The Bangalore Summit highlighted India’s evolving tech scenario which offers exponential growth prospects to SMBs
From highlighting technology as a great leveller for companies to decoding the technologies needed to accelerate business growth; a special summit on the trends in the space of technology and innovation, “Lenovo IT4SMB Summit, in association with The Economic Times”, explored the tech landscape from the perspective of small and medium businesses. The summit was recently held in Bangalore, after a very successful launch in Hyderabad.
Mr. Shailendra Katyal – Managing Director, Lenovo India
The summit started with Shailendra Katyal, Managing Director, Lenovo India setting the tone by focusing on the non-linear growth potential of SMBs by tapping into technology and the role Lenovo can play in this transformation. In his special address, Mr Katyal highlighted that “apart from hardware where we are global leaders; Lenovo is now leading the way in business solutions and services. Everything from pocket to cloud is what we are now offering to companies, particularly SMBs, which will empower them in their next phase of growth.”
Mr.Naveen Tiwari , Founder & CEO, Inmobi Group
The keynote address by Naveen Tewari, Founder & CEO, InMobi Group highlighted the infinite growth prospects for the Indian economy and the opportunity for Indian entrepreneurs to emerge as global leaders if they are able to stay ahead on the innovation curve. “We live in a world that is rapidly changing with major technological changes happening where I see software built by Indian companies dominating the global landscape. I feel Indian companies don’t need to be at the backend anymore, but should be at the forefront of all major technological changes. If Indian entrepreneurs follow this mantra, then in the next 10-15 years, I think thousands of globally competitive companies will be based in India,” said Mr Tewari.
The summit then flowed into a fire side chat on ‘Technology as a leveller: Enterprise versus Start-up’, followed by a focused panel discussion on ‘Technologies to Accelerate Business Growth’.
Mr.Sujith John, Editor, Times Techies, Mr.Dilip Jose, MD & CEO, Manipal Health Enterprise Pvt Ltd, Mr.Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-Founder & Director- Wakefit
‘Technology as a leveller: Enterprise versus Start-up’
The ability and power of technology to bridge the gap of scale between large corporations and start-ups is one of the defining aspects of the need for SMBs to partner with technology companies for future business strategy. The issue was analysed by prominent panellists representing the two ends of the spectrum, with Dilip Jose, MD & CEO, Manipal Health Enterprises representing the view of large corporations and Chaitanya Ramalingegowda, Co-founder & Director, Wakefit providing the view of starts up.
Mr Jose stated, “Large companies are able to assess the transformation due to technology through the use of proxies. One such proxy is average length of stay. At Manipal, this matrix has gone down from four days 3 years back to 2.9 days. This is due to process innovation and successful technological applications.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ramalingegowda provided his insights on the importance of technology for start-ups to remain competitive in a tough business environment. “Start-ups are agile and respond almost real –time to evolving market dynamics. Starts-ups rely on daily consumer interactions to build their businesses where customer feedback is regularly incorporated into their business models,” said Mr Ramalingegowda.
Mr.Sujith John, Editor, Times Techies, Srividhya Srinivasan, Co-Founder & Chief Customer Success Officer, Amagi, Mr.Kirti Varun Avasarala, Chief Product Officer, Meesho, Mr.Rahul Sasi, Co-Founder & CEO, CloudSEK
‘Technologies to Accelerate Business Growth’
The panel session had industry stalwarts, who deliberated on how business growth can be accelerated with the help of technology tools. As the business world becomes more crowded and competitive, SMBs require tools that empower them to innovate, collaborate and anticipate what’s next in their growth trajectories. This was clearly highlighted in the discussion. “With the help of technology, we were able to save at least two-thirds of the costs of our clients than what they would have originally spent. This is due to the role that technology plays in running our business,” said Srividhya Srinivasan, Co-founder, Amagi.
While tech budgets for SMBs are driven by financial constraints, these companies make tech investments that support key business priorities, which includes everything from attracting new customers, expanding supply chains to improving employee productivity and checking fraudulent practices. “One of the biggest applications for Meesho is the use of AI for personalisation experience for our customers. It is through the use of AI that Meesho is able to ensure customer preferences are factored in when they come on our platform, increasing engagement and customer spends. The other key usage of technology is in the area of fraud detention,” Kirti Varun Avasarala, Chief Product Officer, Meesho.
Summing up the session, Rahul Sasi Co-founder & CEO CloudSEK, said, “Going forward it is technology that will allow SMBs to leapfrog. One of the key technologies of the future will be ‘prompt engineering’. This is the technology to interact with AI, identifying its functionalities and ensuring the best possible outcome. Prompt engineering will be to ensure the most productive outcome of AI.”
The summit, which had the who’s who of Karnataka Inc. in full attendance, culminated with the IT4SMB awards ceremony. These awards recognise those SMBs in Karnataka that have demonstrated exceptional technology excellence. The awardees are companies that are leading the way for greater tech adoption amongst SMBs. The jury comprised of Satyavrat Mishra, Head Corporate IT, Godrej Industries, Amit Saluja, Senior Director and Head NASSCOM, Gandhinagar, Abhay Bapna AVP IT, Adani Wilmar and Manoj Chugh, an IT veteran.
IT4SMB awards were given to ten companies across six different categories.
Afser Shariff, Co-Founder & CEO of Dfine Bio-Innovations was judged as the winner as the ‘Emerging SMB’. First runner-up in the same category were Sandip Panda, Co-Founder & CEO and Prashanth Guruswamy, Co-Founder & Head of Sales of Instasafe Technologies. Chetan Kasim, Co-Founder & CEO, Valenta AI was adjudged the second runner-up in the ‘Emerging SMB’ category. Shivakumar Ganesan, Co-Founder & CEO of Exotel Techcom was awarded the winner in the ‘Small Sized Business’ category. Satish Kannan and Enbasekar D, Co-founders and CEO of Medibuddy were adjudged as the runner-up in the same category. In the ‘Mid-Sized Business’ category, Siddhartha Nihalani, Abhinav Lal and Shashank ND, co-founders of Practo Technologies were adjudged as the winners. In the ‘SMB Leader of the year’ category, Chandrashekar Bharathi, founder and MD and Madhusudan N Kestur, Director of Acemicromatic Mit were declared the winner. Colonel Ravi Bhushan Gupta, CEO of Ruralshores Business Services was the runner up in the same category. Venkatraman Umakanth, Vice President and Head – Analytics & IT of Vee Technologies was judged as the ‘SMB CTO/CIO of the year’. Pavithra YS, Managing Director of Vindhya E-Infomedia was given a ‘Jury Special’ award.
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