SAP is proud to co-present TechSparks 2021 – India’s most influential technology, innovation, and leadership summit brought to you by Yourstory.
TechSparks 2021 was about setting goals & agendas for global leadership. It was organized to reset, recover, reimagine, rebuild, and rethink the future of everything through disruptive technologies and innovative solutions.
Bringing together diverse perspectives, technology start-ups, enterprises and ecosystem stakeholders, this event offered a common platform for knowledge sharing and growth.
A fireside chat with Kulmeet Bawa, Managing Director & President, SAP where he navigates through the Nakshatras of Indian economy with Shradha Sharma, Founder & CEO, YourStory.
Managing Director & President
Founder & CEO
The Nakshatras of Growth in the Indian Economy
As India races to its GDP goal of USD 5 trillion, the role of start-ups has been an applaudable one. Indian start-ups have raised USD50 billion from more than 3,700 deals in a short period, and the numbers definitely deserve a proclamation of success in the previous decade.
While these stats need to be celebrated, the focus should be on the emerging unicorns that will continue to drive growth in the future. Gauging these projections through the lens of an industry expert, a resourceful leader, and a partner for enterprise growth, Mr Kulmeet Bawa, Managing Director & President, SAP Indian Subcontinent, and Shraddha Sharma, CEO and Founder of Yourstory, drove the dialogue towards mapping possibilities, opportunities and challenges that the Indian economy would face in the next phase of growth.
Starting with the most vital question, Shraddha directed the dialogue towards the challenges and changes one need to consider while calibrating the start-up ecosystem according to the pace at which it scales up growth.
And there’s no better time for anyone to be an entrepreneur in India than today, responded Mr Bawa. “It is a matter of pride for us that we are the third-largest start-up ecosystem in the world, with such a phenomenal pace of growth and we must consider raising the bar to match the pace,” Bawa said.
"The need for continuous investment in the digital core to cope with the expansion that we are observing at the start-up level, should not be limited to specific operations that can create a bottleneck for growth. Talent and its proper acquisition should be calibrated to match the need," said Mr Bawa. In a nutshell, to cater to the requests and requirements, we need relevant resources to fill in the gaps for extended operational might, he added.
Shraddha furthered the conversation towards SAP’s journey in fast-growing India in the past 25 years and also how the partnership in growth was all along.
SAP India is the second-largest establishment globally for us, stated Mr Bawa. We have 14000 SAPians in the country with some amazing innovation and intellectual property, he stated.
"The last 25 years have been clearly destiny defining for India as a nation and so it has been an amazing period during which India has rewritten her future", said Mr Bawa. There’s been transformational growth across every single socio-economic parameter. From SAP’s perspective, we’ve been privileged to be intrinsic partners in India’s growth story, he added.
For example, India has come a long way from a land of power cuts to a power surplus nation and is the third-largest producer of electricity in the world. And SAP is proud to be partnered with the majority of power generation and distribution outfits in India. SAP India supports more than 50 million households with gas and electricity, which is a phenomenal number in terms of mutual growth that we have witnessed.
Moving to the automotive sector, India has come from being a country that had 2-3 brands to offer to be the fourth largest automotive market in the past 25 years. By now, 8 out of 10 car manufactures are powered by SAP.
For more critical utilities like Oil & Gas, SAP is providing solutions to all the 20 refineries in managing crude oil production. With similar examples across a range of LOBs including education, telecom and more, SAP is working very closely, scaling growth and innovation across the spectrum.
SAP has not only grown with the country but has been a strategic partner in India’s economic expansion. “After 25 years, India has lifted billions of individuals out of poverty, and a large part of India’s GDP today, more than 60 per cent of it, touches the SAP system”, said Mr Bawa.
SAP Sets the Stage for New Indian Stars
Marching ahead, SAP has launched an initiative specifically for the start-ups and this laid the ground for the next question by Shraddha on an exclusive insight to the initiative from the horse’s mouth itself. Mr Bawa then offered a sneak peek into SAP’s flagship initiative.
"Project Nakshatra is all about guiding the start-ups and digital natives to prepare for hypergrowth," said Mr Bawa. The initiative aims to help the budding enterprises build products to scale and go global with extensive go-to-market plans. It also aims to help start-ups run their operations efficiently and enables them to innovate solutions at an industrial scale.
Moreover, by completely encasing these start-ups within a growth-centric habitat, SAP has come up with tailormade, bite-sized technology packages, guidance and prospects of growth, while at the same time keeping in mind the everchanging digital landscape.
"The success of these businesses will lie in creating global markets for themselves", said Mr Bawa. "In essence, Project Nakshatra has been launched with an intent to become a long-term partner of choice for the Indian start-ups like what we have done with most of the segments in the last 25 years" he added.
Shraddha pointed the conversation towards Mr Bawaasking what makes him so confident about how initiatives like Project Nakshatra will succeed and enable start-ups for the global race.
Mr Bawa responded by saying that enabling start-ups hasn’t been new for SAP, as 80% of the existing customer base of SAP constitutes small and mid-sized customers. Pinning down to what makes SAP so confident of Project Nakshatra’s success is SAP’s legacy of having served more than 450,000 customers globally in more than 26 industries, thus bringing industry-specific expertise to the table.
"We’ve seen businesses transform in the last five decades not just as a bystander, but we have been intrinsically involved in some of the world’s biggest game-changing disruptions", said Mr Bawa. And which is just one of the factors that instil confidence in Project Nakshatra, he added.
SAP, with all its technological might and industry-specific expertise, comes with the most comprehensive set of offerings today. Looking from an end-to-end perspective, the solutions are varied for both the back-office and front-office operations, he added.
"We ourselves at SAP have transformed into a cloud-based company. Being a huge, holistic solutions provider in the past to being a cloud-based company in the enterprise space today makes us more capable of adopting and understanding new market trends", said Mr Bawa.
All in all, SAP has been a growth partner for a number of innovators and enterprise-scale operations in the market, and it is now looking forward to raising the bar with Project Nakshatra. Navigating the conversation ahead, the next question by Shradha was around the final cues of growth for start-ups and entrepreneurs, who aspire to become the nakshatras of innovation.
"Given the combined strength of unicorns making around 7% of the market capital, it is prophesied to be in the high double digits by 2030, what we are seeing is a meteoric rise in the entrepreneurial culture", said Mr Bawa.
The pivotal element of growth for these start-ups will be leveraging sustainability and the same entrepreneurship pace along with the long-term aim of nation-wide growth, he added. He also said that start-ups should brace for unprecedented growth because changes would be rushing in by the next decade and preparing for it first-hand would go a long way in ensuring success for start-ups.
Precisely, Mr Bawa emphasized upon getting the building blocks right, so that when the growth starts to scale exponentially, the focus will be still on accommodating the changes needed. A culture, hence cultivated, will be the biggest differentiator for companies in terms of competitive advantage as we move ahead.
The pandemic has made educational institutions look for smarter solutions to cater to students and professionals who want to upskill. This session dwells upon the role that technology plays in educating and reskilling India’s young population.
Co-Founder & CEO
Industry Business Architect Team Lead, Industry & Customer Advisory Practice
Scaling the Next Frontier in Edtech with Technology – A Dialogue on the Future of Education
India’s Ed-tech sector, that was supposedly in a nascent stage lately has shown tremendous growth while coping with the pandemic specific requirements. Riding upon the changes brought in due to the lockdowns, the Edtech sector of India forecasts to be evaluated at $ 30 billion by the next decade according to the transaction advisory firm RBSA’s advisors.
As we move into the normalcy of the post-pandemic world, digitally facilitated education curriculums for classes 1 till 12 are expected to grow 6.3 times by 2022 from what it was in 2019 according to reports by the advisory body.
Consequently, Edtech was the most funded sector in 2020, with the venture capital being tripled by the end of the first half summing up to 998 million USD from 310 million USD in the former part of the year. With 2021 kicking in with new possibilities, 3 Ed-tech startups have already summited the unicorn status.
"Even before the pandemic struck, India was the largest education market across the globe. But the pandemic accelerated the adoption of newer technologies and digital learning" said Mr Madanmohan Rao, Research Director, Yourstory, before setting the context of the discussion.
However promising the situation these economic stats may project, the ground reality or the actual state of education per se in India is far from being efficient and effective. "There are only 2 million teachers for a whopping 218 million students. Representing an opportunity to facilitate continued advanced learning experiences for all the students with robust IT infrastructure and technology-enabled solutions" said Mr Rao.
Mapping stated situation at length and at depths of expertise, SAP presents a revelation of a session "Discovering a new frontier in Edtech".
Diving into the gist of the dialogue right away, Mr Rao drove the conversation to the next frontier in Edtech.
"In the next two to three years, whatever is going to disrupt the barriers of access & the barriers of cost is going to drive the stream of consumption", Said the first panellist Mr Mukul Rastogi, CEO and cofounder, Classplus, in addition to his brief that it is because we have been able to break these barriers, there is a surge of users and opportunities in the Edtech sector and if such a disruption, an upscaled one, is brought across in the future, it will be the next frontier in Edtech according to him.
Adding to the perspective, the next panellist Mr Aditya Bhushan Verma, Co-Founder - Prep Bytes, emphasized upon enabling the digitally unaware sections and classes with options, hence scaling Edtech to new frontiers. Even after a massive disruption in the brick and mortar centric culture of education across the nation, penetration should also be observed in tier 3 & 4 cities.
"The access should be more focussed upon, instead of what needs to be provided, by enabling the teachers with technology for learning, evaluation and by digitalizing the entire spectrum of teaching at the hinterlands of the nation" conveyed Mr Aditya Bhushan Verma, CoFounder Prep Bytes.
Providing access can connect the two aspects of learning that are the students and the teachers, however, with technology, a new axis of development ‘self-learning’ can be enabled as the new frontier. "I think self-learning will grow right from small age to youngsters and teenagers, making self-learning a part of the norm", said Vivek Goyal, Co-founder PlayShifu.
Moving on from the self-learning point of view to the schools’ perspective, learning institutions were pretty unprepared when the pandemic hit. Conventional modules of learning, evaluation and growth were not equipped with technology that could alternate the process seamlessly. "In the last 18 months, everyone has adopted technology in some way or the other. Reluctantly or not, for all of them, use of technology has made life easier to teach and is what even teachers were looking out for" said Mr Amit Kapoor, Co-founder, Eupheus Learning.
It’s undeniable that Edtech is accelerating rapidly towards growth. "When at the height of the pandemic, about 1.3 billion children were impacted by school closures, there were about 320 million learners in India leaning towards Ed-tech", said Ms Sudakshina Ghosh, Industry Business Architect Team Lead, Industry & Customary Advisory Practice, SAP India. In addition to it, a huge segment of the market and companies across the board are focussing upon upskilling and reskilling individuals, teachers learners, etc. "We believe that the pandemic has made online education the new normal and the future is hybrid when it comes to learning and education", said Ms Ghosh. Technology will continue to enhance the learning experience with personalized content, blended delivery and a unique learning experience with the needs of the learner at the centre, she added. That is where SAP stands on blending education with technology as a new frontier.
Seeing the future ahead of its time is no more an oxymoron, with Ed-tech it has been served to us already with online education and other technology-enabled platforms that facilitate learning experiences. Moving forward with the point of view at hand, we come across the holy grail of education, taken up as Ed-tech or anything else, that has been about improving learning outcomes at scale. "Given the absence of strong public education infrastructure, for schools at least, the teachers will be at the heart of it and making them adapt to the new normal of education which they have significantly achieved, will make for the new frontier", said Divya Venkatavaraghavan, Principal, Lightrock. In addition to access and cost, there’s a very central piece around embedding technology in a way that makes it more intuitive for multiple stakeholders to use, she added.
All in all, we must move ahead from offering niches with opportunities to skilling the masses with modes to learn and adapt to the newer trends and ways of education at large. This would bring a sense of accountability even at the higher education levels where the need for it is more important than defining its efficacy.
By not replacing but enabling the teachers with technology is the way ahead. Over years of practice, the teachers have attained a level of expertise over their domains that can be pretty hard to emulate using any technology possible, yet by embedding technology into this module, one can prioritize the delivery mechanism without hindering the quality of information imparted. Therefore, enabling them with a specific suite of technology is simply ensuring the seamless flow of education delivery if nothing more.
However, even after a huge surge in the demand that we witnessed during and post the pandemic situation, there were some gaps in the coping mechanism of the Edtech industry. From parents being reluctant towards the usage of technology for their young ones to the absence of a suitable education system up and running, the challenges came across were un-identified ever before.
Hands down, there is a huge opportunity in the Edtech world to scale commendable growth, and so there are some challenges that loom in when things scale at such a huge level. One of these challenges that we all faced was around the diverse requirements of learners.
While adapting to newer technologies, procuring Edtech infrastructures, and placing one’s teaching methods in the centre of all this was enabled by technology and innovative ideas to help the learners and to make teaching more efficient at the same once.
Additionally, digital enabling of education is bridging native curriculums with the global regimes of education. With Edtech startups collaborating with various multinational outfits, working with international schools, the aim is to democratize this globally integrated curriculum across the tier 3 schools and provide access to parents who could not afford to engage their kids with global technology-enabled learning before.
All this while, SAP has been powering startups with technology and expertise at every step of the Ed-tech revolution. Being a technology leader for 30 years, working with more than 10,000 educational institutions globally, the focus of SAP solutions is to enable a great experience for the learners and the students, while enabling teachers through process automation and decision making support with data. On the flipside, applications provided by SAP ensure that administrative and other processes are run efficiently for education institutions. This is a true differentiator for the technology suite that SAP offers. SAP has powered several accelerating Ed-tech startups like Byju’s and Unacademy that have come up with rapidly pivoting business models. As the Ed-tech companies pursue a rapid growth pattern, SAP boulders them with a technology-based foundation to deliver scale at a rapid pace.
Moving ahead from a learner and teachers perspective towards adopting technology to the institutions that have to procure the infrastructure required, technology has enabled institutions to amplify their productivity and scale the graph at which education is being imparted. Reducing feedback loops, efficiently maintaining a pace of learning that’s aligned with a specific set of learners and then working on the data hence procured is what technology has enabled for the educational institutions.
Upon a comprehensive discussion around the current challenges and the present-day statistics of the Edtech sector, the final leg of this discussion was directed towards the future and simply the question "What’s next"? Newer technologies, new business models or what road do we take to scale growth in the future of Edtech?
What lies next, and what has already been stated before is that technology should be used to enable not replace the entities of education in the loop. The ground reality of the Edtech sector isn’t far from the fact that technology is empowering the education system with options, upskilling educated individuals with employability and eventually scaling economic growth.
Mindful of the basic requirements, technology is enabling people with life skills and programmatic avenues leading to real prospects of employment, rather than just the old school ways of learning.
From SAP’s perspective, we can drive a lot of efficiency through automation of processes as the future of Edtech. Also, with technology, we will be able to break the barriers of privilege and take education to learners irrespective of their geographical and social limitations. From a technology standpoint, a completely immersive virtual experience may or may not be achieved overnight, but it is augmenting the teachers with technology-specific models like AI and ML to make the learning experience better and efficient in the future.
As per IBEF, India’s fintech market is set to triple its numbers to Rs. 6.2 trillion by 2025. This session talks about the challenges like data security, regulations, compliances that fintech has to deal with for scalable growth.
Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & CEO
Vice President - TATA Group & Unicorn Business
The pandemic has given most enterprises a reality check. It made them look for smarter solutions and a big savior has been technology. In this session we touch upon the need of globalization and adoption of Indian enterprise solutions to drive growth in today’s ecosystem.
Co-Founder & CTO
Co-Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & CSO
Indian Entrepreneurs - Redefining the SaaS Landscape Boom
Software as a Service a.k.a SaaS is today one of the most popular services in the cloud landscape. One can guess its ground breaking popularity by the fact that India's SaaS companies could be unlocking a trillion-dollar opportunity by 2030 leading to half a million new jobs, as per the report, ‘Shaping India's SaaS Landscape’ by SaaSBOOMi and McKinsey.
A panel of experts gathered to discuss the thriving SaaS industry and to take a closer look at India's SaaS landscape in the latest edition of Techspark 2021 powered by SAP.
The discussion was hosted by Mr Madanmohan Rao, Research Director, YourStory. Techsparks, being India’s one of the most influential summits, discussed its agenda-’what next’ with Indian entrepreneurs and industry leaders.
Mr Madanmohan noted that there were various factors responsible for the success of this sector in India, including tremendous capital infusion, seasoned entrepreneurs, versatile tech talent and a favourable regulatory environment in the country.
Nevertheless, the secret sauce to success was very subjective for all the experts present during the summit. So, what was it?
According to Mr Vaibhav Khandelwal, co-founder and CTO, Shadowfax, tech talent and the accessibility to senior industry leaders, were crucial ingredients for the success of SaaS in India. "While talent is one of the major secret sauces, however, the motivation driver for SaaS businesses in India is the precedence we have seen from some of our entrepreneurs who have gone on this journey and have done big," Mr Vaibhav stated. He also added that the founders of companies like Zoho and Freshworks were very approachable and very active in the overall ecosystem and that was adding a very strong value in building a very strong ecosystem in India.
Mr Vasant Sridhar, co-founder and CSO, OfBusiness, said building SaaS in India for the world and building it for Indian customers were two different things. "If you look at something like Freshworks, they say that they typically work with an average Annual Recurring Revenue (ARR) of 5,000 dollars which means 80 % of their customers pay more than 5,000 dollars which is around 4 lakh.
But the reality is that if you are building for India today, you do not have a large enterprises base nor an SME base which pay you 4 lakh on an annual basis", he said.
Mr Vasant also said that while building SaaS for the SME ecosystem, one must view SaaS as an acquisition engine, where based on the requirement and paying capability of a customer, one was able to acquire them and layer it with other solutions such as commerce, raw material and financing to maximise the value proposition in the supply chain.
According to Mr Vishal Chaudhary, Founder, Zetwerk, timing had played a pivotal role in the success of SaaS businesses in India. "The secret sauce to success (of SaaS in India) is the rightness of the time in the post-pandemic world," said Mr Vishal. "This has even strengthened in the post-pandemic era as everyone is online and wants digitization of his workflow and operating system".
However, Adarsh Kumar, co-founder and CEO, TagBox, had a different opinion for the growing popularity of SaaS in India., "India is a unique market with its unique problems", he said. Solving unique problems, not copying the already existing SaaS model, but coming up with something customised and suitable for Indian customers, pricing and seamlessness were a few important aspects that had accelerated the popularity of SaaS on Indian turf, according to Adarsh.
Prayank Swaroop, Partner, Accel, opined that selling SaaS in India required a lot of patience because Indian customers generally "take a lot of time to buy a product".
Mr Prateek Mathur, Senior Director Marketing - Innovation & Strategy, SAP India, had a different take on the topic. He said that tech-driven innovation was the most influential factor accountable for the success of SaaS business in India.
"I feel the secret sauce of success so far is tech-driven innovation. The Indian ecosystem, especially B2B startup, has taken the bull by the horns and they have found unique solutions to the problems and challenges faced by businesses in India and across the globe", Mr Prateek said.
He added that the Indian startup ecosystem had earned huge respect globally and was looked up to by the world. "In my engagement with startups, what I have seen is that go-to-market strategies are emerging as another essential ingredient of the secret sauce", he added. The pandemic has altered the lifestyle of people by 360 degrees. Businesses across the world have transformed according to customers' needs.
The panel then went on to discuss the changes in business strategies after the pandemic.
Mr Vaibhav said that he shifted his focus towards the local distribution setup. According to him, customer behaviour had shifted significantly post the pandemic.
Customers from big and small cities wanted their supplies to be delivered at the doorstep and with speed. "Therefore, investing in such technologies and applications which provide speed and coordination are the major points that we focused upon after the pandemic", he said.
Mr Vaibhav’s company recently launched India’s first super delivery app. The rationale behind it was to optimize the workforce in the delivery sector by giving people access to multiple sellers. According to him, the app saves time, provides organised work opportunities and boosts the income of delivery partners. It also gives them basic benefits such as insurance and early pay.
Talking about the journey of OfBusiness, which became a unicorn in 2021 and its business expansion, Mr Vasant said bringing a one-stop solution for manufacturing units belonging to different verticals of supply chain and then layering it with different solutions such as commerce and tender was the secret formula behind his success.
While sharing his story of becoming a unicorn within three years of launching Zetwork, Mr Vishal said his business evolved by identifying the problem areas and by introspecting. As he kept understanding customers’ requirements of managing manufacturing projects at multiple geographical locations, he was able to provide solutions covering all their requirements. "We not just do the matchmaking and identification of suppliers for our customers, we also handhold the suppliers and do the entire project management through our in-house software", he said.
The demand for supply chain visibility accelerated during the pandemic. Mr Adarsh said that digital logistics solutions witnessed a boom and his IoT-based SaaS startup, initially faced the brunt of the pandemic but later became a major service provider for tracking and tracing the Sputnik vaccine pan India. "Our partners such as SAP and Microsoft helped us scale the GTM very quickly”, he said, adding that “we had experience of the last four years and we were agile enough to understand the needs of the market".
Mr Madanmohan said that the SaaS ecosystem in India was thriving with more than 1000 SaaS startups, including 10 unicorns. Talking about India’s B2B SaaS business growth and scalability, Mr Adarsh said there was a healthy arrogance developed in the Indian SaaS landscape which made the startups come up with solutions best suited to Indian needs instead of copying the West. So, it had a bright future, he added.
Discussing the money, investment and challenges in the SaaS business in India, Mr Prayank said there was a very limited talent pool in the sales sector and the talent abroad was expensive. However, an interesting time in the Indian SaaS market had started as the Indian enterprises started buying made-in-India software and good investment in the sector was coming from all over the world.
Mr Madanmohan asked how SAP had become relevant for digital natives, contrary to the popular belief of being best suited to enterprises. "I would start with addressing one of those myths that SAP usually is for the enterprises and I believe that it primarily has to do something with our legacy. However, 80% of our customers, that is 40 to 50000 customers worldwide are from the mid-market segment, and digital natives among them are emerging as one of the fastest-growing segments," said Mr Prateek Mathur.
Explaining about SAP’s unique opportunity for startups,Project Nakshatra, he compared the startup’s journey to a speed boat transforming into a warship. "When startups start the journey, they are like speed boats. By the time they reach the destination, that is, a unicorn, they become a humongous battleship. if they operate with the same engines having the same efficiency and power as the speed boat, of course, it won’t work. SAP is emerging as a strong partner of startups for the solutions which can scale as they grow", he said.
Project Nakshatra is an outreach program that allows Indian startups aspiring to scale in India or the globe to find a way to engage with SAP. Project Nakshtra benefits both enterprises and startups.
"We work with startups and bring a right size package just to help them run and scale their business. We have already started this journey and expect this space to evolve very fast", Mr Prateek explained to the panellists. "Secondly, we work with startups and help them align with the customer needs by offering them access to the right kind of businesses and market mentorship", he added.
SAP, through Project Nakshatra, introduces startups to accelerator and incubation programs like SAP Startup Studio and finally runs a joint GTM program to provide them access to 12,000 customers in India. It also opens access to SAP Global initiatives, such as industry cloud programs, where these startup solutions are evaluated for becoming SAP industry solution architecture. "These solutions are marketed through SAP app stores and all these offerings basically come together as what we call Project Nakshatra", Mr Prateek said.
The panel agreed upon the great scope for Indian technology becoming agile in the AI, blockchain, and space technology sectors. Scale and margin, building high levels of transparency, quality and originality would be the emerging trends in the Indian SaaS landscape, the experts concluded.
In his concluding remarks, SAP’s Prateek gave a success acronym called GLOBE. According to him, G stands for good GTM (go-to-market) strategy, L signifies leverage partnership in both tech and business areas. O stands for operational excellence to scale, B for bringing business solution’s best-in-class products and E stands for enrolling in Project Nakshatra.
Innovation merged with healthcare can boost not just the sector, but the whole country. This session will coverIndia’s current healthcare sector, the advent of technology, improvement of network and supply chain and understanding regulatory compliance in healthcare.
CEO & Co-Founder
Covid-19: A Bane or Boon for the Indian Healthtech Sector? Experts Examine
The year 2020 will go down in history as one of the most catastrophic years ever. The unforeseen pathogen wreaked havoc worldwide. The scientists, at the same time, across the globe intensified their efforts to find a cure. Although tragic, the Covid 19 outbreak provided significant development and opportunities to India's healthcare sector, which had been ignored hitherto.
In the latest edition of Techspark 2021, powered by SAP, a panel of experts gathered to examine the elements that boosted India's healthtech sector. The panel discussed its theme ‘What’s Next’ in light of the current trends and challenges in the healthcare industry in India, and how technology could be leveraged to improve health facilities.
The hour-long virtual conference was hosted by Shradha Sharma, Founder & CEO, YourStory and senior anchor and producer Priya Seth. Mr Aditya Narayan Das, senior director, Digital Native & Private Equity Engagement, SAP Indian subcontinent, Ms Geetha Manjunath, Founder & CEO, Niramai, Ms Anu Acharya, founder, Mapmygenome, Mr Vishal Gondal, Founder & CEO, GOQii, Mr Gaurav Agarwal, Co-founder, 1mg, and Mr Sunil Thakur, founding partner, Quadria Capital were among the experts on the panel. The topic of the discussion was Tech Save: Merging Healthcare With Innovation for Rapid Growth.
Ms Priya started the conversation by asking the panellists where they saw the health industry going in the wake of the pandemic.
"For a country like India where a lot of physical infrastructural lags in terms of healthcare needs and aspirations of people, digital was the way to go. I think Covid made that a needed reality", Mr Gaurav answered.
He also said almost all the healthcare companies embraced digital technologies and the consumers adopted the technologies overnight. "It's really exciting to be in healthcare at this point of time. Lots of start-ups in this sector are providing good digital and physical services", he added.
Ms Anu opined although the Covid-19 pandemic brought the nation's attention to health and technology was at the core of it, there was still a lot of work that needed to be done, especially on the health infrastructure front and for the people who did not have access to digital means.
She also said that the Prime Minister’s emphasis on the digitization of the National Health Mission (NHM) would help grow the health sector. She stated that people’s focus shifted to preventive healthcare during the Covid outbreak and it widened the scope of work in the health sector.
Artificial intelligence (AI), big data, and analytics have taken every industry across the world by storm and the health industry is no different. Explaining how these technologies would become key tools in diagnostics and health monitoring,
Ms Geetha said, "Technology is reshaping the way healthcare is delivered. Digital is the future of healthcare". However, she noted that new innovations and ideas were needed to leverage the immense amount of data to help people effectively.
"Definitely, AI and big data will help predict situations like pandemic and figure out the best treatment for a person, or come up with newer drugs that help control a disease", Ms Geetha said. She also mentioned how technology-enabled healthcare with many smart systems were bridging the urban-rural divide.
Mr Vishal noted that three major trends in the health industry emerged due to the pandemic. Firstly, people began self-health monitoring, which led to the development of new digital devices. Secondly, they required reliable sources of knowledge and advice as social media was flooded with all kinds of information. Thirdly, the government needed to invest in healthy citizens.
Busting the popular myth about SAP that it was fit only for enterprises, SAP’s top official, Mr Aditya Narayan Das informed the panellists that eighty per cent of SAP customers were from the mid-market segment. He said that the media's portrayal of the organisation affected public opinion. "We add a significant number of mid-market customers in a year", he said.
However, there was a need to socialise for SAP product usage because SAP relied on the partner ecosystem. "We have curated the solutions in the correct byte sizes so that people realize that they can consume it at the early stage of the startup, in small amounts, and then rapidly grow as they scale", he said.
Talking about the investment in the healthtech space, Mr Sunil said technology solved many problems in the healthcare sector including those of access, convenience, efficiency, quality, and continuity. "Changing consumer behaviour due to the government's push towards digitization and commercial compulsions, has increased the investment in tech dramatically," he added.
Ms Anu was asked how the personalised medicine space was evolving, to which she said the field had a lot of potential. “One can do so many things in the space of personalized medicine. The first is, disease prevention by understanding one’s genomic lists, which is what we initially started out with”, she said. "We came up with a unique product called Genomepatri. We wanted to make something to which people could relate to", she added.
Mr Vishal stated that many digital platforms in the healthcare industry were not user friendly, resulting in a lack of engagement. "We created a reward ecosystem called GOQii Cash for every healthy activity. With the partners in insurance, I am even able to impact insurance underwriting.
We are not just looking at getting health behaviour and clinical data. Our vision is to translate them into a health score which can then determine the benefit to the consumer", he explained.
"Just like how credit score has changed the game of credit availability in India and everybody now wants a better credit score, we are using data in the same way the banking and finance sector uses to motivate people to do better financial behaviour", he said.
Explaining the significance of AI and other advanced technologies in the early detection of terminal diseases, Ms Geetha said her company developed a new methodology for detecting breast cancer called ‘Thermalytix.’
"Presently, we are working on detecting breast cancer because it is the largest killer of women around the world. At least 6,80,000 women died last year from breast cancer and almost 90% of these women could be saved if the cancer was detected early", Geetha told the panel. Her AI-powered tool collected and analysed temperature data and helped in early detection, in finding cost-effective and timely treatment, and in better breast cancer management.
Mr Sunil said his organisation looked for companies with growth, visibility, strength and predictable cash flows, and a route to profitability before investing in them, when asked about the scope of investment in the country's healthtech field.
The experts concluded that initiatives like the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM) will help produce standardized data in the country. Based on this, the scientists will be able to develop deep learning and analytical models. The insurance business will grow exponentially. The health and genome data integration will be critical in determining insurance benefits for the consumers.
Mr Aditya informed that SAP was already collaborating with insurance companies to develop solutions that are appropriate for such business models.
"We want everyone to get their Niramai test done. We are also looking at foreign collaborations. It is very exciting to take an Indian product abroad", Ms Geetha said in her concluding remarks.
In order to keep up with the uncertain times, brands are putting an added effort on returns and shipping management to ensure a smooth experience. This session will cover the importance of managing customer experience in today’s time, delivery management and speed and insights on pricing and promotions
Founder & CEO
Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & COO
Director & Co-Founder
Co-Founder & CEO
Co-Founder & Partner
Vice President and Head of Midmarket Business
SAP Indian Subcontinent
Customer Experience in India's D2C Sector: A Report
As they say, no industry in the world is immune to digital disruption, and so is India’s Direct to Customer or D2C sector. Data from Avendus Capital says the D2C sector in India is estimated to reach USD 100 billion by 2025. Following the pandemic, this sector in India has become even more vibrant, like in other parts of the world. Advanced technologies and social media platforms have brought consumers closer to the manufacturers and suppliers. Here's how today's industry leaders are putting these advanced technologies to work to improve the consumer experience.
A panel of experts gathered as part of Techsparks 2021, explored the current and future trends of India's D2C sector and the impact of technological disruptions on the sector. Techsparks, powered by SAP, is one of India’s most prominent global leadership summits for knowledge exchange and agenda-setting.
The session was led by Mr Madanmohan Rao, research director, YourStory while Mr Subramanian Ananthapadmanabhan, vice president and head of Midmarket Business, SAP Indian Subcontinent, Vineet Rao, founder & CEO, Dealshare, Anand Ayyadurai, co-founder & CEO, Vogo, Ajith Mohan Karimpana founder & CEO, Furlenco, Tanuj Choudhry, co-founder & COO, HomeLane, Ankit Garg, co-founder & CEO, Wakefit.co and Vinay Singh, Co-founder & Partner, Fireside Ventures were among the experts on the panel.
Mr Madanmohan geared the conversation by asking what experts considered to be a modern and seamless consumer experience. "India has a very diverse audience. Every state and city is very different in terms of culture and expectations. You have to really innovate to ensure that you are building a more decentralized experience", Mr Vineet replied.
Mr Anand, who runs a vehicle rental company, stated that a seamless customer experience is achieved when 80-90 per cent of his customers have no problems during the ride. "If I am able to deliver a good quality product on time, without any defect, I would consider it as a good customer experience", Mr Ajith said.
Mr Tanuj, who is into the home decor business, defined customer experience as delivering on promises and creating small moments of customer delight. Mr Ankit outlined a seamless customer experience as going beyond the customer's expectations, while Mr Vinay believed that providing bespoke solutions resulted in a smooth customer experience.
SAP’s top official Mr Subramanian opined that knowing not only what constituted a smooth customer experience, but also what did not, would add to it. "Customer experience is all about personalisation, but what it is not about is over-automation. That typically is the pitfall that most organisations, which focus on growth only through the lens of customer acquisition, believe in", he said. He also said that the key to improving the customer experience was to become proactive rather than reactive, which included finding and resolving issues before they affect customers.
The panel also discussed how they leveraged advanced technologies such as AI and data analytics to their advantage. Mr Tanuj added that he, fortunately, had already designed a virtual platform where customers and interior designers could meet before the pandemic hit. He also mentioned that technology helped him develop 3D home designs in a short time span. It saved customers a lot of time and the company was able to deliver despite the Covid-19 pandemic and the lockdown.
Mr Subramanian said that from being a solution provider to creating a community of co-creators has been an exciting journey for SAP. "SAP has moved beyond just being a technology advisor for midsize organizations. We have also established a community where partners and customers can come to learn from each other. Recently we announced a program called ‘Mentors of Global Bharat’ in which we're bringing in some of the country's most successful business leaders to speak with young entrepreneurs and share their experiences and best practices", he said.
The panel concluded that subscription-based services were the way for the future and that advanced technologies and data would play an important part in India's D2C sector. The following three Es, according to Mr Madanmohan, were the most important takeaways from the session: engagement, expectations, and excellence. He advised engaging with customers wherever they were, living up to their expectations and achieving excellence in one’s business model, were the three elements of a seamless customer experience.