March 12th-13th, 2016: The 10th Annual IIC Conference of Jaipuria Institute of Management, Lucknow focused on the theme of “Technology and Business”. IIC stands for Interdependence, Integration & Co-creation, and the annual series was conceptualized in 2006 to foster an industry-academia interface through a discussion and analysis of ideas on major issues pertaining to sectors of India’s socio-economic environment.
Commenting on the choice of the theme, Prof. Vijay Prakash Anand, the Convener of IIC-2016, said that “Technology has been impacting the way business is done for quite some time now. It has not only created new business opportunities, but has also helped businesses to manage themselves better. Taking this into account, the agenda of IIC 2016 is to facilitate the dissemination of research-based knowledge, case studies and novel business applications related to technology and business among academicians and practitioners.”
Initiating the conference proceedings, Prof. Dheeraj Misra (Dean, Research and Development) spoke about how traditionally labour-intensive industries are transforming into capital-intensive ones. On the need for adaptability, he said “technological advances mean that it is not the fittest of species that survive but the one which is most responsive to change.”
The Chief Guest for the conference was Mr. Mrutyunjay Mahaputra, Deputy Managing Director and CIO, State Bank of India, who spoke about the need for technological innovations, in addition to describing the power of data analytics and delivery platform agnostics. His presentation also talked about the myths and realities of digital banking and the steps taken by SBI to use digital technology, future trends in banking and security challenges being faced.
The first technical session, moderated by Prof. Shyam Ji Mehrotra, focused on the theme of “Digital Banking”. The speakers for the session were Mr. Pramod Dixit, Deputy Director, Punjab National Bank Institute of Information Technology, Lucknow, Mr. Nayagam, General Manager (IT), Tamil Nadu Mercantile Bank, and Mr. Amar Habibullah, Co-Founder and Director, Trenserv Pvt. Ltd. The session highlighted how cash transactions are increasingly on the wane. On the growing unpopularity of hard cash, Mr. Nayagam said “digitisation has pushed the need of physical banks and paper money into the dustbin of oblivion.” He added, “though payment is being done through mobile wallets, in order to ensure security, commerce through a bank is more feasible. The future of the banking system lies in tracking the customer’s transaction pattern and in getting a holistic view of all of his earnings and expenditures.” The potential of Aadhar to bring about a paradigm shift in the payment culture was also discussed. At the same time, cyber security was highlighted as a major hurdle that needs to be overcome in order to increase the digital spread. Growing phishing attacks, skimming and keylogging and the precautions against each of these were discussed in detail.
The theme for the second technical session was “Role of Technology in Offering New Business Opportunities”. Mr. Naveen Luthra, Vice President, Group Strategic Alliances, askme.com and Mr. Kiron Chopra, Chairman and Managing Director, CR Rubber Products Ltd. RBI, Lucknow, were the speakers for the session.
E-commerce and the rising penetration of handheld devices in the shopping experience were cited as a very visible development. Also, the potential of ‘Internet-of-Things’- a connected network of machines, software and hardware, was discussed as a still untapped source of new business opportunities. Elaborating further, Mr. Naveen Luthra said “there would be a time very soon when machines would interact with each other, take care of human beings and would require very little human intervention. He concluded by saying that technology has become an embedded part of our lives and that is where new opportunities are born for the new generation.” Commenting on the disruptive power of technology, Mr. Kiron Chopra said “many traditional segments such as Photography, Messaging, etc. have all been disrupted in the ‘Age of Digital Conversion’ and more will continue to be.”
Day 2 of IIC-2016 built on the theme and momentum of Day 1. The first session was “Role of Technology to Understand Customers Better”. Customer empowerment through technology was discussed by the speakers, which included Dr. Yasho V. Verma, Managing Consultant, SAP, former COO, LG Electronics and former CEO, Onida, Mr. Arun Mehta, Global Head & Director, Data Management, Maersk Line and Mr. Pankaj Maheshwari, Senior Consultant, CSC India.
Mr. Mehta spoke on how one can get more business, bring in digital disruption, and manage and mitigate the risks involved with technology. He further mentioned some surprisingly innovative uses of technology, some of which are the study of the patterns of consumer behavior detected by devices using cognitive intelligence. As an example, he highlighted how Walmart’s analysis of a consumer helped them in increasing their business. He also mentioned that this top Fortune 500 company used video footage to study the expressions and responses of customers to the activity around any product, and figured out a correlation between placing two products together in order to increase the sales of both. Subsequently, comparing the earlier models of businesses, he explained how Information Technology has brought about a revolutionary change from log analysis to web analysis and further on to digital intelligence.
The fourth technical session of IIC 2016 centered on the theme “Technology for Innovation and to Gain Sustainable Competitive Advantage”. The speakers of the session were Mr. Pulkit Trivedi, Head of Industry – e-commerce biz, Google India and Mr. Naveen Tandon, Director, International External Affairs, AT&T.
Mr. Trivedi stated that “innovation is the most amused and abused lingo in the current market”. He highlighted that the segmentation of consumers is getting really difficult and the future is in the hands of artificial intelligence. He also explained how technology is disrupting the patterns of market penetration – radio took 110 years to reach 5 billion people, while smart phones took only 8 years to reach 5 billion people. Therein lies the power of technology. He reiterated that consumer behavior is very tough to predict and calls for the revision of traditional marketing books. The second speaker, Mr. Tandon, discussed the expectations from a policy framework and emerging technological formats needed to gain a competitive advantage. “A policy provides a vision and a roadmap for growth; so in order to be a critical and relevant player in the future, policy makers need to rethink their design, strategy, and operations in fundamental ways in order to ensure significant technological and socio-economic developments”, he explained.
The final part of the Conference was “Faculty Paper Presentation”. Prof. Kavita Pathak, Dean Academics, introduced the speakers of the session, which included Dr. Ravinder Kaur, Professor HR, Dr. Jaya Chitranshi, Faculty Symbiosis International University and Dr. Sindhuja Mishra, Associate Professor (Humanities), BBD, National Institute of Technology and Management, Lucknow.
IIC-2016 drew to a close with the valedictory session. After all of the sessions and eminent speakers, the participants went back enriched in the knowledge that no business can grow in isolation and that technology is the driver that brings business and its myriad stakeholders together. The opportunities that it creates should be looked at with optimism. Speaking about the impact of technology in his valedictory address, the Guest of Honour Mr. Bibhas Kumar Srivastava, Former Executive Director, Corporation Bank, said “Technology is not only helping companies in creating new businesses – it is also helping them in cost-cutting across various dimensions of business and thus helping them to be more efficient.” He also talked about the various banking facilities that are now available to customers because of mobile technology.