Mar 28, 2007

'Let a Million Markets Bloom'

IBM in collaboration with the Economic Times organised a session titled "Let a million markets bloom: How Innovation is Fuelling India’s Growth Engine” last week in Hyderabad. It was ostensibly aimed at CEOs and CIOs but the audience had just a few of them. However it was impressive to see first hand IBM continue its juggernaut in India, reinforcing its branding around the Innovation theme. No wonder IBM is snapping up huge billion dollar plus deals with Indian Telecom Companies (Bharti Airtel, Idea and now even Hutch). All this while the Indian IT service players still struggle to strike large ($100+ million dollar) deals in the global arena. And did you know that IBM shares revenues with Airtel? It is accountable for its client's business outcomes! Something that the Indian IT players are only now talking about for their Fortune 1000 customers. IBM is coming into India in a big way, building a huge Indian work force and winning Indian business.

IBM showcased its recent study on innovation trends across the globe and a speaker shared the findings which were threefold:

  1. Business model innovation matters (focus on products, services, markets & operational innovation). CIOs should plan for scalability of IT to match and promote business growth.
  2. External collaboration is indispensable. CIOs should plan for applications which facilitate internal and external collaboration.
  3. Business & Technology integration is imperative.
I was surprised to see the distribution of priorities assigned by Global CEO/CIOs between various kinds of innovation to be exactly as the Indian counterparts voted. One would think that in an fast emerging market like India, a CEO would be focused on building scale and market presence; whereas in a developed market the focus would be on optimising the business model and wringing out cost efficiencies.

The subsequent panel discussion was a very good one. Sivaram Tadepalli (IT Lead for the GMR International Airport at Hyderabad) did a good job explaining how technology integrates with their business. He later explained how the new airport is rapidly getting built and was excited about the outcomes. Sangeetha Reddy of Apollo Hospitals made some good comments and IBM's India Head Nipun Mehrotra provided a good summary. So in all a good event despite the live cricket telecast they briefly showed of the India vs Srilanka match which India ultimately lost and got kicked out of the Cricket World Cup.

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