Business Transformation Asia Issue 11

Page 1

SEPTEMBER 2022

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TELEPERFORMANCE INDIA

ARRIVAL OF

CLOUD CAMPUS HUBS

The BPO player has launched global virtual workplaces for remote teams to deliver zero-disruption services.

Amit Luthra COO


10TH

OCT

2022

L O C A TI ON : S H A N G R I - LA D U B A I , SHE I K H Z A Y E D R OA D, D U B A I - U A E VE N U E : A L N O J OO M B A LLR OO M

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EDITORIAL

HUMAN VERSUS MACHINE MANAGING DIRECTOR Tushar Sahoo tushar@gecmediagroup.com CHIEF EDITOR Arun Shankar arun@gecmediagroup.com CEO Ronak Samantaray ronak@gecmediagroup.com GLOBAL HEAD, CONTENT AND STRATEGIC ALLIANCES Anushree Dixit anushree@gecmediagroup.com EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR GEC MEDIA GROUP CO-FOUNDER, BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION ASIA Sundip Sibal Sundip@gecmediagroup.com GROUP SALES HEAD Richa S richa@gecmediagroup.com PROJECT MANAGER Anshuman Jyothiprakash anshuman@gecmediagroup.com PROJECT LEAD Gurleen Rooprai gurleen@gecmdiagroup.com Jennefer Lorraine Mendoza jennefer@gecmdiagroup.com SALES AND ADVERTISING Ronak Samantaray ronak@gecmediagroup.com DIGITAL TEAM Deepika Chauhan - Digital Content Lead Vijay Bakshi - IT Manager BUSINESS LEAD Ankit Vats ankit@gecmediagroup.com Ph: +91-9999756403 DESIGNED BY

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The pandemic severely impacted global supply chains and all BPO businesses have had reasons to reflect on viability and operational models. Traditional back-office outsourcing has been pushed into a decline trend disrupted by new technologies. Legacy process outsourcing contracts are being impacted, especially where there is a high contribution of manual operations. But this does not mean that there is a decline in the overall global demand for BPO services. Robotic Process Automation is one of the most significant disruptors of the human capital intensive BPO business model. With RPA being adopted, traditional suppliers are under pressure to reduce the cost of business as usual, commodity transactional services, and to focus on innovating how to engage with their customer base. RPA solutions manage repetitive, volume driven, low-level tasks simplifying the workflow. Strategic suppliers can now dedicate more time to solve complex problems. The global BPO markets are getting polarised by players continuing to invest in either human capital or technology infrastructure. India, China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Nepal, Philippine continue to invest in human capital to grow scale. While a new breed of businesses are emerging from Ukraine, Poland, Belarus, Czech Republic, that are investing in technology infrastructure for building scale to compete with the incumbents. Another important disruptor is the adoption of outcome based BPO contracts. Such contracts focus extensively on data insights and process mapping to quantify outcomes both by money and time. A lack of governance in aligning the requirements of the buyer and seller can create a failure in delivering an outcome-based approach. In this month’s lead feature by Shubhendu Parth, we focus on how BPO major Teleperformance India has built virtual cloud hubs to extend the learnings of the pandemic’s remote culture of work into a more modern and realizable engagement approach. Says COO Amit Luthra, global virtual workplaces help to deliver zerodisruption services and Teleperformance is using this approach in 54 countries. These are built with data security, cloud infrastructure, specialised talent and are a virtual operations floor connected with the project team. An integral part of Teleperformance India’s operation is its digital integrated services, under which the company provides process automation, AI and predictive analytics support. Inside Teleperformance, 70% employees worldwide are working from home compared to fewer than 5% before the pandemic. The BPO company is leveraging gamification to build socialness, camaraderie, employee wellbeing. In other features for this month, we look at how Source.One is building an online polymer procurement platform. The business approach of Source.One was to create a level-playing platform where smaller player can procure goods at a cost similar to larger players in the sector. And how Pacita Juan, Founder of ECHOstore is adding sustainability to the values of its retail brand and stores. Turn these pages for more about business transformation news and thought leadership in Asia.

Arun Shankar arun@gecmediagroup.com

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CONTENTS SEPTEMBER 2022

06-13

14-15

17-31

32-37

OPINION

INNOVATION GALLERY

NEWS

PROCESS TRANSFORMATION

38-45

ARRIVAL OF CLOUD CAMPUS COVER STORY

HUBS

34

54

56

PROCESS TRANSFORMATION

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION

MARKETS

Building an online polymer trading company

Tech Mahindra accelerates Metaverse offerings through TechMVerse

Building a sustainable retail outlet brand

46-54

60-63

64-69

70-72

74

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION

PEOPLE TRANSFORMATION

INDUSTRY COMMENTS

SOCIALLY SPEAKING

PEOPLE

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OPINION

ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND TECHNOLOGY DO NOT KNOW GENDER It would be great to see more women in technology, for every little girl to dream of getting into the technology world and actually pursue it.

A

BY SHAMIM KASSIBAWI Founder and CEO, Play:Date.

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s little girls we were always told that we are princesses and queens, but never that we are astronauts or will grow up and be engineers, pilots, or tech entrepreneurs. Little girls were encouraged to do the safe thing, being an entrepreneur was never something that we were pushed towards, let alone a tech entrepreneur.

Wamda recently shared that start-ups in MENA raised over $2B last year but just over 1% of that was invested in women-founded start-ups. Statistics such as these are frustrating to see and hear. There are so many women who are doing amazing things and are looking for investments – yet this is still happening. For example, a lot of people view Play:Date as a cute little business which will not grow so

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OPINION

KEY TAKEAWAYS Wamda recently shared that start-ups in MENA raised over $2B last year but just over 1% of that was invested in womenfounded start-ups. Entrepreneurs always think three or four steps ahead of everyone, their ideas are insane, and they cannot help it. Some individuals are naturally born to be an entrepreneur, some are simply not. You do not pursue entrepreneurship; you are born for it. Why do you want the headache of being an entrepreneur and building a company? Most creative entrepreneurs start off by telling someone an idea and are met with a mortified response such as are you crazy?

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much, it is unfortunate, as the family, parenting community is huge and not seeing that potential gap is simply a loss for investors. Some of the most successful brands globally have one thing in common community. There is no power like the community coming together. Why do you want the headache of being an entrepreneur and building a company? However, entrepreneurship and technology do not know gender, age, or race. Most creative entrepreneurs start off by telling someone an idea and are met with a mortified response such as are you crazy? Entrepreneurs always think three or four steps ahead of everyone, their ideas are insane, and they cannot help it, they love the thrill of taking a risk the highs and lows – everything that comes with it. Some individuals are naturally born to be an entrepreneur, some are simply not. You do not pursue entrepreneurship; you are born for it. It would be great to see more women in technology, for every little girl to dream of getting into the technology world and actually pursue it. However, for that to happen, everyone in the ecosystem has a significant duty to ensure females are supported, that doors are open for everyone, regardless of gender, race, age. Small changes go a long way, and that change starts with the effort of every individual. Here are some of the initiatives that have been planned at Play:Date : • 80% of employee must be women • Internship programs for mothers getting back into the workforce as well as

Some individuals are naturally born to be an entrepreneur, some are simply not

student internships for women • Setting aside 2 hours a week to support other women in the ecosystem. These are examples of what organisations can do, it does not always have to be a big MNC that initiates change. Individuals can help as well by taking out the time to advise and support women & young girls on how to navigate the tech & business world. VC’s and investment firms also have a huge responsibility, there is so much that can be done from their end to ensure women are encouraged to step into the technology world. Set aside time each week to meet different female founders and guide them. Invest time to support them.

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OPINION

THREE CLOUD TECHNOLOGIES TO MANAGE DISTRIBUTED WORK Cloud-powered workplace technology enables work from anywhere while also optimising costs, improving processes and increasing technology performance.

T

he pandemic has strained on-premises digital workplace solutions, accelerating the shift to cloud-hosted technology and services. As infrastructure and operations, I&O leaders look toward technologies that support the future of work, they are increasingly investing in cloud-

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powered technologies that can deliver services to employees in any location. The shift to hybrid work affords I&O leaders an opportunity to deliver meaningful changes in the ways that services are delivered and increase their focus on employee experiences. Cloud-powered workplace technology enables work from

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OPINION

BY STUART DOWNES Senior Research Director Gartner.

organisational structure data, and actionable insights driven by improved analytics and machine learning ML engines. These new capabilities have exponentially increased the use cases supported by DEX tools. Gartner expects DEX adoption to rapidly increase in the coming years: By 2025, 50% of IT organisations will have established a digital employee experience strategy, team and management tool, an increase from 5% in 2021.

50% IT organisations will have established a digital employee experience strategy by 2025

#2 Unified endpoint management

anywhere while also optimising costs, improving processes and increasing technology performance. Here are three cloud-powered digital workplace technologies that you will increasingly rely upon to serve employees in a distributed enterprise and support the future of work.

#1 Digital employee experience tools

With remote and hybrid work, employees predominantly interact with peers, vendors and customers through technology. This demands deeper visibility into and management of the end-user experience. Digital employee experience, DEX tools are an evolution of digital experience monitoring, unified endpoint management UEM, and remote monitoring and management tools. DEX tools offer new capabilities, including the collection of employee sentiment data, integration of team and

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UEM provides the ability to manage a broad range of devices, the policies applied to those devices, and the distribution of applications, patching and updates from a cloud solution. This is critical for maintaining device security and compliance across the enterprise, no matter where employees are located. UEM simplifies endpoint management by consolidating disparate tools and streamlining processes across devices and operating systems. UEM has expanded beyond management to offer deeper integration with identity, security and remote access tooling to support a zero-trust security model that enables the anywhere workforce. Leading UEM tools are also using analytics and ML to enable intelligence-driven experience automation to reduce IT overhead and improve employee experience. According to the Gartner Employee Impacts of Anywhere Operations survey, 87% of organisations plan to maintain or increase UEM investment. By adopting UEM, you can streamline operations and improve endpoint management in the distributed enterprise.

#3 Desktop as a service

Hybrid work requires an increased focus on security and more endpoint flexibility. Desktop as a service, DaaS provides a virtual desktop or application in the cloud, enabling you to increase security by removing the need to store applications or data on endpoints. It also allows rapid increases in the number of users without the need to provision high-specification, enterprise-owned endpoints. DaaS has found a niche among organisations that want to enable distributed work without the need for data to reside on endpoints in the home. As such, Gartner forecasts DaaS spending to more than double by 2024. However, lack of skills and complexity remain a significant barrier to DaaS adoption. When selecting a DaaS vendor, balance the level of configuration available, the services offered by the DaaS vendor and the desktop virtualisation skills available in-house.

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OPINION

BOOSTING OPPORTUNITIES BEFORE RETAILERS GO GLOBAL

Integrated payment platforms give retailers full control of their business and make it easier to add new payment methods when needed.

G

lobal e-commerce sales are booming. In the UAE too, the e-commerce market is predicted to reach $8 bn by 2025, as online retailers scale up their business and offerings following the Covid-19 pandemic. Digital payments have accelerated, with new payment technologies helping global e-commerce retailers expand to wider markets and target the right audience.

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Let’s look at a few strategies retailers can employ in their international expansion.

Remove barriers for purchase

Cards might be popular in the UAE, but in some regions, local payment methods are very diverse. For instance, Denmark’s payment mix is dominated by debit cards, with local scheme Dankort, often co-branded with Visa. Shoppers are easily put off if their payment fails.

BY SANDER MAERTENS Adyen.

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OPINION

Most shoppers today are wary of fraud when making digital payments

Retailers must therefore understand local shopping behaviours, language expectations, and payment preferences when setting up integrated payment platforms that support transactions in any part of the world.

Keep fraud in check

KEY TAKEAWAYS Most shoppers today are wary of fraud when making digital payments. Retailers must therefore understand local shopping behaviours. A shopper can check out with a simple click without having to reenter payment details every time they shop. 51% of businesses found their online stores were able to offset losses at physical stores during the pandemic. Brands going global need to continuously improve local user operations and expand local channels.

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Most shoppers today are wary of fraud when making digital payments. Eliminate this risk by investing in a robust authentication process, while keeping the entire shopping experience seamless and enjoyable. As an e-commerce retailer, understand the risk rules of each market you operate in.

Leverage new technology

As a global e-commerce retailer, leveraging technology to increase payment performance and ease the consumer shopping experience is a must. Cross-border payments can be tedious and expensive. But intelligent payment solutions can simplify the experience.

Be agile

The retail landscape is rapidly evolving. Ecommerce is challenging brick-and-mortar stores today. To succeed as a global commerce retailer, operational and business agility is key. By consolidating operations and payments

across various channels, retailers and merchants will be able to enable seamless cross-channel experiences, whether in-store, online, or via an app. For example, a shopper can check out with a simple click from any channel without having to reenter payment details every time they shop.

Unified commerce

Investing in a centralised platform that connects back-end systems with customer-facing channels ensures that you have all the data that you need in one place. It also means that you can deliver a wealth of cross-channel experiences, keep reconciliation simple, and capture rich shopper insights. Research showed that 51% of businesses found their online stores were able to offset losses at physical stores during the pandemic, while 47% say a benefit of unified commerce is improved shopper experience. This aligns with previous studies, which show that shoppers spend 40% more when they shop on more than one channel. Brands going global need to continuously improve local user operations and expand local channels. Payments are one of the most critical means to connect merchants directly to local consumers. Employing the above strategies will ensure retailers looking to expand their footprint are adequately prepared to take the plunge.

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OPINION

PREPARING WORKERS FOR ARRIVAL OF AI

By assessing skillsets of employees, contributions they make and willingness to learn AI tools, team leaders can create personalised training.

A

ccording to the World Economic Forum’s The Future of Jobs Report 2020, AI is expected to replace 85 million jobs worldwide by 2025. However, the report also states that it will also create 97 million new jobs in that same timeframe. The Bureau of Labour Statistics forecasts that several occupations will witness a growth in jobs through AI, including accountants, forensic scientists, geological technicians, technical writers, MRI operators, dietitians,

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financial specialists, web developers, loan officers, medical secretaries, and customer service representatives. Since AI will impact several industries, the type of skills required may vary according to each industry. However, when thinking about skills required to manage AI, soft skills are the most underscored. Usually, the focus is on learning technical and programming skills such as Python and more. Technical requirements are undoubtedly needed for AI-connected roles; however, it is noteworthy that depending on

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OPINION

KEY TAKEAWAYS The Bureau of Labour Statistics forecasts that several occupations will witness a growth in jobs through AI. Since AI will impact several industries, the type of skills required may vary according to each industry. When thinking about skills required to manage AI, soft skills are the most underscored. Usually, the focus is on learning technical and programming skills such as Python and more. When it comes to soft skills, employees can benefit from them regardless of the extent of their involvement with AI technology. Investing in AI to automate business operations is a crucial step. Without the right training for employees, a successful integration cannot be guaranteed. 74% of companies expect to automate their work tasks over next three years, but only 3% plan to increase their spending on training. Since the integration of AI and its development is taking place, it is important that employees are part of this.

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their roles, employees will be involved to varying degrees. When it comes to soft skills, employees can benefit from them regardless of the extent of their involvement with AI technology. According to the CEO of Skymind, an AI startup, these skills include basic skills such as solid verbal and written communication, listening, emotional intelligence, asking questions and structuring arguments. These are indispensable skills as they cannot be performed by AI technology. Investing in AI to automate business operations is a crucial step. However, without the right training for employees, a successful integration cannot be guaranteed. A recent study by Accenture showed that 74% of companies expect to automate their work tasks significantly over the next three years, but only 3% plan to increase their spending on training. Since the integration of AI and its development is taking place gradually, it is important that employees are part of this and are equipped to understand and operate with AI. By assessing the current skillset of employees, the contribution they make to their team and their willingness to learn with AI tools, team leaders can use this information to create personalised training opportunities. Automation can be a subject of concern for employees as it’s usually attached to fears of being replaced. However, it’s important to communicate with employees about the possible benefits of automation, which include saving time from performing tedious repetitive tasks that can impact productivity. This frees up employees’ time to focus on complex and more rewarding tasks.

BY DR NEAMAT EL GAYAR Director of the Centre of Excellence in Applied Artificial Intelligence and Data Science; Programme Director of MSc in Artificial Intelligence, Heriot-Watt University.

According to McKinsey, at least one-third of the activities that make up a specific job could be automated. Additionally, 40% of workers surveyed reporting spending at least a quarter of their week on manual, repetitive tasks. With AI collecting, storing, and analysing massive data sets in seconds, employees can utilise their time more efficiently. As much as we are witnessing fast-paced changes in our work, disruptive effects of AI and other technologies will happen gradually. Although AI researchers are hoping they can build systems that can learn from smaller amounts of data, human labour is still essential in the foreseeable future.

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INNOVATION GALLERY

WHEN UNIVERSE WAS LESS THAN BILLION YEARS OLD NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope has delivered the deepest and sharpest infrared image of the distant universe so far. Webb’s First Deep Field is galaxy cluster SMACS 0723, and it is teeming with thousands of galaxies – including the faintest objects ever observed in infrared. The image shows the galaxy cluster SMACS 0723 as it appeared 4.6 billion years ago, with many more galaxies in front of and behind the cluster. The powerful gravitational field of a galaxy cluster can bend the light rays from more distant galaxies behind it. Other features include the prominent arcs in this field. SMACS 0723 can be viewed near the constellation Volans in the southern sky.

2022 14 SEPTEMBER BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION ASIA

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INNOVATION GALLERY

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TECHNOLOGY

Digital first brands discover newer markets and consumers with SugarBox networks The growth of digital commerce has permanently changed the way consumers shop. And subsequently the rapid rise of e-commerce, as a result, has had an immense impact on the Global economy. Thus, the need for curating an era where Digital-first brands are on the lookout for newer markets to enter and consumers to engage with. However, issues such as patchy or intermittent connectivity or high levels of latency, continue to exist as hurdles in the way of a seamless experience, causing consumers to lose interest, and thereby impacting a brand’s business. For instance, 88% of online shoppers say they are less likely to return to a site after a poor experience. In this situation, having a stable and reliable network becomes essential, especially for e-commerce brand. And this is what SugarBox Networks is building for – enabling e-commerce and direct-to-consumer brands to extend their outreach to new markets and larger set of consumers. This ‘Made in India’ technology company is working with leading brands such as GIVA, Aaheli, Mulmul, Homemade.Love, Praakritik, Leaf Studios, Man Matters, and Actofit among others.

Blocktickets, NFT and Blockchain Ticketing platform enters Indian market Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and Non-fungible Tokens have captivated everyone in the last few years. Blocktickets, a company working in the space of blockchain, and transformative technology has launched a multi chain NFT based ticketing platform rewarding all stakeholders, a one of its kind platform. Blocktickets has now entered the Indian market and is looking to expand its footprint in the country as Indians adopt the new technology in the coming years. Blocktickets is making the boring tickets, that were meant to be discarded till now, a beautiful experience. With smart contracts, tokens and NFTs, they are making ever vibrant event industry

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even more beautiful and exciting for all stakeholders. Blocktickets, with its unique concept, uses blockchain technology to establish a transparent and decentralised system for the minting and sale of smart tickets. It’s a platform that allows event organisers to embed a smart contract in their tickets that determines the ticket’s floor price, ceiling price, auction and royalties whenever the ticket is sold. It’s a one-of-a-kind approach in which marketers may use brand NFTs to creatively engage with ticket buyers, and more income channels can be formed by personalising tickets as special NFTs. Blocktickets sold more than 2000 NFT tickets in less than half an hour for the World’s First Holi Event on Metaverse on 17 March, and now working with biggest Indian Event organisers and Indian Cinema Industry.

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TECHNOLOGY

Vertex Group launches Vertex Technologies Headquartered in Times Square New York, Vertex Group, World’s 19th most innovative company announced the launch of Vertex Technologies – The technological arm of the Vertex Group which will provide IT Consulting, Digitisation, ITAS/SAAS, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Cloud offerings and Infrastructure as a Service. Technology has opened up new possibilities for accelerating growth and information transmission. These are the two significant objectives behind the launch of this new line of business under Vertex Group. The new launch is focused on offering clients endto-end IT solution services, accelerating information flow, and lowering operational costs with the goal of streamlining and simplifying communication between not only the organisation’s internal systems but also the third parties with whom the organisation works. From the cloud to the edge, Vertex Technologies’ service portfolio assists clients in managing their Data Centres in the simplest and most effective way possible. The company’s mission is to deliver outstanding end-

to-end data centre solutions that fulfill a wide range of client demands across the enterprise. Vertex Technologies intends to break into the global IT consulting industry by offering supply chain solutions, cutting-edge technology, and digital strategy to major public and private businesses. Vertex Technologies is turbocharged by the depth of Industry expertise of its core leadership team – Gagan Arora as CEO, Taran Bedi as Chief Commercial Officer, Vikas Arora as CFO and Dr Asif Iqbal, President for Indian Economic Trade Organisation as Chief Advisor for Vertex Technologies.

NETGEAR empowering hospitality industry with its secure networking systems According to a recent study of business and leisure travelers, wireless service is the top amenity desired at all hotels by 90% of respondents. Today guests expect ready access to high-speed internet and internet-enabled applications wherever they go whether on business or at leisure so they can check email, access work files, upload photos, engage on social media sites, watch movies, or listen to music. Today numerous small businesses would find value in having Wi-Fi for their guests, employees and business systems, but the cost and complexity of setting up and managing such a network is beyond their means. NETGEAR, the global networking company is empowering such businesses, with its secure, reliable, and easy to install networking systems. The brand’s solutions are perfect for commercial locations such as professional offices, restaurants, retail, or bed and breakfast inns. These systems require no wiring, professional installation, or added IT costs. Whether for hotels or restaurants, Wi-Fi is a must for security and customer satisfaction. While upgrading the wireless network or starting from scratch, there are several important factors to consider when planning a Wi-Fi deployment.

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Patrons of small to mid-sized restaurants and hotels or motels have the same expectations for quality and reliability of Wi-Fi service as guests in luxury hotels and fine dining establishments. However, ease of use and cost effectiveness is critical consideration for small to mid-sized establishments. NETGEAR provides all these salient features and bring to its customers most innovative and secure devices. These products are armed with NETGEAR Armor which is powered by Bitdefender that ensures advanced protection from cyber threats and protects all your devices on the network from attacks.

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TECHNOLOGY

Tapping into the Global Market through Asia new bay area 5G AIoT innovative park With the advent of the digital age, the development and application of technologies such as 5G and AIoT will be at play in the global economy and become a battleground for countries with the highest technological expertise such as the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, the European Union, and others. Not only does smart manufacturing opens a whole new world for enterprises, but it will also change the lives of people in the foreseeable future. In the next round of reshuffling within industries, how businesses prepare for a 5G-powered future will be the focus. Keeping abreast of the development in communications technology as well as the need to upgrade local industries, Kaohsiung Mayor Chen Chi-mai has been proactively promoting the implementation and development of the 5G AIoT industry in Kaohsiung since taking office in August 2020, using 5G and AIoT application services to propel transformation and create added value for Kaohsiung Asia’s New Bay Area; while establishing the foundation for a domestic 5G AIoT innovation industry startup environment and supply chain, as well as forming startup clusters synchronously and strengthening horizontal business linkages between startups in Kaohsiung. This is to spur the development of the local entrepreneurial ecosystem, accelerate startup

growth, and gather talents and technologies. These efforts will make the Asia New Bay Area a pioneer of new generation technology applications and a driver for the 5G digital transformation of industries in Kaohsiung. The Asia New Bay Area 5G AIoT Innovation Park will move towards diversified development, such as pursuing opportunities for industry development, building a talent cultivating center, offering research and development subsidies, and planning for field application. This is to attract entrepreneurs to put research and development roots down in Kaohsiung and utilise the Asia New Bay Area as a test site. As more large manufacturers establish plants in Kaohsiung, it will form a complete industrial chain and comprehensive solutions and technologies will be exported internationally.

Democrance with Dai-ichi Life Cambodia to help launch their first digital life insurance Democrance, an international InsurTech start-up, has entered a partnership with Dai-ichi Life Cambodia to launch their first digital life insurance product. Democrance’s software-as-a-service technology platform enabled Dai-ichi Life Cambodia to launch a simple and affordable term life product with a fullydigital customer journey and automated process. This will allow customers to purchase the product online easily and quickly, with immediate protection. Democrance is a partner of choice to other global insurance powerhouses in 16 countries across 3 continents and has extensive growth plans for other major markets in the coming year. Democrance SaaS plug-and-play technology platform has enabled insurers launch new distribution channels easily and quickly without investing in their legacy core systems,

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including online direct-to-consumer, intermediate sales and various affinity partner channels including telecom operator, mobile wallet, eCommerce, online aggregator, fintech partner, microfinance and retail shop network.

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TECHNOLOGY

TCS to drive digital transformation and enhance customer experience

Tata Consultancy Services has partnered with Five Star Bank, a subsidiary of Financial Institutions, on its digital transformation journey, helping it determine lending risk and deliver hyper-personalised customer experiences using the TCS Customer Intelligence and Insight analytics platform. Five Star Bank is a premier provider of consumer and commercial lending services across Central and Western New York. The bank was looking for a solution that provides contextual customer insights to help them better meet customer expectations and drive competitive differentiation. TCS will leverage the artificial intelligence-powered Customer Intelligence and Insights platform’s real-time contextual engagement capabilities to help the bank gain

Nissan Philippines digitises the customer service experience with the new Nissan Assist app Nissan Philippines is launching Nissan Assist, the vehicle manufacturer’s first customer service mobile app in the Philippines. It is designed to provide a fully digital, end-to-end customer service experience for Nissan’s customers nationwide, and is part of the company’s digital transformation roadmap to integrate NPI, partner dealers, and customers in one online ecosystem. Customers will now have one avenue to access all services they need from Nissan, from pre-purchase to vehicle maintenance. For non-owners of Nissan vehicles, the mobile application allows them to read up on vehicle information, book a test drive or request a quote, as well as track vehicle sales orders.

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insights to avoid attrition blind spots and drive omnichannel customer personalisation. The bank will receive critical out-of-the-box artificial intelligence or machine learningdriven insights and self-serve customer and marketing analytics use cases enabling its relationship managers to gain deep insights on individual customers through 360 analytic profiles like sentiment score, churn score, product white space, customer persona, segments, transaction profiles, and calls to action. Customer Intelligence and Insights includes a KPI-based alert framework to notify key stakeholders when customer thresholds have been reached, such as credit scores, account value, or life events. Customer Intelligence and Insights will also enable the bank to monitor loans on a periodic basis and share predictive early warnings on loans likely to default, to take necessary steps to prevent loans from prolonged credit deterioration. Using artificial intelligence-based models, it will notify the bank about customers who are likely to default or pay off their loans early.

For existing vehicle owners, booking a service and accessing maintenance history is also just a click away. This reduces the time spent waiting for services or appointments, and makes it easier to personally monitor work order status. Roadside Assistance is also available in case of emergencies. Other features also include news on model launches, sales and after sales campaigns, dealership locators, and promo updates, making the Nissan Assist app as complete as possible. Beyond easy access to key services, Nissan Assist also offers loyalty programs and exclusive deals for app owners. Users can earn and track points, and that they can use to redeem Nissan merchandise, services, and exclusive offers. All these makes owning a Nissan more convenient, exciting and enjoyable.

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TECHNOLOGY

Wiztales launches its Metaverse ‘Altyug’: India’s first E-commerce metaverse Wiztales has announced the much-awaited launch of their new metaverse called Altyug. The brand encourages customers to experience life in the virtual world where the platform enables them to experience shopping, 2D hypercasual gaming, intuitive interactions with colleagues on the same platform and lastly the customer will get the liberty of exploring multiple, immersive, realistic and futuristic venues with multiple points of interaction at the click of a button by just sitting at home. Altyug also assists retail brands to create and purchase virtual land in the metaverse. The customer gets an opportunity to visit these branded stores on the metaverse and users can walk up to a mannequin or a clothing item in a brand store, get more information about the product, watch the product in AR and go ahead and buy the product on the website. Metaverse is the future of the world, brands and tech companies are transitioning their business models over metaverse. This will be a great opportunity for retail brands as the newly developed technology will be a one-

stop solution for brands to acquire customers in the metaverse and gauge traction to their brand product. Since all of the experience is on real-time bases, the brands can receive instant orders from customers, receive feedback on their products and understand the taste and preferences of the customers. The launch of Altyug will surely revolutionise the whole industry by providing the best virtual experience and promoting a whole new outlook for this ever-evolving industry. These developments would surely embark a stepping stone for future industry players.

Manufacturing Industry is the most advanced in cloud adoption: Wipro Report Wipro released a report entitled, Redefining Manufacturing for The Digital Era, published by Wipro FullStride Cloud Services. According to the findings of the report, the manufacturing industry is leading all other industries in cloud adoption, with 32% of manufacturers having achieved

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“cloud leader” status. Further, the report indicates that cloud-based technologies are the driving force behind the rapid business transformation in the European manufacturing industry. However, cloud adoption across Europeanbased manufacturers has not been even, according to the report. Those who are in the early stages of cloud adoption – 27%, are lagging in moving products to market faster, making risk management more effective, and bolstering shareholder value. In fact, the report reveals that manufacturers that are cloud leaders receive almost double the payoff from their investments in cloud, achieving a return on investment of 42%, compared with 24% for beginners. 61% of cloud leaders say developing cybersecurity teams and skills is the numberone step they are taking to protect their cloud investments, thus ensuring their move to cloud is effective and vital operations powered by cloud are safeguarded. Wipro surveyed 93 C-level executives and key decision-makers at manufacturers in four European countries: France, Germany, Switzerland, and the UK on how cloud is helping the industry prepare for the future.

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TECHNOLOGY

Klaytn spearheads world’s largest blockchain research center program Klaytn, the Layer-1 blockchain in Asia, has announced its selection of Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and the National University of Singapore to host and operate its Blockchain Research Center Program. The announcement was unveiled at Korea Blockchain Week by Dr Sangmin Seo, Representative Director, Klaytn Foundation during his keynote “The Technology Layer for Tomorrow’s Metaverse”. BRC is a virtual research institute that aims to advance cutting-edge research for blockchain technology, deepen blockchain capabilities, and support industry growth. With a $20 Million funding commitment from Klaytn over the next four years, BRC is to date the world’s largest blockchain research center program in terms of known funding size.

With day-to-day operations run by a global research team, headed by KAIST and NUS researchers as Directors, BRC will operate in an open-source manner, where research conducted will be publicly disclosed as research papers or open-source software. External researchers will also be able to participate in ongoing research projects or submit their own proposals. The BRC will share knowledge and research results through community outreach efforts – from conferences to workshops – to carry forward Klaytn’s vision to contribute to the blockchain community. As part of the selection process, interested research institutes and consortiums were required to submit a proposal, outlining the intended operation model and organisational structure for BRC, detailed plans on research and outreach activities, as well as the suggestion evaluation model to measure BRC’s progress.

Wipro achieves Modern Compute and Managed Application security testing specialisation Wipro announced that it has achieved Modern Compute Security and Managed Application Security Testing Specialisation distinctions in the Amazon Web Services Level 1 Managed Security Service Provider Competency. The AWS Level 1 MSSP Competency provides a faster and easier experience for customers to select the right MSSP to help them achieve their goals for business risk and cloud strategy confidence. Wipro added two new AWS Level 1 MSSP Specialisation Distinctions: Modern Compute Security: Managed security services for containerised workloads running on AWS. This provides a shift left approach, automating compliance and reporting through Wipro’s Cloud Application Risk Governance platform. Wipro’s capability includes support for various operating systems, programming languages and provides dashboards and reports depicting security posture of AWS environment.

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Managed Application Security Testing: Managed security services including code pipeline scanning for software vulnerabilities, routine penetration testing, and static or dynamic code analysis. This offers threat modelling, static and dynamic application security testing, penetration testing and development, security, and operations to provider hyper agile delivery of cloud native applications.

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TECHNOLOGY

Infopercept launches deception based extended detection and response tools Infopercept, a global managed detection and response company, announced the launch of its deception-based XDR tool and MDR service. The XDR tool ‘Invinsense XDR+’ covers network deception and endpoint deception that deploy various decoys and attract adversaries towards them. This helps organisations to analyse the mode of operations of an attack. The network and endpoint deception work in coordination to change environments in real-time. End point deception creates dynamic and deceptive information, responds to the evolving nature of advanced threat landscape, and interferes with attackers attempts to recon the

environment that deters them from executing their malicious intents, through all the stages of compromise in the attack kill chain. Network Deception creates more decoys to further trap adversaries in a broader environment. These two technologies share threat intelligence and trap adversaries in real-time and protect organisations from falling victim to advanced attacks across network, endpoints, servers, and applications. The MDR service ‘Invinsense MDR+’ provides a dedicated purple team, which consists of veteran security professionals. This team helps organisations to leverage Invinsense XDR tools to combat unknown and zero-day threats

JAYDEEP RUPARELIA

CEO, Infopercept Consulting.

and minimise the damage caused through sophisticated cyberattacks like ransomware.

Time for Indian SaaS startups to go global With increasing digitisation and automation across the world, the relevance of cloudbased Software as a Service firms and digital apps is on the rise. According to data from research platform Venture Intelligence, SaaS companies raised $2 Billion across 93 deals in the first quarter of 2022. To assist early-stage SaaS startups to tap into this growth opportunity, Prime Venture Partners and Amazon Internet Services Private Limited are collaborating to host the third installation of ‘SaaS Central’ program. The two-week hybrid program is designed to support the startups in India that are building for the global market and assist to accelerate their growth journey

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by focusing on SaaS architecture, product management, go-to-market and industry connect. The hybrid program will include virtual sessions as well as offline workshops with SaaS experts, industry leaders, and mentors in the startup ecosystem, providing cohorts networking opportunities and workshops that can help to accelerate their growth journey. The speaker line-up has been designed to maximise strategic insights and solution takeaways for the participants. To cater to the distinct needs of early-stage startups, they can receive direct access to technical and business content, best practices from solution architects, and SaaS experts. Startups can look forward to focused sessions by SaaS founders on company-specific use cases, discussions by Prime’s Investment team to understand what VCs look for when investing in SaaS, interactions with some of the best startups on the same trajectory, and a lot more.

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TECHNOLOGY

Lenovo PCCW Solutions starts operation as a new company Today marks the first day of operation for Lenovo PCCW Solutions Limited, the new strategic partnership between Lenovo Group and PCCW set to capitalise on the estimated $320 Billion Asia IT services market. The new company provides one-stop customer solutions that integrate IT services, devices, and digital infrastructure, and empowers clients to transform their businesses and operations with technology – from managing complex integrations to enhancing competitiveness with innovative applications. Through the partnership, the company benefits from

Lenovo’s global footprint in more than 180 markets, broad portfolio of endto-end solutions, solid pedigree in innovation, and strong go-to-market and delivery capabilities. Ken Wong, Executive Vice President of Lenovo and President of Lenovo Solutions and Services Group, said, “The partnership marks an important milestone in Lenovo’s service-led transformation journey since the formation of our Solutions and Services Group, as it bolsters the company’s capabilities to drive leadership in IT solutions. The synergy of capabilities and talents across the two organisations will help the new company grow in reach and competitiveness in markets across the Asia Pacific region.” PCCW Solutions has been ranked number one in Systems Integration and Custom Application Development in Hong Kong SAR by IDC for eight consecutive years since 2014. The new company builds upon PCCW Solutions’ track record as one of the region’s leading IT services providers. The 4,000-strong IT professionals will continue to partner closely with our customers to help them succeed in a more complex and rapidly evolving technology landscape.

Ssoftoons launches India’s first animation for all’ OTT platform, SsoftoonsPlus

SOURAV MONDAL Co-founder and CEO, Ssoftoons.

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Ssoftoons, a leading Animation Production House in India, launched their own Animation OTT, SsoftoonsPlus, that offers entertaining Animation content for all age groups. With over 100 shows in Bengali and 100 in Hindi already created, the platform plans on adding 4 new shows every week in both languages, creating a rich content bank of 500 shows in each language, in the coming months. As a complete family entertainer, SsoftoonsPlus offers content across genre, from mythology, comedy, folklore, drama, and kid’s content, promoting Indian cultural values and historical knowledge. As per the records on statista.com, in 2021, the Indian animation and VFX industry was valued at about INR 83 Billion, despite the adverse effects of the global pandemic in 2020. Now, the sector is poised to grow at a rate of 29%, valuing up to INR 180 Billion by 2024. And while a booming entertainment industry bouncing back from the pandemic is one of the major drivers, the rise in OTT content consumption is also driving the growth of this sector. Currently, SsoftoonsPlus is targeting Bengali and Hindi consumers. But soon it will add Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam and Oriya for our regional viewers. Ssoftoons will be partnering with YouTube channels and the videos will be launched on Ssoftoons YouTube after a few months of OTT release. The company is also thinking of releasing the content in PODCAST format as the next stage of SsoftoonsPlus.

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TECHNOLOGY

JIO joins hands with Qualcomm for 5G Solutions Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani announced a partnership with Qualcomm at the business giant’s annual general meeting on Monday. Speaking at the event, Mukesh Ambani said that they are honoured to have the world’s foremost tech companies as partners in our ‘Made in India’ 5G collaboration. During the event, Mukesh Ambani also announced his daughter Isha Ambani as the head of his conglomerate’s retail business and discussed detailed the succession plan. He expressed his excitement on the new partnership with Qualcomm. Mukesh Ambani stated that Jio 5G services will be launched across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, and Chennai by Diwali 2022 while it will be launched across the country by

MUKESH DHIRUBHAI AMBANI Chairman and Managing Director of Reliance Industries.

December 2023. Mark Zuckerberg, Founder and CEO, Meta took to Facebook and posted his thoughts on the collaboration with JIO and wrote, “Excited to launch our partnership with JioMart in India. This is our first-ever end-toend shopping experience on WhatsApp— people can now buy groceries from JioMart right in a chat. Business messaging is an area with real momentum and chat-based experiences like this will be the go-to way people and businesses communicate in the years to come.”

Eros Investments and Stability.ai announce strategic partnership to boost content growth and reach Eros Investments, a global media, entertainment and technology portfolio of ventures, announced a strategic partnership with an emerging tech company, Stability. ai to form a joint venture for South Asia geography. Stability.ai is a first of its kind platform dedicated to designing and implementing solutions using collective intelligence and augmented technology in different sectors of life that are accessible to all. Their impactful solutions affect a range of sectors, from

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entertainment, to business, health and other social initiatives. Eros Investments will incorporate Stability.ai’s model called ‘Stable Diffusion’ which includes open-source image generation to manifest ideas and dreams as immaculate art pieces using words. Stability.ai battles the norm set by big tech companies by using this form of image generation to challenge the barriers that prevent people from accessing artificial intelligence and its benefits. Their goal for the Stable Diffusion model is to ‘Enable creativity for anyone’ and have generative art be accessed everywhere. Eros and Stability.ai are working to bring this technology that was only privileged to a few, to every Indian to reflect their creativity and imagination. Eros Investments plans to leverage this technology for its affiliate company Xfinite that has access to 12,000+ movie asset library, launch generative NFT and make the tool available to creators for self-expression on Mzaalo, the watch to earn blockchain platform by Xfinite.

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TECHNOLOGY

Sany Bharat expands presence in India Sany Bharat, a manufacturer of construction equipment, heavy machinery and renewable energy solutions is expanding its presence in the country and adding success to 20year journey. The latest development in the growth trajectory is the opening of new 4S dealership office in Vijayapura – Karnataka and Chennai along with the inauguration of a 3S branch office in Tirupati. Karnataka, Tamil Nadu and Rayalaseema markets, like the rest of India is witnessing a growing demand for Sany construction equipments and the newly inaugurated dealerships are poised to make inroads into untapped markets and gain potential customers. Situated in prime locations, the swanky 4s model offices in Vijayapura and Chennai adopts a full-service approach that brings together sales, service, spare parts and stocking to provide the best retail experience to their customers. On the other hand, the 3S branch in

Tirupati will aim to fortify Sany’s number one position in the region and establish a crucial link between customers and company. As Sany Bharat continues to surge ahead on the path of innovation, be it in manufacturing best-in-class equipments or customer care, the company stands tall today in terms of market position, equipment sales and dealership growth. Speaking on the occasion, Dheeraj Panda, Chief Operating Officer – Sales, Marketing and Customer Support, Sany Heavy Industry India said, “It’s not just about offering world class equipments to our customers, Sany Bharat provides the world class retail experience that helps to serve our customers across the product’s life cycle in the most effective way. We firmly believe that the newly inaugurated modern day dealership offices in these key cities will enhance scalability options and expand our footprint by reaching potential customers.”

C4CLOUD joins hands with KloudMate Leading SaaS solutions provider, C4CLOUD, signed a memorandum of understanding with KloudMate, India’s first Observability platform for serverless cloud infrastructure, as its strategic partner, to focus on APAC, EU, and GCC regions. The MoU was signed recently, by Bidyut Baruah, co-founder of KloudMate, Shaiju K Raman, CEO at C4CLOUD, and Jibin K. Baby, cofounder of C4CLOUD. Born in the summer of 2021, KloudMate will facilitate effective monitoring and automation of distributed cloud environments and processes, reduce debugging time, and improve MTTR, to create scalable, agile cloud environments. Speaking on the occasion, Jibin, co-founder of C4CLOUD said that it has been their long-term strategy to enhance customers’ insights using system generated analytical data, and help design, monitor and support them in usage of their cloud services. Being a leading managed service provider, C4CLOUD will be able to leverage KloudMate, to create seamless customer experiences that can in turn serve as a backbone for them, to establish market leadership. Shaiju iterated that they are a team of problem-solvers, engineers, technologists and innovators, who connect with millions of people, companies and communities with leading technologies.

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SUSTANIBILITY

Tirex to supply EV chargers at Hindustan Petroleum’s 60 retail outlets The present population of India is more than 1.3 Billion and uses approximately 295 Million vehicles on the road. The need to keep a social distance during this postCovid era has increased the demand for personal vehicles in many folds. Small families also prefer owning a car rather than opting for public transport. But the skyrocketing price of fossil fuels in India is becoming a deal-breaker in many cases. People eagerly look for a substitute and are gradually inclining toward electric vehicles. People already owning a vehicle who is on the verge of changing the same are also holding their buying decisions to switch to an electric vehicle. The only dilemma in their mind is where to charge their electric vehicle. People are anxious about the thought of the availability of EV charging stations. The only solution to soothe this transition phase is to

build a dependable EV charging network so that future customers can feel confident about their decision to choose an electric vehicle. The government of India has recognised addressing the issue of climate change as the need of the hour. As a result, like many other initiatives and projects of the Government of India to encourage people to switch to an electric vehicle, the project of deploying EV charging stations by Hindustan Petroleum Corporation is among them. HPCL is a Government of India enterprise with the prestigious Maharatna status. HPCL also owns a Forbes 2000 company status.

Tata Power celebrates India’s E-Mobility revolution in the 75th year of Independence Tata Power will be celebrating the 75th year of Independence by promoting the widespread usage of EV charging solutions across the country. The company is providing incentives to EV owners by offering a 15% discount on its select public EZ charging points, starting midnight of August 13th, 2022 for a duration of 75 hours. The offer will also spill into the 76th year of Independence and will provide a unique opportunity to EV users to charge their vehicles at a discounted rate on the Independence Day, 15th August. This unique offering is in alignment with Tata Power’s belief that ‘Sustainable is Attainable’ and propagation of use of green and clean energy in the country can make sustainable mobility a way of life for millions of Indians through its green solutions and offerings in the EV charging space. The EV users could easily locate the public charging

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points which are offering discount through Tata Power’s EZ charge mobile app. Tata Power is one of India’s largest EV charging solutions providers, with over 2,350 public EV chargers in nearly 300 cities. The charging infrastructure is a mix of public charging, captive charging, home charging, workplace charging, and ultra-rapid chargers up to 240 kW for buses. The points are available across all standards and are compatible with all-electric cars. Tata Power has also set up over 200 electric bus charging points installed across India.

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SUSTANIBILITY

KONE inaugurates wall painting on sustainable waste management To commemorate Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, KONE Elevators India, a fully owned subsidiary of KONE Corporation, a global leader in the elevator and escalator industry, inaugurated its largest single wall painting with the theme of Sustainable Waste Management this week at Mahipalpur Flyover, New Delhi, as part of their Green Dream Project. KONE India’s Green Dream Project was initiated last year in collaboration with Green Dream Foundation with the objective of sensitising the general public on key environmental themes. The

ongoing project uplifts otherwise neglected walls, delivers a powerful message in a very effective manner, and offers dignified job opportunities for talented artists from different parts of the country. The project aims to raise awareness and make people more mindful of their actions. It also serves to beautify several neglected walls – in line with the Swachh Bharat Mission. The latest area in Delhi to get makeover is the Mahipalpur Flyover, spanning more than 20,000 square feet. The wall was inaugurated by Amit Gossain, Managing Director, KONE Elevators India, Ashwani Kumar, IAS, Special Officer, MCD, Gyanesh Bharti, IAS, Commissioner, MCD and Ashish Sachdeva, Founder and President, Green Dream Foundation. They also felicitated some artists who have been associated with Green Dream Project from the very start, and are the hands behind the beautiful makeovers of many city walls.

L&T Financial Services inaugurates digital Sakhi Project

L&T Financial Services, a non-banking financial company, announced the inauguration of its Digital Sakhi project in Karnataka. The flagship CSR project of the Company – ‘Digital Sakhi’ – trains and nurtures rural women, who in turn promote women entrepreneurship and Digital Financial Literacy in their communities. The inauguration of the project in Karnataka follows the success of the Digital Sakhi projects implemented in the states of Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Odisha and West Bengal. Since its inception in 2017, Digital Sakhi projects have created a cadre of 960 Digital Sakhis who have helped upskill over 5,500 women entrepreneurs. In FY22 alone, Digital Sakhis trained and empowered more than 8.60 Lakh people across 5 states on DFL. Through, the project in Karnataka, LTFS endeavors to create a cadre

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of over 300 Digital Sakhis as digital enablers, who, in turn, will impart DFL trainings to over 9 Lakh community members covering topics like digital modes of payments, access to government entitlements, goal-based savings, etc. In addition, the project aims to support over 3,000 women entrepreneurs in establishing and scaling their micro-enterprises through upskilling and enterprisedevelopment trainings. The Digital Sakhi project in Karnataka will be implemented in partnership with Access Livelihoods Foundation – a social enterprise that works with marginalised communities to reimagine their livelihoods. Access Livelihoods Foundation is also an AIM-NITI Aayog recognised Established Incubation Centre, primarily incubating women-owned producer enterprises across primary sectors to create equitable and lasting livelihood opportunities.

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SUSTANIBILITY

Triumph in sustainability in remarkable times

DATUK ZAINAL ABIDIN ABU HASSAN Secretary-General , MOSTI

Malaysia’s participation in the Expo 2020 Dubai marks a new beginning for the country following the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted global operations. Being a part of the team that tackled this massive endeavour was both humbling and eye-opening. Despite the initial setbacks, including due to the pandemic, the Malaysia Pavilion was an incredible success thanks to the support of the bright, brilliant, and dedicated personnel of the Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation – MOSTI and the implementing agency, Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Corporation with the strong support of 20 other ministries, 70 agencies and five state governments. Our rainforest canopy pavilion welcomed 1.2 Million visitors throughout the six-month event, well-exceeding our targets. Out of 192 countries, we constructed the world’s first net zero carbon pavilion. Inside the Pavilion, our exhibits reinforced our national vision and aspirations towards sustainable development driven by science, technology and innovation and our commitment to conserve our rainforest as the lung of the planet. This was in keeping with Malaysia’s Expo theme of “Energising Sustainability,” our means of making a difference for ourselves and the world we live in. As our #MyButterflyEffect campaign suggests, Malaysia, despite being a developing country, is one of the key leaders in futureproofing a sustainable world, starting with drastic policy changes back home and even how we go about doing business traditionally. We have redesigned how we do business with the rest of the globe. We pushed ourselves to reassess our goals, putting sustainability first while not losing revenue or earnings.

(Left to Right) Radha Dhir, CEO and Country Head, India, JLL and Praveer Sinha, CEO & MD, Tata Power.

Tata Power, JLL India collaborate to provide Green Energy Solutions Tata Power, one of India’s largest integrated power companies, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with JLL India to promote green energy solutions in the realty space. With the real estate sector contributing nearly 40% of all greenhouse gas emissions, it is time to think green and to lead the realty sector towards green energy adoption. JLL is India’s premier and largest professional services firm specialising in real estate and investment management. With a presence in 11 cities, 17 offices, and over 135 client locations across the country, JLL manages over 415 Million sq. feet of space. Under the collaboration, both the companies will jointly evaluate opportunities across JLL India’s clients’ portfolios to extend Tata

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Power’s Green Energy solutions. Tata Power will also work with JLL India to support the transition of their existing offices in the country into Green Energy power hubs. The MoU was signed by Tata Power and JLL India in a ceremony in Mumbai. Tata Power will provide quality, reliable and cost-effective renewable energy through Open Access Solutions. In addition to this, seamless and consumer-friendly metering and billing solutions using smart meters will be installed in all the properties. These smart meters will be equipped with data analytics that monitors real-time consumption along with consumption prediction and will help customers to optimise energy usage. Additionally, the company will also install solar rooftops, which will not only help in providing clean and green energy consumption but also help in savings in energy bills. To aid in a smart lifestyle, the company will also provide IoT-based, voice/appcontrolled automation-based energy management solutions.

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RESEARCH

96% of the Indian businesses are focusing on sustainable travel: SAP Concur Survey A new study by SAP Concur, a provider for integrated travel, expense and invoice management solutions has discovered that while managing corporate travel 96% of all businesses across India say their companies are actively focusing on sustainability. This widespread determination to be environmentally sustainable has been revealed in new research released ahead of World Environment Day. The SAP Concur APAC Sustainability Survey was conducted by Consulting Group – Asia Insight, polling 648 senior and mid-level managers in corporate travel, finance, HR, procurement, and sustainability across Australia, China, India, Malaysia, Singapore, and South Korea. There were 110 respondents from India.

According to the Air Transport Action Group, aviation is responsible for 12% of CO2 emissions from all transport sources; and the World Resources Institute reported that business travel represents about 15% to 20% of global travel. Many companies have gone beyond articulating sustainability principles to putting things into practice through their corporate travel policies, driven by their leaders. About 62% of the respondents said their senior leadership is driving the sustainability agenda for corporate travel. This group comes ahead of employees 58%, those responsible for sustainability initiatives 47%, and those responsible for corporate travel 46%. The survey also suggested organisations are investing in sustainability outcomes. More than half of the Indian firms surveyed 52% said they committed resources to championing sustainability. About 29% of the firms have someone who manages sustainability as part of their role, while 23% have dedicated personnel handling sustainability.

Automotive electronics boosting double digit semiconductor growth: Gartner Global semiconductor revenue is projected to grow 7.4% in 2022, down from 2021 growth of 26.3%, according to the latest forecast from Gartner. This is down from the previous quarter’s forecast of 13.6% growth in 2022. PC shipments are set to decline by 13.1% in 2022 after recording growth in 2020 and 2021. Semiconductor revenue from PCs is estimated to record a decline of 5.4% in 2022. Semiconductor revenue from smartphones is on pace to slow to 3.1% growth in 2022, compared to 24.5% growth in 2021. From an enterprise perspective, inventories are recovering rapidly, lead times are beginning to shorten, and prices are starting to weaken. The semiconductor market is entering an industry down cycle, which is not new, and has happened

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RICHARD GORDON Practice Vice President, Gartner.

many times before. While the consumer space will slow down, semiconductor revenue from the data center market will remain resilient for longer, 20% growth in 2022, due to continued cloud infrastructure investment. In addition, the automotive electronics segment will continue to record double-digit growth over the next three years as semiconductor content per vehicle will increase due to the transition to electric and autonomous vehicles. The semiconductor content per vehicle is projected to increase from $712 in 2022 to $931 in 2025.

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RESEARCH

Gartner estimates ICT spending inside the Indian sub-continent will cross $100B in 2022 In December 2021, Gartner forecast that ICT spending, including communication and datacentres, inside the Indian sub-continent would reach close to $102 Billion in 2022, an increase of more than 5% YoY, but much slower than the growth in 2021 of close to 11%. The digital transformation trajectory that began as a pandemic response is here to stay for the next few years. India has experienced one of the fastest recoveries despite being one of the worst hit regions in the second wave of the pandemic in early 2021. In 2022, CIOs in India will build on renewed interest in technology from the business to gain funding for new IT projects, said a Gartner analyst. Indian CIOs are likely to increase their spending towards projects that drive innovation and modernising legacy systems. Hiring a workforce that can deliver on these needs will also be a key priority. In 2022, this year, Indian CIOs are prioritising a move away from rigid and monolithic ways of doing business to a more composable business and IT architecture where they will be able to better respond to disruptions. In 2022, all segments of IT spending in India are

expected to grow, with software emerging as the highest growing segment. While experiencing a slower growth rate than 2021, spending on software in 2022 is forecast be nearly double of what it was pre-pandemic. As hybrid work adoption increases in the country, there will be an uptick in spending on devices in 2022, reaching $44 Billion, an increase of 7.5% from 2021. The growth in devices is a combination of two components – hybrid work and pent-up demand from 2020 for device upgrades.

Gartner Forecasts India application software spending to grow 15% in 2022 End-user spending on enterprise application software in India is forecast to total $4.7 Billion in 2022, an increase of 14.8% from 2021, according to Gartner, Inc. “Driven by the digital transformation agenda, Indian enterprises will continue to expand the share of software spending in their broader IT spending. Organisations are increasingly relying on software to operate all aspects of business,” said Neha Gupta, Vice President Analyst at Gartner. However, the growth in software spending will be lower in 2022 than in 2021. “The volatile global macroeconomic situation has increased

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business uncertainty. Organisations will continue to put new long-term projects on hold selectively and cut the scope of high-cost projects and instead look to “quick win” projects that either have a shorter return on investment or provide a competitive edge,” said Gupta. Applications critical for maintaining the quality of customer service, like supply chain management, supply chain execution and customer relationship management, will see increased spending as organisations look to address complex supply chains and volatile marketplaces, and more effectively adapt to change and disruption. Spending on CRM software is forecast to grow 18.1% in 2022, while SCM software spending will increase 10.2%. Likewise, core financial and planning tools will see increased spending as companies look to improve their ability to manage cash and ensure a firm financial foundation upon which to grow.

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PROCESS TRANSFORMATION

59%

of UAE organisations surveyed were hit with ransomware in 2021

HARISH CHIB Vice President, Sophos.

CYBERSECURITY, CYBER INSURANCE, COMPLEMENTING EACH OTHER

Organisations must not fall into the trap of prioritising cyber insurance ahead of security since insurers may not provide insurance if the organisation does not have adequate measures in place.

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PROCESS TRANSFORMATION

C

yberattacks have increased exponentially in the last couple of years in the UAE. According to the Sophos State of Ransomware Report 2022, 59% of UAE organisations surveyed were hit with ransomware in 2021, up from 38% in 2020. The average cost to recover from the most recent ransomware attack in 2021 was $1.26 million. It took on average one month to recover from the damage and disruption. 88% of organisations said the attack had impacted their ability to operate, and 83% of the victims said they had lost business and, or revenue because of the attack The challenge of sophisticated cyberattacks like ransomware faced by UAE organisations continues to grow. Optimising cybersecurity has become imperative for all organisations. It is important that investments are made as part of a wider dynamic security strategy that is regularly reviewed and updated. A part of this strategy should also include cyber insurance.

Cyber insurance conditions are getting harder

Cyber insurance has, until now, been a soft market, characterised by high capacity and low premiums. However, the market is starting to harden, as insurers see their payouts rising faster than the income from premiums: the industry’s loss ratio has risen. Several factors are driving this hardening of the market: • Cyberattacks are constantly evolving, making it hard for insurers to assess the true risk of a client being attacked • The costs to recover from a cyberattack are increasing • The pandemic and growing use of the cloud have accelerated the interconnectedness of the business environment, increasing exposure

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While most organisations already have some cyber insurance coverage, many are finding the bar for renewal is getting higher as capacity shrinks – and premiums are going up. It is also getting harder for many organisations to get insurance in the first place as the underwriting process grows more and more rigorous and overall capacity drops.

Good cybersecurity helps with cyber insurance

There is a direct relationship between cybersecurity and cyber insurance and having strong cyber defences in place can help in a number of ways:

#1 Good cybersecurity makes it easier to get cyber insurance In light of the challenges facing the cyber insurance market, providers are focusing increasingly on managing – and reducing – risk. Good cybersecurity can help organisations reduce cyber risk which, in turn, makes a more attractive prospect for cyber insurance coverage.

#2 Good cybersecurity helps reduce premiums

Just as being a non-alcoholic, non-smoker and having good medical reports reduce your health insurance premiums, having advanced IT defences helps reduce cyber insurance costs. While the insurers’ exact premium calculation algorithms are a closely guarded secret, customers consistently say that the quality of their protection impacts their premiums.

#3 Good cybersecurity reduces likelihood of claim, higher premiums in future As with other forms of insurance, if you make a claim, you can expect a significant increase in your premiums in subsequent years. By minimising risk of being impacted by a cyberattack,

organisations reduce the likelihood of calling on their policy – and help keep your premiums down.

#4 Good cybersecurity reduces the risks of non-payment

Poor IT security hygiene can prevent organisations from receiving financial support in the event of an incident. If the insurer believes that the organisation left the door open through weak practices, they may have grounds to not pay out.

#5 Good cybersecurity can minimise the impact and cost if an incident occurs

Responding quickly and appropriately to a cyberattack can significantly reduce the impact and cost of the incident. Having a malware incident response plan in place and being able to call on experienced incident responders will help to minimise the fall-out from the attack. Cybersecurity and cyber insurance both are necessary, and they complement each other. Just like a health insurance protects from the financial impact of a disease but not from the disease itself, cyber insurance protects from the impact of cybercrime though not from the crime itself. Lastly, organisations must not fall into the trap of prioritising cyber insurance ahead of all security measures; in fact, insurers may not provide insurance if an organisation does not have adequate security measures in place. In addition, by investing and prioritising security, it can become easier to get coverage, lower premiums, and remove barriers to pay outs if you need to make a claim.

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PROCESS TRANSFORMATION

ARUN SINGHAL Founder and CEO, Source.One.

SOURCE.ONE

BUILDING AN ONLINE POLYMER TRADING COMPANY

The idea of Source.One was to create a level-playing field where smaller player can procure goods at a cost similar to larger players in the sector. BY SHUBHENDU PARTH

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hen Arun Singhal and Shrinath Balakrishnan decided to set up Source.One in 2017, the duo was focused on solving a critical issue faced by most Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME players in the plastic processing industry, bringing parity in

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the procurement price of raw materials between smaller and bigger players. The two observed that disparity existed because larger players had direct access to producers and importers and were also able to negotiate the best price and credit due to higher volumes. Also, since they were cash-rich, bigger

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companies could buy polymers when the prices were low and hoarded them for future use, which was unthinkable for smaller players dealing with tight cash flow issues. “We were clear that the price disparity due to lack of access was stopping the smaller players to grow beyond the point,” says Singhal, who is CEO of the company. His cofounder Balakrishnan is the CTO and drives all technology initiatives of Source.One. Early in its journey, the idea of Source. One was to create a level-playing field in the market so that smaller player can procure goods at a cost similar to any larger player in the sector. And they started doing this by flattening the supply chain, buying directly from the seller and selling to the buyers; removing middlemen in between. However, when the two eventually started working on the model, they realised that there was a bigger problem that was hindering the growth of MSME players in the industry. “While we were trying to reduce the gap through the use of technology to bring transparency in the trade, we noted that the industry faced a much bigger problem of distribution,” he explains, adding that the problem – starting from the supply to demand side existed because of the inefficiencies in the traditional method of raw material distribution.

could announce the specifications and the availability of stock through WhatsApp messages, and the buyers can place an order by replying to it. The company also partnered with State Bank of Mauritius or SBM, formerly Chase Bank, which essentially forms the backbone of most fintech companies in India at present for facilitating credit and financial options for the buyers. On the technology front, Source.One uses multiple solutions that are integrated using Node. js. “While the backend is built on Zoho platform, the frontend is on React.js and the entire solution is hosted on AWS,” elaborates Balakrishnan who drives the technology. He further added that the backend infrastructure uses auto scaling feature of AWS making it scalable to 15,000 users at a time, something that is less heard of in B2B. This enabled Source.One to register significant growth in revenues; a jump of 865% from Rs 176 Million in FY 2018-19 to Rs 1.7 Billion in FY 201920 followed by a 300% growth to Rs 6.8 Billion in 2020-21. The company closed FY 2021-22 with revenues of Rs 16.22 Billion. While the company had solved the demand side communication puzzle which was critical for a time-sensitive commodity such as polymer, the business was yet to take off in a big way. One, because the traditional players were wary of buying through the message mode, and two, because the company was still working on tools that could help qualify the buyers.

Solving the demand side issue

It may sound like a fairy tale for a start-up to scale 100x in a year, but the organic growth happen for Source.One due to two factors. These were the GST intelligence system based on the Harmonized System of Nomenclature or HSN codes; and later the nationwide lockdown that brought all business to a standstill from March 2020 onwards. Developed by the World Customs Organization, HSN code is a 6-digit uniform code that classifies 5,000+ products and is accepted worldwide. As a member of WCO India adopted the HSN code, which was originally used to classify commodities for Customs and Central Excise, and more recently integrated with GST as a unique identifier. “The HSN-based application was actually a game changer for us since it enabled us to filter companies on the basis of relevant product codes. For example, if I want to know how many toothbrush manufacturers there are in India, it was easy to create a list using the HSN code of their invoices,” explains Singhal. What this meant was that the company was

While the company had cracked the demand side problem by connecting smaller players directly with suppliers, there was another concern as well. Source.One team did not want to create a solution that would compel traditional players in the commodity and manufacturing space to adopt new technologies and require behavior change. “We were clear that pushing for adoption of new technology or the new application might restrict the traditional business owners. Hence, we decided to use WhatsApp, the most downloaded application, as a communication tool for informing buyers and also for placing orders,” informs Singhal, adding that the need triggered a simple and easy-to-use solution using WhatsApp API for the frontend and Zoho platform for the backend. He further disclosed that Source.One soon became India’s first B2B company to get API access of WhatsApp from Meta. In operational terms, it meant that the company

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The game changer

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The WhatsApp API-based application enables Source.One to inform buyers about the inventory, product specification, and price. The buyer can use actionable links to place an order and avail credit and various financial options.

The HSNbased GST intelligence application was a gamechanger since it enabled Source. One to filter companies on the basis of relevant product codes

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soon able to identify the demand-side liquidity by filtering the companies that had HSN codes for products manufactured by using plastic as a raw material. The next step was to profile and create a qualified list of buyers, a process similar to KYC. “Our tele-calling team reached out to nearly 15,000 manufacturers across 738 districts and got their profiles. This was a one-time activity and every year we only have to call and profile between 500 to 1,000 new manufacturers to update the list,” he says. Once the profiling was done, the company knew the products each of these companies needed

in which quantity and location. Now, it was just a matter of few clicks to share information about the product availability through customised messages matching the company’s needs. By the end of FY 2019-20, the company had nearly 12,000 registered opt-in buyers. However, the sales were still not picking up. And then the lockdown happened. “While the buyers were aware of Source.One, they preferred the traditional way of inperson meetings to finalise deals and were not comfortable buying high-value products by just sending a message. The lockdown, however, forced them to try us out. Once the buyers

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realised we can deliver as per the commitment, the growth just happened,” elaborates Singhal.

Building an efficient distribution network

KEY TAKEAWAYS Set up in 2018, Source. One aimed to bring parity between the procurement price of plastic raw materials between smaller and bigger players. The company went on to streamline the $250 Billion chemicals distribution industry and become one of the largest online polymers trading company in India. Overall, it boasts of interacting with 15,000+ buyers on a daily basis and has 3,000+ active paying MSME manufacturers onboard. Source.One closed FY 2021-22 with revenues of Rs 16.22 Billion, a 140% growth over the previous FY and aims to achieve Rs 30 Billion target during 2022-23.

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For Source.One, creating a strong distribution machine to handle the supply chain challenges on an auto-mode was a key component. The solution lay in mapping the inventory laying with the sellers and the buyer in a real time basis so that the seller can liquidate faster, and the buyer can purchase at the best price. “Our day begins with the sellers updating their inventories on the Source.One system. Once the data is aggregated we push the information with product specifications to buyers through the WhatsApp messages and the mobile app.” The buyers just need to click a link in the message to place their order. They can also avail the credit and various financing options by clicking another link. The prices are, however, non-negotiable and the financial options are subject to the company’s credit worthiness mapped using solution from a fintech partner. The last part of creating a strong distribution channel was to set up a pan-India logistic network to ensure assured delivery at a lower cost. The company identified micro and small transporters focussing on specific routes, and mapped them across 738 districts, creating nearly 490,000 combinations using Google Map API, including details like per ton freight cost. Overall, the company has footprints across almost all states, covering 97% of all PIN codes, and nearly 30% to 40% of business coming from smaller cities and odd routes that were never covered before. At the backend, the communication with transporters also happen using WhatsApp chat, with the company broadcasting the quantity, pick up and drop points to qualified service providers

The company identified micro and small transporters focussing on specific routes and mapped them across 738 districts using Google Map API

who need to send their bids through reply to messages that can be tracked only through the integrated dashboard. Following the reverse bid, the system automatically detects the least cost transporters and confirms the shipment. Recently, the company has also launched its mobile app built on Flutter stack, with nearly 20% of its customers already shifting to the new transaction mode. Going ahead, Singhal and his team have chalked out plans to expand operations into other chemicals. The company which had started with the polymer distribution business and has now emerged as an end-to-end commodity distribution company in the country has also ventured into the packaging sector. It also aims to nearly double its revenues in the current fiscal to touch Rs 30 Billion by the end of March 2023.

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AMIT LUTHRA

COO, Teleperformance India.

TELEPERFORMANCE INDIA

ARRIVAL OF

CLOUD CAMPUS HUBS

The BPO player has launched global virtual workplaces for remote teams to deliver zero-disruption services, with digital hiring, onboarding, and training.

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or the €7.11-Billion French business process management company Teleperformance, its India operation holds a special place. Starting from a single location in Gurugram in 2002, Teleperformance India is the company’s largest branch globally, serving over 200 clients across more than 20 countries in over 22 languages. Overall, the India operation includes a strong team of 80,000 multicultural employees, which is 19% of the global strength of 420,000 workforces, and further plans to hire 20,000 people in the next 18 months, including from tier 2 and 3 cities, offering them the option to work from home or anywhere. Unlike the traditional BPO companies, customer support and back-office services represent only one aspect of services offered by the company in India. Instead, the company provides services for business optimisation, ranging from using automation for frictionless interactions and urgent case management to providing regulatory and compliance services. “We also offer customer experience consulting, advanced analytics, business process optimisation, transformation solutions and trust and safety services including content moderation, and others,” says Amit Luthra, COO of Teleperformance India. The company offers comprehensive Artificial Intelligence operations, analytics and consulting services focusing on delivering tailored solutions and creating growth strategies for clients and to accelerate their digital transformation journey.

Digitally integrated business services

A key component of Teleperformance India’s operation is its digital integrated services, under which the company provides process automation, AI and predictive analytics support. “The idea is to create flexible systems that adapt quickly and can improve the consumer’s journey,” Luthra says. He further elaborates that Lean Six Sigma, Design Thinking, and its Technology, Analytics, and Process Excellence framework is the bedrock for creating innovative solutions for clients to support the customer journey. “In technological terms, this involves methodologies such as Robotic Process Automation or Robotic Desktop Automation, chatbots integration or gamification,” he explains. On the analytics front, the company involves consumer sentiment analysis, recommendation engines, dynamic dashboards and reports, as well as trend identification and predictive models. It also helps companies improve their processes. “In terms

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of process excellence, it is important to highlight the mapping of the consumer journey, Six Sigma and Design Thinking methodologies, in continuous improvement logic. Hence we leverage innovation through robotics, AI, machine learning, and speech analytics processes to deliver customised business intelligence, desktop automation and mobility solutions.” According to Luthra, the digitally integrated business services is aimed at enabling organisations to adapt to the latest in disruptive digital innovations and build long-term growth. “This is done by creating efficiency in complex and resourceintensive administrative processes to free up resources for better allocation. For example, in the healthcare vertical we have been able to streamline patient intake services through an automated triage, freeing up staff from administrative tasks and allowing them to focus on providing care,” he says. Teleperformance India has also been able to help organisation’s save cost and enhance the customer interaction through its ‘High-Tech, High-Touch approach’ which ensures that customers benefit from both the speed of automation as well as the human touch.

Business after the pandemic

Like other industries, the pandemic resulted in a monumental shift in the way BPM and BPOs operate on a day-to-day basis. And while it presented significant challenges, it also brought in new opportunities, including a sudden spurt in demand for digital transformation and the adoption of cloud to keep up with the high demand for useable communication networks to support work from home. Additionally, intelligent automation has been an extremely critical component enabling businesses to save costs and remain competitive in a postpandemic economy. “The increased demand for customer service across multiple digital channels means companies have to safely store a vast amount of data. This also means that there is an opportunity for organisations to better understand, manage, and meet users’ expectations and a growing appetite for personalised experiences,” Luthra elaborates. The solution: use of advanced technologies, data security, and analytics. “This allows customer experience teams to create more human experiences. Hyper-personalisation allows businesses to use data to curate personalised customer journeys in real-

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time and anticipate what customers want,” he says. Luthra further stresses that this has become more important than ever since businesses have started to revamp their IT infrastructure in the post-pandemic new normal and also to ensure that Teleperformance India continues to be in tune with the changing needs of prospective customers. In terms of internal operations, the disruption and challenges during the pandemic prompted multiple changes. “Businesses were immediately put under serious strain due to plummeting demand in some areas and work from home mandates. Teleperformance India was quick to act. We are pioneers in adopting cloud technology and offering a digital-first approach to our clients to be able to deliver seamless, omnichannel customer experience powered by robotics, AI and advanced analytics,” Luthra points out. He further adds: “With a ‘High-Tech, HighTouch’ approach we leveraged the latest technology combined with human empathy, perfectly suited for the highly digitised postpandemic world. Also, with work from home

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becoming the new normal, we utilised cloud as an effective medium for all businesses to efficiently train staff and connect to customers.”

Launch of Cloud Campus

The pandemic also saw the company launch its Teleperformance Cloud Campus TPCC, a global virtual workplace platform that enables remote teams to deliver zero-disruption services, offering an effective model for digital hiring, onboarding, training, engaging, and employee management. Thanks to the TPCC, around 70% of Teleperformance employees worldwide are now working from home, compared to fewer than 5% before the health crisis. The TPCC is now being used in 54 countries, compared with 32 at year-end 2020. “With Cloud Campus, our clients can rely on home-based customer service experts with the highest level of data security, best-in-class cloud infrastructure, and best talent,” Luthra explains. Designed from the ground up to specifically support dispersed teams, the company’s digital

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STRATEGIC INITIATIVES

Teleperformance India is helping companies across 20 countries achieve long-term success through business-wide transformation

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command centres or Cloud Campus Hubs keep employees connected and engaged while providing support tools, coaching, and career advancement opportunities to enable remote teams to deliver outstanding customer experience and back-office services. Points out Luthra: “The Cloud Campus hubs have been designed to recreate a virtual operations floor, permanently connected with the project team and it can scale capacity at short notice. Having all supporting teams connected in real-time nurtures relationships and trust for those who may have otherwise felt isolated working from home. As a people-focused company, Teleperformance is leveraging gamification to recover socialness and camaraderie and to boost employee wellbeing, resulting

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Scaling up proprietary digital platforms that enable transformations, including TP client omnichannel and workforce management, TP RPA intelligent automation, including cognitive automation, TP Recommender predictive analytics, and TP Interact text and speech, customer sentiment analytics.

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Developing multilingual hubs to serve pan-Asian and pan-European and programs, enabling the company to nurture longterm client relationships.

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Adopting people-first strategy and HighTech, High-Touch mantra that enables the company to approach digital solutions with an emphasis on the human touch.

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Supporting clients from a wide range of industry verticals, including telecom, automotive, banking and financial services, healthcare, and the digital economy.

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TECHNOLOGY

INITIATIVES l

A key component of Teleperformance India’s operation is its digital integrated services, under which the company provides process automation, AI and predictive analytics support.

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Lean Six Sigma, Design Thinking, and Technology, Analytics, and Process Excellence TAP framework enables the company to create customer support solutions.

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The Teleperformance Cloud Campus enables remote teams in digital hiring, onboarding, training, engaging, and employee management.

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On the analytics front, the company involves consumer sentiment analysis, recommendation engines, dynamic dashboards and reports, as well as trend identification and predictive models.

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Teleperformance has also integrated the CX services with Digital Integrated Business Services to offer digital solutions, highvalue-added BPM services, and consulting services.

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in consistent customer service for our clients.”

Employee-first and diversity approach

For a company that focuses on people’s first approach and diversity, TPCC proved to be a very efficient and effective model for hiring, training and managing remote teams while ensuring exceptional, consistent customer experiences. It also uses predictive analytics and AI-driven interventions throughout the ‘Hire to Retire’ process to ensure that the right talent is recruited and supported with a seamless experience during their stint with the company. For example, it uses an analytics-led candidate shortlisting approach followed by an AI-powered skills assessment and automated rollout of offer letters. It has also automated the full and final settlement process, including the release of experience letters.

The company focuses on gender diversity from the initial hiring stage and includes professional mentorship programmes to address career and related growth challenges. Besides, a mix of programmes like Crucial Conversations, Leading with Emotional Intelligence and Design Thinking has further strengthened the initiative. The company also runs some of the most impactful initiatives to make workplaces wholesome and promote diversity and inclusion. These include specialised forums like the TP Women for engaging with women employees and creating a work environment conducive to growth, work-life balance and additional support for sustainable professional life. The TP Women forum is based on three key elements: collaboration, gender equality, and empowerment of women. While 39% of Teleperformance India’s present workforce is

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women, the diversity and empowerment of women employees go beyond the social cause for the company; it also has a strong business case driven by the need for human empathy in providing the best customer service. With a majority of the trillions of dollars of consumer spending globally being influenced by women, the company strongly believes that women employees are better placed to understand customer needs and provide solutions.

Gearing up for Services 4.0

With the world moving towards massive automation and Industry 4.0 and the pandemic leading to the urgency of going digital, including massive process and business transformation, and automation, Teleperformance India also quickly switched gear and move towards the Service 4.0 era. According to Krishna Baidya, Director, Information and Communication Technology at Frost & Sullivan, the company’s High-tech, High-touch approach delivers a combination of technology and human empathy through NLP, automation, voice assistants, chatbots, selfservice, and AI. In addition, it has integrated its CX services with DIBS – Digital Integrated Business Services – to offer digital solutions,

The global BPO player provides services for business optimisation, automation for frictionless interactions, urgent case management, regulatory and compliance services

S T O R Y

high-value-added BPM services, and consulting services. Thriving on its TAP framework and the ‘High-Tech, High-Touch’ approach, the company has witnessed unprecedented growth in the first half of 2022. “We have new business from leading brands from different industry verticals ranging from business and finance services, travel, retail and new technology to app-based start-ups and niche crypto players,” Luthra informs. “This year we have added many amazing brands to our clientele and new lines of business for existing clients and over 49% of revenue is contributed by digital channels. We are committed to enabling businesses to adapt to today’s disruptive digital innovations, enhance customer experience, and build long-term growth,” he says. According to the COO, taking advantage of emerging technologies has been critical to the post-pandemic business response, including RPA, advanced analytics and process excellence. And the half-yearly numbers confer his claims. According to the recently announced consolidated financial statements for the six months ended 30 June 2022, operations in India generated revenues of €264 Million, a jump of 18% like-for-like from the previousyear period and a 24.8% growth, considering the appreciation of the Indian Rupee against the Euro. The report also indicates 18.9% likefor-like revenue growth in the second quarter for Teleperformance India. The report also points out that overall, the earnings before interest, taxes, and amortisation EBITA before non-recurring items in the India region rose to €46 Million in first-half 2022 from €35 Million the year before, while the EBITA margin rose to 17.5% from 16.7% in first-half 2021. The increase was primarily attributable to the rapid growth in the highly profitable offshore activity. Also, offshore activities which constitute the region’s main source of revenue and include high value-added solutions continued to grow rapidly and benefit from the dynamism of the group’s client base of global leaders in the travel, consumer electronics, healthcare, internet, online entertainment and e-tailing sectors. Revenue in the automotive sector also grew rapidly during the period.

Shubhendu Parth is a contributor to Business Transformation Asia

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CLOUD CAMPUS HUBS FROM TELEPERFORMANCE Built with data security, cloud infrastructure, specialised talent.

Global virtual workplaces to deliver zerodisruption services. In use across 54 countries compared with 32 at year-end 2020.

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A virtual operations floor connected with the project team.

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70% of employees worldwide are now working from home compared to fewer than 5% before the pandemic. Designed from the ground up to support dispersed teams these are the company’s digital command centres.

This keeps employees engaged while providing support tools, coaching, career advancement opportunities. Supporting teams are connected in real-time nurturing trust.

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PREPARING FOR THE

METAVERSE While the real Metaverse is years way, big players will jump into the fray before 2025, leaving partners little time to prepare, test, and build.

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has taken 30 years since the term was coined in 1992, but big money has now moved into the Metaverse—accompanied by big hype. To understand the pull of the Metaverse, it helps to think in terms of the distinct trends that are converging to create it. Recall the release in 2007 of the original iPhone—a single device that brought together a camera, computer, mobile phone, and operating system. The technologies involved were not new; the revolution lay in their convergence and the resulting entrepreneurial stimulation. In similar fashion, the Metaverse is about the convergence of several developments, all of which involve step changes in technological capability: • #1 Metaverse worlds or m-worlds are gathering hundreds of millions of active users thanks to computing capacity and massmarket availability of mobile phones, tablets, and PCs, as well as improvements in cloud services and connectivity such as fibre and 5G. • #2 A mass market for augmented, virtual, and mixed-reality headsets is growing fast, with devices. • #3 Virtual assets powered by an innovative Web3 technology stack are rising in popularity as objects to acquire and exchange. Remember out of the ashes of the dot com meltdown rose a global e-commerce market worth almost

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$5 trillion in 2021. While any predictions of what the future holds will almost certainly be off-base, forward-looking companies may want to experiment with the new technologies and possibly invest in young Metaverse players or emerging technologies in order to assess the potential of extended reality for their products, services, and operations. If you replace Metaverse with cyberspace, the meaning of the sentence will not change in 90% of cases. Enthusiasts see the Metaverse as the next generation of the Internet, a virtual, interconnected reality seamlessly woven into our physical world. Gamers are already familiar with this notion—albeit usually in two dimensions— but games are only the beginning. In 2021, more than $40 billion was spent on nonfungible tokens NFTs— certificates of ownership of digital assets. Goldman Sachs predicts as much as an $8 trillion opportunity on the revenue and monetisation side of the Metaverse. Morgan Stanley likewise sees an $8 trillion Metaverse market—in China alone. Much of the value of the Metaverse may ultimately lie not in consumer but in business applications, such as virtual meetings and training sessions, newproduct design capabilities, or the ability to give customers the experience of a virtual home or vehicle before buying a real one. Divergent views are hardly unusual when new technologies and models of business, finance, and commerce are rapidly taking shape and pushing against existing paradigms.

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TIPS FOR PARTNERS TO GET STARTED

The Metaverse market that is taking shape offers commercial opportunities for partners wishing to innovate early.

Partners may want to experiment with new technologies and invest in young Metaverse players or emerging technologies.

Partners should assess potential of extended reality for products, services, operations that they are already familiar with.

Software development kits from Apple for iOS, and from Google for Android, can be extended to AR and VR development.

Top five sectors for immersive environments are health care, education, workforce development, manufacturing, automotive.

The most likely areas for business applications are employee training and workflow management.

Channel partners of technology, media, telecom will benefit by providing technological enablers, such as 5G, next gen Wi-Fi, broadband networks, new OS, app stores, platforms for content creation.

AR and VR tools are being actively explored and used in health care, education, workforce development, manufacturing, automotive.

Channel partners supporting B2C models can look at:

New ways to shop, such as virtual storefronts, virtual try-ons for virtual and physical products.

Physical-virtual experiences for a brand’s events or concerts.

Co-creating assets and experiences, exchanging goods, earning money.

Innovative ways to grow a community around interests or exclusivity.

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Building M-worlds

M-worlds are immersive applications that offer brands the possibility of reaching new audiences notably, Gen Z users in different ways. Able to run on mobile phones, tablets, PC browsers, and AR or VR headsets, they have multiple distinctive attributes. Each m-world is built to host its own virtual communities and content, and each has its own business model, rules, and user accounts. Many m-worlds began as gaming applications, but they have since added features and attractions. M-worlds pursue multiple monetisation models as they seek to build their virtualasset economies. These include both traditional approaches, such as subscription, advertising, and inapp purchase models, and newer, Metaverse-specific methodologies, including initial asset offerings, Metaverse agencies, and advertising using Metaverse-generated data. The m-world landscape is evolving quickly with the arrival of major new platforms that will offer a better hybrid, two dimensional plus AR VR, experience.

Extended reality

Technological advances in AR, VR, and MR often referred to collectively as extended reality, or XR are facilitating the shift from 2D to 3D by providing more realistic experiences and digital displays that are better synchronised with head movements. Indeed, surveys have found that the two biggest barriers to wider adoption of XR are the user experience and limited content, both of which are improving fast. Equipment costs also have fallen, and sales are projected to increase quickly. When you get to 10 million units active, that is kind of a magic number. At that point, you have a self-sustaining ecosystem. At its current pace, Meta could reach this critical mass by mid2022. And Apple’s expected entry in early 2023 could turn out to be the iPhone moment for AR and VR. While the number of AR and VR users climbs, mobile AR, which leverages smartphone cameras and processing power to superimpose information on what the phone is seeing, helps bridge the transition. More than half

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of the 6 billion smartphones in use today are sufficiently powerful to enable mobile AR. In addition, the software development kits from Apple for iOS, and from Google for Android, can be extended to AR and VR development. According to research from ARtillery Intelligence, 800 million users actively use mobile AR, a number that it projects will grow to 1.7 billion in 2025. The use cases for AR, VR, and MR span consumer and business applications. The top five sectors for immersive environments are health care, education, workforce development, manufacturing, and automotive. The most likely areas for business applications were employee training and workflow management.

Disrupting the automobile industry

In the automotive industry, AR and VR are being used across the value chain from product and process engineering to sales and aftersales support and service. OEMs and their major suppliers are adopting the technology in engineering and operator training to create virtual showrooms and test drive experiences, and to provide virtual repair guides and simulations of upgrades. OEMs, especially in the luxury vehicle segment, are using m-worlds and Web3 technology to build immersive brand experiences and virtual assets tied to their real-world products. Alpine, the race car subsidiary of Renault, is releasing a virtual hypercar in five exclusive liveries using NFTs for proof of ownership. Boeing has announced that it will use VR at scale to engineer its next aircraft, powering an immersive digital twin of the product.

Internet 3.0 or Web 3.0

In the initial iteration of the Internet Web 1.0, users read or otherwise consumed digital content that publishers or others created. Web 2.0 allowed users to both create and consume content, but centralised networks continued to control and make money from its distribution. In the emerging Web3 iteration, users consume, create, and own content; the networks and the money exchanged are decentralised, with blockchain technology replacing centralised intermediaries and providing the trust that enables both consumption and exchange. Web3 is still at an early stage but is already powering a vibrant virtual-asset economy that includes cryptocurrencies, NFTs, and smart contracts.

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More than $50 billion in virtual goods were purchased in 2021 using traditional mobile or credit card processing on web-based applications or on app platforms. There are some 30 million NFT wallets, including 1 million active wallets, which spent some $40 billion on NFT purchases in 2021.

Go to market for channel partners

Channel partners can start by familiarising their organisations with the potential impact of the Metaverse. A useful vehicle is an assessment of how the business may be positively or negatively affected by the convergence of the three trends: • Rise of m-worlds • Improvements in AR, VR, MR • Expanding use of Web3 assets enabled by blockchain Channel partners can choose areas of focus on the Metaverse flywheel and potential use cases for their efforts. They can decide to participate in the following: • Part of building new infrastructure • Monetise content and virtual assets • Create B2B or B2C content • Create inward-facing experiences such as customer showrooms, virtual conferences, remote collaboration solutions • Build relevant audiences, both from existing and prospective areas of interest. As they move into the Metaverse world, channel partners should also attempt to experience it. Here are some recommendations: • Buy headsets and organise demo sessions to gain internal traction. • Bring together experienced and passionate people in teams that meet regularly. • Collect use cases and create formats for brainstorming and capturing potential sources of value. • Invest in prototypes. • Hire talent, including those with XR interest and experience in relevant Metaverse fields. • Make your interest public. Communicate externally that the Metaverse is on your radar and share what you are doing. • Build partnerships. The Metaverse will be an ecosystem, and there is longer-term value in starting to build connections now. At the end of 2021, approximately $90 billion in virtual and physical money was circulating on m-worlds, and this number is growing steadily, indicating the rising economic popularity of the Metaverse.

Excerpted and adapted from: The Corporate Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Metaverse, published in April 2022 by JeanFrançois Bobier, Tibor Merey, Stephen Robnett, Michael Grebe, Jimmy Feng, Benjamin Rehberg, Kristi Woolsey, Joel Hazan, all from by Boston Consulting Group.

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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION

In similar fashion, the Metaverse is about the convergence of several developments, all of which involve step changes in technological capability.

Each m-world is built to host its own virtual communities and content, and each has its own business model, rules, and user accounts.

The extent of convergence among the three Metaverse technologies remains to be seen. Once the user base reaches critical mass, its scale will attract content creators, including both companies such as gaming studios and media and consumer goods firms and users themselves. More and better content, software, and assets will make the virtual worlds of the Metaverse more attractive and will incentivise users to create and trade assets and cultivate relationships. The technology will improve with innovation and growing scale in the user base, attracting more users.

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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION

The two biggest barriers to wider adoption of XR are the user experience and limited content, both of which are improving fast. When you get to 10 million units active, that is kind of a magic number. At its current pace, Meta could reach this critical mass by mid-2022.

The top five sectors for immersive environments are health care, education, workforce development, manufacturing, and automotive. The most likely areas for business applications were employee training and workflow management.

In the emerging Web3 iteration, users consume, create, and own content. Networks and money exchanged are decentralised, with blockchain technology replacing centralised intermediaries.

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PREPARING PARTNERS FOR THE

METAVERSE What is the impact of convergence from m-worlds, mixed reality, Web3 assets on your business?

Where do you participate, in new infrastructure, monetise virtual assets, content, audiences?

As you move into the Metaverse world, channel partners should also attempt to experience it. Create inward-facing experiences such as customer showrooms, virtual conferences, remote collaboration solutions

2022 52 SEPTEMBER BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION ASIA

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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION

Buy headsets and organise demo sessions to gain internal traction. Collect use cases and create formats for brainstorming and capturing potential sources of value.

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Hire talent, including those with XR interest and experience in relevant Metaverse fields.

Build partnerships since the Metaverse is an ecosystem, and there is longer-term value in connections.

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TECHNOLOGY TRANSFORMATION

TECH MAHINDRA ACCELERATES METAVERSE OFFERINGS THROUGH TECHMVERSE TechMVerse, is Tech Mahindra’s Metaverse practice to deliver interactive and immersive experiences in the Metaverse for customers with real business outcomes.

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KUNAL PUROHIT

Chief Digital Services Officer, Tech Mahindra.

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ech Mahindra announced launch of Metaverse related business to offer customers immersive experiences. The company will begin with four main centres in Dallas, London, Pune and Hyderabad. It is offering virtual car dealership, using Meta Bank the virtual Bank, Middlemist - an NFT marketplace. “Tech Mahindra has created a comprehensive service suite of Metaverse offerings that it plans to take to its customers across industries, achieved through a mix of in-house and partner capabilities. The objective is to deliver on advanced use cases such as Gene sequencing, Factories-of-the-Future, Drug Discovery among others that truly showcase the innovation and potential of metaverse in complex industrial use cases,” says Kunal Purohit, Chief Digital Services Officer, Tech Mahindra. TechMVerse, is aimed at transforming customer experience and delivering interactive and immersive experiences for customers. A combination of software and hardware capabilities, TechMVerse delivers business outcomes with three-dimensional visual experiences in order to solve complex business problems and drive monetization across business verticals. It has been launched to become the industry’s de-facto answer to conceptualize and implement next-generation use cases that focus on the convergence of

physical and digital worlds by breaking down boundaries and democratizing access to key goods, services, and experiences. This will involve collaboration with industry partners and hyper-scalers in specific areas to maximize the value delivered to end customers. Tech Mahindra has adopted a mobile and web-first approach based on augmented and mixed reality that is backed by robust infrastructure with components such as 5G, WiFi, Edge and Hardware combined with Software components like Edge Compute, IoT devices, AI agents and Blockchain to drive the creator economy. Metaverse is one of Tech Mahindra’s fastest growing vertical. The company is gaining different kinds of customers coming from edtech, retail, automotive deal management, repair and maintenance of cars. There are several factors contributing to the growth of the Metaverse in India which includes the technology ecosystem, growing entrepreneurship, smartphone adoption, affordable mobile data and the large millennial population. Tech Mahindra is creating industry and use-case specific Metaverse environments including factories-of-the-future, drug discovery among other things. Company already has a team of 100 people for Metaverse projects which will expand to 1,000 within a year. Tech Mahindra is seeing demand for Metaverse solutions from global customers in banking, retail and training space.

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PACITA JUAN

Founder and Chair, ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle.

ADDING SUSTAINABILITY TO A

RETAIL OUTLET BRAND ECHOstore, the Philippine’s first sustainable lifestyle concept store, is managing the balance between commercial interest and social benefit.

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MARKETS BY SHUBHENDU PARTH

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hat do three friends – the CEO of Figaro Coffee Co and promotor of the now famous Barako coffee from the Philippines, a visual art designer, museum curator and strategic brand-marketing communicator, and a graphic designer and restaurant consultant – discuss when they meet? For Pacita Juan, Jeannie Javelosa, and Regina Francisco the discussion started with the taste and quality of coffee all three are black coffee aficionados, the need to exercise more, and dietary habits and ended up with a realisation that there was no store in the Philippines where people can buy local, sustainable, and green lifestyle and food products. “If you want to taste coffee in its purest form, you must drink black coffee. The same philosophy reflects in everything that we do. We provide the best quality products made from natural materials procured and made using green processes, technologies, and tools,” Juan says adding that it also needs to be good, clean, and fair for the producers, farmers, and customers as well. That is how ECHOstore – short for Environment and Community Hope Organisation – was born and soon the trio opened the country’s first green retail outlet at Serendra Bonifacio Global City, targeting the high-end urban market in September 2008. They opened the second store in 2011 at the Podium in Mandaluyong City and soon expanded with branches in Makati ECHOstore Salcedo, Quezon City ECHOstore CentrisWalk, Davao ECHOstore Davao, and Cebu ECHOstore Cebu. It also went digital with the launch of the online store in 2013. Most of these stores were located in popular shopping areas and popular malls like Podium, Serendra, and Centris, which ensured high-end footfall. However, what clicked for the promoters was their ability to identify the trend for green products quite early, much before other Filipino entrepreneurs could notice it. “There was a need to create a platform to sell local, community products and create the made in Philippine brand. This opened up the opportunity for setting up a venture that could connect the stakeholders and enable people to buy environment-friendly goods,” Juan explains. Using their combined experience of the

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corporate world, the trio was also able to create a network of farmers, women and social enterprises, communities, and other organisations that needed support as well as space for their products. A big draw was the social cause attached to the products since many of these were sourced from local marginalised groups, including women prisoners and the urban poor. The company also sourced products from foundations supporting abused children and a few creative industries. The chain of retail stores also offered organic, natural, and nontoxic goods, ranging from home cleaning products to staples such as organic rice, sugar, coffee, and other produce. Today, the company ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle has an inventory of over 700 green products, sourced from across the Philippines and made from natural local materials.

A triple bottom line company

Raymund B Habaradas and Patrick Adriel H Aure of De La Salle University who studied the business model of ECHOstores in much detail point out that the company serves the three essential aspects of a sustainable business – people, planet, and profit. “To achieve these, the company practices sustainable agriculture, uses organic and natural products, engages in fair trade practices, supports Filipino design excellence and livelihood, and mentors’ small entrepreneurs.” While other businesses source directly from the local communities and different marginalised groups, ECHOstores decided to take its engagement with the community beyond just sourcing to training and capacity building. “Since we are very stringent about the quality of the product that we sell, we must educate the farmers, women groups and communities on how they can improve product quality and packaging, create value add and variations, and deliver as per the needs of our target groups,” Juan points out. Another important aspect of the company’s business is its ECHOdesign Lab programme to mentor the communities and small producers. “We provide them specific instructions and guidance. For example, we tell them that peanut butter must not contain sugar, or they should not use MSG. A lot of times they send us sample products. We test them on quality and packaging as well and tell them what to change or adjust,” she adds. The initiative has helped the company in many other ways as well. It has helped the company create a strong network of farmers, local producers and women entrepreneurs that ensure the trackability of all its products. “Besides the promise of high-

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MARKETS

We provide the best quality products made from natural materials procured and made using green processes, technologies, and tools

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quality, trackability of the source is a unique differentiator of all our products. It also means that buyers can trust that products on our shelves are 100% local, made from natural materials without impacting the environment and will directly benefit the producers through fair trade practices,” Juan elaborates. “The trust in our products and the brand also ensures that we can sell more and book decent profit, an important aspect of any business venture.” The success of ECHOstore also stems from the company’s ability to seamlessly dovetail the commercial and social aspects of its business. While it has put in place a system for rigorous training, quality inspections, and programs to facilitate the flow of goods, the promoters have also set up a foundation to handle partnerships and solve both commercial and social concerns.

Post-COVID digital transformation

Like most brick-and-mortar operations, ECHOstore too had to bear the brunt of the

pandemic and the nearly two-yearlong lockdown. “The lockdown led to a 100% drop in our café business. We also noticed that consumers’ preference for products was changing and there was a higher demand for natural products. This meant a bigger opportunity for us, but it also meant that we had to redefine our supply chain and delivery mechanism,” Juan explains. The team also noted that there was a surge in demand for herbs and traditional medicinal products using natural products. There was another big change. With the ECHOcafe completely out of business, the company also did not require produce like lettuce or arugula, and similar vegetables. “To meet the new requirements, we decided to go for medicinal and culinary herbs and plants in our farms like basil, including lemon basil and holy basil, oregano, paragon, Java mint, and rosemary.” There were a few other business problems to solve: the transition of the producers to deliver new and value-add products to meet the changing consumer preference and demand, as also to ensure the quality standards that the brand was known for. It was also becoming financially unviable to maintain the physical infrastructure and stores and with no visible sign of unlocking, the company decided to go switch completely to the digital mode for retail business. The road to transformation led to the quick hiring of digital professionals, from web designers to SEO and social media experts, and those who can handle apps and digital payment gateways. A critical aspect of ECHOstores business is its network and relationship with the community and small, local producers, where social media emerged as an important listening, engagement, monitoring, and marketing tool. “Training of partners across villages and smaller towns is an important aspect of our business.

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MARKETS

KEY TAKEAWAYS Philippine’s first green retail outlet, ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle, was set up in September 2008 as a platform for selling local, green lifestyle and food products. The company practices sustainable agriculture, uses organic and natural products, engages in fair trade practices, supports the local design, and mentors small entrepreneurs. The success of ECHOstore stems from the company’s ability to seamlessly dovetail the commercial and social aspects of its business, thereby creating a unique value proposition. ECHOstore Sustainable Lifestyle has an inventory of over 700 green products, sourced from across the Philippines and made from natural local materials. It migrated to digital business, reducing its physical stores during the lockdown, enabling it to improve margins by 10% to 20% across product lines. It tied up with technology-based delivery and rideshare companies like Lazada, Shopee, Grabmart, Foodpanda, and Pickaroo for logistics.

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It is important to ensure quality of products and packaging as per the ECHOstore standards,” says Juan adding that with restriction on people movement the company decided to adopt digital technologies to replicate training workshops and programmes remotely. “We continued our relationship with the producers. We designed and devised ways for them to adapt the digital way of learning and approach to doing business in the new era,” she points out. The company also arranged for pre-loaded mobile devices for the partners to ensure they have sufficient data for online training programmes. This ensured that their smooth transition to the digital way of doing business. Another big aspect was to solve the supply chain and online payment problem to transform fully into an eCommerce company. While the company was selling products through its website, the pandemic saw it set up a fullfledged e-commerce platform using the Shopify platform for online stores. The platform has helped ECHOstores transform itself as an online retailer and includes tools for integrating payments, marketing, shipping and customer engagement. “The adoption of Shopify platform helped us quickly launch the e-commerce platform, enabling ECHOstore to maintain the online store, choose a payment gateway, and upload new products or remove out of stock items conveniently. It is user-friendly and we do not need technical expertise to maintain it,” she informs. While ease-of-use and management was a key reason for Juan and her team to adopt Shopify, another key reason was the cost. “It costs very little in terms of monthly subscription. I am glad we use this instead of designing and developing an

The company has an inventory of over 700 green products, sourced from across the Philippines and made entirely from natural local materials

e-commerce platform from the scratch, which would have been expensive and unaffordable, as well as taken a much longer roll out time,” she points out. It also tied up with technology-based delivery and rideshare companies like Lazada, Shopee, Grabmart, Foodpanda, and Pickaroo for logistics. Besides, it joined hands with Zalora, a fashion brand that had decided to get into consumer product distribution to tap the premium market segment through its online platform. It also integrated payment gateways like G-Cash and PayMongo to ensure a seamless transaction and invested in mobile platforms and social listening tools to drive business through digital channels. “COVID had a massive impact on our business, but we are back on foot in a new digital avatar. With the cost for prime real estate for the brick-and-mortar outlets at a minimum, the online business model is fetching 10%20% better margins across our product lines,” sums up Juan.

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PEOPLE TRANSFORMATION

GEMS METROPOLE SCHOOL

PREPARING TODAY’S STUDENTS THROUGH IMMERSIVE ENVIRONMENTS Embedding immersive technologies in the curriculum and pedagogy of the classroom at every stage of learning empowers students to be future ready.

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ore and more young people are using immersive technologies for entertainment and recreation purposes and to engage with peers. For educators, it is increasingly important to ensure students are educated about how immersive technologies work and how they are developed using computer science. More important, however, is that students realise these technologies can be employed for so much more than entertainment. Virtual reality and augmented reality are already at the forefront of almost every industry, and educators must prepare young people to be future-ready learners. The question is, how do schools immerse students in immersive technology? The answer is simple: get students to build the technologies, according to Sophie Hunter, Digital Innovation Coach at GEMS Metropole School located at Dubai Motor City in Dubai.

Innovative approach

The students at GEMS Metropole School use the platform CoSpaces Edu to build their own 3D creations, animate them with code and explore them in virtual and augmented reality. CoSpaces Edu lets kids build their own 3D creations, animate them with code and explore them in virtual or augmented reality. Creating with CoSpaces Edu develops digital literacy and learning skills such as collaboration and coding, which prepare kids for their future while empowering them to become creators. Using the CoSpaces Edu platform under the guidance of teachers, students in year 4 have developed their own parkour-style platform game by constructing a variety

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PEOPLE TRANSFORMATION

SOPHIE HUNTER

Digital Innovation Coach, GEMS Metropole School.

The students use the platform CoSpaces Edu to build their own 3D creations, animate them with code and explore them

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of building blocks, manipulating them and precisely placing them to build various platforms for a player to navigate. Some of the blocks are unique and allow the creator to add obstacles that players need to overcome. Wikipedia explains parkour as an athletic training discipline in which practitioners attempt to get from point A to point B in the most fluid way possible, without equipment and in the fastest and most efficient way possible. With roots in military obstacle course training and martial arts, parkour includes running, climbing, swinging, vaulting, jumping, plyometrics, rolling, and quadrupedal movement— whatever is suitable for a given situation. Foe the purpose of coding, this involves seeing one’s environment in a new way, and envisioning the potential for navigating it by movement around, across, through, over and under its features. Once the course is created, the students use complex coding to programme objects to run in the same way as any other video game. Reaching this point requires deep problem solving and meta thinking skills to arrange the coding correctly and debug errors. “Next comes the fun part,” explains Sophie. “We have teamed up with ClassVR Technologies, a virtual reality headset, so students can send their parkour game directly to the device and play their game.” “You can visibly see the excitement in students as their creations materialise in a full 360-degree virtual environment making their design a reality, quite literally,” she says. ClassVR is a product from Avantis Systems, an educational technology company, with a history of developing solutions for the education sector. ClassVR headsets provide a safe and secure way for students to explore virtual reality and augmented reality

in the classroom with the teacher keeping control over each device. From a comfortable virtual reality experience using the adjustable head straps to the intuitive and simple to use interface and controls, ClassVR headsets have been designed specifically for students of all ages. The ClassVR Portal ensures teachers can confidently manage students and add value to lessons when using virtual reality and augmented reality in lessons. Teachers are always in control and the real-time class view provides visibility of what and where their students are exploring in the headsets.

The next level

Immersive, technology-led lessons such as this are not restricted to computer lessons as a specialist subject in the primary phase or a focus in the secondary subject. Sophie is working to make sure these technologies at school are integrated in the curriculum and planned for effectively. The technology can be adapted for all subjects. For example, the ClassVR headsets can be loaded with rainforest videos to allow desertdwelling students to experience what it is like to be in a rainforest. This gives an understanding of geography, biodiversity and climate. Another immersive technology being used at GEMS Metropole School involves Merge Cubes, which involves a physical cube with a special graphic being scanned by a tablet to project a virtually augmented object. The Merge Cube lets you hold digital 3D objects, enabling an entirely new way to learn and interact with the digital world. Students can explore a galaxy in the palm of their hand, hold fossils and ancient artifacts, explore a DNA molecule, investigate the Earth’s core, dissect a virtual frog, hold and share their own 3D creations. The applications allow the school’s students to see a huge

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PEOPLE TRANSFORMATION

KEY TAKEAWAYS Virtual reality and augmented reality are at the forefront of every industry, educators must prepare young people to be future-ready learners. Students must realise these technologies can be employed for so much more than entertainment. Once the course is created, the students use complex coding to programme objects to run in the same way as any other video game. The process, from design, to coding, to final product, demonstrates to students each stage of virtual reality and content creation. By using these skills, students can explore much more than just game development. The students use complex coding to programme objects to run in the same way as any other video game. Reaching this point requires deep problem solving and meta thinking skills to arrange the coding correctly and debug errors. The tools students are applying in the modern classroom are also aligned to those that educators anticipate the students will need in the workforce. It is important to ensure students are educated about how immersive technologies work and how they are developed using computer science.

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library of concepts in augmented reality, such as the life cycle of plants and animals – something they may never experience first-hand. Physics, mathematics and engineering are also considerations when using these types of platforms. Using CoSpaces Edu, students can programme the trajectory of a rocket through space and then watch in virtual reality what happens. To do this, students create a 3D or 360-degree workspace using the platform, and the rocket is coded with a range of both Block and Python script. Using the XYZ axes as well as movement and variable coding, they can plot a spaceship object’s course towards a planet, all built in 3D. Understanding errors in speed or distance means they need to analyse the code to get the correct trajectory to follow a path and move at the correct angle. The medical field is another that has been revolutionised by virtual reality and augmented reality when it comes to training students, providing something as close to real-world experience as possible, and measuring competence before operating. The technologies are creating a powerful paradigm shift for medical practitioners. virtual reality technology is already being used in many industries. Architects can be on the same page as their clients, which resolves problems before they arise. Where clients could previously only view 2D versions of buildings in the earlier blueprints, they can now visualise end-to-end growth and have an exploratory view of their buildings in real time. Tomorrow’s smart workers “Our goal is to ultimately have seamless integration of immersive technologies across the school,” says Sophie. “It is really important to set the foundations through informative and progressive computer lessons, which are then built on and further applied in other lessons and classes.” The process, from design,

Immersive technologies should not be viewed as an add on to learning, rather an essential tool that needs to be harnessed

to coding, to final product, demonstrates to students each stage of virtual reality and content creation, as well as how using this technology can enhance experiences and learning. By using these skills, students can explore much more than just game development. More than being an immersive and gamified approach to education, the tools students are applying in the modern classroom are also aligned to those that educators anticipate the students will need in the workforce. Embedding immersive technologies in the curriculum and pedagogy of the classroom at every stage of learning empowers students to be future ready, skilled and knowledgeable. It also allows them to gain a deeper understanding of the world around them. Immersive technologies should therefore not be viewed as an add on to learning; rather an essential tool that needs to be harnessed. “We want to prepare our students effectively, as many of them could be using this technology in their future careers,” reflects Sophie. Having virtual reality and augmented reality experience strengthens their job prospects and gives them an edge in the evercompetitive job market.

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INDUSTRY COMMENTS

CONFIDENCE INFLUENCED BY BELONGING IN WORK ENVIRONMENT Men as the majority group, have a big responsibility to promote inclusivity and a sense of belonging for the women they work with.

E

arlier this year, Red Hat conducted research with YouGov, which found that almost 1 in 20 people in have taken up some form of computer programming since the first lockdown. Of those new coders, one quarter were women. That might not seem like a lot, but if we compare it to the fact that currently only 14% of programmers and software developers in the UK are women, it points to what may be a promising development towards redressing the gender imbalance in technology. What is more, 71% of those women were learning to code with new employment opportunities in mind compared to 66% of the men. The results of our study suggest that there is a growing appetite among women for both coding and technology jobs where they can use these skills. This reasonably coincides with the fact that the demand for technology jobs and proficiencies has skyrocketed since the onset of the pandemic. We have also known as far back as the early 20th Century that women make fantastic software developers, and it is a little-known fact that a group of six women programmed the first computers during WW2. However, experience tells me that competence and capability are not always sufficient to get you where you want without the confidence and self-belief to back it up. There is an unfortunate vicious cycle when it comes to boosting women’s confidence in technical roles, because confidence is influenced by the sense of belonging we feel in our work environment. Having spent much of my technology career being the only woman in the room, I understand

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the heavy burden of being a minority of one. This alone can fuel imposter syndrome or feelings of self-doubt and explains why men - as the majority group - have a big responsibility to promote inclusivity and a sense of belonging for the women they work with. So where can men start on their journey to becoming better allies?

Making a contribution

Change always begins with education, and men first need to acknowledge their role in the D&I effort and take the time to learn from female peers about the specific challenges they face. There is sometimes a cultural mindset where men see initiatives dedicated to women in leadership or gender equality as women’s business and something they should stay out of, when for real change to happen, the opposite needs to be true. And ironically in many of these women-led groups, one of the topics often discussed is how to encourage more male allies. While most men want to be supportive of their female colleagues, they don’t always know how to go about it. It is up to women to invite their male colleagues to attend meetings, even if just to listen to begin with and it is up to men to get curious and ask their female colleagues about what these groups are working on. By taking a more active role in women-led company initiatives and using these as opportunities to listen, men will better understand the dynamics at play, which may have previously gone unnoticed, and how they can support.

Mentoring

There is a lot of focus placed on women mentoring women, and rightly so, but it is arguably even more important for men to take on that mentorship role.

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INDUSTRY COMMENTS

BY JOANNA HODGSON Solutions Architect Lead, Red Hat.

KEY TAKEAWAYS While most men want to be supportive of their female colleagues, they do not always know how to go about it. Mentoring relationships are rarely one-way, meaning it is not just the mentee who benefits. Most mentors will talk about what positive things they get out of that relationship. Ironically in many of these women-led groups, one of the topics often discussed is how to encourage more male allies. An open-source approach means collaborating with people willing to challenge our ideas, and championing trust and freedom. We also know that the more diverse the team involved in building a technology product is, the better the solution will be.

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Mentoring relationships are rarely one-way, meaning it is not just the mentee who benefits. Most mentors, in my experience, will talk about what positive things they get out of that relationship. While men might be able to share different approaches and perspectives for their female mentees to learn from, the mentors might equally gain an insight into the barriers faced by the women. It has been proven that, rather than lacking willingness to improve things, men are more likely to lack awareness of what the barriers are. It is a logical conclusion that the more men mentor women, the more problems are brought to their attention and the more quickly things will change. Being a good mentor also involves opening your network to your mentee and giving opportunities and introductions that would otherwise not be possible, as well as recognising the nudges they need. Early in my career, I would often wait to be nudged by my mentor before I went after certain opportunities or took on additional responsibility that I was more than ready for at the time. Without having those mentors who advocated for me, taught me to be confident in my abilities and made me feel like I belonged in my environment, I likely would not have progressed at the same pace. Similarly, my mentor would regularly defer speaking opportunities to me. He knew I could do a good job and that I would benefit more from those opportunities, and it freed him up to move onto his next challenge. It was a win-win - I gained experience and reputation and he was able to take on new roles knowing his old one was in good hands.

Open organisation, open leadership From a cultural perspective,

The secret of good emotional wellbeing would lie in finding ways to resolve differences to the extent possible

an open-source approach means collaborating with people willing to challenge our ideas, and championing trust and freedom - values that enable people to freely exchange opinions, ideas and expertise in order to inspire meaningful progress. While these principles can be embraced by organisations to promote strong company culture in general, they can also help to dismantle the barriers and hierarchies that can perpetuate traditional gender dynamics. This isn’t just important for improving diversity and inclusion; we also know that the more diverse the team involved in building a technology product is, the better the solution will be. In an ideal world, women would proactively put themselves forward for every opportunity and role that appeals to them, and while I am hopeful that we will get there, change is incremental, and it is not yet the world we live in. Therefore, we continue to encourage those in senior positions, who in the technology industry are predominantly men, to push, prompt and advocate for women at every opportunity.

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INDUSTRY COMMENTS

DIGITAL TOOLS CAN BOOST TRACEABILITY, ESG COMPLIANCE While new investments can help improve the sector’s overall environmental credentials, it is equally necessary to maximise value from existing assets.

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he power sector is increasingly under pressure to find newer, cleaner ways of producing, storing and distributing power as environmental, social and governance, ESG regulations begin to take effect. In recognition of this fundamental imperative, utility leaders are already adjusting their business models to maintain their social license to operate while simultaneously protecting their financial outcomes. As in other industries, digital

tools offer the opportunity to reconcile these ambitions and deliver the sustainability dividend the sector so desperately needs. By 2024, it is expected that 80% of utilities across the sector’s subindustries will have embedded sustainable business models by way of digital transformation and a rearchitecting of the core business, according to IDC forecasts. Digital transformation delivers benefits for all kinds of organisations, from reduced costs and greater productivity to improvements in safety, reliability and

efficiency. For the power sector, in particular, digital technologies can strengthen the reliability and efficiency of power grids and unlock new value opportunities – underpinning sustainability across the utility. Governments and utility companies are onboarding strategies to decarbonise their grids on the road to net-zero carbon emissions. While new investments in renewable capacity can help improve the sector’s overall environmental credentials, it is equally necessary to maximise value from existing assets. Moving from power plant maintenance to asset efficiency optimisation

BY DAVID THOMASON Industry Principal Power Generation, AVEVA.

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HOW ONTARIO POWER GENERATION IS ADDRESSING ITS CARBON-FOOTPRINT Ontario Power Generation is one of the largest low-cost clean power producers in North America. As with its peers, supply continuity is essential to its operations. To improve efficiency across its operations in line with its goal of becoming a net-zero carbon company by 2040, OPG leveraged the power of data for decision-making to shift from reactive to predictive operating models. The company installed the PI System and AVEVA Predictive Analytics across its renewable and nuclear fleet, thereby enabling artificial intelligence-infused condition-based maintenance. Data from thousands of sensors throughout OPG’s power plants was used to establish over 1,200 predictive and prescriptive maintenance operating models. Risk was reduced and operational efficiency increased throughout the fleet, resulting in 3,000 fewer annual maintenance hours and up to $4 million efficiency savings within the first 24 months of implementation. One single nuclear predictive analytics catch saved $400,000. Moreover, OPG’s teams have been able to share best practices more quickly over the cloud.

KEY TAKEAWAYS More data is now collected from remote assets and industrial-internetof-things devices in a decentralised operating environment. By 2025, IDC expects over 50% of utilities will increase spend in automating operations with an emphasis on edge, AI, machine learning. Governments and utility companies are onboarding strategies to decarbonise their grids on the road to net-zero carbon emissions. The experience of early movers such as OPG and Dominion shows what utilities can expect from digital transformation. Moving from power plant maintenance to asset efficiency optimisation is one way to do so.

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is one way to do so. Digital tools offer end-toend traceability, satisfying ESG compliance requirements and even revealing new income streams. More data is now collected from remote assets and industrial-internet-ofthings devices in a decentralised operating environment, but it is of limited use without insightful and analytical tools. When this data streamed to a cloud-based data management platform, relevant stakeholders can quickly and securely visualise it in context, thanks to the use of predictive analytics and even AI tools. One impact is that suppliers can deliver services based on realtime conditions, streamlining operating costs. Similarly, customers can access this data to verify they are being supplied from low-carbon energy sources. Dominion Energy aims to realise net-zero carbon and methane emissions from its power generation and natural gas operations by 2050, as well as achieving net-zero for emissions outside its direct operations. Digital tools are already helping the American power and energy company attain these goals. By integrating data gathering and sharing into its activities, Dominion has enjoyed a 50% increase in speed to market

for vital environmental data. This energy supply visibility enables Dominion’s customers to prove their ESG compliance to investors and auditors. And for Dominion itself, the certified data stream has opened up new revenue sources among customers that favor environmental sustainability. The experience of early movers such as OPG and Dominion shows what utilities can expect from digital transformation. In fact, by 2025, IDC expects that over 50% of utilities will increase spend in automating operations with an emphasis on edge, AI and machine learning technologies, thus doubling the penetration of predictive and prescriptive maintenance. As in other sectors, utilities that embed digital solutions at the core of their organisations will reap the greatest benefits, whether these are in terms of streamlined operations, superior value or sustainable efficiency. Successful transformations could very well deliver the next S-curve of business performance, while also improving environmental outcomes.

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INDUSTRY COMMENTS

FINDING THE ESSENTIALS OF TRUTH IN LIFE Thoughts and misunderstandings built up but not expressed, either due to anger, ego, levels, will create great gaps in relationships.

W

hen life is lived at a high level of honesty, life is healing. In almost all situations, resisting the truth becomes the battle we all fight. The best way to explain this is through the workings of the modern-day washing machine. Let us say the rinse, wash and spin cycle is over. The clothes in the machine are in a semi-dry, yet damp condition. They need to be taken out for drying. Strangely, even with the washed yet damp

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clothes, the longer they are kept in the washing machine, the stronger the odour. One can safely guess that the same thumb rule applies to thoughts and emotions. The more and more thoughts, particularly misunderstandings are built up but not expressed, either due to anger issues, ego issues between two parties, or perceived level and status differences, the greater will be the gaps in the relationships. All such thoughts formed but not clarified, all misunderstood emotions and feelings are like the windscreen of a car

which has not been cleaned regularly. It is ironical that the dirt, the dust, the soot, the scratches are not on the objects we view, but in the medium through which the objects are being viewed. The same would apply to a pair of spectacles which are being used for long without being cleaned. The secret of good emotional wellbeing would lie in finding ways to resolve differences to the extent possible. In hindsight, many like me now realise that in the first half of our lives, we too were making mistakes, mostly unintentionally, some intentionally, and

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INDUSTRY COMMENTS

BY NIRANJAN GIDWANI Consultant Director TEXUB.

KEY TAKEAWAYS Let us not wait for ideal conditions. They may never arise. Be simple. Create the environment to express and allow for freedom of expression from the other party. The same would apply to a pair of spectacles which are being used for long without being cleaned. The crux question – what exactly is a high level of honesty? If one can always be in the band of 75-90 in terms of honesty, that would rate as high.

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then either unwilling or unable to resolve issues and differences. In the latter half of our lives, for some like me, the realisation clearly dawned on those old feelings that surface repeatedly to get resolved in some form. Emotional stress is a storage Very similar to the tons of junk data we all end up storing on our various devices, without consciously creating adequate time and effort to do a periodic clean-up. The same applies to sorting out issues in relationships. The key question that always arises is that, between two individuals or organisations or countries, what if one side wants to clarify to do a reset of the relationship while the other side, due to reasons, do not feel the same way. In some cases, the damage caused may be irreparable, yet maturity could allow for a level of relationship to survive. In today’s modern day, high technology world, where our generation is on the verge of transferring the baton to the generation which has grown up with technology and devices, if there is one quality that we need to impart, one area we need to seriously coach and mentor, it is to allow for others to express their thoughts and feelings and be allowed to speak.

Seek to understand before understood

While, for our generation, it was quite okay to have many things left unsaid and buried under the carpet, purely due to a certain hierarchy of respect, we are dealing with a future generation who are way too open, way too accommodating, way too energetic, and wish to have a healthy debate and seek answers and resolutions to issues. So, while many like me profess to have started inculcating this quality only over the past several decades, it has helped to a very large extent in getting a clear understanding of the fact that differences can and should be only at the level of issues or topics of concern or importance.

The secret of good emotional wellbeing would lie in finding ways to resolve differences to the extent possible

Differences should never permeate

Let us not wait for ideal conditions. They may never arise. Be simple. Create the environment to express and allow for freedom of expression from the other party. In the final summary, even if we cannot be the solution, let us at least be the solace for many. Even if we cannot help sometimes, let us not intentionally harm. Even if we cannot solve the problem, let us not cause it. The crux question – what exactly is a high level of honesty? On a scale of 100, if one can always be in the band of 75-90 in terms of honesty, that would rate as high. The past few years have taught most of us that material parameters of success would look even more exciting if basic ground rules of coexistence are practiced in small and meaningful ways. It is not one at the cost of the either. Both can and must beautifully co-exist.

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RAMSUN Network onboards Dhruv Suri as co-founder and chief growth officer RAMSUN Network, a new-age digital Supply Chain Finance platform, recently onboarded Dhruv Suri as the Co-Founder and Chief Growth officer. A seasoned BFSI leader, with in-depth knowledge in MSME Lending, Supply Chain Finance and Fintech Business, Dhruv will be instrumental in driving the Growth Strategy for the organisation. The SME sector in India faces a lot of difficulties in finding competitive and timely finance, which impacts its growth to a large extent. RAMSUN Network aims to help SMEs access better financing alternatives, for their working capital management, by enabling them to be a part of Supply Chain Finance solutions to grow their businesses further.

Transformation expert, Rajeev Chalisgaonkar joins Mashreq as Head of Business Banking Teleperformance plans to deepen its digitally integrated business services and transformation solutions. As incoming Chief Executive Officer, Anish Mukker will focus on high-growth revenue strategies and further increase the company’s nationwide footprint to serve clients and their end customers from a location of their choice. With 80,000 employees serving 200+ clients from 70 cities in India, Teleperformance is committed to enabling local and global businesses to adapt to disruptive digital innovation and transform customer experience at scale.

GlobalLogic announces appointment of new president and CEO Shashank Samant GlobalLogic, a Hitachi Group Company and leader in Digital Engineering, announced that its President and CEO Shashank Samant will be succeeded by the firm’s current Chief Operating Officer Nitesh Banga, who will become the new President and CEO effective October 1, 2022. Nitesh is a well-rounded and seasoned executive who has successfully worked across functions from Strategy, Go-To-Market, Engineering, and Operations while also launching similar businesses in the Japan market. Shashank will assume a new role as Chairman of the GlobalLogic Board, in addition to being the Executive Advisor to Toshiaki Tokunaga, the Head of Hitachi Digital Systems and Services Sector. In this capacity, Shashank will continue to support the GlobalLogic business as well as advise on Hitachi Group’s broader digital business growth strategy.

SoftServe taps industry veteran Yishan Lam as Head of Product and Design SoftServe, a digital authority and consulting company, announced the appointment of industry veteran Yishan Lam as Head of Product and Design for the APAC Market. Lam brings more than 15 years of experience building innovative products, services, and businesses to Fortune 500 companies, investors, and government agencies. The addition comes as the company expands its global capacity and strengthens an international leadership team.

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