Volume II Issue I
Innovation Consulting War Strategies Learning from history Advising the Gods Consultant for Team India
From the Editor’s Desk Innovation Unplugged Rahul Agarwal
3 Innovation today is increasingly being seen as a key business enabler. It helps solve some of the most fundamental business problems from attracting customers through Advising the Gods product/service offerings to lowering manufacturing costs, Consultant for Team India 7 optimizing supply and distribution, etc. A key example in this Vishnuram L. case is of course Apple which in the last 15 years has gone from a near bankrupt corporation to becoming an industry War Strategies leader and one of the most innovative companies globally. Learning from History 12 More and more companies are looking towards building this Aniket R Khare competency and are looking at engaging with innovation consultants. In this context, our feature article on Innovation Green Conclave @ IIFT 18 Unplugged is a must read as it takes you through the basics Suneet Choudhury of what innovation is all about and seeks to dispel many misconceptions around innovation practices. Consultant as a Stakeholder or Service Provider This edition also features an article on Advising the Gods— A Debate 20 Consultant for Team India which presents a detailed analysis Aditi Nagpal of the Indian Cricket Team as well as analysis of some of its Oojwal Manglik biggest threats in the World Cup. The article on War Strategies takes you back to the third battle of Panipat and Strategic Branding: does a analysis of the entire conflict with idea being to All Cars Have Four Wheels 22 critically analyze the strategic aspects of the event. Apoorv Dixit There is also a featured debate on the evolving role of the Socrates Roundup 25 consultant-client relationship with arguments in favour of looking at the consultant as a stakeholder or a service Funny Bone: provider. Dilbert’s Desk 28 The edition also includes a roundup of all the happenings of IIFT’s Green Conclave 2011 as well as a roundup of Socrates, Volume II Issue I The Consulting Club’s year round activities. In case of any Socrates, The Consulting Club feedback or contributions for the upcoming edition of the Abhinav Varshney +91 9654438680 magazine, please do write into us. Sudeep Deb Umang Chittlangia
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Innovation Unplugged Rahul Agarwal
IN-novation is, very simply, IN. Every company talks about it, wants to do it. Policy makers, governments and analysts alike all talk about innovation being the need of the hour and the panacea to all ills. Yet, as an Innovation practitioner I see that Innovation as a conceptual domain is quite narrowly, may I say poorly, understood. In this short article, I will attempt to put forth a holistic perspective on what innovation is and isn’t, busting some myths and mis-perceptions along the way. The biggest and most prevalent world-view about innovation is that it has to be “that big-bang idea” that no one ever heard or figured out. This view is highly misleading. The big insight about innovation is that it’s not about the idea, it’s entirely about the value. If you can figure out a way to unleash big amounts of ‘new’ value, you have innovated. It doesn’t matter if you have leveraged something that already existed. Some examples help clarify this. Was the iPod the first MP3 player in the market? No, Audio Highway of the US did it first, followed by Koreans, five years before the iPod. Was iTunes the first digital music platform in the market? No, Napster in 1999 and many others came before it. Yet it was Apple who figured out how to put the ‘product’ and the ‘service’ together in a way that unleashed huge new value for the consumer, and in fact ended up redefining the whole music industry. Take another example. Was IPL the first to auction players? No. Football
Premier league has been buying and selling players for ages. Was IPL the first to have cheerleaders? No, baseball has that all the time. But IPL brought these elements together and did it the first time in ‘puritanical’, change-resistant cricket, breaking many taboos indeed but in the process becoming the fastest growing sports franchise ever in reaching $2 billion valuation within 2 years! The second ‘problem’ with wannabe innovators is that they tend to jump to finding the smart answer. The belief is “If we can crack the right answer, we are home”. Not that this is surprising, given that our education system teaches, measures and rewards the ability to get to the answer fast. The big insight here is that innovation very often lies in asking the question one never asked before. When S K Telecom of Korea asked the question “how can we monetize the hitherto un-monetized parts of the network?”, it gave birth to the caller tune. When Cavincare asked the question “why does a shampoo have to be sold in minimum 250 ml bottle and cost a minimum Rs. 30?”, it gave birth to the sachet. When Sunil Mittal at Bharti Airtel asked the question “why do we need to run all operations ourselves?”, it gave birth to the now-famous “minutes factory” model that made India the lowest cost mobile telephony market in the world in just ten years. So if you can ask a lot of questions, seemingly naïve, stupid, child-like questions, you have a good chance you will come up with a truly innovative, value-creating answer. The third misconception about innovation is that it can be done by only a few – those bright, ‘sparky’, gifted people who ‘just get it’. In my experience, this is simply not true. Humans are born creative, period. The problem is we let the society put labels on us and over time we cement the same self-view by reinforcing those labels. So we often say “I’m not good in creating, but I can execute” or “I simply run out of ideas very quickly so it must mean I’m not very creative”. As they say, perception is reality. You become your thoughts. To innovate, first you must truly believe you are as gifted as the Steve Jobs out there. Second, it’s about learning techniques that help you think smart and out-of-box. The fourth problem with the way most innovation is attempted is that it is “inside-out”. A company and its people tend often to get locked-in into their view of the customer and the market. They believe they know everything about the customer. They rely on part formulae that have clicked, while diligently avoiding those that didn’t. In doing so, they miss out. Not only that, they end up doing incremental stuff which they then label innovation. The trouble is that only they can see their innovation, most times the customer can’t! You just need to walk down the aisles of any retail mall and check out competing brands of toothpaste, shampoo, refrigerator, TV or almost anything to see what I mean. Incremental ‘tweaks’ are not equal to innovation. Innovation’s power comes from the power of breakthrough insight. Insight is that under-served or under-understood need that
no one has addressed before. The right way to attempt innovation is “Outside-in”, that is, work back from market insight. When Ratan Tata goes on to produce the 1 lac Nano because India’s vast middle-class needs a safe, modern and affordable means of transport, he is being outside-in. When Nintendo recognizes that gaming is traditionally patronized by the young, single male and it’s technically challenging for most others, it came up with the Wii console that made gaming physically closer to reality, fun and as easy for a child or a grandmother. It blew away the competition and expanded the size of the market many-fold. That’s what insight-driven innovation is all about. The fifth ‘graveyard’ of innovation is the notion that if we get a smart innovative idea, the rest is easy. In my experience, the smart idea is a mere 20%, 80% is all about the execution. And by the way, out-of-box ideas cannot be implemented with a ‘business-as-usual’ execution mentality or process. It is a different recipe. It needs people at the helm who are passionate, impatient, resourceful and don’t easily “no” or “can’t do” for an answer – that’s not your typical corporate manager. It needs side-stepping long bureaucratic mechanisms and tiring hierarchies and political compulsions. It needs a razor-sharp focus on the end-goal and avoiding dilution under the guise of ‘practicality’. Further, it needs a quick ‘rapid prototyping’ approach instead of the oft-seen Excel-PPT fixation and over-intellectualization. A great example here is the way Nandan Nilekani has gone about executing the UID scheme. A bold, ambitious idea but fiendishly complex to get right. No global precedent to benchmark and learn from. No proven technology to adopt. No ready pool of talent to tap. Yet a true innovator like Nandan is managing to do it, with meticulous planning, keeping an open mind, doing prototypes to try out different approaches, enrolling scores of stakeholders, and leveraging the power of collaboration. To sum up, first, innovation is not necessarily about that big bang never-before idea, it’s a lot about ‘connecting the dots’ that already exist, in a unique way that unleashes huge new value. Second, innovation is firstly about asking a lot of very fundamental questions that people either didn’t think of or were afraid to ask. This uncovers many assumptions which when challenged lead to great innovations. So,
innovation starts with asking questions, then only finding a unique answer. Third, innovation is not rocket science that can be attempted only by the gifted few. Backed with a can-do belief and done with the right techniques, it can be done on everyday basis by everybody, be it an individual, a team, an organization or an entire ecosystem. Fourth, innovation always ought to be done working-backfrom-insight, and not working-forward-from-my worldview. If a unique and powerful insight is uncovered, a successful innovation is much more likely. Last but perhaps most important, innovation is meaningless with just a great idea, it has to get converted to a working business proposition. In an innovation journey, although the ‘high’ comes from reaching the insight and the breakthrough idea, it’s the ‘perspiration’ or the execution part which makes the difference between what makes it and what doesn’t. Innovation must be executed with a business-as unusual mindset and process, else it may not succeed. They say America was built on the foundation of finance and entrepreneurship, Japan was built on a foundation of quality, China was built on a foundation of low cost manufacturing. It is my firm conviction that if India is to become prosperous and a leading nation of the world, it can only be built on a foundation of innovation.
The Author is Practice Head Targeted Innovation in Operations Erehwon Innovation Consulting He is alumnus of IIFT’s MPIB 1997 program
Advising the Gods Consultant for Team India Vishnuram L. MBA(IB) 2010-12
After 15 years, we get to see a world cup where there are no favorites. Team India has the right blend of youth and experience, where a veteran of 22 years of international cricket shares dressing rooms with people who were not born when he first wore the colours of team India, and as a bridge we have a set of 4-5 players, who have played in excess of 200 international matches.
Team Lineupâ€”Analysis We arguably have the best batting line up in the present tournament. Who can be more destructive than the man who has scored two test trebles and almost scored another one, who has scored against every opposition and in every condition, spin pace, seam, bounce, you name it and he has hammered every bowler everywhere. A casual statement expressing his intention to bat for fifty overs brought shivers down the spine of every bowler worth his weight. Critics would point to his not so great ODI record, especially in terms of his batting average (34+), but the strike rate is an equally important measure in judging an ODI batsman. When we use Strike rate multiplied by batting average as a measure Virender Sehwag is among the very best. Moreover his average during the last two years, wherein he has played 32 one day internationals is a handsome 43.31 scored at a phenomenal strike rate of 125.22. Also, during the said period there is huge increase in the time he has spent in the middle, A very popular commentator once said: One definite way to know the result of any match that India plays is to find out the number of overs Veeru spent at the crease. To add calm to the fire, we have the maestro, giving the firebrand company, what
more needs to said about the man who has scored a staggering 30,000 international runs, 17,000 of those in this format of the game at an unbelievable average of 45 and astonishing strike rate of 86.69, and like old wine he seems to only get better with age, in the last two years he has shown the kind of form which can only be termed phenomenal, the zenith being the double he scored at Gwalior against Dale Steyn and company. He can contribute in every way, his cricketing sense is part of folklore and a even the most underutilised of his skills- Bowling, which can come handy. Who can forget his exploits with the ball, when as a 20 year old he was thrown the ball in the final over of the Hero cup at the mother of all stadiums in India- The Eden Gardens, after the Great Kapil declined to bowl the final over, with South Africa requiring just 6 runs with the reliable McMillan still at the crease, and restricted the Marauding south Africans three runs short of their target. At number three we have Gautam Gambhir, who many experts have hailed as the perfect mixture of Sachin and Sehwag, especially in terms of the approach of the former and the aggression of the latter, he has been extremely consistent in both forms of the game in the last three years and has also shown good leadership qualities, evidence to the same being the calm manner in which he led the side during the recently concluded bilateral series against New Zealand. With a no clear weakness against any kind of bowling and an enviable record in the sub continent, he is the ideal man at number 3. At number four, we have the new kid on the block, the fearless rookie, who has been Indiaâ€™s best batsman in the last year, Virat Kohli, who seems to revel under pressure, testimony to his handling pressure is the brilliant century he scored against the world champions, while chasing a difficult total. He mixes caution with aggression and his strokes in the cover region, especially his cover drives are a treat to the eye, sick of watching scoops and cross batted heaves. Positions 5, 6 and 7 are not quite fixed and the order is determined purely by situation rather than any prior strategy. The three warriors in question are the Captain himself, the man hailed as the next Tendulkar- Yuvraj and the marauding Yusuf Pathan. M.S. Dhoni possesses no great technique, but his cool head and his accurate reading of the game compensates for the lack of technique, he has, especially after assuming captaincy, radically changed his game, previously known for its flamboyance and power hitting to a more sedate yet sensible approach. Being a great player of spin, he should have no problem in batting in any position
or situation in any of the pitches in the sub continent. Yuvraj Singh, his recent form notwithstanding, can change any match in a matter of 10 deliveries, A certain Broad will stand testimony to the above statement, Yuvraj’s skills with the ball has given the team the luxury of playing 7 batsmen, which will help in setting or overhauling huge totals, and given the fact that most of the teams have found it difficult playing against spin, one would not be surprised if he is able to win matches purely on account of his bowling. Yousuf Boom Boom Pathan, excuse the fact the middle name is borrowed from that of another Pathan, who seems to captain another team. He can destroy bowling attacks, reputation, and coaching manuals singlehandedly and in a matter of minutes, the Kiwis and the Proteas faced the marauders wroth and will swear by any holy book of this man’s hitting power, especially the bullets over the mid wicket – long on region. If the T20 world cup 2007 was the trailer and the IPL is first movie, this could be the magnum opus, the Oscar winner that most actors wait for. Spots 8,9,10 and 11 go to the bowlers, which has been the team’s weakest link, especially in the shorter version for the last few years. This fact notwithstanding, our bowlers have come with some remarkable performances over the last few years. Led by the wily Zaheer Khan, whose opening burst and late reverse swing has been the cause of a few nightmares, you can ask a certain Mr. Smith, who seems to have no clue while facing the Baroda Express, and supported ably by
Nehra, whose death bowling seems to improve with every match. The Spin department seems to be in safe hands, with Harbhajan controlling the flow of runs and Chawla- A leg spinner is a wicket taker, capable of providing the breakthroughs.
Threat Analysis Threat one: The mercurial Pakistanis, if at all a team has 11 match winners, it is this team. On their day, they can defeat the West Indies of the 70â€™s and the Australians of the last decade put together, and as a succour to other teams, the one area where this team has made no progress is consistency, evidence to it is the fact that in the world cup which they won, they were also bundled out for 74 in a group encounter against a team they beat in the finals. India must exploit this inconsistency and care should be taken to negotiate Shoaib Akhtar in the early overs and Umar gul, especially his reverse swing towards the end, another weak link is the dependence on Younis and Misbah and a relatively inexperienced middle order, India must exploit this weakness in order to even think of victory against a team capable of any miracle, which can be classified as the rarest of rare. Threat two: comes in the form of the world champions who are yet to lose a match, in the quadrennial event since their 10 run loss to Pakistan 12 years back. With a strong batting line up and a capable bowling attack, they surely are contenders for the biggest prize in international cricket. Their only weakness seems to be spin and the indifferent form of their skipper, the Talismanic Tasmanian, exploiting his present lack of form and his weakness against Harbhajan Singh, India must bowl Harbhajan Singh as long as the punter is at the crease. Another threat is Watson, his attacking nature means a few chances will be offered, India must be disciplined in the opening overs and maintain a tight line and length, this might frustrate Watson and force him to go for his shots. The teamâ€™s middle order seems to not have the big names, it once used to have, Michael Husseyâ€™s absence should be exploited to the hilt, and the easy singles
batsmen the world over have been able to score against us, due to our famous inefficiency in the field, has to be prevented. The sub continentâ€™s pitches will not offer the bounce the Aussie speedsters are used to, but, we have to be cautious and not throw our wickets away, negotiating the initial overs without losing wickets will help us set competitive totals and we should exploit the lack of experience in the Aussie middle order. With their exit from the world cup, Team India has not only faced and overcome its biggest demon from the 2003 world cup campaign, but also ensured that this year a new team will be crowned world champions. Threat three: The Consistent South Africans, they have always been contenders in every event this game has offered. They have also consistently failed when under the slightest of pressure, earning them the nickname the chokers. Led by a Giant of man, in both the batting and in the field this team can challenge any team in the world. India, particularly Zaheer has been successful against Smith and this must be used in our favour, in the event of an encounter against the Proteas. Another threat is the man hailed as the greatest cricketer ever, the ever reliable Jaques kallis, the only strategy against him seems to be disciplined bowling and fielding, with no perceived our real weakness against any kind of bowling, there seems to be no other way to corner this warrior. Amla and De Villiers are serious threats too and have demonstrated the ability to singlehandedly steer their team to victory, here too disciplined bowling seems to be the key. South Africaâ€™s defeat in the quarter finals has only improved Indiaâ€™s chances of becoming world champions this year.
War Strategies Learning from history Aniket R Khare MBA(IB) 2010-12
INTRODUCTION One battlefield in India where victory has unfortunately always belonged to the invader has been Panipat. The Battles of Panipat No I
Date 21st April 1526
Home side Ibrahim Khan Lodi
Result Babur won
5th Nov 1556 14th Jan 1761
Jalaluddin Akbar Ahmed Shah Abdali
Hemraj Vikramaditya (Hemu) Peshwas - Sadashiv Rao Bhau
Akbar won Abdali won
This article analyzes the third battle of Panipat. Often termed as one of the most fiercely fought and decisive battles of the 18th century in India, it dealt a huge blow to the strength of the Maratha empire under the Peshwas. The Peshwas never really recovered from this blow. In a long term perspective it paved the way for the British to gain control over the rest of India as till 1765 the British area of influence was largely restricted to the states Bengal and Awadh. Events leading to the Battle The Maratha empire was at its peak around 1760. The reign of Peshwas extended from Punjab in the North to Hyderabad in the south. The part of the map shaded orange shows Maratha empire around 1760. Raghunath Rao expanded the Maratha empire till Attock in Afghanisthan in 1755. Historical records show that Raghunath Rao defeated Ahmed Shah Abdaliâ€™s son Timur Shah during this period. The Nawab Najib-ud-Daulah of Rohilla Khand, found these a convenient set of circumstances to plan for two things:
Diminish the influence of Marathas in India, especially control over the Mughal ruler in Delhi and
Give himself a controlling role in Delhi
He invited Ahmed Shah Abdali in 1759 on the pretext of religious commonality and so that Abdali could avenge the defeat of his son. He also promised Abdali huge gains both territorial as well as financial. As Abdali entered the country in late 1759 Najib Ud Daulah also threatened and convinced Shuja-Ud-Daulah, the Nawab of Avadh to support the Afghan forces. Going against the advice of his mother, he joined the forces of Abdali and was one of the biggest contributors to the expense account during the whole time. In 1760, Abdali drew first blood by attacking a small Maratha army led by Dattaji Scindhia at Murari Ghat. Dattaji fought with characteristic Maratha valour but was soon defeated and killed by Abdaliâ€™s troops. Alarmed by Dattajiâ€™s death the Maratha supremacy in Pune vowed to take revenge. Owing to differences between Raghunath Rao and the Peshwa ruler Balaji Baji Rao the Peshwa decided to send Sadashiv Rao Bhau and his son Vishwas Rao to lead the Marathas against the Afghans. The Marathas army had 80,000 forces including 35,000 cavalry and 130 pieces of French artillery. Since army ensured protection, a large number of civilians exceeding 300,000 accompanied the army on a pilgrimage to the holy places in the north. This was a huge liability for the Marathas as they were permanently bound to provide safety, food and other arrangements for these people. Abdali had no such constraints. The Afghans army had over 100,000 warriors including 40,000 cavalry. It also had 80 pieces of artillery which was light, could be mounted upon camels and transported easily. Raja Surajmal Jat, the ruler of Bharatpur refused to involve himself in the battle owing to differences with the Marathas over control over Delhi. The Marathas also never got support from the other rulers in the North like the Sikhs of Punjab. They were thus isolated. Sometime in September 1760, the Maratha forces attacked Kunjpura fort routing the Afghan garrison and looting the wealth that Abdali had kept in reserve at the
fort. Stuck on the other bank of the Yamuna, Abdali was extremely frustrated and at a considerable cost and risk crossed the Yamuna on 17th October 1760 at Baghpat. A weakened Abdali even considered truce with the Marathas. But Najib Ud Daulah successfully steered him away from the path of peace in pursuit of his own ambition. Abdali’s Yamuna crossing was a decisive turn of events as it left the Marathas stranded in the north isolated from their supply lines and Abdali to the south isolated from his own supply lines. However Abdali could generate alternate means of supplies because of his proximity to Rohilla Khand and availability of Shuja Ud Daulah’s finances. An additional army led by Atai Khan also joined Abdali in late December 1760 to compensate for the losses incurred while crossing the Yamuna. On the way they cut off Maratha supplies by capturing and killing Govind Pant Bundela, responsible for Maratha supplies in a skirmish. Because the Maratha army had a large civilian population accompanying them they delayed their attack on the Afghans hoping for the restoration of supplies and fearing their exposure to the Afghans in a situation of battle. The supplies were never restored. The ensuing period of starvation frustrated the army and weakened the cavalry. On 14th January 1761, the Maratha forces attacked. They positioned themselves near the village of Kala Amb, with a clear battle plan to decimate Abdali’s right flank by the afternoon so that the women and support staff could be transported across the Yamuna to safety. Hence Bhau placed Ibrahim Khan on the left flank so that the artillery could build pressure on Abdali’s right flank. This strategy proved effective to a limited extent. The Maratha forces under Bhau led a frontal attack which nearly split the Afghan army in
two. However the enthused Maratha army soon grew exhausted due to starvation in the days preceding battle. This helped Afghan forces to regroup. Meanwhile Najib successfully built pressure on Jankoji Scindhiaâ€™s flank. Vishwas Rao entered the battle seeing the weakened position of the frontal forces. At this crucial juncture Abdali introduced his camel mounted artillery who could fire over the Afghan forces directly aiming at the Maratha cavalry at a short range. The Maratha cavalry found it impossible to face up to this. Also since the Shaturnals were very mobile in nature, the Maratha artillery could do little to counter them. This proved to be another decisive turning point of the battle and the tide turned irreparably in favour of the Afghans. Towards the evening, Bhau himself finally entered battle. Not seeing him on his elephant created confusion amongst Maratha soldiers and rumours of defeat began to spread. Although majority of the forces were still fighting this proved to be a big blow to the Maratha morale. Eventually Vishwas Rao fell to a bullet in the head while Bhau faught on with his bodyguards till the end despite having three horses shot out from under him. Malharrao Holkar retreated from the field to escort the women and support staff to safety and proceeded to Gwalior. Major Maratha generals like Jankoji Scindhia and Ibrahim Gardi were captured and executed by the Afghans. Tukoji Scindhia, Damaji Gaekwad and Vittal Vinchurkar apart from Vishwas Rao and Bhau too lost their lives. In all around 70,000 Maratha soldiers lost their lives while Abdali himself lost around 35,000 of his soldiers and
two generals. Najib lost 15,000 Rohillas. The aftermath of battle A.
The Maratha empire suffered an irreparable blow. Though they still controlled a major part of North India in subsequent years, they were never as spirited or as united as before Panipat.
The British started interfering in Maratha politics towards the 1770s. This finally led to the Anglo-Maratha wars, the last of which was decisively won by the British in 1818 bringing an end to the Maratha empire. Panipat was that decisive result which gave the British a foot-in-the-door entry into the politics of central India. It was thence that they became a major force.
Nawab Shuja Ud Daulah, repentant of his Afghan support at Panipat eventually lost to the British in the Battle of Buxar in 1764.
Najib gained from the battle, but still never got as much control as he wanted. Abdali refused to give him controlling powers at Delhi fearing a Maratha revenge attack. After Najibâ€™s death in 1770, the Rohillas were routed by the British.
Lessons to be learnt Strategic A.
Sadashiv Rao Bhau was much less aware of the political and military situations in North India than Malhar Rao Holkar or Raghunath Rao. Choice of leadership had to be extremely judicious. As a leader, taking Malhar Rao Holkarâ€™s advice keenly should have been Bhauâ€™s priority knowing his experience in North India.
The shift of battle preference from guerrilla warfare to open battle went directly against the Maratha core strength. The Afghan cavalry could never have handled small skirmishes over a long duration of time because Abdali never had the patience to stay on infinitely in India. His forces too were very eager to return to Afghanistan.
The Marathas, owing to politics of superiority, never focused on any alliances with critical people like Surajmal Jat and Nawab of Avadh. On the contrary, because of their continuous demand for payment of tributes from these territories they incurred their combined hostility which became too much to
handle. Tactical A. B.
The Maratha artillery was heavy and static. The Afghan artillery was light and mobile. They had no plan to counter this advantage enjoyed by the Afghans. The Maratha chiefs themselves were constantly at odds with each other with many of them opposing the idea of an open battle against guerrilla warfare. This diminished their confidence in battle. The burden of pilgrims almost always drove the Maratha battle plan. This was fatal. Normally pilgrims should have had zero stake in driving battle decisions. The decision to delay the attack on Afghans resulted in severe starvation of the Maratha forces eventually leading to the loss.
The Marathas fought with empty stomachs, terribly weak. Their mobility was greatly restricted due to accompanying pilgrims. B. The timing of introduction of Shaturnals by Abdali was very crucial. He introduced them when a large chunk of the Maratha horses were exhausted thus becoming easy targets for the Shaturnals. C. Better intelligence of enemy forces helped Abdali mobilize his forces better. D. Bhau, unlike Abdali maintained no reserve force with him. Once he found that Vishwas Rao had disappeared into battle, he had only himself to rely upon. For an armyâ€™s morale, this proced imprudent.
Green Conclave @ IIFT Suneet Choudhury MBA(IB) 2010-12 In focus of promoting the Indian Carbon Consulting Industry, IIFT, India’s premier B -school, took the initiative in focus with PAT: Perform Achieve and Trade by organizing “GREEN CONCLAVE 2011”. The baton of this strategy lies with the Carbon Consultant who would help the industries modify their processes to make them energy efficient. IIFT was witness to one of the most contemporary debates in International Business involving the scope of carbon trading and consulting from an international as well as Indian Perspective. Conducted by Socrates (Consulting Club at IIFT DELHI) , this discussion had a healthy mix of industry stalwarts , delegates interested in carbon consulting , as well as the students who were curious to gain insights about a field which is still in its budding years. The discussion was between three different industry experts from a different domain but with a common interest in PAT. It was moderated by a highly experienced professional who has been involved in projects involving carbon credits for several years now. Mr Tapan Chowdhury, Head, Fundraising, Care India was the moderator for the event. The panellists included Mr Nitin Zamre MD India ICF International (Climate Change Consultant), Mr Ajay Ahuja, General Manager Sun Microsystems (IT Professional) and Mr Birjendra Sangwaiya, Principal Consultant Emergent Ventures (Climate change Consultant). The discussion started with the agenda from the moderator that the “Industry needs to play a major role in developing a sustainable model for carbon credits in India”. Nitin Zamre focused on the fact there is no current climate related target as of yet which has been stipulated by the government. He gave us a brief overview of the PAT scheme and stressed on the fact that it is not a one size fits all model. Some of his notable quote which came out were “If everybody overachieves in gaining
carbon credits, then there won’t be a market for carbon trading” which indicated that it was theoretical possibility that everyone achieves equivalent emission cuts Ajay Ahuja brought about the IT industry’s perspective into focus. He stressed on the role that it industry had to play in reducing carbon emissions and make its technologies more efficient. With increased usage of it infrastructure across industries it was imperative that IT technologies should in corporate greater power savings, in order to make it a green technology. His most impact full quote was “The cost of operating power of servers is more than the cost to buy them” indicating the need of the hour was to find energy efficient solutions in order to make business a sustainable and green model. Birjendra Sangwariya an IIFT alumnus principally discussed on the world carbon trading market, whether they are linked to each other, and the existing standards and registries. He discussed on the regulatory changes which might come into factor in order to bring a unified model and a consultant’s role in the entire scenario. This discussion ended with questions on a few major issues like the scope of unification of carbon credit schemes across the world, life cycle of these schemes and costs of implementation, export –import of these credits in the international market, role of cloud computing in reducing carbon emissions. It was an eye opener in terms of how much crucial role controlling of carbon emissions will play in the future of industrial sectors , and the role of the consultant involved in climate change solutions.
Consulting Debate Consultant as a service provider or stake holder Consultant as a Service Provider Looking at the history of consulting which started in 1920s with the first marks that of Booze and Company in 1914 and of McKinsey in 1923, one sees in retrospect that consulting emerged as a domain for individuals having specialization in certain fields which were their forte. It wasn’t much of an industry per se. But with organizations getting bigger and their internal challenges aggravating it was perceived extremely beneficial to have a third party perspective. This perspective was brought to the fore through a consultant and that’s how a consultant got incorporated in the industry and consultancy flourished as an industry. This saw the emergence of BCG in 1963 and Bain and Company ten years later. As this industry progressed all consultants fell into the trap of categorizing industry wide problems. As a result they lost out on customization which led to implementation issues. Since the consultant was a third party provider, for the independence of consultants to be maintained they took the view that they should not be forced to have an implementation liability in their contract as this would hamper the effectiveness of their independent view. This is where consulting as a profession preferred to remain a service provider and not become a stakeholder in its implementation. This was often misconstrued as an escape clause by a client who did not derive sufficient benefit from a consultant’s advice. However, looking at the way the operational consulting is done which mostly includes accounting and IT consulting firms the implementation liability in the contract is imposed by default due to the nature of the work. It will not be long before these firms will actually be seen entering the strategy consulting space. Examples like PWC, Deliotte and KPMG galore. In a few cases companies like Accenture have been known to peg their revenues from a client based on the increase in stock price of the client’s stock after they have begin engaging Accenture for their services. One such deal was signed between Accenture and Best Buy a few quarters ago. When such firms start competing in the strategy consulting space it then leads clients to wonder whether an implementation liability makes sense or not in the contract. To sum it up purely from a perspective of strategy in the best interest of a consultant a stake in implementation is not advisable.
Aditi Nagpal MBA (IB) 2010—12
Consultant as a Stake Holder A company’s stakeholder is defined by the business dictionary as a person, group or organization that has a direct or indirect stake in an organization because it is (or can) be affected by the organizations actions, objectives and policies. This definition traditionally consisted of owners, customers, employees, etc. However, today the scope of this term is now being broadened to include external consultants as well. The scope of a consultant’s role is changing from being a billable resource that provides solutions to business problems to one that is a stakeholder in the company and can make recommendations and also implement the solutions. The reason behind this is pretty straightforward. Every consulting assignment is a challenge and investment for both the consultancy and the client. In addition to the financial investment, a client opens up its internal operations and working to an external agency for analysis which puts it at business risk. Despite the presence of well formulated non disclosure agreements, any disputes and subsequent litigation is an expensive proposition for both parties. On the other side, the consultancy invests by bringing not just highly skilled and trained (and paid) consultants to the business problem, but also his professional reputation to the assignment. The success of the assignment is the critical to both the client and the consultancy. Consulting is a high stakes game after all. This is all the more the case since each consulting solution is tailor-made to suit the values and business model of a client. One of the classic examples of this is when McKinsey worked with GM in the 1980s. In the mid-1980s, General Motors Corp. called in McKinsey for reorganization help. McKinsey's plan called for the company to be divided into two divisions, instead of the five divisions into which it was then divided. However, the move resulted in great inefficiency, according to critics, and the company failed to realize any savings in costs or increase in productivity. For McKinsey, it meant the departure Ron Daniel in 1988 as the company’s managing director. This example illustrates how a mismatch between project recommendation and project implementation can have disastrous consequences for both the client and the consultancy. Learning from events such as these, the consultant client relationship has evolved in many cases into a even higher involvement business and has led to an increase in expectations between the two. In these cases clients today expect consultants to be more involved in their work and not just provide solutions, but also oversee implementation and show results. Consultants expect greater transparency and greater liberty as far as their work is concerned. In the consultant as a stakeholder model, most of these concerns and expectations are addressed. As stakeholders, consultants play a greater role in seeing the assignment through the implementation stage which benefits the customer. The relationship not only provides the consultancy with a stable source of future work and revenue. All this has led to a gradual transition in the role of a consultant towards being a stakeholder, as many of these concerns and expectations can now be addressed.
Oojwal Manglik MBA (IB) 2010—12
All Cars Have Four Wheels Strategic Branding Apoorv Dixit MBA(IB) 2010-12
All cars have four wheels. Yet they manage to differentiate themselves by the way they BRAND themselves. Powerful word these days isn’t it, yet the word brand began simply as a way to tell one person's cattle from another by means of a hot iron stamp. But today it is the personality with which the customer identifies a product, service or company and it can be anything right from a name (Colgate) to a symbol(McDonald’s) to a tagline (Nike, ‘Just do it’). For a brand to be strong it should generate a strong identity in the minds of the consumer, for instance, the brand ‘Volvo’ generates a sense of safety, ‘Mercedes’ a sense of prestige while if we look at the Indian markets ‘Colgate’ means toothpaste, ‘Maggi’ means noodles or ‘Parle-G’ biscuits. Building a brand is no doubt a very big challenge and it can take years even if you have all the world’s resources at your disposal (read ‘Nirma’ vs. HUL’s ‘Surf’ in the 80s) but maintaining that image is an even bigger task (read Coca-Cola’s ‘New Coke’ fiasco or Cadbury’s worm controversy) and considering the ever changing global landscape, the task of a brand consultant is getting complex day by day. Branding is a very hot topic in boardroom meetings these days as most CEOs have realized the value attached to these intangible assets called ‘brand’. And why shouldn’t it be as shown by a McKinsey analysis which suggests that about half of the market value of the Fortune 250 is tied to intangible assets; who knows this figure for some of the world’s best known companies can be even higher. So let us take a look at some of the complex issues a brand consultant faces today:
Brand leverage—why, when and how? Branding is a very powerful tool for each and every one involved in the process right from the companies (increased revenue) to the shareholders (strong brands generate, on average, TRS that are 1.9 percent above the industry average, while weaker brands lag behind the average by 3.1 percent)1 to the customers from simplifying everyday choices (when she buys Colgate she does not have to fret
daily over a simple toothpaste) to reducing the risk of complex buying decisions (Maruti or Hero Honda). So if we look at it closely, a strong brand can be of two types: a focused one (Dell, Maruti) or a diversified (Kingfisher, Tata) one. A strong company can do both as research2 suggests that focused brands earn 0.9% higher than average while diversified brands earn no less than 5% more. Leveraging a brand means using the initial brand platform to move into other opportunities. But, then what are the key factors required for a successful brand leverage and when should the brand do it? Firstly, the brand must see itself from the customer’s perspective i.e. it’s ‘personality’ and then leverage the core brand’s characteristics, for instance, ‘Maggi’ noodles to ‘Maggi’ sauces or ‘Kingfisher’ beverages to ‘Kingfisher’ airlines. Obviously, some brands do it more quickly than others to cash in on their wide recognition like ‘Google’ from search engine to email in less than a decade while some take a tad longer than others like ‘Gillette’, the razor makerwhich waited for almost 30-40 years before launching its shaving cream. Hence, the key for the brand here is to realize that the consumers have to understand the brand’s personality and the core offerings and that they are ready for a much diversified offering. Making brand portfolio strategies work Marketing strategists say that brands should be run as a portfolio as this makes them easier to manage and have a more efficient use of resources. But due to an ever increasing competition, we are increasingly seeing brand extensions, line extensions, sub brands and much more. So what then is the most effective strategy for a brand? Firstly, one should adopt a flexible strategy for both consumers and current brands alike, also with the ever increasing number of mergers & acquisitions happening managing a portfolio can be quite a complex task, for ex, when PepsiCo acquired Quaker Oats for ‘Gatorade’, it also got quite a few popular brands like ‘Cap'nCrunch’ (breakfast cereal) to dinner favorites like ‘Rice-A-Roni’ which complicated the brand portfolio further.
Let us take a look at how viewing brands from the point of view of consumers can be successful as shown by PepsiCo when it recognized that consumers choose not just carbonated drinks to quench their thirst but other drinks like just plain
water!!! Hence it developed new products like Aquafina or made acquisitions like Gatorade, Tropicana. Also, the above methodology can be quite useful when the portfolio has to be restructured to meet the harsh economic realities as can be seen from Procter & Gamble’s recent strategy to prune those brands that are not top two performersin their category which is very easy if the company has a clear understanding of the consumer’s needs. Brand building in emerging markets Due to stagnant demand at home, US & European firms are increasingly looking at developing markets like SE Asia, Africa to fuel their growth. But understanding these emerging markets may not be their cup of tea as we have numerous times of brands successful in developed markets failing in emerging markets like India, China, for ex, Oral-B, one of the most successful brands in the US failed to reach the same heights in India due to the unique price sensitive nature of its market. So, then, how can a foreign brand emulate its success in emerging markets like India? Firstly they need to match their low cost competitors especially in the low cost segment by matching to the local quality and price standards as was successfully done by Hindustan Unilever in the 70s-80s, when its premium product, Surf, could not even stand a chance against market leader ‘Nirma’, by launching its own very low cost, similar looking product ‘Wheel’ which turned out to be a very popular product (it had a market share of 38% at that time). Also, companies can tweak their product offerings to garner to local needs as has been done previously by McDonald’s or KFC when they introduced vegetarian food in their menu or Nokia when it introduced unconventional features like torchlight in its mobile phones. Alternatively, there have been examples in Indian markets when foreign firms having failed to compete against a local product have taken over them as was seen by the capture of ‘Thums-up’ (which had a near monopoly at that time) by American giant Coca Cola from Parle Agro in the early 90s. Also, foreign firms unable to successfully market their products can outsource some of the functions to local manufactures through JVs like that of Renault & Mahindra or through other agreements like the one between Tata (distribution channel) and Fiat (petrol engine technology). At the end, howsoever successful a brand may be in its home market, the companies need to learn a harsh lesson, i.e. to flourish in the emerging markets they have to adapt to local needs and tastes.
Socrates Roundup Consulting Symposium 2010 Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) hosted a day long National Consulting symposium on 28th of October 2010. The symposium focused on the changing roles of consultants over the years. The symposium was attended by various professionals in the field of consultancy, CIOs, CTOs, Business Heads and entrepreneurs along with students and faculty. The theme of the symposium was 'Changing role of consultants: From Service to a stakeholder.' Speaking on the occasion, KT Chako, Director, IIFT said, 'Consulting today is not only about advising and sharing insights, but about being a stakeholder in the overall interests.' He further added, 'Consultants cannot be third party advisers but equally accountable partners in knowledge sharing and future growth.' The symposium focused on three main issues: Managing Innovation in Consultation, Risk Sharing between the company and consulting firm and Modern Consulting. The symposium was attended by MDs and directors of various companies such as HP, Honeywell, Ernst & Young, IBM, Tata etc. Guest of Honor, Arijit Ghosh, Country Head, Honeywell said, 'The most important thing in Consulting today is the alignment of client's interest with that of the consultant's to achieve optimal results.' Speaking about consulting in e- governance, Jaijit Bhattacharya, Director, HP said, 'Consulting is about asking the right questions first, having a clear vision and then implementing that vision.'
Events @ Quo Vadis Ranniti The business simulation on the application of management an opportunity to use all those arcane finance, marketing, operations and strategy theorems that they have been taught, along with those supreme ingredients of common sense and wit that separate the best from the rest, in a simulation of real time business Round 1 : Startegy Caselet Round 2 : Simulation Game Tomorrows Consulting group Challenge This event focused on playing the role of a consultant to solve real problems and leverage on real business opportunities. “India’s unmet energy demand: Business model to increase oil supply by 10 %” Assume you have been hired by the Government of India to provide a series of recommendations on developing a business model to increase India’s oil production potential by 10 %
Industry Interactions Deloitte Deloitte Enterprise Risk Services(ERS) India Head Mr. S Parthasarthy came down to IIFT Delhi to deliver a guest session on "Risk management for Financial Institutions after the Crisis". The session was highly informative in nature and dealt with various frameworks and paradigms involved in estimating and mitigating the enterprise risks. QAI A lecture on 'Innovation Management - Trends and Practices was taken by Mr. Aditya Bhalla, of QAI Global . Mr Bhalla discusses real life case studies involving the use of innovation in problem solving.
Ernst & Young Mr. Amit Misra (2001-03 batch), AVP, Transaction Advisory Services, Ernst&Young, came to down to the IIFT campus for an guest session. The session covered a whole lot of issues right from what is consulting and what exactly is a consultants role to more specific areas like governmental consulting.
Accenture A guest lecture was conducted by Mr Amit Bhatia and Mr Saurabh Agrawal , IIFT alumni currently working in Accenture Business Consulting as a consultant. The session was based on the format of a boot camp for future consultants and revolved around clearing their doubts about consulting industry.
Dexter Consulting Live Project floated by Dexter Consulting : To map the perceptions of the influencers(Architects/Interior Designers/Facade Consultants) and the channel partners (Retailers) about Glass Mosaic