NASSCOM International SME Conclave (NISC) 2020 – Key Session Highlights Day-2

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The second edition of NASSCOM International SME Conclave (NISC)in collaboration with CIO Klub, took place between 1-2 Dec 2020. The two-day virtual event offered the perfect networking and value-generating opportunity to Indian Tech SMEs. The event marked various live expos and panel discussions to help participants interact with each other and explore collaboration opportunity.

The event was graced by expert speakers, professionals, and government leaders who shared their opinions on Indian SME industry growth challenges and opportunities.

The day-1 of NISC 2020 was full of insightful workshops, engaging panel discussions, and one-to-one fireside chats. You can check the day-1 session highlights here.

The following article summarizes the key session highlights of day-2 at NISC 2020.

NISC 2020 key session highlights day-2

  • Moving into the second orbit

Day-2 at NISC 2020 kickstarted with an insightful workshop titled – Taking Off into the Second Orbit. The speakers were Dr. Anand Deshpande, Persistent Systems and Dr. Ashok Korwar, Independent Consultant.

The session talked about what makes companies shift orbits and when is the right time to do so. While the first orbit is just about survival, the second orbit focuses on building a sustainable and growing business. A company should consider shifting orbits when – a) they start missing targets and margins take a hit, b) lots of busy work and chaotic environment, c) persistent temptation to create new business lines.

They also shared how growth in companies is not linear – what works in one orbit may or may not work in the next one.

To move into the second orbit, companies should shift from visualization to realization, start positioning their brand, build a winning team, and set up goals, mentors, and leaders.

  • Stress is the price we pay to be a thoroughbred in life

One of the most insightful and engaging sessions was – ‘Turn Setbacks Into Comebacks’ featuring Shiv Khera, moderated by Dr. Ajay Data, Data Xgen Technologies Pvt. Ltd.

In this session, SMEs were able to learn some real-life lessons from Shiv Khera. He shared several motivating insights that can help SMEs to cope with the pandemic induced challenges. Take a look at some of the key thoughts he shared:

  • While making decisions today could be a matter of death and life, one must not overrate the pandemic and the stress. The focus should be on mastering the mindset and be solution-focused.
  • To succeed both in personal and professional lives, one must replace television time with reading and learning – especially the entrepreneurs who dream to make it big.
  • Our focus should also be on building positive lifetime relationships and not just relationships that can be used later.
  • A huge piece of advice was to always try to be a good person and give back to life.
  • Companies are still in an exploring stage when it comes to machine learning

In a workshop – “David vs Goliath: How SMEs are taking on Big Business and Succeeding Globally”, Christian Villumsen,; Yasuhiro Tsuchida, AWL Inc.; and Gunjan Bhardwaj, Innoplexus AG, shared their views on AI (artificial intelligence) and how it can impact the growth of SMEs.

Christian Villumsen shared his perspective on companies AI journey and how still many are in the exploring stage only. He does believe that SMEs can take on big businesses and succeed globally by capitalizing on AI and machine learning.

Gunjan Bhardwaj also shared his views on AI application in medicine and biology. He also shared how AI can help in drug discovery by studying unstructured and complex data patterns.

  • You have to earn respect by becoming better than any other example out there

In his keynote, Col. Rajyavardhan Rathore, Member of Parliament shared some motivational words to help SMEs deal with the pandemic with a positive attitude. He said that in the current pandemic situation, leaders should try and strike a chord with their teams and motivate them to do more and grow beyond their boundaries.

He further said that to stay motivated, one must always look out for inspiration around. To succeed, the most important factor to possess is the will.

Overall, the session was a full dose of motivation and encouragement for SMEs and their leaders.

  • India is poised to build disruptive innovations

In a plenary session titled – “SMEs Re-inventing Themselves in Tech decadeDr. Omkar Rai, Software Technology Parks of India, shared his views on India’s SME structure and growth opportunities.

He shared how SMEs today are operating in an extraordinary environment and are re-inventing themselves. He said that India is poised to build disruptive innovations and can drive the global technology revolution by capitalizing on the vibrant tech ecosystem. Many SMEs believe they are not equal to large companies. However, it is just a misconception. SMEs are equipped to compete with big firms if they can leverage tech solutions and build innovative products and solutions through them.

  • One need to overcome five key obstacles when selling to the CIO

Vijay Sethi, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., in his plenary session – ‘Selling to the CIO’ shared some tips and strategies to help SMEs sell to the CIOs.

He shared how technology is an integral part of any business but is also prone to change fast. As technology changes, user expectations also change. Customers today want everything at a lightning-fast speed, driving companies to become agile and analyse, respond, and react faster.

He shared a few tips on selling to the CIO and said that trust is the most important factor that can make or break a deal. He further listed five obstacles that every sale can face – a) No need, b) No money c) No hurry d) No desire e) no trust.

  • AI will soon become more accessible & ubiquitous

Srikanth Velamakanni, Fractal Analytics, in his session – “Roadmap of AI Application Adoption: Opportunity for SMEs” shared his views on increasing AI adoption across several industries and how this presents an opportunity for SMEs.

He said that the cost of AI will soon become low due to advancements in related technologies like cloud and edge computing. As the cloud becomes more accessible, companies can deploy these solutions at lesser costs and also make use of AI and machine learning solutions offered at pay-per-use billing models.

He also added that companies must be very selective when hiring new talents. The key should be to focus on the best of the class.

  • Organizations must encourage people to learn, upskill, & adapt

In an engaging panel discussion titled – “The Skilling Imperative for SMEs: Building Digital Fluency for a Digital Future”, Mahesh Krishnamoorthy, Mahindra Integrated Business Solutions; M.V. Subramanian, Future Focus Infotech; and Maulik Bhansali, NetWeb Software, shared their collective views on why SMEs need to build a digital fluency to lay the foundation stone for digital future.

M.V. Subramanian said that organizations today need to leverage digital technologies and focus on becoming digitally affluent to grow and succeed in the market.

Maulik Bhansali further shared how identifying talent, training, and upskilling is a challenging area that SMEs must address. They should also encourage employees to learn, upskill, and adapt. Re-skilling has become a necessity today due to uncertain market situations and changing customer dynamics.

  • Every occupation is susceptible to Machine Learning (ML) today

Dr. Deepa Mani, Indian School of Business, in her session – “Covid-19 and SMEs: A Roadmap for Growth” shared her views on artificial intelligence and its scope through her presentation.

She shared how large data available today has made it possible to create new business models. AI can further help in identifying patterns in available data sets. She also shared an excerpt from a research paper, where scientists utilized machine learning models to identify cancer biomarkers. AI and data can help organizations face today’s business challenges and prepare them for the road ahead.

  • The rise of the gig economy

In one of the most engaging panel discussions at NISC 2020, Sonal Bahl, SuperCharge; Chandrika Pasricha, Flexing It; Madhura Dasgupta Sinha, Aspire For Her; and Anuranjita Kumar, Women in Technology, shared key insights on the gig economy and how it is becoming a new working model.

They shared that globally 60% freelancers are women. In India, that’s mere 20%. Creating awareness is important to make women grab opportunities. A change in the mindset is also required for organizations and talented workforce to capitalize on the opportunity.

They further shared how freelancing trend is catching up in Asia while it occupies 20-35% of the workforce in the developed nations.

Other key sessions and panel discussions at NISC 2020

Apart from the above key insights and highlights, the event also included the following sessions:

  • Session by Farokh Engineer, Iconic Cricketer & Brand Ambassador

The cricket icon shared some ground principles, tips, and strategies that can help SMEs face this pandemic situation and come out of it stronger and better. He shared how small wins are important and must be celebrated to develop a positive environment.

  • Post-Pandemic Future: Reviving Business Via Frugal Digital Transformation

This session by Sukeerthy M, Hewlett Packard Enterprise focused on strategies to help businesses revive in a post-pandemic world by embracing digital transformation. He advised businesses to identify and understand business challenges and write down goals before they set on to their digital transformation journeys.

  • Digitization in Manufacturing

This panel discussion included speakers – Rajesh Nath, German Engineering Federation VDMA; Jonathon Azzopardi, Laval Tool and Mould Limited; Uwe Wiss, WEISS GmbH; and Stefan Hoppe, OPC UA Foundation. The panel discussed digital transformation in the Indian manufacturing sector. They also identified the human element and trust as the key challenges of Industry 4.0.

  • [CIO Panel] Automotive 4.0- New Technologies New Opportunities

This panel discussion was led by Vivek Saha, NASSCOM; Sudhakar Bhagavatula, Royal Enfield; Jasmine Gorimar, Mahindra Group; and Shaveta Wadhera, Hero Cycles Ltd.

The panel discussed Automotive 4.0 and new technologies and opportunities that lie in the sector. They shared how technology can help understand customer needs in a better way.

  • Lessons from Scaling A Global Company

In this session, Ram Nagappan, BNY Mellon, Pershing, shared how BNY is looking forward to collaborating and engage with tech SMEs that can help them meet new regulations and fill existing gaps.

  • Fireside Chat with Mr Bharat Goenka

In this fireside chat, Bharat Goenka, Tally Solutions, shared his outlook on the rise of web-based products and software solutions and how they are better alternatives as compared to mainline systems.

  • A Buyer’s Perspective: Collaboration Between SMEs & Large Providers

This engaging panel discussion included experts like Jagdish Mitra, Tech Mahindra; Amit Saxena, State Bank of India; and Krishnasai Tanneeru, Biocon.

They discussed how the customer journey is equally important when selecting and considering a technology solution. According to them, if a technology implementation does not embed the customer journey, it cannot lead to great results. To give personalized experience, companies must pay heed to customer insights by capturing customer endpoints.

  • Reinventing Business – Sunil Gupta, Harvard Business School

In this session, Sunil shared his case studies and learnings of top technology companies like Google, Amazon, etc. to help ITSMEs reinvent their businesses.

He shared several insights on establishing connections to grow and exceed in the digital economy.

  • 10 Ways Small Businesses Crush it With Inbound Marketing

In this session, Dennis Yu, BlitzMetrics, shared great strategies to improve inbound marketing efforts of SMEs. He highlighted the importance of social media and how it can be leveraged to establish long-term customer relationships.

The event ended with a closing note by Hanuman Tripathi, NASSCOM SME Council Chair.

NISC 2020 was a highly engaging and insightful event for tech and IT SMEs – giving them access to several networking opportunities.

We at Wire19 are glad to be the media partner of this great event.

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