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NASSCOM International SME Conclave (NISC) 2020 – Key Session Highlights Day-1

NASSCOM International SME Conclave (NISC) 2020 – Key Session Highlights Day-1

The second edition of NASSCOM International SME Conclave (NISC)in collaboration with CIO Klub was organized between 1-2 December 2020. The two-day event turned out to be one of the most engaging and insightful virtual events for Tech SMEs. With 1000+ delegates, 15+ exhibitors, 300+ CIOs, 5+ countries, and 80+ acclaimed speakers, the event was indeed a ‘not-to-miss’.


This year’s theme for the virtual conference was – “Thriving in the New Decade.” It primarily focused on enabling international organizations to network with Indian IT and SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) community and explore collaboration, co-creation, and market expansion opportunities. Participants were able to hear from top Indian CEOs on tech opportunities amidst the ongoing disruption and what they can expect from the new decade.

The virtual event was organized in a way that participants were able to enjoy every bit of it from the comfort of their homes and offices. With multiple stages, live expos, and ability to join in live conversations through Q&As and polls made the event quite engaging.

If you missed attending this one-of-a-kind event, the following article briefly talks about the key session highlights at NISC 2020 (Day 1).

NISC 2020 – key session highlights day-1

The day-1 of NISC 2020 consisted of insightful workshops, pitch sessions, fireside chats, and keynotes by some of the most influential industry leaders and professionals.

  • To succeed, SMEs need to identify and develop the right talent

In his workshop, Abhijit Bhaduri, Founder & CEO at Abhijit Bhaduri & Associates and the author of the book – Dreamers and Unicorns, said that developing the right talent is key to the success of SMEs. He stressed the increasing role and importance of attracting the right talent to the workplace and how dreamers and unicorns are rising as the new role models.

Dreamers, according to him, become unicorns when they turn their ideas into reality. Lack of right talent is not allowing dreamers to create an impact in the marketplace. SMEs need to invest in talent and upskill them.

  • Brands need to pursue an advantage over other brands through various disciplines and activities

One of the most insightful sessions with a lot of takeaways was the – Bootstrapped Branding session led by S. Subramanyeswar, Chief Strategy Officer, MullenLowe Lintas Group, India.

He shared some great strategies for SMEs to grow and outshine other brands. He said that a brand is all about purpose and innovation. To succeed, brands need to identify ‘why’ they are in the business and use that factor to differentiate their offering. Consumer understanding, innovation, new distribution channels, bundling, packaging, design, communications, service initiatives, and pricing are key activities that can help brands pursue advantage.



  • Trust is the key currency of the new normal

In one of the most powerful sessions – Thriving in the new decade, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, shared some key insights and strategies for SMEs to help them move forward through the new decade.

She shared how the current situation can be seen as the perfect opportunity for SMEs to learn from the past and decide how they want to come out in the future. She further stressed on the importance of SMEs in the growth of the Indian economy and how NASSCOM is committed to empower SMEs and ensure strong participation of the sector.

She further said that agility is the key to adapt to the new normal. Digital technologies like the cloud have certainly helped businesses deal with the work and business continuity challenges brought forward by the pandemic.

  • Understanding of key competencies is vital to grow and succeed in the market

In a panel discussion – Rekha M. Menon, Accenture India; CP Gurnani, Tech Mahindra; and Keshav Murugesh, WNS, shared some mantras on scaling faster, building a global brand, and creating a niche. This session was moderated by Hanuman Tripathi, NASSCOM SME Council Chair.

The experts shared how SMEs need to identify their key competencies. These key competencies can help them grow and move forward in the market successfully.

Rekha M. Menon, Chairperson at Accenture India, further added that large companies need to be mindful when working with SMEs and should not misuse their size.

  • SMEs need to utilize and embrace the everything-as-a-service model

In a fireside chat with Sabarinathan Sampath, SVP & COO, ZNetLive, Sunil Gupta, – Co-founder and CEO, Yotta Infrastructure, shared his views on India’s digital transformation state and how SMEs can utilize the everything-as-a-service model to reduce CAPEX and scale their business, rapidly. Everything and anything-as-a-service can help SMEs innovate and bring competitive products in the market while remaining cost-efficient.

He also shared how cloud and data centers growth is vital for supporting India’s digital transformation goals. He further shared Yotta’s outlook for 2021 and how they plan to align with the changing market trends.



  • Rethinking the delivery and operational model is key to success in the post-COVID world

Vikash Jain, The Boston Consulting Group, in his session – Post-Covid World: What Will it Take to Win? shared some strategies for SMEs to help them cope and succeed in a post-COVID world.

He identified a few key strategies that can help SMEs win during and beyond the crisis. Deepening customer intimacy, anticipating the future using the long-term lens, leading the digital transformation through new and advanced operational models, were some of the main factors he discussed.



  • Technology is no longer a luxury item. It must be used to fulfil the dreams and aspirations of small businesses

In a session moderated by Gaurav Hazra, NASSCOM, Dr. P Anbalagan IAS Government of Maharashtra and Shri. Devendra Kumar Singh IAS, Government of India, shared the government’s focus on SMEs growth. Dr. DK Singh shared his perspective on why a focus on Micro business is vital.

He further added that SMEs must have access to the right technology to succeed and grow. Successful MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) can prove transformational in India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) contribution to the world.

  • SME is the most important sector for the development of India

In one of the most anticipated sessions at NISC 2020, Debjani Ghosh, President, NASSCOM, welcomed Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister of MSME, GOI (Government of India) as he delivered his keynote presentation.

He said that SME is the most important sector in India that can contribute greatly to the overall development of the country. Atmanirbhar Bharat initiative by the government of India under the leadership of Hon. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, is focused on the growth of the IT sector. A strong, agile, and innovative IT sector can pave way for the growth of new India. India needs to step into the next level of digital adoption and SMEs are at the forefront of the change.

  • SMEs need to identify new models to succeed in the new decade

One of the most insightful session during NISC Day-1 was ‘Drive success with future fit technology strategy in next decade’ by Ashutosh Sharma, Forrester Research.

He shared several research statistics related to the business state in the current pandemic era followed by strategies to move forward in the next decade. He said that though businesses need to be resilient and adaptive to survive the next decade, these are not the only reasons that have accelerated technology adoption. Ability to be creative and innovate faster is also a key reason.

He also stated that 4 out of 5 organizations surveyed by Forrester highlighted that revenues were either declined or stayed flat because of the challenges posed by the pandemic.


He emphasized the importance of finding a new business model to succeed in the next decade. According to him, the tech investments of the past decade yielded notable productivity gains – but only till 2019. Unaddressed technical debt, falling tech investment productivity, pervasive digital sameness, and increased business uncertainty are some of the reasons to blame.

The new model should be able to take the uncertainty factor in the account and help organizations succeed in the face of the pandemic.

  • Unicorn is an early milestone, not the end goal

In a session moderated by Hanuman Tripathi, Naveen Tewari, InMobi Group, shared some great insights on building a unicorn. The term Unicorn is used in the venture capital industry and refers to a privately held startup company with a value of over $1 billion.

Naveen shared his views on what it takes to build a unicorn. According to him, unicorn should not be confused as the end goal of a startup’s journey, rather it is just an early milestone. The ultimate goal should not be just becoming a unicorn but staying there and growing from there.

He believes that India has a vast potential of building consumer platforms.



  • 9 SEO hacks that can transform the web traffic

The day was well concluded with a power-packed session on the future of SEO by Neil Patel. Neil shared nine hacks that can help companies up their digital marketing game and rank higher on search engines. The nine hacks he shared are:

  • #1st SEO hack: Update the old content that already exists on the website – blogs, articles, and other web content.
  • #2nd SEO hack: Go international – create content that caters to a wider audience and is available in various languages.
  • #3rd SEO hack: Optimize the website by using the right type of web hosting service provider.
  • #4th SEO hack: Branding. Companies should try to build their brand by participating in different events and improving their social media interactions.
  • #5th SEO hack: Focus on quality link building.
  • #6th SEO hack: Include links to the other articles on your web page or blogs.
  • #7th SEO hack: Consider YouTube SEO. It can be used to aggressively promote brands through video marketing.
  • #8th SEO hack: Build a user-friendly website by understanding what your users want.
  • #9th SEO hack: Use creator tools like Ubersuggest for keyword recommendations and generating content ideas.

The day-1 ended with a closing note by Dr. Chetan Samant, NASSCOM.

Apart from the key sessions and panel discussions, the event also had live expos and Q&As to help participants interact with each other and explore networking opportunities. As a media partner, we were thrilled to participate in the event and bring great insights to our readers.

For key session highlights of Day-2 at NISC 2020, click here.

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