INDIA’S LEADING IT MAGAZINE
AN INDIAN EXPRESS GROUP PUBLICATION | VOLUME NO. 28 NO.2. PAGES 24. FEBRUARY, 2017
THIS ISSUE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY
7 | INTERVIEW
18 | OPINION
19 | FEATURE
20 | FEATURE
Thomson Thomas, CIO, HDFC Life
Does your organization need a Chief Data Officer (CDO)?
Is 2017, the year of IoT disruption?
JSPL’s roadmap for digital transformation
The rise of Blockchain in India From banks to insurance companies to even conglomerates, there is a surge of interest in an emerging technology called Blockchain
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
4 | EDIT MORE INSIDE
EXPRESS COMPUTER Vol 28. No. 2. February, 2017 Chairman of the Board Viveck Goenka Sr Vice President - BPD Neil Viegas Editor Srikanth RP* Delhi Mohd Ujaley, Ankush Kumar, Rashi Varshney Mumbai Abhishek Raval
COVER STORY Srikanth RP, Editor email@example.com
The Blockchain revolution
DESIGN National Design Editor Bivash Barua Asst. Art Director Pravin Temble Senior Graphic Designer Rekha Bisht Layout Vinayak Mestry, Rajesh Jadhav Photo Editor Sandeep Patil
6| THE RISE OF BLOCKCHAIN IN INDIA
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14| IT COMPANIES SEE HUGE OPPORTUNITY IN BLOCKCHAIN
PRODUCTION General Manager B R Tipnis Manager Bhadresh Valia
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19| IS 2017, THE YEAR OF IOT DISRUPTION? 20| JSPL’S ROADMAP FOR DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION
hat started as a trickle has now become a flood. While the trend is still at a nascent stage, Indian firms have quickly started adopting Blockchain technologies. The adoption started with ICICI Bank, announcing in October last year that it had successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittance using Blockchain technology in partnership with Emirates NBD, a
The interest in Blockchain is huge due to the inherent security, which is believed to be more robust than other traditional systems, and the integrity or provable immutability leading banking group in the Middle East. This was followed by YES Bank, which announced in January this year that it had implemented a multi-nodal Blockchain transaction to fully digitize vendor financing for Bajaj Electricals. Axis Bank became the third bank when it recently announced that the bank will be using Blockchain for cross-border remittances. More recently, the Reserve Bank of India’s
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subsidiary, IDRBT, released a whitepaper on ‘Applications of Blockchain technology to the Banking and Financial Sector in India’. IDRBT also attempted a Proof-of-Concept (PoC) on the applicability of Blockchain to a trade finance application with active participation of NPCI, banks and a solutions provider. The initial interest shown by Indian firms in Blockchain is huge, as they see the benefits of a huge reduction in costs. India's largest bank, SBI, for instance, believes that a minimum of 15% reduction in costs could be achieved due to Blockchain. The other critical aspect is speed, as Blockchain can be used to remove a huge number of intermediaries. The interest in Blockchain is also huge due to the inherent security, which is believed to be more robust than other traditional systems, and the integrity or provable immutability. This simply means that Blockchain can guarantee that data or a particular document cannot be tampered with. This has huge implications. For example, any document right from academic certificates to land records could be verified for their genuineness using Blockchain. A case in point is the Chitkara University which is already using Blockchain to issue degrees. While these are certainly early days for Blockchain, the enthusiastic embracement of this technology, by a number of huge corporations, points out to a momentum that is driven by user companies. When seen in the context of a larger vision of Digital India and the existing Government’s inherent push for digitization, the Blockchain momentum in India may continue to pick pace rapidly.
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14| THE NUTS AND BOLTS OF BLOCKCHAIN TECHNOLOGY
INTERVIEW 22| India has the potential to be a bigger market than United States D-Link is witnessing good traction in the enterprise networking market
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EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
6 | COVER STORY
The rise of Blockchain in India Abhishek Raval and Srikanth RP email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org
rom banks to insurance companies to even conglomerates, there is a surge of interest in an emerging technology called Blockchain. This is seen particularly in the banking sector in India. The reasons are obvious - a report from Santander InnoVentures claims that banks can slash infrastructure costs by US $15-20 billion by 2022, by eliminating redundant activities. While the benefits are huge, there are not many use cases, which has made banks evaluate the possibilities of using Blockchain, by undertaking a series of pilots.
Says Nitin Chugh, Head, Digital Banking, HDFC Bank, “We are evaluating different types of use cases on Blockchain such as trade finance and KYC. These are early days for Blockchain, and we have not come across too many mature models in India, where you can go and implement certain use cases right away. We are also interested in the whole network Blockchain where multiple banks come together on the Blockchain technology.” While there are few established use cases, some banks like the SBI have huge ambitions with respect to Blockchain. India’s largest bank, the State Bank of India (SBI) wants to build a SBI Blockchain platform for payments remittance and trade finance, as the first set of use cases.
Says Sudin Baraokar, HeadInnovation, State Bank of India, “We want to be the biggest Blockchain player in the long term. In banking, we can use it for payment remittances, trade finance, asset inventory audit, AML (Anti Money Laundering), smart contracts and land record validation.” ‘Remittances’ is a key function that is being looked at as a possible area of application for Blockchain by almost every bank. This is because ‘remittances’ is a volume business, and any cost reduced can have a significant impact. Explains Amit Sethi, CIO, Axis Bank, “Remittances touches both the retail and corporate banking environment. So, the impact is bigger compared to doing it for a closed user group in a corporate network or using it
for only trade. So a larger base of customers and transactions can be targeted at a single stroke. Even globally, banks are choosing remittances as the first transaction type to be done using Blockchain.” Not surprisingly, industry leaders are expecting Blockchain technology to play a vital role in the future. Says Anup Purohit, CIO, YES Bank, “We believe that Blockchain technology will have an important role in each organization in the future which will be almost equivalent to the Internet revolution. We forecast that this technology will bring smart contract digitization or electronic contracts in business which will cater to various needs as per regulatory compliance and reconciliation challenges faced by various systems.”
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
COVER STORY INTERVIEW Thomson Thomas, CIO, HDFC Life
Remittances touches both the retail and corporate banking environment. So, the impact is bigger compared to doing it for a closed user group in a corporate network or using it for only trade. So a larger base of customers and transactions can be targeted at a single stroke
We are evaluating different types of use cases on Blockchain such as trade finance and KYC. We are also interested in the whole network Blockchain where multiple banks come together on the Blockchain technology
We are taking a phased approach for adoption of Blockchain, wherein the bank will initially look at using Blockchain in supply chain finance and in making custody and settlement systems more robust
Chief Digital Officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank
CIO, Axis Bank
Head, Digital Banking, HDFC Bank
The business case for Blockchain If one looks at the number of hacking incidents that have affected firms in the BFSI sector, then it is clear that these firms need to significantly improve their security posture. In sectors like healthcare or even government, stakeholders need to ensure that records are not tampered with. Implementation of Blockchain technologies can help organizations address these challenges. Explains Rohas Nagpal, Chief Blockchain Architect, Primechain Technologies, “The number one advantage or the feature that people are keen about is ‘provable immutability’ i.e. Blockchain can be used to prove in the court of law that a particular document hasn’t been tampered with. There is no other technology that really comes close. Security is the second draw for Blockchain. Cost effectiveness is the third advantage. The system does not fail because there are multiple nodes that do backups. So resilience is the fourth benefit.” In the case of documents like land records or insurance policies, it is extremely essential to prove that no record has been tampered with. Rohas Nagpal gives the example of an insurance policy to explain his point. Says he, “Let us take the example of a twenty year old who takes an insurance policy for his life. Fifty years later, the policy has to be admitted in a court of law, in case there is a dispute. How do you prove fifty years from now, whether that document hasn’t been tam-
pered with? So, when it is stored in a database there is no way to prove it, which is why so many hacking incidents take place. In a Blockchain, every time information is added to a block, that block is cryptographically hashed and connected to the next block. So, if someone wants to hack into it, he would have to hack millions of blocks, not just one block and something that has to be done within a short period of time, before the next block gets mined. So, the primary difference between storage on a regular database, in which it is being done today vis-a-vis storing it on a Blockchain is its provable immutability.” Trade finance is also a big candidate for Blockchain usage. Blockchain can be used for everything from order placing to invoicing to making payments to ensuring that the relevant custom documents are in place. “Blockchain can be used to remove a huge amount of paperwork, which goes into any kind of trade finance or shipment. The condition here is that the shipping, customs and regulatory should be on a single digital platform. It can also be used for invoice financing or bill discounting. Nobody can use the same document again. The collaterals that are given to banks can be put on a Blockchain,” opines Amit Sethi. Trade finance has truly gained momentum as a business use case for Blockchain in India, and many enterprises have evinced interest in using Blockchain for automating this
function. States Alfian Sharifuddin, Head, Technology & Operations, DBS Bank India, “Trade finance is a highly paper based process which involves many parties and takes a lot of manual effort to complete a transaction. This gets more complicated the larger the geography, simply
The primary difference between storage on a regular database, in which it is being done today vis-avis storing it on a Blockchain is its provable immutability
because of the physical distances that need to be covered to complete these process sub tasks. Blockchain has the potential to solve all these issues in an elegant digital manner which would significantly speed up the process, make it more efficient and hence save costs overall.” DBS has already successfully completed a proof of concept in Singapore with another partner bank where several trade finance transaction were executed on a Blockchain platform using a technology platform called Ripple. Based on the
The number one advantage or the feature that people are keen is about ‘provable immutability’ i.e. Blockchain can be used to prove in the court of law that a particular document hasn’t been tampered with. There is no other technology that really comes close Rohas Nagpal Chief Blockchain Architect, Primechain Technologies
success of this trial, the company is now exploring within Singapore and with other geographies such as India included on how Blockchain can be adopted locally. Amit Sethi also cites the example of remittances, where Blockchain usage can make a huge impact. “Today, there are a lot of pain points as far as remittances are done today. They can take upto five days to take a credit. The final rate decided by the bank to be given to the receiver depends on the spot rate on the day the money is to be received. There is uncertainty regarding this. Also there are a lot of arrangements like Rupee Drawing Arrangements (RDA), Vostro a/cs that the banks have to make between themselves for remittance delivery. This leads to pain points in making international remittances. If you were to look at all these three issues and try to come out with a solution, the current setup of remittances will not give you that solution, You will have to come out with something which can enable these things and what better thing than a technology enabled solution and that is where Blockchain comes in.” The cost advantage As Blockchain removes a huge number of intermediaries, the benefits from a cost point of view, will be significant. SBI, for example, estimates an approximate reduction of 7 percent due to Blockchain. Says Sudin Baraokar, “We see approximately 20percent savings in
Has already successfully executed transactions in international trade finance and remittance using Blockchain technology in partnership with Emirates NBD, a leading banking group in the Middle East
Has implemented a multi-nodal Blockchain transaction to fully digitize vendor financing for Bajaj Electricals
The bank is looking at using Blockchain for cross-border remittances
Looking at using Blockchain for payment remittances, trade finance, asset inventory audit, AML (Anti Money Laundering), smart contracts and land record validation
Looking at using Blockchain to enhance stock visibility at the warehouse level
Doing a PoC on bill discounting
Looking at using Blockchain for issuance of degrees
Looking at using Blockchain for trade finance and KYC
We forecast that this technology will bring smart contract digitization or electronic contracts in business which will cater to various needs as per regulatory compliance and reconciliation challenges faced by various systems
Blockchain at its core targets disintermediation
Anup Purohit CIO, YES Bank
supplanting existing payment networks or gateways with Blockchain technologies. We also see another 15percent cost reduction savings in compute, network and storage, due to Blockchain.” Blockchain also reduces a lot of operational costs for banks. For example, once a particular transaction is processed, which is coming from remittance, one has to sign those transactions in SWIFT messages, then go to the customer and ask for what is the use of this particular transaction, how can one settle it and where does one put the money. It’s a very complex and cumbersome operation today. Amit Sethi of Axis Bank, explains how Blockchain can be of tremendous advantage in such a case. “With Blockchain, the whole transaction becomes instantaneous. It’s almost like a Straight Through Process (STP) transaction, which is where it will help in reducing the overall cost of transaction, for the banks and for the customers. It’s difficult to gauge the amount of cost reduction but once it becomes mainstream, it will become a volume game.” Amit Sethi believes that as the remittance numbers increase on Blockchain, banks can even start dismantling the operational costs. The advantage of speed As the number of intermediaries get reduced, the advantages are tremendous. Hence, any transaction that involves lot of intermediaries is a good use case for Blockchain. Rohas Nagpal cites the example of an IPO process, where there are many intermediaries involved. “Blockchain could actually remove all the intermediaries and finish the process in say, 15 minutes. In the same way, the voting for the entire country could happen on Blockchain in 15 minutes,” says he. Rohas Nagpal cites the case of supply chain mapping where the product is manufactured in one country and then it hops to various destinations before reaching the shelves. In this case, every step of the way can be mapped on a Blockchain. Real time processing of payments-- specifically international remittances can be done in almost real time at lower cost. Adds Deepak Sharma, Chief Digital Officer, Kotak Mahindra Bank, “Further, it allows quicker on-boarding of customers from a single source. This makes for easier compliance to Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti Money Laundering (AML) norms. Blockchain also, through smart contracts, reduces processing time from contracts exchange to completion between buyer, seller, lender and solicitor. Financial information stored on ledger provides immutable, real-time updates and facilities automated review, whereas invoice financing enables lenders, suppliers, and customers to maintain records for faster loan processing. Blockchain also offers the possibility of T+0 settlement in trading and settlements.” This can lead to faster processing of payment
lockchain is of strategic interest to major insurance corporations, as it can verify assets accurately and prevent fraud. More importantly, it can help insurance firms in cutting down on the huge number of intermediaries. Thomson Thomas, CIO, HDFC Life, explains why he is bullish on the potential of the technology How do you see the potential of Blockchain for your industry? What can you do with Blockchain that cannot be done with traditional existing technologies? A good number of private life insurers in India have thriving partnerships with banks, NBFCs, brokers and aggregators. The traditional approaches to systems integration have evolved from batch files, portals and redirections to web services. These modes of integration carry overheads of duplication of certain controls and reconciliation efforts. The demands of system performance lead to considerable investments in infrastructure, high capacity network links, and the associated tools for monitoring and management. The security and the smart-contract tenets of Blockchain provide a promising alternative to the traditional approaches of implementing B2B integrations. Blockchain, at its very core, targets disintermediation. While the areas of applicability and the corresponding sensitivities may vary across the industries and the players therein, the distributed ledger technology and the benefits of its immutability pave way for participating organizations to instrument direct collaboration in common areas of interest, instead of relying on any intermediary. Can you highlight some specific use cases where you see Blockchain being leveraged? Blockchain is a bleeding edge technology, with only a few Indian banks completing successful pilots and planning broader adoption within their ecosystem. We see Blockchain being explored for detecting and reducing fraud and in driving operational efficiency at scale. As a company, what are your initiatives around Blockchain and what are the intended benefits? HDFC Life initiated the journey of continual transformation in FY 2012-2013. The critical investments made in CRM, SOA/BPM, portals, mobility, EDW and security have already been delivering business value and creating opportunities by strengthening existing distribution channels, fostering emerging channels, with unprecedented focus on customer experience, quality of service, and quality of business, and through overall process efficiency and control efficacy. Blockchain is considered to be a natural fit to transform some of our traditional business integration solutions that are limited across the dimensions of time-tomarket, security, reliability and economy of scale. The experimentation has already been initiated to validate the merits as per the stringent evaluation criteria for the slated business use cases and the results are awaited.
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
8 | COVER STORY transactions, security, automated compliance, faster trade settlements and automated approvals. Blockchain gives an instantaneous settlement compared to the traditional channels like SWIFT or any other channel that people may use, where it can take upto 5 days or so for settling a transaction. The money reaches in seconds to the receiver. The best part, as Amit Sethi, explains is the fact that the technology ensures better customer experience, as one gets the confirmation of the conversion rate, which one can receive in the country of acceptance or delivery of that particular amount. There is no need to wait for 5 days to figure out the final amount. The final amount is known at that very point in time. Amit Sethi even believes that in the future, it may remove the need for having correspondent banking arrangement between banks. He explains, “If you join a network like the Ripple network that we have joined, it automatically makes you a part of the network. It does not require a formal arrangement. That may be futuristic as of now. But it will happen once the Blockchain network becomes popular and that would be a paradigm shift in the way the banking relationships happen. It’s a leapfrog change in the way international remittances happen currently. That is the way remittances will happen in the future. They will happen on the Blockchain route because of the huge advantage over the current mechanism.” The need of a complete ecosystem While the adoption is currently at a nascent stage, analysts believe that as soon as some initial pilots succeed, the fence sitters will start embracing this technology. Predicts Sudin Baraokar from SBI, “Blockchain will eventually move from PoC to production. Banks will start embedding Blockchain solutions in their entire application
We see approximately 20% savings in supplanting existing payment networks or gateways with Blockchain technologies. We also see another 15 percent cost reduction savings in compute, network and storage, due to Blockchain Sudin Baraokar Head- Innovation, State Bank of India
ecosystem. It will gain maturity levels and become mainstream in the next couple of years.” As the Blockchain concept requires a complete ecosystem to work, the evolution will take time, as banks are currently involved in creating proof of concept projects. “We expect that the ecosystem and the regulatory framework shall evolve in due course. Once these challenges are sorted, we anticipate faster adoption of Blockchain,” says Deepak Sharma of Kotak Mahindra Bank. Kotak Mahindra Bank is taking a phased approach for adoption of Blockchain, wherein the bank will initially look at using Blockchain in supply chain finance and in making custody and settlement systems more robust. The industry will hence need more successful use cases. Says Alfian Sharifuddin from DBS Bank
India, “As with any large network, it’s almost a chicken and egg issue, you need enough users for it to be meaningful, but you also need enough users on a network to draw participants in. Therefore, creating a network where participants have to define common operating parameters and protocols has been a reasonable challenge. You need a strong will to create a network that would disrupt a current process and to date, other than bitcoin, we have not seen any that has passed the proof of concept stage.” As with any technology, adoption of this technology will require more awareness – specifically among the members of the top management. Rohas Nagpal also suggests that enterprises must start first with low hanging fruits, which can lead to quick wins. “One must look at projects or functions that can be implemented with the least expense, in the shortest time and give the maximum results – what can be called as a quick win. Once that is identified, then one can build a PoC on it. If the project is successful, one can go ahead with a commercial launch or a production launch for that one single use case. So, although Blockchain is a big thing and everybody wants to do a lot of things, it has to start with one step. So, I would believe that every organization understands and then has an internal brainstorming to decide on that one best use case. I expect a lot of that to start happening in 2017.” There is also an immediate need for communities or consortiums as they can drive collective use cases, and share challenges together. India is in the midst of a huge technology revolution, and Blockchain with its promise of integrity and security, could prove to be adopted much more faster in India than other markets. 2017 may well be the year of Blockchain in India!
Indian insurance firms come together to form informal consortium on Blockchain
or Blockchain to succeed, there is a critical need of a community whose members can collaborate and learn from each other since this is a nascent and emerging area. Realizing this importance, some Indian firms have taken the lead and formed an informal community on Blockchain. States Thomson Thomas, CIO, HDFC Life, “An informal IT consortium of private life insurers was setup in November 2016 to exchange broad insights and experiences with bleeding and leading edge technologies and discuss critical areas of sensitivities, focusing on customer experience and levers for healthy growth of the industry.” The IT consortium has met thrice so far and engaged with industry experts to understand merits of Blockchain and delineate criteria for evaluating fitment of business use cases. Says Rajesh Varrier, Chief Information and Digital Officer, at Birla Sun Life Insurance, "Block chain has the ability to disrupt the way we store and secure our system of records. It will also bring about a whole new level of collaboration among life insurance companies to bring about some significant changes in the way we conduct business with respect to fraud detection and underwriting." Adds Rohas Nagpal, Chief Blockchain Architect of Primechain Technologies (one of the key people taking the lead in forming the consortium), “A Blockchain consortium for Insurance companies would be of tremendous help to the insurance sector. Some of the use cases that the consortium can explore are: verified KYC data, verified health & policy records, Blockchain enabled micro insurance platform through smart contracts, auto info management system, unclaimed life insurance ledger, national policy and claims records, and agent details registry.” Rohas Nagpal believes that Blockchain can help the insurance industry minimize fraud, streamline paper work and
Blockchain has the ability to disrupt the way we store and secure our system of records. It will also bring about a whole new level of collaboration among life insurance companies to bring about some significant changes in the way we conduct business with respect to fraud detection and underwriting Rajesh Varrier Chief Information and Digital Officer, Birla Sun Life Insurance
reconciliations with greatly improved auditability. The first meet of informal IT consortium was hosted by HDFC Life and the participation has been growing since then. Today, close to 9 insurance firms have joined the
consortium, and its members have been actively participating and contributing to the growth of the consortium. The members of the informal IT consortium continue to review the developments in the banking sector and have been deliberating on potential areas of collaboration where Blockchain can serve as a highly secured, scalable and reliable technology. Explaining the type of use cases explored by the consortium, Akshay Dhanak, VP, Business Systems & Technology, HDFC Life says, “At the consortium, we are exploring use cases such as checks for agent recruitment, detecting and stopping AML violations, improving customer outreach for unclaimed amount, managing cost of medicals, and curtailing claims fraud.” All the members of the informal IT consortium are sensitive to aligning with the regulatory mandates and guidelines. While the use cases are being explored, timely representation and engagement with the governing bodies will be planned regularly.
CXO Perspective Milind Mungale, Senior VP & CISO, NSDL e-Governance Infrastructure
NSDL eGovernance Infrastructure Limited provides critical eGovernance Services such as PAN application processing, NPS account record keeping, Aadhaar based eKYC etc, to various stake holders and citizens of the country. Blockchain is the most talked about technology and as a forward looking organization, we too are evaluating the Blockchain technology based on which we can provide some innovative service models, that probably could be the first of its own kind and beneficial to the industry. The service if found to be feasible and launched using Blockchain along with some other technologies will provide certain manual processes to be automated and ease the way of data / record storage having long life / validity. Reduction in costs It is not the Blockchain that can save cost but effectively using this technology, certain processes can be re-engineered which have potential to save the cost upto 60-65percent. As mentioned, again it is dependent on how it is implemented and to what extent it is adopted. Partial adoption would only provide partial saving and probably not appear very attractive. The real value would be in the way it is integrated and deployed in the process and that is exactly what we are trying to evaluate. This technology has many use cases for various egovernance projects and can go a long way in the various initiatives under Digital India campaign. Looking at the offering of Blockchain technology, it is evident that the main objective of this initiative is ‘Integrity’. The life of data is sometimes short where as sometimes it has a very long life. Take for example a long term contract between two parties, such as life insurance cover obtained for a term, mark sheets or an education certificate issued by a competent authority. Looking at the nature of these documents, integrity compromise could cause a lot of havoc to individuals and to the masses. Maintaining in paper form has its own challenges, though the advantage would be that they are not easily manipulated. However, if the paperless concept has to be adopted, it is necessary to have a digital form of these documents. Technology would change and so would the documents be migrated from one technology of storage to another. The storage life of the electronic information needs to be kept intact over a number of years. Today, if I have to establish the integrity of the document, which has a life of twenty five years, then in that case, over twenty five years, it would have copied / transferred to at least five different technology mediums because of the natural enhancements and upgrades that are happening. So today, I may move it to a SATA disk while tomorrow I may move the information to solid state drives. Some days later, I may move it to some other technology which we have not heard of. If integrity is to be assured in a manner that manipulation is near to impossible, then Blockchain has the potential to fulfill this desire. The Blockchain could be run on a standard open system platform or it could be a public or private Blockchain implementation. In a private Blockchain implementation, a closed user group of stakeholders can participate as limited purpose miners. Mining is the process of verifying the details of the transactions for it to be stored in a block. While at present we are not a full fledged user of Blockchain, we see tremendous potential and advantages of using Blockchain in appropriate services, due to its feature of providing strong integrity.
this technology and started looking at identifying relevant use cases in the Group. We formed a small team and started learning more about it and evangelizing it within the group. We also met multiple group businesses to explain the potential of this technology, and also thinking about where we could find the use case. Initially, we identified 7-8 use cases. The first use case was selected for the bill discounting process in Mahindra Finance. Bill discounting was chosen because it was not too big and there was an inherent need for the business. It could save them costs and also if certain things were done right, it could jumpstart the business to a larger scale. This is the first Blockchain PoC which we have been doing since the last year. The PoC has worked and we have partnered with IBM and hopefully we will create a large business out of this. It’s the first such PoC outside the financial services space in Asia and it’s the first such PoC that IBM has done. The PoC was successful. The cost savings that we had anticipated were outnumbered. It’s much more than what we thought we would save. The PoC results thus were encouraging. The PoC entailed multiple transactions and there are multiple vendors on the Blockchain. The time we took was “substantially lower” vis-a-vis the time taken currently when different systems of the vendors are talking to our systems. Cyrus Khambata, CEO, CDSL Ventures
We have applied to the Warehouse Development Authority of India (WDRA), a statutory body, which handles the warehouses in the commodity space. They come out with the tender for the depository to be set up for the negotiable warehouse receipts. CDSL will set up a depository for negotiable warehouse receipts, which will be held in an electronic form using Blockchain. It’s an electronic record of the warehouses.We are yet to do a PoC. It’s under evaluation stage. Thus far, the experience has been satisfactory as far as the security and account maintenance is concerned. The major part of it is pledging the commodity receipt to the bank. A farmer today sells his crop because he wants money at the time of the harvest and he has to accept the spot price. If he sells the harvest when the price is higher, he will earn more. So, if he wants the money, he can pledge the stock to the bank against the negotiable warehouse receipt to fulfill his daily requirements and pay back the money after selling the stock in the open market when the price is better. We are still evaluating whether the pledge will work in the Blockchain model. The current challenge is the genuineness of the warehouse receipt itself. The information in the receipt can be false - in terms of the amount of stock, quality of the relevant commodity, etc. Thus very few people are willing to finance those stocks. After using Blockchain, the stock visibility at the warehouse level, with regards to its quality, quantity will be accurate and transparent to the respective parties, which is not much the case now. The PoC is expected to begin in March. Madhu Chitkara, Vice Chancellor, Chitkara University
Jaspreet Bindra, Sr VP - Digital Transformation, Mahindra Group In early March, 2016, we as a group acknowledged the importance of Blockchain, supposedly to be as big as the Internet. We started exploring the potential of
Chitkara is using Blockchain technology for issuance of degrees. Every year close to 2500 to 3000 students pass out from the university. The challenge is when these students go to the industry, the latter tries to cross verify the genuineness of the certificates. It’s a big load on the human resource to attend to so many calls. So, we decided to issue degrees through the Blockchain. Going forward, the prospective employer doesn’t need to call the university. They can directly check the details on the Blockchain platform. On the degree itself, there is a link provided to verify the details. The Chitkara University is also working on how Blockchain can be used for conducting the admissions in 2017.
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EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
10 | FEATURE
IT companies see huge opportunity in Blockchain IF CLOUD was the mantra five years back and IoT is the focus today, Blockchain represents the future, with several IT firms betting big on the emerging opportunity in Blockchain Abhishek Raval email@example.com
he Indian IT industry is looking at Blockchain as a significant opportunity, with major Indian firms investing in R&D to fortify their position. TCS, for instance, is building a Blockchain center of excellence and is working on roughly 100 pilots. Wipro too has a CoE and Innovation lab on Blockchain, while Infosys has a team of 40 employees certified in this technology. There are various sectors too like supply chain finance, remittances that offer tremendous scope for Indian IT companies, in this era of uncertainty. Express Computer spoke to major stakeholders from leading IT companies, to find out their initiatives on taking advantage of the Blockchain opportunity.
INFOSYS Rajashekara V Maiya, Associate VP & Principal-Finacle Product Strategy, EdgeVerve, an Infosys company
lockchain has come a long way from enabling bitcoin transactions. 2016 saw banks engaged in a frenzied race to identify the applications of this technology and the potential benefits. Many banks were announcing their own efforts to explore Blockchain pilots, while others were participating in consortium-based groups to form a private Blockchain network. Overall, banking and technology leaders are convinced of the authenticity, traceability, accountability and efficiency that Blockchain offers as an infrastructure in the new digital banking world. Now that the potential of Blockchain is validated with proof◗ BFSI is standing out when it comes to conducting PoCs and consortiums and they lead in adoption
◗ Recently, Finacle has partnered with Emirates NBD and ICICI Bank to offer Blockchain technology
◗ Using Blockchain, banks expect
automation of inter-bank processes, which will help in real time monitiring of positions
IBM Sriram Raghavan, Director, IBM Research - India & CTO, IBM India/South Asia
BM has a three part strategy for Blockchain. We are building a community platform for Blockchain on an open source platform called Hyperledger. We offer a solution over cloud through our developer APIs which can help enterprises build the Blockchain network on our Blockchain platform on the IBM cloud. The third is engaging with customers on solutions. We are inviting third party players to build on top of the Hyperledger platform. ◗ In India, IBM foresees maximum
traction in supply chain finance, trade and logistics
◗ With Blockchain, supply chain financing can be done better and new solutions can also be introduced ◗ In supply chain,there is no one
system that provides a single source of truth to all the stakeholders. Blockchain provides that visibility.
of-concepts, banks are going to move from pilots to production. We believe that 2017 will be the year when blockchain projects will get into production to enable banks address real-life problems. Finacle started tracking the Blockchain technology from the research perspective, a couple of year ago. The team worked around understanding the technology, landscape, the potential etc. prior to forming the Blockchain framework. The framework, though general in nature, can be implemented across industry, in addition to financial sector. As of today, we have over 40 employees certified in this technology from Blockchain University in US. Our Blockchain solutions development is undertaken in R&D centres in India & Ireland. In our assessment, we have seen that the financial industry is standing out when it comes to conducting PoCs and consortiums and they lead in adoption also compared to other industry verticals. Recently, Finacle has partnered with Emirates NBD and ICICI Bank to offer Blockchain technology. The launch of this blockchain pilot network for international remittances and trade finance is a precursor for advances in this technology. With the Blockchain network offered by Finacle, both banks expect automation of interbank processes through smart contracts, secure digital exchange of
In India, we see maximum traction in supply chain finance, trade and logistics. Trade finance is gaining traction for Blockchain usage, because a trade finance transaction not only involves two companies but also the ports, logistics, shipping agencies, terminals and customs and so on. So, it’s a complex ecosystem where a lot of people have to share, approve and manage a lot of data. There is a lot of interest in financial service companies because, they say while financial service companies are one part of the entire ecosystem, a lot of the processes and painpoints are driven by the fact that they do not see a single source of truth of the data, and sometimes do not have the visibility of data because the actual shipment could take months to come to. In such cases, Blockchain could address those problems and our customers see immense value in having large portions of trade finance being offered through Blockchain. Another area of opportunity is the local supply chain scenario. Supply chain finance is one area where we see a lot of opportunity. The advantage is sometimes that the set of people in the ecosystem are
FINTRICITY Alpesh Doshi, Managing Partner & CEO, Fintricity
documents and real-time monitoring of positions through integrated dashboards. Subsequently, this will also be cost effective. We foresee many such partnerships and implementations fructifying into reality in the future that will help banks realize operational and cost benefits in the above mentioned business areas. That said, Blockchain based
applications cannot be used by a bank in isolation. A network of banks should be in agreement to leverage this technology. In simple terminology, Blockchain is like a global public Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet that is maintained by the participants in the network, which showcases the transactions in a transparent way to members, yet it is fully secure.
he business opportunity in India includes in travel and transportation, retail, manufacturing, technology, supply chain, trade finance, identity, payments and many other fields. We are working with one of the largest European upstream oil and gas company, and have combined IoT with Blockchain, Data analytics and wearables. So, it’s combining Blockchain and other kinds of technologies to build a solution. People just talk about Blockchain. However, for us, it is also about other systems combined with Blockchain to deliver a solution. For us, that’s the opportunity. We are directly working with the corporates rather than with the banks acting as intermediaries because the banks will always try and shape the transaction that serves their own interests. For example, in a typical trade finance transaction, the banks charge a particular cost for issuing a Letter of Credit (LoC), whereas in a Blockchain, the contract already has an inbuilt LoC, thus there is no need for a LoC. Smart contracts can enable certain functions where the banks no longer have a role to play.
We have worked with Mahindra in the area of supply chain finance in a specific function of bill discounting. Today it takes them more than a number of days to be able to able to complete an invoice discounting transaction, whereas with Blockchain, the pilot showed that the time can be cut down to one day or even less. Sriram Raghavan, Director, IBM Research India & CTO, IBM India/South Asia
smaller. A typical scenario is that of a supplier to OEM transaction within the Indian geography. There is a financier who sits in the middle.
We have worked with Mahindra in the same area of supply chain finance in a specific function of bill discounting. The fundamental
◗ Fintricity has invested $6-10 million in R&D on Blockchain. ◗ The company is working with one of the largest European upstream oil and gas company, and have combined IoT with Blockchain, Data analytics and wearables. ◗ The business opportunity in India for
the firm includes travel and transportation, retail, manufacturing, technology, supply chain, trade finance, identity, payments and many other fields.
The payments can also be automated. Fintricity has invested $6-10 million in R&D on Blockchain. The company is working with the open source community to develop an open source infrastructure for Blockchain.
interest in Blockchain is there, because today it takes them more than a number of days to be able to able to complete an invoice discounting transaction, whereas with Blockchain, the pilot showed that the time can be cut down to one day or even less. The advantage is that the cycle of credit has gone up by three days and second, compliance becomes easy because there is better visibility and guarantee so that all the approvals on the receipt of the goods, invoice are recorded. Supply chain financing is actually a market with a lot of potential in India. As a fraction of the GDP, the amount of supply chain that is financed is small. So overall, it is a growth opportunity. Supply chain coverage in India is barely 1% of GDP. In mature markets, supply chain financing without Blockchain is at 14%. With Blockchain, supply chain financing can be done better and new solutions can also be introduced. Today, everybody in the supply chain ecosystem has their own respective systems and there is no one system that provides a single source of truth to all the stakeholders. Blockchain provides that visibility.
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
FEATURE WIPRO Krishnakumar N Menon, Vice President-Service Transformation, Wipro Limited
e have a “clientcentric” approach to Blockchain and we recognize that different clients are in different phases of their Blockchain adoption journey. We have made investments to build the foundational elements for accelerated growth in Blockchain. We have created Blockchain industry solutions. These are accelerators around use cases like skip trace consortium (banking), DvP (Delivery v/s Payment), P2P (peer to peer) insurance for the shared economy, Tri-Party collateral management and supply chain traceability. We have also created a Blockchain CoE to provide technology guidance and build technology / solution assets and differentiators, in addition to crafting Blockchain platform point of views and frameworks, product comparisons, solution assets & IPs, reference architecture and other CoE artefacts. We have also created a Blockchain innovation lab, which is designed to enable quick time-to-market and coinnovation through rapid provisioning of Blockchain environment to prototype and quickly build Blockchain applications. We have also created a rich repository of technology and consulting assets to help accelerate the customer journey on Blockchain. Our partner ecosystem includes a range of Blockchain platform vendors, Blockchain application providers and technology vendors that
◗ Wipro has created a Blockchain CoE and Innovation lab
◗ Wipro has observed good
traction in the BFSI sector with clients actively looking at Blockchain to optimize costs, and leveraged shared resources
◗ For one of its global FMCG clients,
who was facing loss of revenue and brand-reputation due to counterfeit goods in an Asian country, Wipro has implemented a Blockchain solution
specialize in specific Blockchain use case areas to offer best-inclass Blockchain solutions for clients. We have calendarized and structured programs for enterprise level talent development to train and up-skill in-house staff on Blockchain technology through internal
competency development initiatives and partner enablement sessions. We are also engaged with industry consortia and communities on Blockchain. We are also looking at working closely with the vibrant startup / fintech ecosystem to identify and invest in Blockchain startups. We are also working closely with academia and to research on Blockchain technology. At Wipro, we observe good traction in the BFSI (Banking , Financial Services and Insurance) industry with clients actively looking at blockchain for specific business use cases to optimize on costs, and leveraged shared resources (data, infrastructure). More specifically, we see following use case areas of interest: ◗ Banking: cross-border remittances, lending, trade finance, skip-trace consortium, clearing and settlement, rewards programs ◗ Financial Services: Trade Life-Cycle, Clearing and Settlement, Reconciliations, Collateral Management Beyond financial services where we see good momentum in client engagements across health care and supply chain as a major cross industry segment. Our focus in this area is around use cases like supply chain traceability, provenance, anticounterfeit products, parts genealogy and international trade With Digital India initiatives underway, Aadhar (digital identities in India) crossing a billion users, the RBI (Reserve Bank of India) focus on Blockchain, NPCI (National Payments Corporation of India)
thrust on Band several banks pursuing Blockchain projects – the Indian market is ripe for Blockchain. Indian businesses can explore Blockchain for select industry use cases like retail payments, trade finance, and re-imagining the end-toend customers processes in legal, education, healthcare, land registry and other public welfare services. For one of our global FMCG clients, who was facing loss of revenue and brand-reputation due to counterfeit goods in an Asian country, we have implemented a Blockchain solution. The client was looking for anti-counterfeiting measures and reduce revenue losses as well as improved
With Digital India initiatives like Aadhaar crossing a billion users, the RBI focus on Blockchain, NPCI’s thrust on several banks pursuing Blockchain projects – the Indian market is ripe for Blockchain. Krishnakumar N Menon, Vice President-Service Transformation, Wipro Limited
consumer satisfaction. They also wanted to provide consumer the ability to verify the authenticity of any product they pick and scan in stores. As the product frequently changed hands before reaching the end customer, it was difficult to identify if counterfeiting has occurred or not. The client’s existing centralized systems lacked the ability to prevent this counterfeiting. There were multiple participants in the supply chain but there was a lack of distributed ownership Wipro provided a Blockchain-based solution and leveraged the power of Smart contracts and DLT
(distributed ledger technology). Pallet and product journey was captured at each processing point via smart contracts. A unified, real-time view of the product was made available on the distributed ledger for all stakeholders as it traversed through the supply chain. Smart contracts were also leveraged to store a digital representation of the physical goods in the Blockchain. This ensured that product’s authenticity could be determined at any point of its journey from factory to the stores. We leveraged our Blockchain Innovation Lab offering to implement this proof-of-concept in a permissioned blockchain network.
uTrade Solutions Kunal Nandwani, Founder & CEO, uTrade Solutions
CAPGEMINI INDIA Rishabh Shah, Senior Director - Financial Services, Capgemini India
apgemini is taking a use case view. To identify the business scenarios where Blockchain can help, we have started talking to various parties. We create PoCs to show the possibilities and subsequently it becomes easy because by then enterprises are able to visualize and quantify the benefits. One focus area is ‘cross border payments’. Our thinking is by using Blockchain Technology (BCT) in cross border payments, we can actually reduce the cost of cross border payments by 50% and at the same time, we can improve the customer experience. We have done a PoC on cross border payments and we are evangelizing the benefits of this PoC. There are 7-8 PoCs that we are doing. They range from loyalty management. So, say for example, you travel by Jet Airways, they give you some points and then you go to a store for example, Reliance Mart and they also give you loyalty points etc. So, you have a bunch of loyalty points from multiple sellers, which you may want to use or you may not want to use. But the points that you may want to use may not be sufficient, so can we create a marketplace of these loyalty points, where anybody can buy and sell loyalty points.
◗ By using Blockchain in remittances, the costs of cross border payments can be reduced by 50% ◗ The company has an association of 20+ banks. The consultations have been done with IBA, RBI around the use cases ◗ Auditability, transparency
and security in Blockchain is unique
For example, a couple wanting to go for a vacation wants to go for a tour and stay at Hyatt. They do not have adequate points, then can they sell their Reliance Mart points and but Hyatt points from the marketplace. These things can be done using existing technologies too but there are certain characteristics in Blockchain that make it special: For things, where you are trying to exchange ‘Value’. The first thing that you want is full and complete auditability. For any particular transaction, the
customer can by no means deny that he did not do that transaction. The moment you say, ‘Value’, Blockchain gives you certain safeguards and controls that make the process extremely transparent. Secondly, it gives a certain level of security. Typically, when you exchange value, there is a need of a centralized body to ingest trust. For example, the central bank is an authority that brings trust in monetary transactions. With Blockchain, this can be done in a decentralized manner. There is a smart contracts mechanism that has set the rules of engagement. Anybody who is willing to follow the rules can transact. The response we are getting from the potential customers is they want to do something on their own. Financial institutions want to partner with each other and that becomes a barrier at times. So, the scope of the conversation has to be expanded. It has to be a multilateral conversation, where banks are talking to governing bodies, and other stakeholders. Capgemini has been through several such conversations to get the alignment. Capgemini’s strategy is to build an ecosystem and be a part of it. We have brought in 20+ banks together. The consultations have been done with IBA, RBI around the use cases and benefits that the banks can get.
lockchain can disrupt the way all information companies work today. So the potential runs in trillions of dollars, but it may take a good 10-20 years for this industry to evolve and mature. We have invested USD $50,000 in R&D so far. We are targeting information businesses like KYC, creation, sharing and verification platforms. We are also targeting crowd sourced platforms where people can create, consume, search and process information, using digitized micropayments in virtual tokens. Blockchain has the potential to become Internet 2.0, with no central company like Google, Facebook etc. owning and selling user data. As user privacy continues to be understood and valued more, Blockchain may offer interesting alternatives to various Internet platforms.
ATOS Purshottam Purswani, Chief Architect & Member, Atos Scientific Community, Blockchain
◗ The company has invested USD $50,000 in R&D so far.
◗ Blockchain has the potential to become Internet 2.0
◗ The company is targeting information businesses like KYC, creation, sharing and verification platforms
n India, a huge ecosystem is being built around Blockchain and a couple of banks have started running Blockchain streams to test out the concept and have seen positive results. At the same time, we are already seeing a blooming startup ecosystem providing solutions around Blockchain. Looking at the adoption of Blockchain in the financial services sector, which is challenged with transaction loads, intermediaries, security and authentication protocols, we are already witnessing the adoption of this technology in sectors like healthcare, real estate, education, logistics and IP protection. In the Atos Journey 2020 document “Digital Shockwaves in Business”, Blockchain is anticipated to become a primary means of authenticating any business process transaction and is predicted for full mainstream adoption by 2020. Every year, Atos runs an international competition “Atos IT Challenge” event which encourages the next generation of IT professionals to achieve their personal best.
As part of the R&D initiative, Atos funds numerous projects that are suggested as a part of the IT Challenge completion outcome by providing guidance and rewards for the most creative solutions. For edition 2017, Atos is running an IT Challenge around Blockchain that shows how the principle of secure, public ledgers can be used to disrupt conventional business models. Atos is also working with top financial services clients in select geographies to unleash the potential of the Blockchain with multiple major engagements involving joint investments between Atos and its clients across different European geographies. For the financial services segment, we are looking at use cases around digital currency, P2P lending, micro-finance, remittance, digital rights, regulatory compliance and KYC for loans. In a sector like healthcare, personal healthcare records can be securely held within Blockchain transactions allowing easy access to accurate patient history. In the case of real-estate, management of title records can be done using Blockchain. In manufacturing, Blockchain along with Additive manufacturing (3d printing) can help in digital rights on spare parts ensuring that the IP Rights are managed where a
◗ In the case of real-estate,
management of title records can be done using Blockchain
◗ Healthcare records can be
securely held within Blockchain for access to accurate patient history Atos is already witnessing adoption of Blockchain in sectors like Healthcare, real estate, education, logistics and IP protection
spare part file is remotely sent for printing. In the case of the logistics industry, the Internet of Things (IOT) along with Blockchain can help in authenticity of data, trust, transparency and huge operational costs relating to the on-boarding of new partners, monitoring, enforcement and settlement of payments.
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
12 | FEATURE RIPPLE LABS Anish Mohammed, Advisory Board Member, Blockchain Advisory Group and Board of Advisors, Ripple Labs
he Government of India could possibly be the prime sector to adopt Blockchain. As with most infrastructure technologies, the initial adoption has to underwritten and this could be by the government and this could enable a whole new ecosystem to emerge. If the backend of Aadhaar is transformed into a blockchain, it would give the kind of properties that would make Aadhaar the best global example of a national identity store. These include auditability, tamper resistance, distributed consistency and resilience
MICROSOFT INDIA Peter Gartenberg, General Manager, Enterprise Business, Microsoft India
◗ Blockchain can truly help banks
reduce their back-office and intermediary infrastructure costs to render services in a cost-effective manner.
Nachiket Deshpande, Senior VP, Banking and Financial Services, Cognizant utting Blockchain at the heart of any transaction involving intermediaries represents significant business potential for Cognizant. We see huge opportunities in areas such as trade and settlement, payments, trade finance, and loyalty, in the financial services industry. Our engagement with Mizuho Financial Group is a testimony to the growing adoption of Blockchain in this industry. Beyond financial services, we are also witnessing increasing traction for Blockchain in industries such as retail, insurance, healthcare, media & entertainment, and energy. To support our Blockchain vision, we are making focused investments in building competencies. Internally, we are investing in our Digital Business Lab to build Blockchain POCs (proofs of concept) and frameworks that help clients rapidly assess the applicability and implementation of the technology. The adoption of Blockchain requires strong industry collaboration across stakeholders. We are therefore looking to build a world-class alliance ecosystem by partnering with various consortia and FinTech companies that are working on common standards and innovative Blockchain solutions. Globally, Blockchain has managed to generate substantial buzz across businesses in 2016. Both business and technology executives at our client organizations seem well educated about the basics of Blockchain. It is also a common feature in our conversations with clients, many of whom express a strong intent to explore the applicability of Blockchain to
◗ The secure and transparent nature of Blockchain, coupled with Aadhaar’s deep reach, can significantly address the nation’s personal identification concerns. ◗ Capgemini isinvesting in Digital Business Lab to build Blockchain POCs China raises fear of China raises fear of slowdown in
their businesses. Our coinnovation workshops, research papers and publications are helping us disseminate the knowledge further. In India, the majority of the population is still not a part of the mainstream financial system. The reach of the traditional banking system is seen as the common barrier, resulting from challenges in delivering financial services to rural areas. Blockchain can truly help banks reduce their back-office and intermediary infrastructure costs to render services in a costeffective manner. High dependency on paper currency is a major risk for a huge economy such as India. With Blockchain at the center, India can reduce the use of cash by digitizing the currency. The RBI has already taken a proactive step in this direction by publishing papers highlighting the benefits of digital currency innovation using Blockchain. Personal identity is also an important consideration for the Indian government in ensuring inclusive roll-out of public schemes. The secure and transparent nature of Blockchain, coupled with Aadhaar’s deep reach, can significantly address the nation’s personal identification concerns.
ETHEXIndia Kamesh Mupparaju, Founder, ETHEXIndia
e see a huge opportunity for multiple industries to utilize Blockchain technology. At ETHEXIndia, we have set aside a substantial part of our resources to developing test cases and prototypes of different types of new Blockchain and distributed ledger technology. ETHEXIndia and BTCXIndia, allows for trading of the cryptographic tokens providing security for the Ethereum and the Bitcoin blockchains, respectively. At the same time, we actively promote use cases that can be built on top of these blockchains. We are actively testing use cases for the payment services industry, land registry, and the banking industry. My guess is that the really low hanging fruit will found in the financial industries, where systems very often are outdated, regulation plays an important role, and there are huge cost savings to be made.
lockchain is one of the top 10 emerging technologies of 2016, as per the World Economic Forum. It has immense potential to fundamentally change the way markets and governments work. Recognizing this early on, Microsoft launched Microsoft Azure Blockchain as a Service (BaaS), in November 2015 that provides an open, hyper-scale cloud platform and an expanding ecosystem of Blockchain technologies for enterprises, consortiums and governments. It enables them to learn and innovate quickly through pilots and prototypes in a costeffective manner. We foresee a tremendous business opportunity here by encouraging and supporting these banks and financial institutions to fuel their digital transformation further by adopting the Blockchain technology. We are focused on building a sandbox for developers, working with customers and partners to develop and test combinations of technologies, and ultimately, helping collections of customers select the right tools that solve specific business problems. Microsoft has been at the forefront of Blockchain innovation. We were the first major cloud provider to announce BaaS. Since the launch in November 2015, Microsoft has been working closely with businesses and partners to understand core industry scenarios, and develop the blockchain technology as well as the ecosystem through Project Bletchley. The project outlines the vision for an open, modular Blockchain fabric powered by Azure. Microsoft has already launched an initial version of Project Bletchley allowing users to create a diverse distributed ledger ecosystem to focus on the requirements of private multi-node consortium networks. Additionally, Microsoft has been integrating the Solidity language into development tools such as Visual Studio to enable rapid development of next generation decentralized
◗ We are focused on building a sandbox for developers, working with customers and partners to develop and test combinations of technologies
◗ Microsoft is working with banking customers for a few early stage pilots using real data and processes
◗ In the BFSI sector, manual intervention is required for reconciliation, such as a
phone call, physical documentation or emails, done through an intermediary. With Blockchain, since there is no need for reconciliation, there will be no need of an intermediary. This will bring down the cost significantly.
applications on Blockchain. We currently have more than 40 partners globally in the BaaS ecosystem. The potential impact of Blockchain is significant across all sectors/industries. We think the potential is as unlimited. Microsoft is focused on making Blockchain work for every business across every industry. The applications using Blockchain are almost limitless, ranging from loans, bonds, and payments to more efficient supply chains to even identity management and verification. But it can be useful in sectors with high intermediary costs. As it is expected to reduce the transaction duration as well as the cost, it should be adopted by sectors that have complex and large scale back-office processes that may involve phone calls, emails and paperwork, such as, banks and remittance business. Similarly, the
technology can also be used wherever there is a need for reporting, transparency and dissemination of data, say, stock exchanges and clearing houses. It helps to streamline business processes, saves money, and reduces the potential for fraud. Presently in the BFSI sector, manual intervention is required for reconciliation, such as a phone call, physical documentation or emails, which is done through an intermediary. With Blockchain, since there is no need for reconciliation, there will be no need of an intermediary. This will bring down the cost significantly. Microsoft is working with banking customers for a few early stage pilots using real data and processes. We see adoption of Blockchain technologies in the field of eKYC and customer identity management space in the near future.
◗ P2P remittance service run by
CASHAA is zero cost because it runs on a Blockchain
◗ Cashaa will soon launch its
Blockchain based P2P remittance service in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kochi
CASHAA Kumar Gaurav, CEO, Cashaa
lockchain is an innovation that will augment the existing technologies. For example, the blockchain infrastructure will run
the central databases and make it more secure, going further. Moreover, many other innovations will thrive over its superhighway. Like the Cashaa platform that remits cross country money for free and at times given the favourable exchange rate, the platform sends more money to
◗ The Auxesis group is providing remittance solutions to banks, wherein the protocols for interbank Blockchain transfers is designed and built
the receiver than the amount sent. Cashaa leverages the speculative trading done by Bitcoin traders and sends remittances atop the bitcoin trade. Thus the sender does not have to pay any fee. Cashaa is trying to upend market leaders such as Western Union, which has close to
30% market share in the remittance market. The advantage of Cashaa over these conventional players is the payments are instantaneous and charges are zero. The western union and the likes take about 4-5 days to transfer money and also charge a considerable amount of fee to the sender. Cashaa will soon launch its Blockchain based P2P remittance service in Delhi, Mumbai, Pune, Chennai, Bengaluru and Kochi. Most of the places having a major share of inward remittances are thus covered. We started off with Rs 2.5 million. The R&D investment we are making is for the gambling industry and the second is for the pharmaceutical Industry.
We are targeting remittances. The Auxesis group is providing remittance solutions to banks, wherein the protocols for interbank Blockchain transfers is designed and built. For example, an Indian bank wants to build a Blockchain based solution between itself and a bank in Dubai, then we will provide such as solution in the remittances and payments verticals. Then we have a vertical called Trade Finance. If companies listed on stock exchanges want to
move certain functions on a Blockchain network to avoid any frauds, it can be done by writing the Blockchain accordingly. We are also building certain use cases for the real estate sector. The kind of work we are doing will bring tremendous amount of investment in real estate in India. The final vertical on our radar is the supply chain. We are looking at how we can use Blockchain to make the supply chain tamper proof by any third party entity or by any internal process.
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
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14 | TECH SIMPLIFIED
Rohas Nagpal, Primechain Technologies Pvt. Ltd.
The nuts and bolts of blockchain technology 5de9fa4ed29affda 0e4d29cbad290
BLOCKCHAIN EVANGELIST, Rohas Nagpal, explains why the blockchain technology is extremely difficult to hack
SANYA 33fef490220a It can 0e6dee2f16c5 a8f78ce491741adc Sanya
Rohas Nagpal Blockchain evangelist
epending upon the hemisphere you live in, you probably think that blockchain is either the Rajnikant or Chuck Norris of all technologies. Thanks to the massive media coverage and billions of dollars of investments, blockchain is a word that almost everyone has heard. But a lot of people don’t understand the mathematics behind this revolutionary technology. Well, read on. What is a blockchain? Imagine a world without computer databases. There would be no ecommerce, no ATMs, no Internet banking, no Aadhaar or similar social security scheme, no Facebook, no Gmail, no WhatsApp! Almost everything that makes the Internet so powerful and useful depends upon computer databases.The digital world relies very heavily on computer databases, even though most users are unaware of it. Now imagine a database that is provably immutable / unchangeable and almost impossible to hack. That’s a blockchain.At its core, a blockchain is an ordered and timestamp sequence of “blocks of information”. Blockchain technology, also called distributed ledger technology, derives its strength from strong cryptography and hash functions. Blockchain technology was invented by the unknown inventor of the bitcoin crypto-currency in 2008. Simply put, the bitcoin crypto-currency runs on the bitcoin blockchain (simply referred to as The Blockchain). The Blockchain is a public blockchain where anyone can become a miner and details of every single bitcoin transaction are stored on each node. Then there are other blockchain platforms such as – bitshares, ethereum, hyperledger, multichain, ripple and stellar. Hyperledger and multichain can be used to public, private (e.g. the Government running a land regInput sha256 hash Input sha256 hash Input sha256 hash
let her dad know about it. She’s not allowed to use her cellphone, so the only way for her to call her friends is using the good old landline in her dad’s room. Since she regularly gets grounded, she and her friends have worked out a simple system for sharing secrets. When she says, “have you read the book I told you about” she actually means “let’s sneak out tonight”. When she says something about “page 10” of the book, she means “pick me up at 10 pm”. Continuing the logic, page 11 would mean 11 pm and so on. So on the phone she asks her friend “Have you read the book I told you about? Page 12 is really funny”, she means, “Let’s sneak out tonight, pick me up at midnight”. What we have just seen is cryptography (and a rebellious teenager) in action in the real world. The sentence “Let’s sneak out tonight, pick me up at midnight” is
firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com: 06112016:0 2d87bf06373f4e91b43ab6180e30da0bf3f98efb 44c5d5e2f7151b3179413bf6 firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com: 06112016:1 cb3616e4ab0cee86badf0a598d1a151e06289c2c 7e35f91554dc1ad7d128a99d firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com: 06112016:2 8d04a9e7ccd2c84549744c7fdbd48e3784ea3ab1 0020499a89349875726e3536
And so on till .. 76063 Input sha256 hash
firstname.lastname@example.org:email@example.com :06112016:76063 0000b3c73f0cd6a92158b713fbade5f898dffeefc 0a615d050b1ea391bd39906
istry) and consortium blockchains (e.g. a group of banks running a shared Know-Your-Customer or KYC platform). The mathematics of it all Sanya’s a naughty young girl who’s been grounded for a week. She wants to sneak out for desert with her friends but obviously can’t
plain text – what Sanya actually wants to convey. The sentence “Have you read the book I told you about? Page 12 is really funny” is the cipher text – something that an adversary (her dad in this case) should not be able to understand. Encryption is the process of converting plain text to cipher text. The reverse process is decryption.
This science of encrypting and decrypting messages (cryptography) has been used for thousands of years. It is believed that when Julius Caesar sent messages to his generals, he replaced every A in his messages with a D, every B with an E, and so on through the alphabet. Only someone who knew the “shift by 3” rule could decipher his messages. For example, if we want to encode the word “SECRET” using Caesar’s key value of 3, we offset the alphabet so that the 3rd letter down, (D), begins the alphabet. So starting with ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRST UVWXYZ and sliding everything up by 3, you get DEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVW XYZABC
where D=A, E=B, F=C, and so on. Using this scheme, the plaintext, “SECRET” encrypts as “VHFUHW”. To allow someone else to read the cipher text, you tell him or her that the key is 3. This method is called symmetric cryptography and involves using the same key for encrypting as well as decrypting a message. This naturally poses a serious problem – what if an adversary gets hold of this key? At some point of time the sender and receiver need to exchange the key. That’s when an adversary could get hold of the key. In modern cryptography, keys are extremely large numbers. The secure-key-exchange problem was solved with the birth of asymmetric key cryptography – in which two different but related keys are used – the public key to encrypt data and the corresponding private key to decrypt the data.
If Sanya were to send an encrypted message to Karan, she would encrypt the message using his public key (which is available to the world). Once encrypted, the message can only be decrypted using Karan’s private key (which would only be available to Karan). Before we get into the nuts and bolts of how blockchains work, we need to understand some more concepts including hash functions. A one-way hash function takes an input (e.g. a PDF file, a video, an email, a string etc.) and produces a fixed-length output e.g. 160-bits. The hash function ensures that if the information is changed in any way – even by just one bit – an entirely different output value is produced. The table below shows some sample output values using the sha1 (40) hash function. Input sanya
4c391643f247 937bee14c0bcca 9ffb985fc0d0ba be seen from the table above that by changing the input from sanya to SANYA, an entirely different hash value is generated. What must be kept in mind is that irrespective of the size of the input, the hash output will always be of the same size. Two things must be borne in mind with regard to one-way hash functions: ❑ It is computationally infeasible to find two different input messages that will yield the same hash output. ❑ It is computationally infeasible to reconstruct the original message from its hash output. Having understood hash functions, let’s have a look at another interesting concept called proof-ofwork. This is a way to reduce spam and denial of service attacks by requiring a computer to spend some time and processing power to solve something. One such proof-of-work system that is used in blockchains is hashcash. The basic premise of hashcash is that if the sender of an email can prove that she has spent reasonable time and computational power to solve some puzzle, it can be believed that the sender is not a spammer. The logic is that spamming would be economically infeasible if a spammer had to spend nontrivial time and computational power for every single email being sent. Let’s develop an elementary proof-of-work system, based on hashcash, which can be used to control spam. Let’s presume that firstname.lastname@example.org is sending an email to email@example.com. The sender must include something similar to the following in the header of the email: firstname.lastname@example.org:info@prim echain.in:06112016: xxxx That’s 4 pieces of information separated by colons. The first piece is the sender’s email address, the second is the receiver’s email address and the third is the current date in DDMMYYYY format (6th November, 2016 in this example). The fourth piece is something that needs to be calculated by the sender’s computer. Let’s call it a nonce. The objective is to find an input that would result in a sha256 hash
Fig 1: Merkle tree
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TECH SIMPLIFIED Block 16
Prov Hash Timestamp
Prov Hash Timestamp
Prov Hash Timestamp
Fig 2: A blockchain
which begins with 4 zeros. So we start the nonce at a value of 0 and then keep incrementing it (0, 1, 2, 3 … ) and calculating the hash. Something like this: Calculating this may not take a genuine sender a lot of time and computational power but if a spammer were to make these calculations for millions of emails, it will take a non-trivial amount of time and computational power. At the receiver’s end, the computer will simply take the following line from the header of the email and calculate the hash. email@example.com:info@primech ain.in:06112016:76063 If the hash begins with a pre-defined number of zeros (4 in this example), the email would not be considered spam. This will take the receiver a trivial amount of time and computational power since it just has to calculate the hash of one input. The date can be used as an additional validation parameter – e.g. if the date is within 24 hours of the time of receipt, the email will be approved for download. A very important application of public key cryptography is a digital signature. In this, the signer first calculates the hash of the message she wants to digitally sign. Then using her private key and the hash, she creates a digital signature, using the relevant algorithm. This digital signature is unique to the message. The signer then sends the message and the digital signature to the receiver. The receiver re-computes the hash from the message. The receiver also computes another string using the digital signature and the signer’s public key (using the relevant algorithm). If this string and the hash match, the digital signature is verified. A blockchain is a public ledger containing an ordered and time-stamped record of transactions. In addition to preventing double-spending, the blockchain prevents the modification of previous transaction records. A block of one or more new transactions is collected into the transaction data part of a block. Copies of each transaction are hashed, and the hashes are then paired, hashed, paired again, and hashed again until a single hash remains – the merkle root of a merkle tree. This is illustrated in Fig 1 Merkel Tree Fig 1: Merkle tree 4f68594945ccded4d77a01992db7f4c5 is the merkle root of the 4 transactions (or pieces of data) in the illustration above. This is stored in the block header. Additionally, each block also stores the hash of the header of the previous block. This chains the blocks together and ensures that a transaction cannot be modified without modifying the block that records it and all following blocks. Transactions are also chained together. This is illustrated below: Blockchain Fig 2: A blockchain Blockchains use a proof-of-work technique similar (but more complex) than the one discussed earlier in this article. Since good cryptographic hash algorithms convert arbitrary inputs into “seemingly-random” hashes, it is not feasible to modify the input to make the hash predictable. To prove that she did some extra work to create a block, a miner must create a hash of the block
header, which does not exceed a certain value. The term miner must not be compared with a gold or coal miner in the real world. While a gold miner digs into the earth to discover gold, a blockchain miner uses computational power to calculate hashes. To add an entire block to the block chain, a miner must successfully hash a block header to a value below the target threshold. The first-ever block is known as the genesis block. Each subsequent block is addressed by its block height, which represents the number of blocks between it and the genesis block. New blocks are added to the block chain if their hash is at least as challenging as a difficulty value expected by the consensus protocol e.g. according to the bitcoin protocol, it should take 2 weeks for 2016 blocks to be generated. If the time taken is more or less than 2 weeks then the difficulty value is relatively decreased or increased every 2 weeks.
cant benefits to the global banking system. In a recent announcement, the Crown Prince of Dubai announced a strategic plan that would see all Dubai government documents secured on a blockchain by 2020.
In conclusion I believe that by 2020, blockchain technology will enable massive social upliftment and economic prosperity, the likes of which the world has never seen before. Blockchains will minimise fraud and maximise efficiency, security & transparency in supply chains, healthcare, global money systems, financial technologies, democratic elections, auction of public assets, energy trading, electronic record authentication, delivery of Government services, IoT (Internet of Things) and more. According to the Reserve Bank of India – “With its potential to fight counterfeiting, the ‘blockchain’ is likely to bring about a major transformation in the functioning of financial markets, collateral identification (land records for instance) and payments system. According to the UK Government, distributed ledger technologies have the potential to help governments to collect taxes, deliver benefits, issue passports, record land registries, assure the supply chain of goods and generally ensure the integrity of government records and services…. In summary, distributed ledger technology provides the framework for government to reduce fraud, corruption, error and the cost of paper-intensive processes. It has the potential to redefine the relationship between government and the citizen in terms of data sharing, transparency and trust. It has similar possibilities for the private sector. According to the Reserve Bank of Australia governor Glenn Stevens,the blockchain technology could bring signifi-
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
16| OPINION Jaspreet Bindra, SVP â€“ Digital Transformation, Mahindra Group
Amit Chawla, Senior Manager â€“ Group Strategy Office, Mahindra Group
Opportunities for the Government to ride the Blockchain wave
sing Blockchain, movable and immovable property registrations and transfers - real estate and vehicles - can be made as simple as transferring money using your mobile app. Blockchain provides features like provenance and smart contracts which simplify title search and paperless registrations respectively. To enable this, the government offices will be part of an ecosystem along with the Buyer, seller, financier, insurer and builder/manufacturer. Each year Gartner publishes a report called 'Gartner Hype Cycle' which lists numerous new technologies and provides a view of when that technology will evolve over a period of time. In 2016, Blockchain topped this Hype Curve along with Internet of Things (IoT) platforms, connected homes and smart robots. The same report also projects that blockchain has the potential to transform many industries and that this transition is only five to ten years away. Around the same time, another report by World Economic Forum stated that Blockchain is the future of financial infrastructure. It is estimated that Blockchain technology can save billions of dollars for the world's leading financial institutions and consumers alike. The simplest definition of Blockchain is that it is a database or a ledger that maintains a continuously growing list of data records or transactions shared with multiple entities at the same time. For the same reason, it is also called as Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). The word 'Blockchain' is derived from the way in which data is recorded. Numerous transactions are grouped
together forming a 'block' and these blocks are linked to each other (with each block also storing the location of previous one and so on) forming a 'chain'. Blockchain is widely known as the technology behind bitcoin, world's leading virtual currency. Bitcoin originated in 2008, and its value has shot up over the past nine years. This form of money is decentralized (not backed by any government or financial institution) and the transactions are verified by a global network of computers (based on a consensus protocol). The participants of this global network are rewarded in bitcoins for running dedicated hardware operations (bitcoin mining).
The stage is now set for Blockchain technology to be the new game changer
The total value of all bitcoins in circulation hit a record high of USD 15 Bn in Dec 2016 as the bitcoin price to dollar crossed the US$ 900 mark. The recent Demonetization of old Rs 500 and Rs 1000 notes also fueled the demand for bitcoins in India as an alternative asset class. As bitcoin's popularity has grown over time, so has the belief that the technology behind it, has numerous applications beyond virtual money. The major use cases are in the financial services industry. Blockchain provides a highly secure (hackproof), near real-time and immutable transaction recording solution which will eventually replace the legacy systems of the financial sector.
Multiple pilots on use cases around instant settlement of securities for stock exchanges, low commission international remittances and paperless export of products have been conducted on a distributed ledger. At Mahindra Group, we successfully completed a three month pilot to test Blockchain technology as well as evaluate the efficiency with which it can transform the traditional supply chain finance business. It involved multiple participants in the supply chain - manufacturer, suppliers and financier accessing a common distributed ledger. The results have been very encouraging. During the pilot, the test system demonstrated role based access control, faster conflict resolution and ease of integration with the core systems, in addition to the financial benefits. This was accomplished with IBM as the technology partner. Another major area of application is government services. Before mentioning the opportunity in India, let us look at a tiny European country, Estonia, that has become a global leader in digital governance. In 2014, Estonia launched the e-Residency program, which allows its citizens access to government services like new business registration, digital signatures, taxation and even allows them to cast votes digitally. Since 2015, the system also allows citizens to e-notarize their documents (like marriages, birth certificates, business contracts) and securely access and transfer their health records. These services have been powered by Blockchain and have been developed in partnership with multiple Blockchain service providers. India has issued Aadhaar to
1.1 bn residents or 98 percent of India's adult population. Various services like Aadhaar Enabled Payments System (by NPCI), eKYC (by UIDAI) and DigitalLocker (by NeGD) have already been built on the India Stack (set of open API's provided by the Government). Around 3 Billion Aadhaar authentications and 150 Mn eKYC in three years have already enabled Aadhaar based instant money transfers, verification for bank accounts
and new mobile connections. The stage is now set for Blockchain technology to be the new game changer. Movable and immovable property registrations and transfers real estate and vehicles - can be made as simple as transferring money using your mobile app. Blockchain provides features like provenance and smart contracts which simplify title search and paperless registrations respectively. To enable this, the Government
offices will be part of an ecosystem along with the buyer, seller, financier, insurer and builder/manufacturer. Once the buyer and seller raise a request, these participants can authenticate, achieve consensus and approve new registrations and transfers. Provenance can eliminate fraudulent registrations, payments can be made instantly using regular payment gateways and future taxes can be enforced using
smart contracts. The use case cited above can be easily replicated for other services that involve multiple government departments and reduce corruption and black money menace. Although Blockchain technology provides numerous benefits, two major challenges in its mass adoption are building an eco-system of diverse participants and absence of common standards for the distributed ledger.
tralised trust. However, in order to come to these realisations technology teams need to collaborate with business teams from the ideation stage in order to pinpoint the right target where blockchain would solve pain-points while adding value.
proof-of-stake chains making malicious activities near impossible. The bottom-line is that blockchain is not the perfect solution for sharing data but rather sharing control over data.
Raunaq Vaisoha, Blockchain Project Manager, National Stock Exchange of India Limited
Blockchain: Key misconceptions with the future of data-interaction networks
017 will undoubtedly be the year of many blockchain realisations. The technology which Gartner claimed to have reached the peak of its hype cycle in mid-2016, has certainly seen tremendous participation from across the board. It is difficult to walk into a conference room of a large financial institution or regulator without hearing the word blockchain being thrown around emphatically at least once. Large financial institutions, having learnt their lesson from past experiences, have certainly done their best to follow the exploration is better than regret philosophy and have left no stone unturned; from joining consortiums to launching internal POCs, the efforts put in have been truly admirable.
However, with 2016 showing few notable results, the pressing question all management teams are burning to answer is whether the blockchain should be viewed as an efficiency innovation or a disruptive innovation. While the answer to the above question is far too contextual to be standard, over two years of development experience in blockchain have made it very apparent what the roadblocks to disruption are: Mistaking digitization problem statements as Blockchain problem statements A major roadblock to disruptive results has been the selection of problem statements without a blockchain value proposition. This fallacy stems from the difficulty in
properly communicating the difference between a blockchain and regular centralized systems. As a result of which, the industry has tried its hand at several use-cases which are not necessarily blockchain problem statements but rather simply digitization problems with Blockchain
added for the excitement factor. This can lead to disappointment in the long-term when the technology teams develop great technical solutions which have zero business value and hence end-up losing interest in innovating with blockchain due to misplaced bets. blockchain is great at
adding value to processes involving multiple interdependent parties to a transaction. Trade finance for instance is brimming with such use-cases such as letter of credit or bank payment obligations by enabling easier and cost efficient reconciliation through the use of decen-
Confusing share of control of data with sharing data At a fundamental level, the blockchain is an activity register which facilitates trust in an immutable set of data within a trustless environment of network participants. While that is quite a mouthful, it basically means the blockchain was invented to enable a community to democratically control the rules that govern a set of data and agree on its majority state, a feat which could not be achieved viably by a centralized system with a typical master-slave architecture. This is because in traditional systems, data is controlled by single entities, therefore he who controls the computer can edit the data. The admin can easily make changes to the data they hold by asserting their power over the hardware and software. While there are legal and contractual terms preventing an admin from behaving maliciously, human error and influence cannot be ruled out. In a blockchain, the rules governing the data are democratically decided by the participants of a network either through computing power in the case of proof-of-work chains or votes in the case of
Thinking incrementally Financial Institutions clearly need to invest in efficiency innovation (e.g. streamlining technology stacks) in order to prevent getting stuck with a high cost base. However, the unfortunate result of this motive is blockchain being strapped to serving merely as an efficiency tool rather than utilising the disruptive potential of blockchain to enable new business by replacing trust with certainty-throughtechnology. A large number of internal POCs continue to focus only on cost savings leaving blockchain as an unnecessary albeit exciting layer to a project. Overall, after a year of exciting experiments, we have only begun to scratch the surface of blockchainâ€™s value. I believe that in the year ahead experiments started previously will help us filter out the incremental use-cases from the exponential ones and help narrow our focus on to distinct target use-cases. The simultaneous developments on blockchain platforms which has been steady and productive could just mean we finally see adoption on a small scale and the results which follow will pave the way for a distributed future!
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
18| OPINION Maya R Nair, Head- Information Security, A leading telecom company
Anthony Devassy, Chief Data Officer, SBI General Insurance
Does your organization need a Chief Data Officer (CDO)?
ost organizations claim that data is integral to their business and critical to their success. They believe that data is an asset to their organization. However most organizations when it comes to action have done nothing or have done very little to take care of this asset. When it comes to people, money or technology which are critical assets for an organization, there are roles created to ensure that these assets get undivided attention. There are processes and systems put in place to ensure that an organization realizes maximum value. With increasing competition and digitalization, organizations that use information strategically and aggressively would emerge as leaders in their respective industries. To make this happen every organization needs a dedicated role to drive the data agenda and who can collaborate with other business units to drive business value. Following are some of the areas a Chief Data Officer can add value to: ◗ Data governance – The Chief Data Officer can bring in method and discipline around how an organization acquires and manages data for it to be used meaningfully. Data Governance ensures that data issues are managed horizontally and not vertically. This brings people from different business units together where an organizational view is taken as opposed to a siloed approach. The quality of data used by the organization is enhanced as a governance model forces every business unit to look at the processes which capture the data. ◗ Make the data move – Most organizations are able to meaningfully use only limited amount of information that gets collected. Data points that only support monitoring and analysis of the KPIs featuring on the Balanced Scorecard typically get used in a reactive manner. Technology today enables access and processing of huge amount of data with relative ease and this should be put to use to continuously monitor and study all data points captured by an
organization. The study would reveal both data points which an organization can capitalize on and the ones which do not really help. Also data has a tendency to decay and necessary enrichment processes would ensure that the organization at all times uses data which is updated and meaningful. ◗ Increased compliance and reduced risk – A data governed organization is always better equipped to handle regulatory requirements and also have a deeper understanding of what the key risks are and the related mitigants. Processes which help an organization closely study which data points undergo change at which touch points across a process help in closure of accurate and timely auditory requirements. ◗ Putting context to enterprise data – An organization has many processes and every process leads to generation of data. An organization’s capability to marry the relevant data coming from processes across the organization helps arriving at an aggregate data which is more dramatic and powerful than a data set viewed in silo. Adding more context to data element leads to a complementary change to the understanding of meaning of the data. Contextual computing can help organizations drive enhanced customer experience, cross sell and fraud detection.
derive value from the existing data sets by implementing a culture of analytics across the organization. My earlier point on ‘Making the data move’ would help an organization have a better understanding of the data. This can lead to accurate implementation of analytics leading to revenue generation maximization, shorter time to market and improved relationships with customers, suppliers and partners. The significance of having someone coordinate all the data projects within an organization in a structured manner is of immense value. Organizations which decide not to have a fulltime data management role have to clearly evaluate the various costs and risks attached of not having one. They need to evaluate the reputational and monetary costs an organization can incur due to lack of a dedicated data management role. Regulators and customers would get increasingly conscious about issues concerning the management of their data. Organizations that truly believe data is an asset would have people in full time roles to proactively manage their stakeholders.
The leaky cauldron
The Chief Data Officer can bring in method and discipline around how an organization acquires and manages data for it to be used meaningfully
◗ Getting customer data right – Organizations striving for customer intimacy need to get their customer data right. The starting point would be to revisit the customer contact processes which capture these data points and carry out a root cause to understand the reasons for the poor quality data. More often than not it happens to be a culture and awareness issue and no conscious effort is being made to capture the critical customer data points. Training, incentive programs and communication can help set this right. Customer data management will lead to enhanced customer experience leading to higher retention of customer and successful marketing campaigns. ◗ Drive ROI on information assets through analytics - A CDO can help an organization
he amount of data that comes into the company network and the amount of data that leaves, is overwhelming. Since most of us still don’t know how much it is, we are better off. Just pause for a moment and think. What are the avenues available for the data to leave the company network? To know that, we need to know where is the data residing? Do we know all the places where the company’s data resides? Is it held by a piece of semiconductor or the magnetic media? Do we still rely on the old fashioned papyrus? And finally, how much data is stored on the grey matter, between the two ears? Unfathomable, isn’t it? When you think about DLP (Data Loss / Leakage Prevention) solution, think of all the places where data is stored electronically. This may be within the company network and on company asset. It may be on some leased assets, which are to be returned after a certain period of time. It may be on the cloud, it may be a partner’s place on the partner’s asset. The lesser the spread, the easier it is to control. Reduce the spread, if it is unwarranted. However if the business needs this spread, so be it. Look at the tools available in the market. You may check out the rating given by neutral third party rating agencies and also check out with industry peers who run a similar business or have a similar scale of operation. Seriously evaluate 2-3 products before you zero-in on any one. In addition to the product features, which will be similar among the available products, look for local / remote support, customization of reports, recurring expenses and hidden costs, if any. Think of all the avenues for the data to exit from all the sources. The crux of the matter is “all the sources”, and not just the prominent ones. Include all the gateways – the email gateway, the internet gateway, connections to the partner / dealer / distributor networks etc. Cover all the gateways with the DLP agent. While a phased approach works most of the time, with DLP, it is best to cover the end points in the initial go itself. Unless you cover all the end points, be it laptops, desktops or any other mobile device that connects to the corporate network, you will not be in a position to get a 360 degree view of what is going on. As the saying goes, what the CISO doesn’t know, doesn’t hurt. Is it, really? Avoiding exceptions It’s best to avoid exceptions, while
Think of all the avenues for the data to exit from all the sources. The crux of the matter is “all the sources”, and not just the prominent ones
defining policies. Let the DLP flag all that goes out. If business needs certain data to be sent out, let it get flagged and then go out. It is essential to revalidate policies at least once in 6 months. Be on the lookout for policies that never triggered any event in the last 6 months. Check if there is any logic flaw in defining those policies. Do test cases that match the policy composition and see if the policy triggers an event. Be aware of the blind spots and have compensating controls in place. A desktop when rebooted in the safe mode, does not have the DLP agent started. This gives the user an invisibility cloak to escape with valuable information of the company, and, of course, without anyone seeing it. Make sure that if at all there has to be one, it is with the most responsible person, who is going to use it only for the greater good. Have a governance framework in place to handle events and escalation. Have clear responsibilities and timelines defined for closures. The reports can sometimes be eye openers to the fact that “strictly need to know” principle gets violated. We may also see that ignorance is still not eradicated. You will then realize that DLP is one area that expands beyond its conventional reach, to be fully effective. And rightly so. How can you down the defenses when you are unsure of, from where the next spell is pronounced?
Sandip Pradhan, Asst VP - IT, Mangalam Cement
Mantras for a successful SAP S/4 HANA implementation: A CIO view
successful SAP HANA implementation is about the powerful next generation applications and analytics brought by the organization. This will choose the game changing in-memory platform with advanced analytical processing. Every project manager wants to be successful. The implementation failure may be fatal to the organization. Here are nine mantras to keep in mind when you are starting the high-impact S/4 HANA project. Experienced and right implementation partner: SAP systems are difficult and costly to implement. A large portion of the overall implementation cost attributes to consulting fees. Therefore, it becomes crucial to select the right partner and use consultants effectively to keep the overall costs low. Organizations want to reduce the engagement of costly consultants, but on the other hand hardly any organization has the internal knowledge and skills to implement the system successfully without external help. So, choosing the right partners
and using their skills and knowledge appropriately becomes essential to the overall success of the project. Knowledge transfer from consultants as well as retaining the essential knowledge within the organization is an important factor for the success of the implementation. ◗ Formation of right minded core team: Core team is the pillar and it is crucial to start-up the project. The formation of core team begins with selecting the right project manager and staffing the rest of the team. Right team means the right minded people not like-minded people. For example, a group of negative minded individuals are also like-minded. It does not mean the most intelligent project manager will survive rather he would be a change agent and each team members must be an agent of change. Besides that, team member should have functional experiences, knowledge about his concerned departmental processes and basic IT skills like knowledge of Excel. Normally, the department releases the person for core team whose performance is poor. You should keep in mind that the core
teams will lead the company in future and “what you do today can improve all your tomorrows”. You can introduce some motivational scheme for internal team. ◗ Work collaboratively: Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success. You have to establish a partnership among core team members, IT team, related service providers and Implementation partner. At the end of the day, the project team that speaks in the same language then only will get fruitful output otherwise not. ◗ Speed defines everything: Speed is the King. Philosophy would be ‘Do It Now’ and keep in mind ‘Time is Money’. In my experiences, speed is a priority in every situation as your top management expects tomorrow’s product today. This advice sounds simple but it is one of the critical elements to drive the project. When speed is the priority, you have to fight to take the time to prepare a solid plan otherwise you will be left in the dust.
◗ Focus on change management Charles Darwin theory says “It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive but those who can best manage change”. SAP implementation is a huge Change Management and Business Process Reengineering for any organization that need to be carefully managed. The SAP implementation success significantly depends on the organizational fit with the business processes. The implementation failure may be fatal to the firm. ◗ Testing - key to success: Testing is the inevitable path of all software engineering because defect-free software does not exist. Testing is the key to success of the project as testing is an investigation conducted to provide stakeholders with information about the quality of the product under implementation. During testing stage, your slogan would be “Break the System”. It is better to have another team for testing besides the core team. You have to carry out Unit Testing,
Integration Testing within modules, Integration Testing within other interfaces, Stress Testing for Dialog response time including network time and ultimately User Acceptance Testing (UAT). Before UAT, you have to prepare all possible test cases based on your business scenarios. Keep in mind that the scope should encompass enough functionality to provide value to the users. ◗ Effective end-user training will drive benefits: End-user is the actual consumer of any system. So, end-user training is an essential key to the successful implementation. Effective user training will drive benefits after go-live which ends up in a higher acceptance for live applications and a reduction of operating errors. It’s important for the IT department to think beyond just development and deployment. Similar focus should be placed on increasing SAP adoption , which in turn creates ROI. SAP Workforce Performance Builder (WPB) can help to create, edit , deploy and track context-sensitive user help, transaction documentation,
simulation, test scripts etc. WBP will help you to achieve the real operational efficiency. The hands-on session will help users to understand the processes very well whereas theoretical session will help to understand the why. ◗ Be ready for surprises: All most all on-premise HANA implementations will be custom based on the business use cases which will face several technical as well as functional challenges. Besides, the risk of knowledge loss will always be there due to unexpected departures. So, be ready to tackle those. ◗ SAP support: SAP HANA is a next generation applications and analytics. So, there will be always some challenges in technical and functional areas. To mitigate those and speed up the SAP OSS incident resolution process, you have to take the support from SAP. It is better to keep some budget for consultancy services(mandays) directly from SAP, if your implementation partner is not SAP.
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
Is 2017, the year of IoT disruption? As we move towards the vision of smart infrastructure, one of the major challenges is to ensure compatibility and seamless interconnection between different devices connected through IoT Harnath Babu CIO, KPMG
IoT IS gaining popularity among Indian enterprises, government and consumers, but security concerns and the lack of trust is limiting its adoption in the short run. Ankush Kumar spoke to a few CIOs on how they see the adoption of IoT in 2017
OT is gaining popularity among Indian enterprises, government and consumers, but security concerns and the lack of trust is limiting its adoption in the shorter run. Ankush Kumar spoke to a few CIOs on how they see the adoption of IoT in 2017. India has witnessed a major digital push in the last couple of years under transformational projects like Digital India, Smart Cities, Startup India, etc. While the past few years have seen the adoption of disruptive technologies like cloud, big data, mobility; the year 2017 will largely emphasis on integrating all these technologies and providing seamless connectivity across all platforms. As the basis of connectivity remains the Internet, IoT integrates smart objects to the Internet by enabling uninterrupted data exchange. India stands as the world’s second largest Internet user base with cheapest Internet data plans, but still there are nearly 950 million citizens who are not connected which also shows the ocean of opportunity that IoT will bring to the economy. According to a recent report by GE in collaboration with Nasscom and Deloitte, the industry would be the driver for IoT revolution with utilities, manufacturing, automotive and healthcare
New business models Talking about the role of IoT in the year 2017, Arup Choudhary, CIO, Eveready Industries says that various industries like home appliances, pharma and medicine, automobile will see major adoption. "Adoption has already happened in the automobile industry to some extent. This will enhance further. Home and kitchen appliances (High Value) could benefit from using this technology. Pharma industry can use this technology to monitor drug results online. Medical practitioners could monitor the vital signs of their patients anytime anywhere." If Internet connectivity is uniform across locations, the possibilities are endless. Imagine someone to be able to switch off an AC or a
seeing a greater opportunity than other sectors as consumers shy away from smart devices due to cost of IoT devices and security and privacy concerns. The report also highlighted that the IoT market in India would increase from $5.6 billion, with 200 million devices in 2016 to $15 billion with 2.7 billion devices by 2020. To understand the role of IoT in 2017, Express Computer spoke to key CIOs across different industry verticals to
KEY IoT STATISTICS
200 m i l l i o n
India has the second largest population of Internet users. India also has one of the world’s cheapest Internet data plans
Indian IoT Market
200 million devices
get a real insight about IoT adoption.
$15 billion market
2.7 billion devices
refrigerator while travelling. Someone could locate his car sitting in the office and also do a health check. IoT apps will certainly cash in to enrich the customer experience. Anjani Kumar, Global CDO (Chief Digital Officer), Collabera, believes that IoT will continue to change the way how a lot of industries work. "Automation and proactive alerts would be the two major focus areas while new business models will also be powered by IoT. Many industries who are right now sitting on the fence or doing prototyping will join the bandwagon. I also expect some IoT services offered as SaaS to get affordable.” Kumar believes that healthcare, transportation & logistics industry will continue to lead the pack for IoT adoption. Retail would be moved to the next spot. Manufacturing industry will up the game for sure. Firms in the insurance industry as well as the construction industry are also adopting IoT technologies in a big way. On the factors that will boost the adoption of IoT, N Jayantha Prabhu, CIO, Essar Group informs that declining device costs, widespread and pervasive connectivity, and an ever-increasing focus on operational efficiency and productivity will boost adaptability of IoT solutions. Some of the specific/ direct factors that will boost the adoption are increase in Internet penetration; increase in market/ consumer familiarity and reduction in cost of devices and development of connectivity technologies i.e. wireless networking. According to Prabhu, the government sector in India seems to have taken rapid strides in certain key areas that are paving the way for IoT adoption i.e. smart city
Standardization of protocols, new sensors and better security will help in raising the level of awareness for IoT industrial corridor, energy management, transport and traffic, and water-quality management projects, in which the government is directly funding the initiative. He sees it as a good sign that will have a major impact on overall IOT adaptability in India. Elucidating on some of the used cases on the IoT adoption, Prabhu also explains that in the plant area, machines and computers handle the value chain autonomously, with automation controllers in operation from one end of the production line to the other. Parts being produced communicate with machines by means of a product code, which tells the machines their production requirements and which steps need to be taken next. All processes are optimized for IT control, resulting in minimal failure rate. Employees are essentially supervising production and technology assets, including handling unexpected incidents. “Sensors measure temperature, humidity, air pressure and machine operating data in real time. This not only gives the opportunity to monitor production and adjust processes in real time, but also gives plant operators the ability to trace battery performance back to specific batches and at every step along the process. Also as critical assets on the plant floor are connected, every
step in production can be tracked and incorporated in a real-time performance management system,” opines Prabhu. Challenges for IoT adoption With so much that IoT can bring to the industry there are few major challenges that are restricting its adoption. Anjani Kumar believes skills and lack of good system integrators are some of the major issues why the adoption of IoT is slow in India. Another factor is education about IoT among the stalwarts of the industry. Technology and business leaders will need to work together. Of course standardization of protocols, new sensors and better security will definitely help in raising the level of awareness. One of the major issues with IoT is with respect to the privacy and security that hampers its growth, informs, Harnath Babu, CIO, KPMG."Companies in India are looking to adopt IoT will have to overcome significant privacy, security and technological barriers. As we are moving towards the vision of smart home and office, one of the major challenges is to ensure compatibility and seamless interconnection between different devices, irrespective of the model, make, manufacturer or industry vertical. Besides these factors, IoT alone produces enormous amount of data, which makes it challenging for organizations to store and analyze this data," The major stakeholders in the projects around Internet of Things would be the citizens, the government and the industry. However the key to success of IoT would be in building low cost, scalable models and using secure embedded sensors for collecting data and minimizing complexities.
Automation and proactive alerts would be the two major focus while new business models will also be powered by IoT Anjani Kumar Global CDO, Collabera
Declining device costs, widespread and pervasive connectivity, and an ever-increasing focus on operational efficiency and productivity will boost adaptability of IoT solutions N Jayantha Prabhu CIO, Essar Group
Pharma industry can use IoT to monitor drug results online and medical practitioners could monitor the vital signs of their patients anytime anywhere Arup Choudhary CIO, Eveready Industries
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
JSPL’s roadmap for digital transformation
DIGITAL INITIATIVES @ THE JINDAL GROUP
JINDAL STEEL & POWER LIMITED is among the leading steel players in the country. Vipul Anand, Group CIO, Jindal Steel & Power Limited shares his company's digital strategy and gives valuable insights on how technology is creating value in the organization Ankush Kumar firstname.lastname@example.org
ith an annual turnover of over US$ 2.3 billion ( 11,091 crore), Jindal Steel & Power Limited (JSPL) forms a part of the about US$ 12 billion O P Jindal Group. The company is a leading player in steel, power, mining, oil and gas and infrastructure with expanding presence across Asia (Oman, Indonesia, Mongolia and China), Africa (Mozambique, South Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar), South America (Bolivia & Brazil), Australia and Georgia. JSPL has consistently tapped new opportunities by increasing production capacity, diversifying investments and leveraging its core capabilities to venture into new businesses. Highlighting the relevance of IT in the core business of the group, Vipul Anand, Group CIO, Jindal Steel & Power says, “We have a strong inclination towards IT and allied technologies, and have come up with our digital transformation roadmap. Our digital strategy has key components like social, mobile, cloud, analytics and IoT. It is not only driven by IT experts, but also has the under-
We have India's largest power plant where the entire generation and distribution is controlled through the mobile
standing of business management people.” He informs that most mills in the manufacturing units at the Odisha plant are IoT enabled. They have got their own cloud infrastructure hosted out of their data center which is a single integrated platform available for the group across all locations. A huge focus on analytics When it comes to analytics, the group is using the SAP ERP platform and have got a huge license base. “SAP relevance is majorly at a transaction layer for us, but we facilitate our business on faster decision making through the analytics layer. For analytics, we have a separate centre of excellence that partners with OEMs like Qlik. Based on the real time data, our top management is able to take faster decisions. Therefore, for analytics, we have got a separate centre of excellence that mostly partners with OEMs.” Anand averred that mobility is helping in faster decision-making,“We have enabled most of our IT systems to the mobility enabled platform. We have India's largest power plant where the entire generation and distribution is controlled through the mobile. The decision-making process and delegation of authorities across the group is also enabled on mobile devices. So if somebody has to make a purchase anywhere in the country and his approver is sitting elsewhere, he does need not to wait for the approval to come in and then do the login. The moment he raises his request, it goes to his mobile device which can be approved on the mobile itself and then it goes back to the
system centrally. By this we are able to save on cost, time and paper, and bring efficiency in the decision-making process.” The value of data The business conglomerate has several evaluation teams that continually work on innovating new products and technologies which keep emerging across the globe and take fast decisions to adopt these technologies. Anand also explains how the company has automated its processes and has made data meaningful for them. “Most of the advanced machines that are being used in manufacturing throw up a lot of data at various stages of production. Of late OEMs and most of our own business partners have made us realize that we can use this data which come out at various stages of the production effectively. Our focus has always been to produce more products. We have adopted L1, L2,L3,L4 layer of the architecture where the data is moving on to the MES layers and then to the SAP ERP layer and vice-versa. Thus we are able to integrate our entire production facility. Now we have better planning and better delivery of our products. We have optimized stock of manufactured goods and we manufacture the right thing at the right time. Everything is automated.” Another problem solved through technology is making decision-makers aware of what is happening across the mills. This has been done through the analytics lab. “The data comes on the dashboard and through this dashboard the unit head monitors, so we have various KPIs,” he says.
The importance of security The group has strengthened its information security system. “We have implemented a governance compliance mechanism across our ERP platform which means that only the authorized people are allowed to use our
We have a strong inclination towards IT and allied technologies, and have come up with our digital transformation roadmap. Our digital strategy has key components like social, mobile, cloud, analytics and IoT” Vipul Anand Group CIO, Jindal Steel & Power Limited
systems. We have also collaborated with Google to implement a two step verification on access control to our system. We have also ensured various measures to strengthen our inside and external threats to our security. Also, we are using advanced security devices including firewalls and control applications to strengthen and monitor our security,” adds Anand. With the digital transformation journey, the role of the CIO has also been transformed. Gone are the days when the CIOs were only restricted to the responsibility of systems running properly. “The new role which has come for the CIO is to be the business facilitator, which essentially means that you have to be aligned with your business, with your peers, with your subordinates and with your higher ups. And that aids the success line for any CIO. The better is the alignment, the better success a CIO will achieve. For CIOs, it is important to look for products that are faster to implement and easy to learn,”states Anand. The company is now working on GST compliance. “The GST law is going to mandate that each organization has to integrate with its ecosystem, suppliers and vendors with the government’s GSTN network. Therefore the CIO has to be alert regarding the ecosystem. And he has to continuously improve his application platform to be compatible with that of the ecosystem. When the GST law was announced, we created our own team which is a mix of financial and the IT experts. This team is working on an impact analysis of GST law across our organization,” mentions Anand.
◗ HAS created a separate CoE for analytics that partners with OEMs, for enabling the group to take faster decisions ◗ DECISION-MAKING process completely enabled on mobile devices ◗ HAS collaborated with Google to implement a two step verification on access control to its system ◗ MOST mills in the manufacturing units at the Odisha plant are IoT enabled ◗ HAS got its own cloud infrastructure hosted out of its data center which is a single integrated platform available for the group across all locations
The better is the alignment the better success a CIO will achieve. For CIOs it is important to look for products that are faster to implement and easy to learn
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
CISO’s Catch-22: How to win employee trust inspite of strict infosec controls ?
The industry is moving towards predictive analytics powered by seamlessly stitched solutions. This is especially important with regards to privileged users Harshil Doshi Strategic Security Solutions Consulting, India, Forcepoint LLC.
While there are companies offering predictive analytics on who can be the potentially malicious person, there is also a talk about misleading logs getting generated in order to mislead companies and thereby the investigation Uday Deshpande CISO, Tata Motors
SECURITY PROFESSIONALS are in consensus. While it’s important to win the trust of the employees, it has to be well balanced by putting in robust security controls. Operational convenience and security go hand in hand Abhishek Rawal email@example.com
ealing with ‘Insider threat’ can prove to be a double edged sword. Too many controls may slow down processes and result in losing employee confidence. A free hand to employees with fewer controls can have grave consequences.
Hence to manage the threat, It’s important to define the ‘Insider’. The first set is the outsourced employee category. It includes vendors, partners and the ecosystem. Then there is a full time Insider, who can act as a conduit to the breach. There are many ways, a breach can happen. It can be a case as simple as accidental trespassing where the employee unknowingly
commits an error with no malafide intention. The second breach type can be from a disgruntled employee. Balancing employee trust and still enforcing security. Keeping a balance of trust and still enforcing security controls is important to provide a fine balance in managing Insider threat. More breaches happen (willingly or unwillingly) from employees with more than three years experience in the company. “The employees should be trusted but with the adequate safeguards in place,” said Sharad Sadadekar, CISO & VP IT, HDFC Standard Life Insurance. There should not be any place for assumptions and thus technology should be used to identify human behaviour.“The companies blindly trust the outsourced employees. It’s necessary to
have visibility of network in terms of what’s happening. It helps to analyse the user behaviour and decipher patterns,”Rajendra Bhalerao, AVP- Infosec, NPCI feels it is wrong to doubt the intentions of the experienced employees. “I don’t agree with the opinion that more breaches happen with the involvement of employees working with the company for more than three years,” he disapproved.The employees should be trusted but vigilance should be kept at all times. “Without giving any scope for going overboard on employee trust, all the necessary technology investments should be made,” said Gulshan Narula, Asst GMIT, ICICI Bank Maya R Nair, CISO, Idea Cellular Ltd commented on the
It’s important to have proof that quickly establishes the intent and at a lesser cost
scope of access given to enterprise systems. It’s not necessary to provide more privileged access to an employee under a private access system category. In the case of access to the partner, vendor ecosystem, specific entry and exit points should be identified.She also suggested a bold view for the kind of system that has features targeted only towards those who are suspicious and vulnerable. Otherwise, for other set of users, there should be complete freedom and agility to perform to the fullest by avoiding any burdensome processes.Ashok Asawale, VP Corporate – IT, Mahindra & Mahindra said it’s important to deeply understand the human behaviour. While for Devendra Vengurlekar, VP – IT, DHFL, a risk averse and threat aware culture holds importance. He called for involving the employees in the Information security awareness campaigns.The security framework in most organisations is dotted with point solutions. “However the industry is moving towards predictive analytics powered by seamlessly stitched solutions. This is especially important with regards to the privileged users,” said Harshil
Doshi Strategic security solutions consulting - India at Forcepoint LLC. Uday Deshpande, CISO, Tata Motors said, while there are companies offering predictive analytics on who can be the potentially malicious person, there is also a talk about misleading logs getting generated in order to mislead companies and thereby also the investigation in case if the breach is perpetrated. Thus the the real thief remains at large. Predictive analytics and hardcore evidence. Post-breach investigation and proof qualification in the court of law is also important. “After a security incident occurs, forensic investigation is important to have irrefutable evidence of intent that the breach or wrongdoing was done with a malafide intention,”said Uday from Tata Motors. On the point of establishing intent of the alleged. He said, “it’s important to have proof that quickly establishes the intent and at a lesser cost,” Usually once the case is filed, they are longdrawn-out.Sharad from HDFC Standard Life Insurance said, The forensic evidence should be valid in the court of law. It’s absolutely necessary to have a valid proof of any wrongdoing. There are all types of information security incidents reported - grave and not so grave. Kunal from KPMG gave the argument a different spin by saying, how many times do we go to the court of law in case of a breach being reported. *The views in the article were expressed at the Panel discussion organised jointly by Forcepoint and Express Computer
The forensic evidence should be valid in the court of law. It’s absolutely necessary to have a valid proof of any wrongdoing Sharad Sadadekar CISO & VP IT, HDFC Standard Life Insurance
Without giving any scope for going overboard on employee trust, all the necessary technology investments should be made Gulshan Narula Asst GM- IT, ICICI Bank
EXPRESS COMPUTER | FEBRUARY, 2017
22 | INTERVIEW
India has the potential to be a bigger market than United States IRON MOUNTAIN is ramping up significant momentum in the Indian market as it sees huge adoption for its services in India, especially in regulated sectors such as banking, healthcare, insurance and telecom. William Meaney, President & Global CEO, Iron Mountain and Hitesh Gupta, Managing Director – Iron Mountain – India, share their perspective with Srikanth RP on the massive opportunity in the Indian market Some edited excerpts: How do you see the opportunity in India from Iron Mountain’s point of view? William Meaney: In the last one year, we have doubled the size of our business. We are in the early part of finding our full potential in the Indian market. That’s partly because we now have the critical infrastructure and have BFSI is growing in opened about 14 hubs in India India and a lot of which covers 90 rural banking percent of the initiatives are banking locations in the taking place. These country. We now trends excite us at also have a new management Iron Mountain and team that has hence India is the skills and the experience really in a bright that has been spot in the overall able to attract a scheme of things number of colleagues Hitesh Gupta which we did not Managing Director, Iron Mountain, have couple of India years ago. How different would your positioning be over other similar competitors? William Meaney: Earlier, there were two global players in the industry, us and Recall. Recall was one fourth of our size. We bought Recall about some months ago, and now we are the only global player in our industry.
This allows us to ensure the local market that they are getting the global best practices and understanding about the complexity of compliance especially in the financial services space. Are there any other specific industries which are driving growth faster than other sectors? Hitesh Gupta: In India, you bifurcate the industries into two segments, the private and the public. In the private segment, the major customer inflow comes from the BFSI sector. Another sector which is growing fast is the NBFC and the health sector. In the health sector there is an immense increase in the requirement on the regulatory side and the FDA audits and the clinical research. A lot of these TPAs have come up and they require these kind of services. In some of the manufacturing conglomerates in India, we have seen that there is an increase in the demand in the way they have kept their records. They also need a structured way to manage their production houses for their taxation purposes or their financial accounting purpose. So we have seen a lot of traction on the private side. On the public side, a lot of public sector banks have started outsourcing their records management to the service providers. And in central government, we do have a few taxation authorities which we
that we have an aggressive plan for India and we do have the plan to grow in the same speed in the next five years.
Hitesh Gupta, Managing Director, Iron Mountain, India
William Meaney, President & Global CEO, Iron Mountain
cater to in Mumbai, Delhi and Hyderabad. And we see there is a tremendous potential there in terms of central government, state sponsored enterprises, public sector banks and the autonomous bodies like ONGCs and Oil Corporations. We do see a lot of documents being generated in the Government and they are also increasingly going the digital way.
and in a bad financial crisis, it was 6 percent. BFSI is growing in India and a lot of rural banking initiatives are taking place. We are also seeing increasing banking penetration in the lower pyramid of the society. These trends excite us at Iron Mountain and hence India is really in a bright spot in the overall scheme of things. On the investment side, Iron Mountain is very serious on our India perspective and we do have some plans to acquire more companies in India, expand our customer base and increase the revenue. We also have a greenfield expansion plan where we want to invest $20 to $30 million immediately on a capex plan. All of these things do say
How does India fit in the overall global sphere of things? How important is India as a strategic market for you? Hitesh Gupta : India is a an extremely strategic market for Iron Mountain. India plays a very important role. India’s GDP growth is around 8 to 9 percent
One of your recent press releases states that your customer base has gone from 700 customers to 2,200 customers in India and you have doubled revenues in the past one year. How do you see future growth for your firm? William Meaney: We have a stated purpose to be the market leader wherever we operate. The fact that we hired the managing director from the market leader before and being close to the same size as the market leader here already, we can expect our India presence to grow both organically and inorganically because we think that the Indian market is extremely attractive. Both for macro-economic reasons (how well the Indian economy is doing and the access to well trained and educated people), as well as where it is in the outsourcing space. This is the market where I feel we are still scratching the surface. India should be bigger than United States when it comes to record management no matter what metric you look at, it’s a fraction of the size of North America. So we are in the early days where people are still understanding the efficiency and the quality they can get from an outsourced agency in records management. I am very very excited about what our potential
is and what the team now can deliver in India. You have spoken about your focus on regulated industries like banking, financial services and telecom. Is there a strategy to go beyond these markets? William Meaney: We typically focus on things which are high on compliance, high on security andhave high regulatory aspects. So naturally, you will see us in healthcare and financial services which include both banking, insurance and government related services but additionally you will also find us in life sciences. Globally, we have a large presence in life sciences because of the need for proper record keeping. To be able to keep proper information takes significant amounts of time and you will also find our very large presence in Oil and Gas because it’s not just about storing paper documents but we store core samples in number of locations which are the samples which they take when they are doing exploratory wells and they remove from the ground to do geological survey. We also serve the largest manufacturing companies of the world. Typically that is for blueprints and engineering documents and of course the financial documents which they need to preserve for a long period of time. firstname.lastname@example.org
D-Link is witnessing good traction in the enterprise networking market WITH AN extensive product portfolio, D-Link is making a renewed focus on the enterprise segment. In an interview with EC, Rohit Purshottam, D-Link’s Enterprise Business Head, and VP – Enterprise Sales, D-Link (India), shares why his firm is bullish on the Indian enterprise market D-Link is witnessing good traction in the enterprise networking market With an extensive product portfolio, D-Link is making a renewed focus on the enterprise segment. In an interview with EC, Rohit Purshottam, D-Link’s Enterprise Business Head, and VP – Enterprise Sales, D-Link (India), shares why his firm is bullish on the Indian enterprise market. What is the addressable market opportunity in the enterprise segment for D-Link? Which will be the key focus areas? The enterprise networking segment in India is highly upbeat with industry reports estimating it to touch $1040 million by 2019.
The Digital India initiative has led to proliferation of wireless products in the country. We are working closely with our system integrators on Wi-Fi hotspot projects and digitization of railways
Reports suggest Ethernet switches and adoption of 802.11 ac standards are being favored by organizations because of the advanced technologies that improve efficiency and maximize business productivity. Further growing popularity of wireless equipment along with strong demand for Internet-enabled devices is set to drive the revenue growth in this segment. In India, since the last two years, the enterprise networking market has been witnessing a good traction owing to factors like some of the big ticket announcements from the Government such as Digital India and Smart City. The digital India campaign has specifically led to a boost in ICT segment, as the Indian government is working towards laying the foundation for a strong IT infrastructure that can efficiently support its vision of a digitized economy. Infrastructure projects led by the government such as hotspots in the popular tourist spots, railway stations, expressways and city surveillance has resulted in significant business opportunities in wireless and surveillance domains. In addition, regular demands from verticals like Education, IT/ ITeS, BFSI and Retail have
broadened the prospects for vendors like us. We at D-Link are optimistic about the boom in the networking segment, and are geared to serve enterprise customers through our comprehensive product portfolio that comprises of data network switch, structured cabling & FTTH, surveillance, security and network management. Given the fact that there are established competitors in the market, what is your firm's value proposition or differentiator over the other players? We have been in the business for over three decades and can confidently say that we understand the networking requirements of our customer – be it SMB, SME or a large enterprise. With a wide network of 80+ business distributors & over 2000 System Integrators DLink addresses the complex networking requirement of enterprises that ensures uninterrupted & smooth functioning of business. Our product offering includes both active and structured cabling products, which puts us in a unique position as we can offer a complete networking
range under the same brand. Along with an extensive product portfolio, we have made huge investments in setting-up a robust support infrastructure. Recently D-Link has introduced a new service initiative for Enterprise customers in form of AR-NBD. Advance Replacement Next Business Day Warranty (AR-NBD) by D-Link is a premium support program designed exclusively for enterprise customers, wherein we offer a hassle free quick resolution through a dedicated tech support team, along with advance replacement facility to customer location at zero additional cost. What kind of strategic alliances has D-Link already
signed for specific scenarios? D-Link recently joined hands with MOXA, a pioneer and reliable provider of industrial networking, computing, and automation solutions. The strategic alliance is primarily aimed towards providing comprehensive industrial networking solution, with switching, IP surveillance and wireless products as part of its offering. The D-Link-MOXA collaboration will reach out to all industry segments including Power, Factory Automation, Surveillance projects, Oil & Gas, Marine and Telecom carriers. DLink & MOXA are jointly working towards building an ecosystem that deliver comprehensive and highly secure advanced robust infrastructure solution based completely on IP standards. DLink along with MOXA is working closely on a number of infrastructure projects like safe city and city surveillance. D-Link has also entered into an alliance with GajShield, a network security solution provider. With this, D-Link now offers high-end network security solutions to meet the protection requirements of modern enterprises. Such alliances have resulted in expanding D-Link’s product portfolio, while it
perfectly complements its solution offerings. Going forward, D-Link shall explore more such alliances that will broaden its solution offering and reach out to untapped market segments. Which are they key products in your portfolio that you believe will grow faster than others? One of the key product segments that we have been focusing aggressively on is surveillance. D-Link has cultivated an extensive line of IP surveillance cameras suitable for deployment in a variety of installation scenarios, both indoor and outdoor. Going forward, D-Link will soon be introducing value series range of cameras. These are going to be essentially PoE network cameras that offer high definition professional surveillance and security solution at an economical price point that will be suitable for small, medium, and large enterprises. Further, the Digital India initiative has led to proliferation of wireless products in the country. We are working closely with our system integrators on Wi-Fi hotspot projects and digitization of railways. email@example.com
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