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NASSCOM staff writer in conversation with Sundeep Mohindru, CEO, M1xchange. 

 

Fintech products are in great demand and we have been witnessing the kind of disruptions they can cause. Here was an opportunity to speak to a leader who is driving such a product and creating waves in his particular segment. A certain gap that he has been able to address, rather appreciably.  

 

1. The idea behind starting M1 Exchange – the problem being addressed?

Commercially, it has been operational for 6 months now but the idea was conceptualized much earlier. It happened around the time of demonetization with GST also in the horizon.

 

MSMEs aren’t able to scale up, as their realization of receivables from large corporates is within a period of 90-180 days and working capital availability is restricted, due to lack of hard collaterals which can be hypothecated against loans. It has been a perennial challenge and there is a need for a structured platform which is able to provide much-needed working capital at competitive rates and in a very short time and further reduces the risk of realization of receivables.

 

How about discounting trade receivables on an electronic platform?

 

The thought was around creating a tech-enabled extendable outreach which reduces dependency on long receivable realization cycles and further dependence on suppliers of finance to assess creditworthiness of MSMEs. Face-to-face meetings can be constrictive and here was an idea which could reduce extended lead times through technology. Once the MSMEs have supplied to large corporates, bills are immediately uploaded on the system to seek out matching finance providers for discounting of receivables. When it started, the lead time was T+2 days and today (in less than 6 months) it’s at a remarkable T+1. The response from the market has been most favourable. Today, for invoices uploaded till 4 PM, amounts can be disbursed the very next day.  The rate of interest charged for receivables discounting on platform is substantially lower then the  rate of interest borne by supplier outside the platform for his working capital funding. The restriction on quantum of funding is negligible as the supplier gets post shipment funding without any recourse, from the banks.      

 

2. Challenges encountered?

For fintechs to do well, there’s a huge balancing act which is required, what with multiple stakeholders including buyers, suppliers and banks, managing responses and expectations can often be cumbersome. Banks too had their reservations about going digital in Trade Finance and to work with suppliers of large companies in absence of hard collaterals. As we know, banks operate through large teams and navigating the maze isn’t easy. Of course, with time, banks adopted very smoothly. Today, they work with 17 banks, including those in the public sector. He was candid enough to say that rising NPAs in the banking sector hasn’t been easy to deal with, and it wasn’t foreseen 2 years back.

 

 

3. Thoughts on the software product ecosystem in India?

  • Biggest challenge has to be about getting the right talent with most relevant skills. For smaller companies, not being able to source the right talent can often be a show-stopper. In large companies, the challenges are similar but due to size, it is addressed in a different manner.
  • Products can get lost in the crowd. He welcomed NASSCOM’s efforts to drive Sales & Marketing initiatives but there’s a very strong need to put in place a formal ecosystem, especially towards creating an extended outreach.
  • Factoring in India is negligible till even recently. Because of low tech usage, errors and defaults it has proved to be restrictive. This particular product is attempting to remove the traditional challenges.

 

4. On funding.

It’s still a huge challenge – especially for early stage companies.  

 

5. The raging debate on data privacy.

In B2B, data privacy and security is primary. Sensitive data about companies, vendors reside with them and they have to adhere to international standards. And, there are multiple ones – much required in a dynamic environment. For everything, the processes are well-defined. However, nothing really can be fool-proof so even security is an emerging field.   

 

6. Specifically in software products, which are the tasks / jobs that are most likely to be replaced by machines?

Technology will continue to create new jobs as old ones get phased out. As software becomes more intelligent, many systems which require human intervention today will go into auto-pilot mode. But ultimately, it’ll be the developers who will be tasked with creating such intelligent systems as legacy gets phased out.   

 

7. Thoughts on Govt. support for software products.

  • Incubation centres.
  • Incentive to undertake research.
  • Greater access to working capital.
  • Reaching out to govt. as prospective customer - should be made easier for small companies / startups particularly.

 

8. Domestic Indian market in fintech?

Opportunities are huge and so far we have only scratched the surface. Rise in Payment Wallets is an indication of the size of the digital payments market.

 

9. Levers for the future.

  • Working more extensively with the govt. particularly Dept of Finance, RBI.
  • Working with PSUs and getting them to use this platform. A 20k Crore business opportunity is estimated.
  • Since lead time is greatly reduced, it can be very competitive to other fintech products, particularly the ones floated by banks themselves.

 

10. Business mantra. Continued service and value addition for every

 

 Want to read the other interviews in the series? See them with leader talk

A Roundtable on the topic "The Critical Choice: Services or Product?" was organised by NASSCOM on March 29, 2018, in Bhubaneswar.

 

Technology and business have shaped a lot in today's market and has given many entrepreneurs to delve into various kinds of startups. There are thousands of products and services available to consumers today and there are unlimited opportunities for you as an entrepreneur to enter the marketplace and compete effectively with a new product or service that's better in some way than what's already being offered by your competitors. However, to succeed, you must develop the ability to decide and offer the right services or products to your customers in a competitive market. More than any other factor, as an entrepreneur with multiple startup ideas, an eternal question is whether to pursue a product or service.

 

So how do you start? Should you opt for a product or service? That was the big question up for debate at the roundtable.

 

The brainstorming session brought forth the knowledge and experience of a diverse group of stakeholders – startups, established business houses and academicians from diverse fields. The discussion revolved around the changing dynamics of how solutions are looked at today, and how it was viewed in the past.

 

Moreover, a solution may commonly be a product or a service, it’s more likely to be “product as a service”, that has been a de facto delivery standard in the industry today.

 

For example, Batoi provides an easy-to-use cloud platform for creating, using and managing cross-device software applications, websites, and e-commerce storefronts. The Batoi Cloud Platform is a product, but it is made available to you as a service, where you subscribe to and you pay as you go - based on a simple model like number of users and storage etc, without you having to make any upfront investment for the infrastructure or you having to face any extravagant costs. Apart from this, apps like CRM, content management, workflow management etc are also offered as a service from within the cloud platform which you can subscribe to and use. Again, any upgrade to the Cloud Platform or technical customer support is made available to you as a service, as a part of your subscription, that helps you to take advantage of the new releases.

 

Earlier we gave a brief information about what is cloud and different types of cloud. It might have given you an idea of how Cloud can be a useful resource for your business. Keeping in mind that Tech Startups have become the buzzword in our ecosystem we would like to emphasize on how Cloud can pace Startup's growth.

When we talk about the developments in the technology, Cloud computing can be seen as the emerging leader among them. As for Startups, Cloud can serve as a good alternative keeping in mind their need for scalability with budget constraints.

In present days, not only cloud-computing technologies are present for almost every architecture, but also cloud providers will give you amazing services, which is a primary thing you will expect from your web host. Here in this post, we will present you eight factors that will give you an insight into how the cloud can help in startup growth. Explore our blog and choose Cloud Today for your business.

8 Factors on How Cloud helps in Startup's Growth

  1. Scalability and Customization
  2. Accessibility and Availability
  3. Savings and Cost-Effectiveness
  4. Security and reliability of Cloud Computing
  5. Easy Integration
  6. Collaborative Working
  7. Increasing Mobility
  8. Strong Business Foundation

To Read our Full Blog on How to use Cloud Computing for Startup's Growth click here.

Cloud Computing has been one of the most talked about innovation in the Tech World. Its importance can be easily estimated with all the major players in the IT Space entering the market creating and selling their own cloud services.

MNCs and larger organizations all over the world have been readily adapting Cloud Computing.The primary reason behind this is cost-effectiveness as their no upfront-cost or long-term commitment attached to it.

But since the development in the Cloud has been fast, there has been a number of Myths that have been created around Cloud Computing. This has somehow restricted medium and small businesses adopt Cloud.

To break the age-long myths on Cloud Computing we have created an Infographic to give you a clear idea about Cloud. To read the full blog Click Here.

At Diadem, we understand Cloud. We have helped migrate business to cloud and integrate it seamlessly into their daily operations. 

Call us for a free consultation on Cloud Computing and migrate to Cloud today.

Myths and Facts About Cloud Computing

The flip side of AI

Biased decisions taken by AI have been a recurring threat to industries deploying it and to the ethical norms of the society at large. While unbalanced decisions affect business outcomes, biases related to gender and race negatively impacts the social fabric. Expert AI luminaries are anxious about the biasness apparent in these machine–learning algorithms that take millions of decisions every minute. 

 

AI-enabled machines reflect a persona basis the kind of data that they are fed. As a result, they acquire biases from the datasets that they are fed and cannot be immune to human biases. No wonder, biased data will make them take biased decisions. Combating biases, both human and data-based, is one of the biggest ethical challenges that AI is faced with. What’s more alarming is that the problem is expected to become more severe in the near future. This is because many are yet to realize the magnitude of the impact that feeding biased data will have on businesses. Therefore, steps are yet to be taken to identify solutions to the compelling problem.

 

The need for an open discussion

NASSCOM Product Conclave took the initiative to launch a platform for the industry to openly discuss different opinions on the subject. We planned a Twitter Campaign with the hashtag #DeconstructingAI, on 31st January 2018 at 4 P.M. on our Twitter handle, @NASSCOM_Product. The purpose was to discuss our polarising ideas and see the subject from different points of view and attempt to have Tech experts bust some myths and perceptions.

 

The debate was centred on 5 key questions.

  • Do you believe that intelligent systems will learn human prejudices and how?
  • How can we be transparent about the training data we are using, while working on such algorithms?
  • How can we prepare ourselves for a bias-free AI?
  • Can AI help people in making less biased decisions?
  • How do you think Artificial Intelligence will replace human jobs in the future?

  

The industry responded and it was Overwhelming!

 

Industry experts including Sridhar Iyengar (European Explorer, Zoho &Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Sangeeta Gupta (Director, NASSCOM), Subinder Khurana (Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Atul Batra (CTO, Manthan & Product Council Member, NASSCOM), Praveen Nallapaneni (Deputy Manager, NASSCOM) and Srikanth Srinivasan (Regional Director TS & AP NASSCOM) joined in the conversations.

 

 

 

 

 

The Tweet Chat on #DeconstructingAI was a great success generating over 200 responses within 30 minutes of the chat and driving over 802K impressions on Twitter alone. We’re eagerly looking forward to the next one!

 

If you could not join the tweetchat and would like to share your responses, comment below. 

Systematic planning is one of the practices which every organisation undergoes for their overall betterment. To be victorious in the same, ERP systems were introduced - ERP stands for Enterprise Resource Planning. There have been multiple benefits of using the ERP systems & we are going to talk about the top 10 benefits of the ERP system which every organisation can avail.

 

 

1) Cost Reduction – ERP has spot on accuracy & real-time data, which reduces the costs of admin. It finds the process gaps & delays, which makes it very convenient for the concerned person to take the required action promptly. This allows for more efficient and smooth flowing processes and a better ROI.

 

2) Scalability – An organisation never maintains the same process for its entire life-cycle. Over time, implementations are done in order to stay relevant and for that your system has to be scaled. ERP enables you to alter different processes at different phases as per the company requirements at that point in time.

 

3) Leaner Supply Chain – Implementing an ERP system enables an organization to improve its procurement, product demand, inventory, tracking etc., which indirectly but most definitely improves the supply chain in an organisation.

 

4) Increased Visibility – An ERP system can help you track a process from its initiation till the conclusion. An ERP system helps point out where the negatives or positive externalities are originating. Not only is there increased visibility, it’s more accessible visibility because all the workflow can be viewed without investing in additional manpower.

 

5) Reporting – Many organisations fight with improper operations and reporting which directly affects their business. To overcome this problem ERP system can be implemented in each sector where every individual can report using the standard template systems.

 

6) Quality – Manual data capturing can be very dangerous in terms of accuracy. ERP systems allow you to maintain the quality of the records, allowing you to achieve good traction throughout.

 

7) CRM – Happy customers means happy business. Communicating with customers, knowing their problems, being available whenever needed are some key services which are made easily accessible through an ERP system. ERP allows making and maintaining customer relations to be much more easier, efficient and effective.

 

8) Analytics – If you have data and desire to use it to improve overall operations, the first step is to analyse it. An ERP system comes with some inbuilt features where analytics report generation can be done on the go – Making strategy building an efficient, effective, and mobile operation.

 

9) Mobile Access – Take your business with you on your mobile. An owner of a company or its employee, for instance, needs continuous updates on what the company is doing, what its targets are, and the overall state of operations. An ERP software can be built on various platforms including IOS, Android & Windows allowing to keep track of your company operations wherever, whenever.

 

10) Data Access – Data is one of the most important elements of any company, and its security is of priority to all those concerned. Appropriate access controls to relevant individuals is possible through ERP's access control systems - Permitting a secure control over your precious data.

 

For more details visit: www.deveninfotech.com

In order to get new customers, build a wider audience, and find new sales & investment opportunities every day, taking your startup to the global level is what you need. You see, global market is like a sea of opportunities where you can customize your strategies according to the regions you are targeting, and also mitigate the market risks over a larger area, in order to lessen their effect on your business.

 

 

Here are some of the advantages of globalizing your business, neatly arranged in points:

Benefits:

  •     New Revenue Streams: By expanding to new markets, you can unlock new revenue opportunities and that may be the biggest revenue source you, as an entrepreneur, wanted to achieve.
  •     Diversity in Resources: You can have diversity with new resources, and most importantly, find experts in new technological spaces. Many mobile apps development companies Canada, US, India give the same set of benefits after you step in to the US market.
  •     Backup against Market Volatility: Having operations in multiple markets makes your startup resistant to radical shifts in the economy. So, for example, if your startup fails in market A, you still B, C, D and E, where you can pace up your marketing strategies in order to recover.

 

But then, while entering the global market, you and your team will have to keep certain things in mind, some of which are:

 

Research regional data

Startups can overestimate a market’s willingness to try a new, foreign product, so it’s important to research data points that can help determine whether or not a product will find success in a certain region. This data can also help with marketing. The information that we get from sources is important for marketing and sales teams trying to reach a local market. Before stepping in to the arena, make sure that you have enough intrinsic information and knowledge on the targeted region.

 

Make local partners

Open an office and set up local operations in new areas. This will get your business local partners that can help you grow in the region a lot.

Local partners understand the market better than others, which means they know how to reach and build a community in the region. While high-level decision-making can continue at the executive level, local partners’ opinion matters big time and can help you get major gains with their expertise in the region.

 

Prepare to change statics for different markets

Switching to new statics may help you in achieving success in different types of markets. All you have to keep up with is the fact that the statics that work in one market may not work in another market. There is a chance that a startup can implement the same strategy which one already used in different market when expanding globally.

 

Startups might have to supply their products in order to meet consumer demand. Some marketing strategy that work in one country might not be as necessary for another, or competitors might have already captured. Startups should update their product according to the trends in technology or producing new features based on the new market’s needs and wants. The startups that can quickly shift are most likely to find much more success than competitors.

 

Sell globally without opening an office

Startups have the option of being a global company from day one, working from anywhere in the world. By adopting multinational practices from the beginning, startups can take advantage of technological skills sets from around the world — Since no one will really care where the company is based. This tactic can give startups a competitive advantage since they can reduce costs in terms of office space.

 

Conclusion

In case you have an app development company, your path to grow globally is much easier as an app has is present in everywhere. The desire to grow with app is really helpful, but what makes your app successful is mobile app development company Vancouver, that holds the required expertise and genuinely collaborate with you to develop your dream app.

 

FuGenX is the best mobile application development Toronto. FuGenX provides services on Android, iOS (iPhone and iPad), Blackberry and Windows app development.

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. 

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