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1956 witnessed the coining of the term AI, by American computer scientist John McCarthy. This umbrella term today encompasses things right from robotic process automation to actual robotics. Of late, it has gained importance due to big data and the increase in size, speed and data that businesses collect. AI can perform various tasks more efficiently, from identifying patterns in data to speech recognition to problem-solving, thus, helping businesses gain more insight.

Apala Lahiri Chavan, President, Human Factors International –MIDAAAS shared insights on Artificial Intelligence, how AI has become the current talking point of technology. “Artificial Intelligence at the very minimum can help in the ability to work with big data because AI works best with as much data as possible that could be provided to the AI systems. This enables the system to come up with intelligent and meaningful insights, thus, adding value with its suggestions or solutions. Unlike the human brain that has its limits, AI looks out for maximum possibilities by connecting millions of dots, so to speak,” she says.

Having become an essential part of technology today, the core challenge of AI includes programming computers for traits such as knowledge, reasoning, problem-solving, learning, perception, planning and the ability to manipulate and move objects. Machines can act and react like humans only when they have been fed with a good amount of information.



Some of the questions that we put forth to Apala Lahiri on AI and here’s what she had to say:

Can AI help user experience in products?

Data forms the core for AI systems, so if it has a lot of ofdata about users of a particular product, then it can arrive at a conclusion regarding patterns of usage, where is the customer population, where would the user stick on regarding product usage and where the challenges are. Moreover, arriving at answers to these questions is quite challenging if conventional analysis systems were to be used. On the other hand, with an AI system, businesses would know how a particular product is being used, know about customers coming in, how the product features  are being used in a short span of time, and hence, be able to act quickly upon an experience that seems to be broken whilst investigating deeper. These are the areas where AI can help user experience in products. Of course, the ethics of collecting and acting on user data is a larger question that is being debated upon even as we speak!

Can AI also provide predictive insights of products?

If there are two different ideas, an AI system can look into the given data about the target segment of customers. Given the type of customers, the AI would look into the kind of preferences, work, and behaviour with all its crunched data.

Technology is surpassing all means and moving towards development of such powerful systems. When it comes to AI, a lot is being witnessed in terms of its development. It is not just the development of intelligence that is being worked upon but how almost the entire human brain could be mimicked. Even developers cannot predict how an AI system would work and at times are surprised at how the system moves forward.



The role of AI in the India:

AI is a luxury, and the possibilities it has in solving problems in India is immense. Even though India seems to have progressed, it still has an enormous illiteracy rate. 50% of rural women who work as domestic help or at construction sites are illiterate, and herein begins marginalisation of such a large section of our population. They are not self-sufficient, they cannot run micro enterprises, nor can they grow in their jobs. Hence, AI systems can play a huge role if it can impart basic life skills or functional literacy i.e. how to read, write and learn a bit of English, understand rights or understand financial issues. This would help them navigate through life with dignity and prosperity.

Can AI help bring those at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid higher?

Yes, AI can undoubtedly do that. Especially in most Asian and African countries, there exists hierarchies in society, be it in income or education, irrespective of the rural-urban divide. Those at the bottom of that hierarchy tend to feel intimidated and judged by those above. Therefore, AI systems could help people at the bottom of the socio-economic pyramid to interact and learn in a much easier way as it can be non-judgemental and completely neutral. This is hugely liberating, especially in countries like India where the illiteracy and poverty rate is quite high.

Verticals and domains AI can be put to use:

AI can play a huge role in health care where diagnosis could be made fast and cheap, without having any actual doctors; which is quite a significant application in countries like India. AI could also be handy in crop guidance or crop management. Billions of data points of farmland images can be looked upon, and within few second an analysis could be made as to whether the area is suitable for crop planting or not, how much water is needed, what kind of crops would be right and then the information can be used to advise the farmer. Hence, AI is quite impactful for applications of this nature.

AI provides scalability for solving such large problems; otherwise, human beings would have to be deployed all the time.



Any product that is leveraging AI to eradicate problems from the society?

Much work is going on and more so in academic research institutions and of course, initiatives like IBM’s Watson. There are lots of programs where AI systems are being analysed, and experiments are being run in India and other African and Asian countries to scale the problem of literacy. Instead of human teachers, pure artificial intelligence is being put to use. Large corporates are trying to apply AI in different areas such as agriculture and medicine.

The challenge is that unless we develop the capability locally to develop and deploy AI systems, it is going to be expensive. Therefore, non-profit organisations of computer scientists, AI developers, roboticist, are taking up the initiative to train local people and build their skills. In India, these kinds of programs have not started yet, but it would be helpful even if readymade systems were used in agriculture, medicine, healthcare, education.

However, since AI system is a virtual entity with which people have to interact, the question arises as to whether people are comfortable in a culture like this and is it beneficial.

“We should all collaborate to see with our different skills and perspective how can we make them contextual. Moreover, if we all collaborate, then maybe instead of repeating the same thing, we can contribute to what each other is doing, and the result is going to be so much more impactful,”
says Apala.

The positives and negatives of AI:

The ability to come up with intelligent and meaningful insights quickly based on a lot of data and information; this is a value add as it also enables us to quickly determines possible suggestions or solutions for a certain problem. The AI system can look at ways to find a solution by looking at a maximum number of possibilities, unlike the human brain that is limited. This is a very positive thing as it is hugely beneficially in so many ways. The negatives, on the other hand, include human biases that developers or designers could carry when developing an artificial intelligence system. AI is nothing but algorithms, and if the algorithms are biased, then this is where the fear of mishaps come from.

Is there a way to curb these biases?

There needs to be an agreement across entities, whether corporate, governments or other institutions across the world to always follow some basic principles. Some fundamental human values and ethical guidelines need to be embedded in the AI systems as a non-negotiable, no matter what the problem is and how it is crunching the data and coming up with solutions.


About Apala

Apala Lahiri Chavan is President of Human Factors International (Middle East, Asia, Africa and Australia). Her passion is to envision how user experience can be inclusive, democratic and a change agent. She is also fascinated by changes in user experience across time and space. Apala is an award-winning designer (International Audi Design Award 1996). She co-edited the book Innovative Solutions: What Designers Need to Know for Today’s Emerging Markets and her TEDx talk is Three Laws of User Experience. Follow her @FuturistApala

It is estimated that founders can end up spending more than 50% of their time raising funds for their venture. While the amount of time spent on this activity may be debatable and vary based on multiple factors including the credibility / track-record of the founder, investment climate, industry sector, etc., what is undisputed is the fact that fund raising is a major focus area AND a huge drain on founders’ time. Unfortunately, it is also one activity that cannot be delegated to anyone lse.


In my case, at every stage of all my ventures’ growth and development, I’ve had to spend huge amounts of time focussing on fund raising.


So, given how critical this activity is, founders will be well advised to ask themselves the following questions,BEFORE they plunge headlong into raising funds,



  1. “Do I really need external funding”?  Very often, people can build businesses without

Institutional capital (venture capital, or, even early-stage angel funding). A business can be built, out of cash flows of the business, customer advances, entrepreneur’s own savings, loans from friends and family or other softer resources. There are a lot of businesses such as professional services firms that break even quickly, which can be boot strapped without external funding.


Founders, therefore, need to ask themselves what funds are really required till they reach profitability and whether there is an absolute imperative to seek outside funding or if the amount is something that they can mobilise internally


  1. “Is it Risk capital or just Working capital that I need”? Typically, working capital refers to capital you need to deploy for a period of time,which is likely to be returned to the business; E.g., for buying an inventory of goods that you will end up selling at a profit for which money will flow back into the business. For this, you need to invest an initial amount that can be recovered later. Working capital could also go towards salaries etc., that you need to pay initially but can be recovered from the services provided by your employees. On the other hand, risk capital is different and would go towards R&Dand product development costs, branding, marketing, etc. In this case, the results of undertaking these activities are unknown, and things may or may not work out; nevertheless, you need these elements in order to build out the business but the entire capital invested is “at risk.”


Potential funders for both the types of capital listed above are different. Working capital typically comes from banks, NBFCs(non-banking financial institutions) or sources that don’t expect safety of the principal to be compromised and seek some collaterals or guarantee in return for lending the funds. They are mostly willing to fund over the short-term and expect moderate returns.


Risk capital,however, is for “risk investors” who would expect a stake or piece of your company. They understand the high risk, expect multi-bagger returns or compensation for the risk. These include angel investors, VC (venture capital) firms, etc.


  1. ”When should I raise to raise Venture Capital or equity funding”?This can be particularly tricky. When you raise external funding too early in the game, you may end up with a low valuation, and you dilute your stake disproportionately. However, choosing to raise funds too late and you don’t have enough fuel (cash) to experiment and try out various things, take risks and play aggressively for a win.


In my opinion, if you are clear about needing VC funding then the earlier, the better. Dilution (of his / her stake) never affected any entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs are passionate people who want to see their dreams and passion change into reality. For this, they need all the help they can get given the low odds of success (Less than 5 % of startups actually last / succeed). No company ever shuts down because the founder diluted too much; rather, companies have to shutter because the last Rs10,000 to pay the bills is no longer there.


But, some experts think differently. They advocate that you should develop the business to a certain stage so that you are clear about how much money is required, for what purpose this will be used, and can show some market traction before raising funds - at which point the valuation will be better, and dilution of stake will be lower. As I said before, the timing issue is a tricky one to resolve.




  1. What will be the source of funds?” (Angels / HNIs, Angel networks, Seed stage funds, Venture Capitalists, PE firms)


This should be determined by a few factors such as:

  • The quantum of the fund raise: Each class of investor has their sweet spot on how much they typically invest and should be approached accordingly based on the size of funds one is seeking.
  • Stage of the business: The clarity of business model, proof of concept, market validation is important and will decide whom to approach. VCs usually need a more mature set-up compared to a seed stage fund, which in turn would like to come in when there is some proof as compared to an angel or HNI who bets on an idea. Some exceptions to the rule may apply. For instance, some VCs have a start-up accelerator funds or pools. PE firms usually provide what is known as “growth-capital”. They will come in after the proof of concept has been validated and soundly established, when there is clear profitability or a path to profitability exists. PE firms provide give funds for growth, and not for proving the business model.


  1. How much funding should I raise?


Raising higher than normal funding may encourage profligate spending and excesses as we have seen during the boom days. However, having access to money rarely killed a company, but the lack of it (money) will certainly do. But how much to raise is determined by the amount that is needed to execute your plan and getting to the next milestone. The next milestone could be:reaching profitability, reaching enough scale to be able to attract the next round of funding for a much larger amount, developing the product fully so that you can deploy it in ‘live’ customer environments, or developing the business to a level where you will start generating revenues to sustain your monthly burn, etc.


It is important to raise as much funding as you can based on a) your need b) market appetite and b) your capability to attract investors. It’s better to have more rather than less funding.


K Ganesh, Serial Entrepreneur and Partner – 

As a product manager, it is very important to sift through the chaff to find the set of actionable metrics that help you make decisions, tter understand your users and market dynamics. Master Class for Product Managers by Vivek Raghavan, Group Product Manager for TurboTax at Intuit.


Key Takeaways from the session:



~50 techies and business executives attended the session by Mukund Venkatesh (GM India Operations, Global Analytics) and Vikash Kumar (Director, Risk / Analytics, Global Analytics). The Session discussed the challenges, experiences and specific examples associated with predicting risk in a digital consumer lending operation. Key takeaways:


When a company launches a product and someone purchases it, a relationship is formed between them. Due to this engagement that happens regularly, people, more precisely known as ‘customers’ are connected to the company. Undoubtedly the businesses solely depend on these customers as they become a very important part for the company’s existence. Any company’s success depends on their relationship duration with their customers; the longer the better and much desirable is a lifetime relation. This interpersonal relation between the customer and the business is the most important marketing strategy for a company. Through various channels, the company makes the engagement with the customers last long which also helps them be aware about the customer and their overall experience with products.

Why is Customer Engagement Needed?

Companies these days have increased their stability and growth through their customers. Through them businesses satisfy the engagement of the customer services that it provides. Engaging with customers through various methods is crucial yet difficult to understand. With priorities and wants that change every day, it is necessary for the company to stay in touch with customers. From the first step of the customer buying the product till the end result, the emphasis on the customer has to be well maintained.

Why it is important for a company to have a great customer engagement policy:

  • Loyalty
  • Excellent service
  • Trust
  • Strong customer relationship
  • Set behavioural triggers
  • Better communication
  • Customer specific needs
  • Future model planning
  • Enhanced customer experience

How does one understand what customers need?

Any business has to keep their primary focus on customer satisfaction andalso know and understand their needs. No business can survive long if it fails to engage its customers directly with the company. Customer needs is quite a point of focus as Apala Lahiri Chavan states, anything that is deisigned is based on some hypothesis about human behaviour. A company cannot have any other alternative apart from researching deeply about its customers. Doing a thorough research, knowing and understanding customer needs is quite crucial for a business’s survival.

An understanding of customers is rigorously data-driven for which the companies should be prepared much in advance. Also, valuable feedback and informationis what the company would require to maintain customer engagement and loyalty for years to come.


Given that there are so many channels for customer engagement, how does one decide which channels to use?

Customers these days prefer to stay in direct contact with the company; this makes it difficult for the company to choose channels and methods to keep the engagement ongoing for long. From acquiring feedback on the latest purchase and informing the customers about the new best products, the company has to first focuson understanding their customers. It’s as though where customers go companies follow. Apala says that in the customer ecosystem, the omni-channel strategy is the only way to maintain customerrelationship. Through this strategy, the company will be able to provide consistent experience across channels and will be able to race the strengths of each channel since each channel is relevant for solving a specific set of customer needs.


Certain points companies need to keep in mind while deciding the multi or omni-channel strategy:

  • To know from where the maximum number of customers are being engaged.
  • Understanding customer mental model, usage and preferences.
  • Tracking customer traffic on the various media channels.
  • Depending on the brand, product or service the business deals with.
  • Creatingan effective marketing strategy.

Is it necessary to model the future of customer experience and engagement?

With the internal and external changes that businesses exeprince every day, business models also shift and morph frequently. Technology brings much change to how customers interact with digital channels.Therefore, organisations should be prepared for changes that will help them keep pace with customer expectations and even perhaps be the pioneers to spot a trend and act on it early.

How can customer engagements strategies help in creating an easy buying experience?

There are various customer engagement strategies depending on the desired customer sector and the company itself. Since customers are no longer just using brick and mortar stores, online platforms have more advantage than offline stores. To create and attract more customers towards the product and service, the design of it should be the main focus of the company. Apala is of the opinion that using cognitive and behavioural psychology to deeply understand customer needs can be very effective. By using persuasion engineering, a company can design and deliver the most appropriate and delightful customer experience.


What should be an entrepreneur’s priority - to engage customers or create better product experience?

Behind every successful company is their customer whoenables the business to thrive. Customers know that there are many options outside but it is the company that keeps the customer engaged with its brand.Customer engagement is necessary for the company’s stability in the long run. It’s the company’s priority to create a product and service to engage customers with better product experience. It is a blend of art and science mentions Apala. Therefore, considering engagement as a priority, the company should focus on designing, engaging and thereby providing better experience with every product.

NASSCOM got in touch with Apala Lahiri Chavan, President of Human Factors International (Middle East, Asia and Australia) to have a discussion on “effective customer engagement strategies” which “is the need of the day to build a sustainable business model.” An expert in the customer engagement sector who has a passion to study the changes of users across time, Apala shared her profound knowledge on the subject with NASSCOM.

Go-to-Market (GTM) strategy is the plan of an organization, utilizing all of their resources - internal and external, to deliver their unique value proposition to customers and achieve competitive advantage. With the end goal to enhance the overall customer experience.


Some of the questions that comes to our minds are:

  • How to derive a good GTM strategy for your products?
  • How have the successful marketers been able to achieve what is desired for growth of business?
  • What are prevailing practices that has helped new age entrepreneurs in achieving their business goals?
  • Where can we collaboratively pick up some of the best practitioners’ minds to drive our custom GTM strategies?
  • Ways to deal with challenges faced in implementing a strategies in place.


To address these, NASSCOM Product Council concluded a successful session with industry folks: Keynote by Mr Jagdish Mitra, Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer at TechMahindra followed by a panel discussion with three prominent industry leaders - Mr Mitra, Piyush Madan, Director and VP at Vinculum Solutions and Rajeev Saraf, CEP Lepton Software moderated by Sumeet Kapoor, Founder & CEO, EmployWise.





The views captured included not only GTM strategies but pricing best practices, brand building, hiring a good team and a lot more. The leaders shared their insights and experiences on what worked and did not work with them as they went about building their products/enterprises.


Mr Mitra in his keynote stressed that key to derive an effective and efficient GTM strategy for any business lies in answering five (5) VERY TOUGH but THE MOST IMPORTANT questions. Any founder/ entrepreneur/ marketer must find honest responses to these question with as much precision as possible backed by their learnings and experiences in their life and from the encounters with their prospective customers, in-depth market studies and secondary sources of professional research insights:


Some of the questions for which you must have an answer before you market your product are:

  1. Who is my customer and why s/he will buy my product?
  2. What value I am provider to my customer and how will it benefit her/him?
  3. Where can I find my right customer and what is the best way to reach her/him?
  4. Where do I want to be and how can I reach there?
  5. How can I keep my customer engaged and leverage that association to explore newer opportunities?


The follow up panel discussion brought out live-in learning from experiences of the leaders in their entrepreneurial journey.  Here are some of the key takeaways

  1. How to approach the GTM strategy and a GTM Plan: A marketer needs to take decisions around the markets to address (international v/s domestic, regions etc.), Market segments (industry verticals and size horizontals). These are the key elements of strategies that must have been deliberated or driven by where opportunities comes up. Research, anecdotal evidence, past personal experiences and mentor advice plays critical roles in making right decisions. There could be mistakes made, identify them at right time, most importantly accept and admit those. Do changed course and pivot strategy. Even if you have change the whole business model.
  2. Recognizing the Market Eco-system: Establishing credibility and getting the first few customers is the blood to the heart of your business to stay in market and grow. This repeats itself every time you enter a new markets (geography), verticals and horizontals. Right partnerships, association with influencers and the power of digital market in generating buzz becomes very important to achieve this.
  3. Evolving your GTM as you Growth: Founders are first salesman of the product. They have to go to market, meet prospects and close first few deals themselves. As business grow, they would require to build a full sales and marketing engine. What are the challenges? How do you know it’s time to transit from founders selling themselves to creating independent Marketing and Sales engine? ‘Independent’ is key word. Founders should chose a team that can sustain a successful GTM strategy, improvise it as and when time demands and uphold the changes that may be disrupting.
  4. Sustaining growth and holding fort: We will discuss how you handle competition especially from start-ups? "Understanding "Cooperation-Competition". Building a brand, engaging. It would be great to talk about getting the timing right on these decisions/actions and the role of funding (both or having/lack of it).


The panel was followed by a “un-conference” session wherein the delegates were asked to come up with 4 key areas that they wanted to have a more in-depth discussion on. They were then divided into four teams to discuss on their respective areas and finally present the key highlights of their discussion to the full group.  Here’s a synopsis of their discussions –


  1. Hiring – When should a start-up start hiring? 
  • Depends on the stage of the venture
  • First few customers should be engaged by the founders
  • Hire when you are out of capacity
  • Some hire seniors first, others build the teams ground up. Both strategies work.
  • Scope of each new hire/contract should be well defined before engaging


  1. Brand building – How to go about it? 
  • Segmentation key to effective brand building
  • Brand to key segments first before going broad
  • Identify effective branding options (events, conferences, meetings, channels, etc) for your segment and don’t try to focus on everything
  • “Bittu Tikki wala” was cited as an example where Bittu sells many food items but is known for his Tikkis; one should find their core focus areas and be known for that


  1. Product revamp – Should the GTM strategy change post major product revamps? 
  • Unless change in terms of focus to untapped market segments, larger GTM strategies don’t change due to a product revamp
  • When moving to a new segment, leverage what you have for other segments and build on top of it
  • Handholding existing customers key to successful product revamp
  • Use power users as allies for GTM for new segments


  1. Pricing strategy – How to price the product right? 
  • It’s key to identify the core value proposition for your offering
  • Pricing to channel partners should not only compensate for their efforts but also keep them excited for future prospects
  • Pricing to technology partners should account for the relative contribution from each partner
  • Don’t get excited by list price as the partners would sell at discounted rates
  • Typical monthly SaAS fee is Licence Cost/36 – Could be different in specific situations
  • White-labelling product could be a valid business strategy in specific cases; example of Foxconn – key strength in large operations capacity coupled with massive supply chain capabilities


*This blog is an outcome of the session on Strategisizing Go-to-Market on 21 Apr at Gurugram organized by NASSCOM Product Council.

FY2017 has not been as fast paced as FY2016 for the ecommerce segment but it has been a year of great resilience, market expansion, tough competition, and heightened interest from global players. Flipkart expanded its reach via acquisition, Snapdeal rebranded and Amazon continued with its efforts on market expansion with new programs and initiatives. Growth in tier II and III cities have been remarkable too. 


However, the major trend is brick and mortar stores moving towards digitization. While online players like Nykaa, Voylla, Lenskart and Zivame continued to expand operations through their brick and mortar stores, offline players such as Future Group, Mahindra Retail, Reliance Group, etc. have started showing interest in an online presence. Next few years should further blur the line between online to offline and offline to online platforms. 


Another trend has been the  rise of niche ecommerce segments, such as the following: 

Top technology themes that became significant in 2016



Factors that are driving segment in India are:


Stay tuned for more insights on the ecommerce segment in India. Check itsr2017 for blogs and datapoints from our recent report. You can also download the chapter on Ecommerce section here

This post is based on the NASSCOM session on “Platforms and Harnessing their Power as Digital Deepens”, organised in association with Sonata Software at Hotel Leela Palace, Bengaluru on 8 March 2017. 


A daily digital interaction is the power that digital tools and digital platforms offer when used properly and every business and company is relevant to it. A successful digital play often demands the existence of a vibrant platform which can bring suppliers and consumers together. Today, a large number of the world’s most valuable companies by market capitalization are platform companies, including Apple, Amazon, Alibaba and Facebook. NASSCOM in association with Sonata Software organized an interesting conversation on 8th March 2017 at Hotel Leela Palace which featured keynote addresses by prominent technologists and a deep-dive panel discussion by industry experts on the theme of ‘Platform and Harnessing its power as digital deepens’. The conversation opened with Srikar Reddy, MD & CEO Sonata Software, setting the context on How businesses and Technology has evolved for platform players, how Tech vendors are going the platform way and  how platform models are impacting tech and IT landscape. The conversation had short keynotes from Anshu Gupta- Paypal, Pratap TP – Qikcilwer, Sonia Parendekar – Urban Ladder, Vishnu Prasad Hegde – SAP Labs and Gurubala- Microsoft. The conversation ended with an interesting discussion on what could be the degree of readiness among enterprises and their ITeS partners if they choose to move on to a more platform based approach. This conversation was led by Ed Nair- Cybermedia with eminent panelist of Ankur Dang of GE Digital, Omprakash Subbarao of Sonata Software and Tilak Doddapaneni of Tesco.


Nowadays many businesses depend on a platform model. But would enterprises move into a complete platform model? The discussion mainly focused around -What gives platform-based business models competitive advantages over traditional business models and on how a company’s  technology has aligned to business their needs. The session focused on discussing on flexibility and scale of platform models and the challenges an organization faces while implementing a model of the scale. Platforms leverages the power of network effect there by unleashing the potential of growth in both width and depth.



Defining Platforms and Outlining Their Potential for Disruption for Business and IT.

Speaker: Srikar Reddy - MD &CEO, Sonata Software



Technology Vendors Implementing& Supporting Platform-based Software Solution.
Vishnu Prasad Hedge - Head HANA Platform - SAP
Mandar Kulkarni - Director Cloud & Data Centre Programs, Microsoft



Business and Technology Platform Players.
What gives platform-based business models competitive advantages over traditional business models?
- How is your technology aligned to business needs? How are systems architected, built and operated for flexibility and scale in platforms?
- What challenges (skills/processes/infra) are faced in implementing a model like this in your organization?
Learn the business and technology paradigms underpinning emerging platform based business leaders.

Anshu Gupta - Head Partner Platform, PayPal
Sonia Parandekar-Director, Engineering Urban Ladder
Pratap T.P - Cofounder & Director, Qwikcilver



Enterprises: - how are Platform Models Impacting the Enterprise business and Tech Landscape.
Ed Nair - Group Editor ICT Business, Cybermedia
Ankur Dang - Sr. Director Software Engineering, GE Digital
Omprakash Subbarao - Head Strategy & Digital, Sonata Software
Tilak Doddapaneni - Head Online Products, Tesco India.

Design thinking has picked up pace and has become the most critical element pertaining to the functioning of any startup. Putting consumer need on a higher pedestal is the key to mastering the art of being a design thinker. You heard it right; I did use the word ‘art’ while talking about a capitalistic entity. The process of creating a product has changed its course to putting human experience at the helm of it. While we talk about being an efficient and innovative designer, the most important quality to imbibe is figuring out what consumers need. Prototyping of products extensively based on meeting the human needs of an end user is design thinking.



So, how do we master the art of being a designer? And the answer is; we master this art by bringing in psychological and social attributes of our target consumer base. Essentially this is to be executed in two phases:


Opportunity Phase

The phase focuses on finding out the areas within the social framework where a new product will bring a change.

Solution Phase

This aspect comes into action when we start zeroing in on the nature of the product which will cater to that need.


Here are the following pointers to master the art of designing:

  • Initiation of product development as an end user process rather than an organizational procedure.
  • Gathering human experience.
  • Prototyping ideas based on human needs.
  • Gauging real life scenario functionality of the ideas through prototypes.
  • Synergizing psychological compatibility with consumers.
  • Giving technology it's deserved importance while embracing design as the superlative.
  • Anticipation of human needs when they have not surfaced yet.



Following flow of steps should conclusively summarize the process of mastering the art of designing; though this is not the end, this is just a preface for more literature to come on this.





 This article has been authored by Blogbeats 

..............Excerpts from Strategic Review 2017: Software Products & Start-ups. Download the full report for insights on the India market from here

The structural shift from an on-premise to cloud is imminent, with public cloud growing 7.6X the growth of on-premise (Source: IDC). It is all market-driven and revolves around the growing need to save cost and build efficiencies. Amazon forayed into the market back in the times when larger players were not willing to accept this development.
Nevertheless, even the larger players now are investing in this space.

Oracle’s India Cloud Growth

  • Flexibility, cost, agility, innovation and time-to-market are driving Oracle’s cloud growth in India
  • From an enterprise focused mind-set to catering to largely-untapped small and mid-market customers
  • 50% business coming from new customers - Ola, Makemytrip, Jabong, PVR Cinemas, and Bookmyshow
  • Launched the company’s first “Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator” in Bengaluru
  • More centers to open in the future in Chennai, Gurgaon, Hyderabad, Mumbai, Noida, Pune, Trivandrum and Vijayawada
  • Oracle Startup Cloud Accelerator to provide the following:

Structured mentoring

State-of-the-art technology

Co-working space

Access to Oracle customers and partners

Access to investors

Free credits on Oracle Cloud

For more such case studies and insights, click here to download NASSCOM's flagship report on software products and start-ups.

Design Thinking brought several layers to the functionality of a startup and at the same time this process in a way has been in a constant duel with technology. An ensuing debate about the importance of technology over design and vice versa is prevalent. However, now gladiators from both the arenas are accepting the fact that both support each other. Hence, the answer to the titular question is ‘Yes, design and tech do work hand in hand’. Gladly, design lately has moved up from component level to competency level.



Let’s shed some more light on design and tech working in unison:

Interestingly, everything starts as a technology, and design is the element which further enhances the edibility of a piece of technology. A technology not jeweled by design would end being obsolete and a design without a technological backing wouldn’t have a product to begin with. For instance, printing, typography, photography, web, HTML etc. were born as technologies but their usability was to be determined by providing solution based product development.



Following statements should point us in the right direction:

  • Technology Team needs to meet deadlines.
  • Design Team is better acquainted with the real life scenarios and user empathy.
  • The coefficient of field study is to be balanced by tech and design both.
  • If Design is the Idea, Tech is the execution.
  • Sync between generating an idea and a plausible execution.

The success of a product is connected to two ideologies:

  • Dollar Value
  • Q (Emotional Quotient)


Design and Tech as two distinct departments might be able to achieve either one of the aforementioned objectives. However, the only way to ensure that both the goals are achieved is by bringing these two worlds together. They would still exist independently but if tech is crucial to make profits then design is critical to sustain the market by providing real solutions to real problems on the ground.


This article has been authored by Blogbeats.  


Flurry Analytics’ release of its ‘State of the App Nation in India’ report revives the conversation around Indian consumer’s appetite for apps. As an Indian, I can explicitly say that we as a nation are enthusiastic and experimental, when it comes to apps. We have always been open about social networking, gaming and entertainment apps. As for payments apps, lot of people had their reservations, but demonetisation was the required nudge to bring even the most reluctant to transact online.


As per Flurry Analytics, India app usage growth was 4X that of global growth (India - 43%; global – 11%). That’s a believable figure. App market is witnessing maturity in the western markets, real growth is meant to be driven by Asian countries, particularly India. With the internet traversing the nook and corners of the country (currently 375+ million Internet users), and the rising smartphone penetration (which is still less than 30%), one can imagine the kind of growth that is expected to come.


As per App Annie, in 2016, India had the highest total time spent on Android apps, and the highest downloads from Google Play.

App Market, Google Play

The country is on a growth path – India’s app revenue is expected to witness a 67% CAGR 2015-2020 - highest globally. While messaging and social apps continue to remain the most popular and engaging, higher growths are likely to come from music, media, and entertainment (witnessed 188% growth in usage in 2016) due to the advent of the likes of Hotstar, Amazon Prime, Netflix, Saavn, and many more. Well, I hardly watch TV, so I can totally vouch for this! The next fastest growing segment as rightly highlighted by Flurry Analytics are the business and finance apps (witnessed 188% growth in usage in 2016).


As for Internet and Telecom, Jio has already revolutionised the data space with offers and freebies. This follows Vodafone-Idea merger, and Airtel acquiring Tikona’s 4G business. This along with government’s NOFN, free wifis, and the emerging concepts of Digital Village will take Internet to the hinterlands of India, further triggering increased usage of apps.


App Economy is briefly touched upon in NASSCOM’s flagship report - 'The IT-BPM Sector in India: Strategic Review 2017'. Refer to the attached file, and to download the full report, click here.


Happy reading!


Next article to follow - Internet Economy in India!


itsr2017 digitalindia appeconomy



Technology has been the key for the phenomenal transformation in marketing. It has made marketing outcomes quantifiable, driving actionable insights.  As a result of widespread internet penetration, digital media has emerged as a marketing medium that organizations cannot ignore. Real-time communication through digital further connects with the audience of today, ensuring a wider reach and seamless experience. No wonder, according to Gartner 2015-16 CMO Spend Survey, a substantial 33% of marketing investments are spent on technology.


Software product companies on their growth journey face an uphill task when it comes to marketing. They tend to focus on very specific audiences and markets, face great competition, and are limited by budgets. Digital marketing can give software companies measurable results, great insights and scale faster. But without a method to the madness, the results and effectiveness can wither away. This is way MarTech comes into the picture.


Marketing Technology or MarTech is the fusion of marketing and technology. It can help companies target potential customers with more personalization, gauge success of campaigns accurately, and gather data to make better marketing decisions and use available budgets more effectively.


MarTech tools can help companies throughout the entire cycle. Your marketing technology stack can be very lean or large depending on the scale of activities, size and needs of your business and the ability to manage them effectively. Here are a few examples of tools that can form your basic marketing stack.


Web Analytics

Web analytics platforms enable companies to track metrics for website vists, apps, campaigns,etc.  helping in analysing the receptivity of the target audience to their websites and apps. This helps companies to introduce the necessary changes in their websites accordingly. Heatmap applications such as Ptengine offer insights on the visual presentation of the website and measure the length of their stay on the website.  User-friendly tools aid organizations, especially start-ups, to host websites without expertise in coding, helping in reducing investments. Affordable website personalisation services benefit small organizations in personalising their websites to enhance brand appeal and ensure wider reach and engagement. The automated features of these SaaS products recommend relevant content that is best suited to their products and the industry that they specialise in.


Email Marketing Platforms

Sending emails individually to employees, target audiences and stakeholders is a tedious task. That’s where automated email tools present a smart marketing solution to organizations. What’s more, these platforms enable companies to even personalise their emails. Automated tools comes with a built-in CRM tool, enabling businesses to automate email campaigns, mobile message blasts to email subscribers.


Content Management

Well thought-out web content is of utmost importance since it is one of the most important factors that create a first impression to the visitors. Content that is in sync with company ethos and specialisation goes a long way in ensuring customer engagement.  Landing pages integrated with Display and search Ads, along with native content like video channel and blog is essential.


Marketing Automation

For B2B companies, which have long complex sales cycles and multiple decision makers, marketing automation is a highly critical tool. one of the critical tools to help you prove your ROI is marketing automation software. Marketing automation holds a lot of promise and when used effectively, marketing automation, along with CRM, can bridge the gap between marketing and sales.


It brings all your marketing activities together and includes analytics, online forms, visistor behaviour tracking, personalizing content, managing email campaigns, lead scoring, automated alerts, etc. It not only helps you to get an eagle eye’s view of your overall marketing performance, but also drill down to specific metrics to optimize the performance of individual marketing activities. Hubspot, Marketo, Pardot, Act-on, etc. are examples of some great marketing automation tools.


Monitoring and Listening

If your software product company has a large audience base - this can be potential customers, users, employees – online monitoring tools can help sift through conversations online about your brand, your products, your audience and your competitors. While monitoring tools can help you understand the sentiment for your brand and track what the competition is doing on digital, they can also double up as online research tools which can figure out areas of interest for your audience and help you plan campaigns better.


These tools just contribute to the tip of the iceberg that is MarTech. As you scale up, it’s important to bring in more tools to your marketing stack. And when it comes to MarTech, start early and scale early!

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is organizing NASSCOM Product Conclave  017 on Tuesday, 7th Feb 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.


NASSCOM Product Conclave (NPC) is the platform for Indian software product companies to engage with the community. NPC is a unique event wherein the best and brightest technology leaders, emerging companies and start-ups congregate. NPC North is an opportunity for the companies in the Product ecosystem to create a buzz, showcase their brands and display product excellence.

NPC North is a regional attempt to set the stage for Indian start-ups and emerging companies to access knowledge & support from the ecosystem on building markets, creating high-performance teams and addressing funding concerns.

NPC has a glorious history of over a decade. NPC 2016 held at Bangalore, witnessed 2500+ national and international delegates, interaction with 200+ speakers in over a 100+ sessions, 140+ product showcases, various connect programs, five summits for practitioners and much more excitement over three days.

If you have a great product which can be showcased in front of the market leaders then you should attend #NPCNorth2017. We have listed down three reasons explaining why you should not miss NASSCOM NPC North 2017:


  1. Connect: NPC North provides a platform for product companies where one can engage with the investors and CXOs of user communities (enterprises) for strategic partnerships. Imagine the top-level networking you are going to get from here.

npc north connect.png

  1. Showcase: Product companies who have build a great product will get an opportunity to showcase their product at the event and that too in front of the market leaders, investors and CXO’s etc.

npc north showcase.png

  1. Learn: Along with networking and product showcase, this event does provide a platform where motivational speakers will pump up the adrenaline among the start-ups, high achievers will share their experience and subject matter experts are going to conduct workshops on relevant topics including Sales – Enterprise SaaS, Going International; Content Marketing; Connected Things/Industrial Internet; Funding and Mentoring nitty-gritties.


npc north learn.png

Be ready to immerse yourself in the excitement of networking with experts, investors, founders and mentors. Plunge deep into meaningful conversations with your peers and delight in the experience that constitutes the one and only NASSCOM Product Conclave!

Get more detail here:

Use npcnorth2017 to track all content and discussions around the event.

The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) is organizing NASSCOM Product Conclave 2017 on Tuesday, 7th Feb 2017 at India Habitat Centre, New Delhi.  This event will bring together the best of 4 workshops with first-“SaaS Products” on day 1, followed by “Designing For User Engagement”, “Product Marketing” & “Selling to South East Asia” on same day with members of Nasscom Board, speaks about the main highlights of this event.



Workshop 1: SaaS Products : Go-to- Market in 180 days

Schedule: 11:00 am, 7th Feb 2017

The term "software as a service" (SaaS) is considered to be part of the nomenclature of cloud computing, along with infrastructure as a service (IaaS), platform as a service (PaaS), desktop as a service (DaaS), managed software as a service (MSaaS), mobile backend as a service (MBaaS), and information technology.

With the help of this workshop you will be able to understand SaaS in a better way. SaaS, the real problem-solving power, will help you to face the market in just 180 days.



Workshop 2: Designing for User Engagement

Schedule: 11:00 a.m, 7th Feb 2017

Every UI designer wants to engage their userbase. That’s the whole point of a website or mobile app: to provide something of value that gets visitors excited and interactive. But it’s almost impossible to gauge engagement unless you’re actually watching a user interact with your website. Thankfully, there are clues and metrics that can be used to infer user engagement.

This workshop will cover how these metrics work, and why they imply greater engagement from users.


Workshop 3: Product Marketing

Schedule: 13:45 pm, 7th Feb 2017

The success of every product lies in its customer base and brand value. This workshop will cover how to develop an end to end product marketing strategy for technology products.

This workshop will also breakdown the role of product marketing within a larger product and engineering team. Aimed at beginner and intermediate marketers as well as entrepreneurs looking to develop an end to end strategy to bring their products to market.


Workshop 4: Selling to South East Asia

Schedule: 14:00 pm, 7th Feb 2017

Should you sell other people's goods, sell your own goods, or enable others to do so? These workshop will teach you to how you can expand your product in South East Asia..


Register Now! Limited Seating Available


Get more detail here:


Use npcnorth2017 to track all content and discussions around the event.

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