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India emerges as a preferred hub of new-age innovation

Rukmini Rao     March 5, 2019

NASSCOM recently released the first ever CEO survey conducted by the industry body, with 100 participants from across the IT and ITES sector. Interestingly, as most CEOs agreed that large digital deals would dominate the deal table in 2019, to ensure a slice of this digital pie, they also consider making investments into products and platforms along with co-innovating with start-ups to build digital capabilities as a priority. The result, in 2018, 40 new global capability centres were set up in India and today the number of digitally skilled workers has gone up to around 6 lakh. Business Today sat down with industry leaders at NASSCOM's Technology and leadership forum that concluded recently in Mumbai, to discuss the emergence of Indian as a preferred hub of new age innovation in the digital era. Key takeaways from the conversation:

Areas of innovation

Large organisations today are betting big on data. Be it creation, storage or analytics, data has become the single most priced component over which the artificial intelligence or machine learning capabilities are being used to derive meaningful outcomes . For Technology companies like Intel, "The two most important technologies which are critical from Intel's perspective are artificial technology and 5G transmission technology" says Nivruti Rai, Country Head, Intel India, as the company recently expanded its R&D capacity in Bangalore. While newer tools and platforms remain a key focus, the broader focal point still remains on making processes of customers speedier and better in terms of UX, security and usability.

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"The fundamentals of technology, like services innovation and supportability in an automatic and self sustainable manner over the full lifecycle are some of the areas where innovation is happening at Microsoft," says Sashikumar Sreedharan, Managing Director, Microsoft India. Even as technology innovation strives to outpace the current needs of businesses, it's the business innovation that is largely driving these innovations says Chetan Garga, Managing Director and Country Head - All State Insurance India . "Business is driving innovation but also technology is driving businesses to do things differently, it's a two-way flow," he adds.

Meeting the changing needs of customers through innovation

As innovation leads the way, most companies agree that meeting the expectations of customers in the real world and understanding their needs is where the convergence lies. Customers are looking at integrated solutions with product offerings as opposed to stand alone ones says Nivriti. With over 1 billion population and equally complex and big size of data being generated, India as a use case could provide valuable insights. "If it works in India It can work anywhere," says says Pankaj Phatarphod, Managing Director & Country Head of Services, Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) emphatically.

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While banking sector has led the adoption of technology over years and now especially with the rate digital adoption faster than ever, the challenge of innovation is a 'nice one' he adds. However, as most agree to the fact that India is an ideal 'test lab ' for innovation a few aspect still eludes ability to locally innovate compared to China, feels Sashi. "I wish we had more applied research and smarter talent" he says.

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