a live tracking URL to the family and friends. When people click on the URL they can track the wearer in real time. Interestingly, the watch has customized maps to show the user the nearest hospitals and police stations—basically emergency services they can contact if family and well-wishers are not available.

 

About the product: Besides the safety story, the Hug Innovations Smartwatch has several features such as gesture control that can be used by wearers to turn up the music, dim lights, play console games, switch presentation slides or fly a remote controlled drone! It also serves as a kids, fitness and pet tracker.

 

The journey so  far: Greatly impacted by the Nirbhaya gang rape case in New Delhi in 2012, Raj Neravati  decided to relocate to Hyderabad, India from the US and look deeply at the issue of women’s security.  Hug Innovations came into being in 2014, as a promise of safety.

 

The journey was challenging for the company from the very start, since its Founder, Raj Neravati, did not have the necessary hardware background or deep hardware knowledge and there were no accelerators to guide or support the company. Building the right team in fact was hard and Raj Neravati had to let go of people and even replace the team.

 

Way forward: Hug will be adding smaller products to meet the needs of specific audiences. From a platform point of view, the company has envisioned an IoT platform that can control any device through gestures and has invited application developers to create apps that can run on its Open developer platform.

 

See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

NASSCOM Product

Innovate or Disappear

Posted by NASSCOM Product Moderator Nov 13, 2017

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud

 

Shashi Seth, Sr. VP, Oracle Marketing Cloud was our first speaker immediately after the inaugural. He was rather excited to be at NPC Bangalore and share some of his insights with us. Before that, our Emcee briefly touched upon the success of products which only have a cloud presence.

 

The most important thing about innovation and we have often said it, is about building a certain culture which is supportive of this philosophy. In San Francisco about 10 years back it was a hellish experience to get a cab from the airport late at night. Rude drivers, exorbitant rates all added to the commuter’s woes. Then suddenly in 2010, things changed dramatically with the advent of Uber. Issues which hounded travelers suddenly became irrelevant. Lyft and Uber combined, employ over a million drivers today. Very few industries are known to have created 1 million jobs in 7 years. Then there’s the example of Google Home, which has changed lives beyond imagination. Simply by talking into the device, one can get the best of services in the comfort and confines of their homes without human intervention.

 

Some of the things that AI is able to do is simply remarkable. It’s not only solving big problems for us but adding finer details to our daily lives which makes it all so worthwhile. Boundaries are getting pushed and all this is being done with lesser people. Twenty-five years back NASA had in its rolls (including network of partners) about a million people. Today SpaceX is able to send a spacecraft with just over 10k people. Not to mention the massive drop in cost from 1 billion dollars to about 38 million $ today. The price point is also a critical parameter to be measured. Tesla is yet another example – a company which has been around for only 7 years is more valuable than GM. A single battery charge can make the car run for 280 miles. Innovation is certainly about fixing massive problems but at the same time there are numerous examples of small incremental changes being effected which have raised customer experience and expectation by leaps and bounds. As mentioned earlier – boundaries are getting pushed ceaselessly. He gave numerous other examples including those of Apple & Netflix. These are companies which not only disrupted the market but did not rest on their laurels. And, ever since they have continued to raise the bar and set new industry standards. Innovation, is far from a one-time exercise. Also, it’s not about “if” any more, it is an imperative and the question is “how”:

 

  1. It’s about smart talented PEOPLE who can get out of their comfort zone.
  2. CULTURE is about creating an environment where people are enthused about giving their best. Right down to the minutest detail – food being served, workstation design & benefits being offered.
  3. Focusing on DETAILS will bring in the “WOW” factor.
  4. Make sure you AIM for the MOON. Goals have to be stretched, even so that 70% of the target achieved would create high benchmarks.
  5. PERSISTENCE – it takes time!

 

Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

We are bringing you  session summaries from NPC 2017 in a series of blogs. This one is based on the session of Atul Jalan, the CEO & MD of Manthan. 

 

Atul Jalan held us in thrall (at NPC Banglaore) right from the time he strode up on stage confidently and started talking about the future, which seemed overwhelming at times.

 

He said, the kind of change that we have witnessed in the last 10 – 15 years is phenomenal. Moreover, what was experienced 50 – 75 years prior, pales in comparison. And finally, the change which will come about in the next 10 – 15 years will be nothing short of spectacular – something which may well be in the realms of our imagination now. The possibilities that Science can offer are being leveraged to the hilt and brings humans a step closer to playing God.

 

In process, technology has absorbed its own complexities to make life easier for us. AI, many opine, is the new electricity and cuts across nearly all industry verticals. And, this is happening at such a rapid pace that there seems to be a hubris around it! The truth is, we tend to overestimate its short-term benefits and underestimate its long-term transformative power. AI was first heard of in nerdy circles in the 50s of the last century. Its commercial applications didn’t pick up as was expected and had to go through a very long Siberian winter. And now it’s here, and how!  

     

Data is the by-product of Social Media and the fodder for Deep Tech. Data captured through sensors is yet another prominent source. It’s leading to Cognification of Everything which is a most interesting mix of bio & info organisms. Smartphones today are more powerful than Supercomputers of an earlier era and with constant drop in prices, they are within bounds of most people. Advancement in Neuro-Science is witnessing a steady integration of bio and computer science. As AI comes of age, it makes us ask age-old and yet profound questions: Who am I? What is it to be human? What’s the construct of our mind? If the brain is akin to hardware then mind may best be compared to software. Till now, the questions about self were seen through the ‘limited’ lens of philosophy. As AI gets perfected, we are preparing ourselves to answer these questions through the lens of Math & Science. The next big leap, soon to come by, is going to be a very big one! Hopefully, we can put technology to good use and weed out pain, diseases to create a better society.  

Homo Sapien 2.0 can attain three shapes: that of humanoids, or recreated through genetic engineering, or simply, cyborgs. It isn’t such a stretch after all if we are to imagine the future from today’s construct – humans perpetually glued on to their phones today, give the impression that we are part machine-like already. The emphasis here is our heavy dependence on machines to run lives for us. The life of the great physicist Stephen Hawkins embodies the combined impact of what neuro & computer science can achieve. Strapped to a wheel chair because of a debilitating disease (yet his mind remains the sharpest) he is able to move around with the aid of advanced technology which can read his mind and take commands directly. Life per se, is a matter of random selection. But, through genetic re-engineering can we create humans with only the desired characteristics – exactly the way we want them to be and eliminating chance factor. Is that desirable? Or is it re-imagining God?

 

Certainly, many jobs will be lost because of AI. Let’s not even pretend otherwise. On a lighter note: when horse-drawn carriages were replaced by automobiles, horses lost their jobs and never really got them back. In history, nobody has lost jobs like the horses did. Perhaps! But the caveat: the burden this time will be on man and not on the beast. Having said that, newer jobs will be created which will require application of better skills and humans will be more gainfully employed.

 

He also touched upon the sensitive area of sex and humans. Robots which talk and even listen attentively. Sometimes, more attentively than spouses! In fiction, we have already seen humans fall in love with non-human objects and there’s a possibility that someday this rarity may become more common. He jokingly remarked, “in future if I run away with your sex doll then would I be tried for running away with your wife or stealing your car?” It was a rather hilarious observation to make, as we all guffawed. New rules for the new man.

 

As we step into unexplored realms, a new code of ethics and morality will have to be written. Human progress is made on 2 distinct threads: the ability to invent stories and to tell them!             

 

Arguably, man is the only animal which doesn’t yet know what NOT to do. It’s this constant itch which made man out of monkeys.

 

Follow npc2017 to read other session summaries and follow emerge50 to read about the brilliant startups that were recognised at the event. 

 Product Name: SmartMoo

Name of Organization: Stellapps

Year of Incorporation: 2011

Website:  Stellapps

Vertical/Horizontal Play: Agriculture

At the helm: Ranjith Mukudan (CEO and Co-Founder), Ravishankar Shiroor, Praveen Nale, Ramakrishna Adukuri, Venkatesh Seshasayee

 

 “The start-up journey is not like a sprint. It is a marathon. There is need for a plan  and build stamina for the long-term. Start-ups  should expect  the journey to be arduous”

--Ranjith Mukundan, CEO and Co-Founder, Stellapps

 

 

 

Innovation: Stellapps decided  to foray the dairy sector, an innovation in itself, which has made it the first of its kind, end-to-end dairy technology solutions company in  India. Stellapps’ launched its SmartMoo platform, which is capable of supporting data arising out of tens of millions of liters of milk through milk production, procurement and cold chain flow across millions of farmers.

 

About the product:  The company developed an IoT platform SmartMoo that supports sensors in a plug-and-play fashion and develops apps in the way other app stores do. The company took a use case-centric approach where it developed the platform and then the app that which would leverage IoT, Big Data, Cloud, Mobility and Data  Analytics to improve Agri supply chain parameters.

 

Journey so far: The company began in 2011 with five co-Founders who were working in technology and telecom companies.  It was incubated by IIT Madras in 2012 and began by examining various use cases, where it could leverage IoT as the tech platform.  Stellapps decided  to focus on the dairy and agri verticals as by their very nature, both segments lent themselves to auto data acquisitions from remote areas and could exploit the true strength of IoT. When the company set up operations, it had to face many challenges including lack of domain expertise, and the issue of support  and maintenance, particularly in remote areas which took up time and as costly.

 

Way forward: The company will be exploring other emerging markets such as Eastern Europe, South East Asia, Latin America, and Africa which have similar supply chain issues as India. It will also focus on taking its products in to developed markets too and looking at other agri produce, besides dairy.

 

See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

SaaS products have truly ushered in the era of "on-demand" software, giving customers an incredibly easy option to rent software products through a use-and-pay subscription model instead of purchasing the entire software.
However, despite the dramatic growth and success of SaaS products and the extensive features they deliver, there are still many examples of challenges in the SaaS ecosystem. Acquiring customers is not the trouble spot, but retaining them has become the core challenge of every SaaS product organization. Moreover, while common challenges such as smooth customer on-boarding, market fit, user experience, focusing on the right audience, and right pricing have been main points of discussion, we often ignore one of the most integral elements - enabling effective product adoption.
The Paradigm Shift in Organizational Precedence for SaaS Product Adoption
SaaS product organizations have woken up to the relevance of an effective product adoption strategy in minimizing customer churn and catalyzing effective customer engagement. It's becoming increasingly clear that the more your customers are confident about your SaaS product improving their business outcomes, the longer their association with you. And what better means of driving this confidence than a robust product adoption roadmap!
The Technology Services Industry Association (TSIA), which has been successfully benchmarking technology services for over 2 decades, has clearly captured this paradigm shift in organizational priorities.1 Right from a smooth on-boarding experience to extensive education services, SaaS product organizations are now looking at smart customer adoption strategies that set the stage for a long-term and positive customer experience.
With the goal of getting every user at the customer's end on board with the SaaS product, a smart adoption strategy should always consider a layered approach.  A step-wise and role-based learning and certification model of education services (from on-boarding to granular learning, assessments and smart documentation) ensures a structured mode of adoption. This effortless transition across the gradients of certifications - from low to high to effective - ensures that every user acquires the desired skill sets at each level and translates into performance.
In addition, robust data-enabled insights and in-depth analytics provide the organization and customer a clear visibility of the effective penetration of the adoption initiatives - both in terms of the number of users and the extent of product-related knowledge they have gained.

 

Certification Model of education services in SaaS production adoption

 

Image source: http://blog.tsia.com/blog/leveraging-certification-to-drive-adoption 

 

Three Examples of Outstanding SaaS Product Adoption Strategy

Three leaders of the SaaS ecosystem - Workday, Salesforce, and Amazon Web Services (AWS) -   have set incredible examples of this certification-based SaaS product adoption strategy. Let's check out their unique approaches to understand what a comprehensive SaaS product rollout should ideally look like.

Workday

Workday2 places immense importance on training, delivering anytime training in any format, accessible from anywhere. Their adoption strategy places end-users at the center of the change process, encouraging them to adaptefficiently to the new system through an exhaustive collection of training packages.

Adoption kit

Their adoption kit3 is elaborate, has multiple user-based options, and is up-to-datewith their latest release.Their kit includes an extensive collection of textual content, screenshots, videos, audio transcripts, interactive sessions, quizzes, job aids, templates, guides, tools, and resources.

On-demand support

In addition to the adoption kit, Workday also delivers instant access4 to 24*7, bite-sized content highlighting specific functionalities as videos, libraries, and other online references as continued learning right from the user's workspace.

Role-based training

Workday also includes a detailed in-person or virtual classroom training with role-based syllabi5 conducted by expert instructors - these include classroom lectures, demos, activities, and assessments.

Certifications

Workday enables an encouraging learning environment through its focused accreditation programs and courses that include written tests and certifications6 at the end of the program.

 

Salesforce

Salesforce7 is the leader of the SaaS world; hence, their adoption strategy is comprehensive, with extensive options to learn across the board through classroom sessions, online training, or any customized, organization-specific approach.

Adoption kit

Their adoption kit8 has multiple choices - from guided learning journeys and short, crisp learning modules to specific learning projects and elaborate skill-building certifications. The options are categorized based on role, level, and products, with elaborate metrics that proactively measure the success of user adoption.

On-demand support

Salesforce too includes well-organized, bite-sized, open learning formats9 - each of these packages includes a collection of specific functionalities, ending with a test-yourself feature that challenges the learner with interactive challenges andpoints of achievements.

Gamified experience

Salesforce includes an option named trials10 - treasure-hunt exercises that chart the user's path across skill sets that can be gained through Salesforce. The point-based assessments that allow users to gain points and use them for a prize draw are definite attractions.

Pain-free on-boarding

Salesforce starts the adoption journey early - by creating awareness and communicating the goals and advantages of transitioning into the system even before the implementation stage. They then create organization-specific change management strategies that vary across roles and functionalities, with tools that assess the training impact.11

Training talent

Salesforce has exhaustive resources - the trainers12 - who lead user adoptions. They identify the key people or champions within the organization who can take forward the change initiative and train these trainers for a smooth adoption across all users of the organizational ecosystem.

Role-based curriculum training and certifications

Salesforce also includes online and classroom training sessions13 with role-based curriculums for empowering users with the expertise they require to manage Salesforce. The certifications and credentials provided after completion of the course are recognized across the globe and are a distinct advantage. They also have a partner ecosystem of universities and other agencies to train students in Salesforce.

 

Amazon Web Services (AWS)

AWS14 has an extensively elaborate adoption methodology encompassing every end user scenario and skill advancement perspective. Its unique feature is the AWS training and certification portal - a centralized and comprehensive collection of training resources that provides expertise across all aspects of AWS. They also use their authorized training partners to deliver in-depth training in AWS offerings.

Adoption kit

Their adoption kit15 includes a wide gamut of training and certifications, workshops, videos, and hands-on practice sessions or labs in live and simulation AWS environments across multiple languages. Clearing each challenge in the learning quest enables the user to earn quest badges that are valuable credentials in the user's resume. The content is always updated to match the pace of innovation and interact with experts easily to clear immediate questions.  

On-demand support

A simple approach helps users select their preferred training module on the portal and enroll in the training sessions of your choice.16 Alternatively, the labs and short videos on specific topics deliver immediate information to users who are looking for urgent guidance on the go.

Pain-free on-boarding

The entire package of AWS documentation delivers systematic guidelines on how to get started and helps you plan your entire role- and function-based learning roadmap right from the word go. A well-structured training program helps you build your skill set and gain certifications as proof of knowledge.17 Organization-specific on-site training also helps customize the adoption packages.

Training talent and certification

AWS-certified trainers are certainly in demand since the most popular AWS adoption programs are expert-delivered, detailed training courses.18 These certified experts are associated with organizations, or they are individuals who choose to build their expertise in AWS. These trainers are part of a large global community with unique facilities including access to events, certified stores, AWS logos, and digital badges. The certification roadmap includes stage- and role-wise levels with assessments ascertaining the knowledge and skill set that the user has gained at each level.

 

Conclusion

All the three organizations have clearly prioritized SaaS product adoption on par with their design and development initiatives.

The adoption-driven SaaS strategy of these organizations follows a common thread across multiple features. They have a well-catalogued adoption kit that not only covers every learning and adoption aspect but also offers a wide gamut of options for customers to choose from. Their pain-free customer on-boarding and performance support features also enable a positive customer experience. These organizations understand the value of on-demand support not only during the initial implementation stages but also across the entire life cycle of the SaaS product.Their adoption strategyis hence structured in a user-friendly learning format - from structured curriculums to bite-sized quick-learning options. Certifications and gamified treasure hunts catalyze interest among customers and encourage learning.

In addition, all the three organizations have focused on building a strong community of users - peers, leaders, and influencers - who share ideas, create resources, solve the problems highlighted by members, and engage through discussion forums, training sessions, and talent nurturing.

The three leaders of the SaaS product ecosystem indeed validate the relevance of a proactive and seamless adoption strategy to enable successful SaaS implementation.

So, when are you getting started on streamlining your SaaS product adoption journey?

 

SOURCE

  1. http://blog.tsia.com/blog/leveraging-certification-to-drive-adoption
  2. https://www.workday.com/en-us/partners-services/services/education-and-training.html
  3. https://www.workday.com/content/dam/web/en-us/documents/datasheets/datasheet-workday-knowledge-management-adoption-toolkit.pdf
  4. https://www.workday.com/content/dam/web/en-us/documents/datasheets/datasheet-workday-knowledge-management-on-demand-education.pdf
  5. https://www.workday.com/content/dam/web/en-us/documents/datasheets/datasheet-workday-pro.pdf
  6. https://community.workday.com/node/289453
  7. https://trailhead.salesforce.com/
  8. https://www.salesforce.com/assets/pdf/datasheets/DS_UAS.pdf
  9. https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/modules
  10. https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trailblazers
  11. https://www.salesforce.com/video/302257/
  12. https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/modules
  13. https://trailhead.salesforce.com/en/trailblazers
  14. https://aws.amazon.com/training/
  15. https://aws.amazon.com/training/course-descriptions/
  16. https://aws.amazon.com/training/self-paced-labs/
  17. https://www.aws.training/
  18. https://aws.amazon.com/certification/

To help the IT and IT enabled products and services industry in India to be a trustworthy, respected, innovative and society friendly industry in the world.

That's the vision of NASSCOM and they are for sure living by it. In fact, If "Walk the Talk", fits any organization, then NASSCOM is one of them for sure! 

 

Last 2 days, I was at the NASSCOM Product Conclave 2017 organized in Bangalore. It was a great experience to hear from the industry's prominent personalities about the latest technologies, products and companies that will fuel the 4th Industrial Revolution and what kinds of businesses will lead their adoption. I am taking this opportunity to share my enriching and exciting experience of last 2 days at NPC2017. Summits at NPCNPC had the full coverage of the latest and greatest topics, which are relevant now than ever, including BlockChain, IoT, AI, ML, ChatBot, Cyber Security including providing a platform and ecosystem for startups to showcase their products and meet the angels. As you would very well assume, there were multiple tracks running in parallel, so I can shed light only on the ones I had the opportunity to participate. The keynote was by Shashi Seth, SVP Oracle on how to fuel innovation in your company, and leapfrog the competition. I then chose to follow the DeepTech Summit, starting with a talk by Prof. Sitharama Iyengar Sundaraja, Director, Florida University. The Professor shared his opinion about the 4 industrial revolutions, followed by Prof. Sunitha Sarawagi, IIT Bombay, who discussed about the current state and future direction of research in the field of AI and ML. Before the lunch, Sriram Rajamani, MD Microsoft India did put up an awesome demo of how IoT, AI, ML can be deployed together on smaller devices also rather than only on high end servers. The post lunch started with a workshop by Prof. Dishan Kamdar, Deputy Dean, ISB and he focused on how to Get To Yes from your stakeholders and competitors, in case of a conflict or negotiation situation. The whole session was very energetic and useful, and everyone loved it. Kishore BiyaniI specifically remember what he said which is also very true "We like people who 'like us' or 'are like us'"! Then I was lucky to get the seat in front row, for the 2 inspiring talks by 2 inspiring leaders Noah Raford, COO, Dubai Future Foundation and Atul Jalan, CEO Manthan Systems. The audience were overwhelmed by the thoughts and vision they shared for the future of humanity. The day ended with the Visionary Kishore Biyani, CEO Future Group, sharing how his organization is imagining, designing and creating the emergence of New Retail. The day 2 started with a dynamic session by the powerful Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty, Founder Narayana Health, when he shared how technology and innovation can make quality and effective healthcare economically accessibleDeviShetty

story

 

As part of the workshop of the day, author and storyteller, Joseph Prabhakar shared his secret recipe of story telling, which can be used as a very powerful tool persuade, sell, convince and lead while communicating with team members, stakeholders and customers. One of the highlights of the second day's session was also the "LiveFunding" event beautifully moderated by the all-in-one serial entrepreneur Ajeet Khurana. He along with 16 angels, created a platform for connecting the budding entrepreneurs and investors. samsunAvanish Sahai, VP ServiceNow was invited to share his expertise on how to build a world class ecosystem including all stakeholders, customers, vendors, partners and employees alike. And then, we had the social entrepreneur Atul Satija, Founder of The Nudge Foundation, who has shown to the world that how important and easy it is to create a huge social impact through technology and product innovation by helping the underprivileged. Everyone in the plenary session felt connected when Dipesh Shah, MD Samsung India narrated the story of how listening to consumers has helped them change the face and perception of India Center and put on global minds within and outside the organization. Finally, The Jonty Rhodes, the great cricketer came on stage and not surprisingly, the whole hall was so full that there was no place to stand. Luckily I was in the second row;). Jonty shared some very interesting stories in order to pass many key messages. I have been able to capture most of them and they are...

  • JONTYBe the initiators in whatever do, to be successful!
  • As a manager, you don't have to be leader in every aspect, but you need to identify leaders in your team and let them take the responsibilities
  • 'Perfect practice' makes you perfect, not just practice
  • If you don't try, you will never succeed
  • Give freedom to fail, or they will get into comfort zone
  • Every single contribution counts, so never think you are not important

And that's how great the start of my weekend was . Congratulations NASSCOM for organizing a very successful NPC 2017 with attendance from top digital CXOs across verticals and regions and Best of Luck for NPC 2018.

These illustrious startups won the NASSCOM EMERGE 50 Awards at the NPC,2017. We are bringing you the ones that made it to the League of 10. 

Product Name: BalanceEye

Name of Organization: Cyclops MedTech

Year of Incorporation: 2015

Website: Cyclops Medtech; Balance Eye

Vertical/Horizontal Play: MedTech/Healthtech

At the helm: Niranjan Subbarao, Dr. Srinivas Dorasala, Dr. Ravi Nayar

 

 

“NASSCOM has been phenomenally helpful in our journey. We were part of the 10,000 Start-ups program and multiple other NASSCOM initiatives that have got us visibility, industry and investor attention”.

--Niranjan Subbarao, Co-Founder, Cyclops MedTech

 

Innovation: Cyclops MedTech, a medical technology start-up, works on vestibular, surgical and eye tracking solutions for the masses. The company was conceived with the idea of developing an innovative Vertigo diagnosing device that was affordable and democratized the way the disease was Vertigo was identified, treated and reached the maximum number of people.

 

About the product: The company’s cutting-edge, complete balance assessment platform Cyclops BalanceEye is an assessment tool that encompasses hardware, software,  and Machine Learning module on the Cloud. The device comes backed  with the experience of clinicians (vertigo specialists) and engineers specializing in computer  vision, image processing and embedded system design.

 

Journey so far: The journey began for the company in 2012, when one of its co-Founders purchased a Vertigo diagnostic device from a French company. Six months down the line it stopped working and there was no support available for the device. The choice was then to buy another competing device at Rs. 15 lakhs, or develop one locally.  The company felt it could add more value to what was already available to many doctors. It used its clinical expertise and in-house engine to build the product. Initially, the company faced challenges in the areas of hardware design and development, testing, funding and building infrastructure.

 

Way forward: Today, Cyclops has 50 installations of BalanceEye and its turnover is reaching the one crore rupees mark. The company is looking to close the year with 125 installations and a top line of Rs.  3.5 crore. Going forward, it will be focused on scaling up in India, the ASEAN countries, the Middle East and in  Africa.

 

See the full list of Emerge50 Winners and follow the Leagueof10 to get a closer look at the top 10. 

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