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Business Today Tech Conclave Day 1: Experts on how India can make the best of data boom

Business Today Tech Conclave Day 1: Experts on how India can make the best of data boom

Business Today's Tech Conclave, a two-day virtual event, witnesses the biggest of industry leaders come together to share their insights and understanding around data, digitisation and more

Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India at BT Tech Conclave Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India at BT Tech Conclave

Over the past year and a half, everything has turned digital. Zettabytes of data are being generated, which is no longer a threat, but an opportunity for individuals, enterprises and government. Business Today's Tech Conclave, a two-day virtual event, witnesses the biggest of industry leaders come together to share their insights and understanding around data, digitisation and more.

The event kickstarted with a fireside chat keynote session with Anant Maheshwari, President, Microsoft India, where he spoke about the burgeoning data boom we are witnessing now and how can India make the best of it.

He also talked about how Microsoft is comprehending this data. COVID-19 pandemic has led to a massive acceleration in the digital transformation of the planet. And within this, he highlighted two megatrends -- data & AI and trust & security -- that are likely to persist even after the pandemic is over.

Maheshwari also spoke at length about the report that was done in partnership with the government of India and NASSCOM to think through what is the potential of data and AI in the country, and then identify the GDP could see an uplift of nearly half a trillion dollars due to the data and AI momentum in the country.

"Now that is huge for a country like ours, and also from the fact that India could potentially become a hub for data and AI work across the planet. Building on this huge IT services boom that we've already had, we can transition that into data and AI also leveraging the big startup ecosystem that we have in the country," says Maheshwari.

The opening keynote was followed by a panel discussion on the major strides the ed-tech sector has taken in these changing times. Acknowledging digital education as the way forward for the future, Dr Preeta George, Associate Dean, Executive Education and Modular Programs of Bhavan's SPJIMR, explained the pandemic accelerated this digital education adoption. But going forward, this digital education needs innovations like keeping students engaged in online classes and embedding blended learning into current MBA programmes.

Highlighting how on-campus learning will continue to remain a mainstay, Professor Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur, said the shift due to COVID-19 was an interesting experience.

There were many learnings and IIM-Udaipur will use technology to enhance learning for the institute's main programmes. Raghav Gupta, MD, India and APAC of popular learning platform Coursera, says digitisation, data and work from home are changing the manner how the business will be done in the future. upGrad witnessed a surge of around five to six per cent last year due to the pandemic, and this was the surge of fence-sitters joining the online education bandwagon following the COVID-induced lockdowns, says Arjun Mohan, CEO, India, upGrad.

Puneet Chandok, President, AWS India and South Asia (Amazon Internet Services), during his keynote address, spoke about tapping the data boom in today's age, the current data explosion and how businesses can use them.  

He spoke about the three things happening in the data world that are relevant today. "Number one, we've seen a data explosion like never before. I call this unbound data. Number two, I know several people say every business today is becoming a tech business or a technology business. I think that's an exaggeration, but I do believe every business today is becoming a data business and to become a data business, you need data agility. So that's the second thing that's going on. And number three, the cloud is becoming the new foundation of the data journey for businesses. If you're able to build the data firing on the cloud, you can reduce the cost of curiosity in your business, which can be a true competitive advantage," he said.

Also read: Data can become lifeblood of businesses: AWS India President Puneet Chandok 

Suggesting three big ideas to businesses to leverage the unbound data coming their way, Chandok said everyone will have to invent and reinvent. Businesses have to acknowledge that they can't fight gravity. Businesses will have to build a culture of urgency and experiments in the organisation and will need data agility to make that happen. Second is the call to action by putting data to work by building their data flywheel on the cloud. And third is using the platform that gives businesses the most depth and breadth of capabilities, the platform that gives them the most choice for data professionals.

The last panel discussion of Day 1 saw a healthy conversation around E-HEALTHCARE where Harsh Pillai, CEO of Aster India talked about the importance of teleconsultation and chatbots in these challenging times. He said, "teleconsultation services took off and then AI chatbots were used to educate the masses and reduce panic."

However, Ameera Shah, promoter and managing director of Metropolis highlighted that digital adoption is still nascent in healthcare and it will expand significantly in 3-5 years. Lastly, Vishal Bali, co-founder & chairman, Medwell Ventures said the Indian healthcare ecosystem is scarcity in motion, and technology could help fill some of the gaps.

Also read: India could become global hub for data, AI work: Microsoft India President Anant Maheshwari