Review of Persistent’s Digital Experience Platform — Vega

About the author(s) : #ZinnovDigital

New-age customer experiences are central to the digital transformation initiatives of most enterprises. However, being able to enable engaging transformative experiences has been a challenge for most companies. We spoke to Sudhir Kulkarni — President, Digital at Persistent, to gather his perspective on the subject and also learn about their digital experience platform — Vega.

Zinnov: What does digital transformation mean to you? How important are customer experiences with respect to the same?

Sudhir: The world today is driven by software. Looking back at the last few years, we have seen digital native companies, such as Uber, Airbnb, etc., completely disrupt many traditional or existing business models. To address this disruption, enterprises need a different mindset altogether — to almost think and act like a software-driven or born-digital company, thereby creating transformational experiences across the business value chain. At the same time, digital transformation is not just about customer experiences — but how a company or an enterprise can meaningfully engage with consumers, with employees, with channel partners, etc. The way I think about digital transformation and our point of view at Persistent, these new experiences is what true digital transformation is. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, unlike most previous technology-led business transformations — digital transformation is a continuous transformation making speed or agility crucial.

Zinnov: Why this sudden buzz around customer experiences? Ideally, how should enterprises enable customer experiences from a technological standpoint?

Sudhir: I want to clarify again that it is not just the traditional view of customer experiences. Think about Uber or AirBnB, the driver or the host is as much a customer and so it is about all experiences that define a business. Today, every industry is getting disrupted by digital natives that have innovated and created transformational experiences. This is forcing all businesses to look at newer ways of interacting with customers. No one wants to stand in a line or wait, when instead, in 2 minutes and 2 clicks or touches you can do a lot more. The potential of digital transformation is in showing traditional companies and business models how technologies make new and different experiences possible, and how the ability of delivering new experiences continuously is crucial to the growth of their business.

In our opinion, what will power this is a model or a framework, which includes data, APIs and experiences. Experiences are continuously evolving, however the API infrastructure and the data integration layer behind it remains the same. Hence, in order to sustain these iterative experiences and also to enable personalization, an enterprise should adopt a platform-centric approach to enable this kind of continuous innovation with experiences. These experiences can certainly not be accomplished with an IT centric approach.

Zinnov: How is Persistent focused on enabling its clients to offer transformative customer experiences or experience? Tell us about Persistent’s digital experience platform.

Sudhir: We have a digital experience platform, that we call Vega (for speed). Vega is a toolkit or a framework consisting of 4 components –

  1. Data curation and integration,
  2. API management
  3. Digital experience framework
  4. and Identity management and security

APIs are at the centre of any solution we build using our platform, with APIs being used to bring in data from the various sources. The platform has the ability to handle all forms of data — structured, unstructured or semi-structured due to the presence of a Hadoop aggregation layer and also a smart integration layer. Further on, with the help of APIs, the curated data is pushed to the data consumption apps.

Since, the various data streams are mapped to the APIs, it can be easily combined and manipulated to enable different experiences. Also, as there is no requirement of creating a data warehouse, the speed at which we can build the platform for our customers is phenomenal. We view Vega as a workbench that allows us to swiftly create the required set of solutions for clients.

Figure: Vega — Reference Architecture

We offer an array of services along with the platform to enable the enterprise to enable right digital experiences for customers. We help setup the base infrastructure, integrate data sources and curate the incoming data. We use our experience framework to then design and create engaging omni-channel experiences for the end users.

Persistent supports its clients throughout the journey and tracks user engagement to deliver contextual information, as well as monitor continuously to measure business impact. Also, the platform supports continuous enhancements and iterations to deliver new customer experiences.

Persistent’s DNA of building products has taught us that tasks that used to take six months to do, can now be done in less than six weeks. This is aided by cloud infrastructure taking care of scalable storage, compute, processes etc. Experiences delivered through Vega platform utilize the once built infrastructure multiple times.

Zinnov: What would be the core differentiator of the platform when compared to the competition?

Sudhir: The biggest differentiator is speed — in a very continuous way. Compared to traditional competitors, the speed with which Persistent can deploy these experiences, will be phenomenally higher. Not just one time, but in a continuous way because of the digital experience platform — Vega.

In addition, for industries that we have a priority focus on, such as healthcare, we have physicians, and nurse practitioners on our payroll to help us with the domain and ensure high relevance of experiences.

We have a few other differentiators. The ones I would call out are our technology edge and our software product DNA, along with how we as a company have always been open to pricing model innovation and risk-sharing with customers. Speed of execution, however, is the most important differentiator for us.

Zinnov: Does the platform enable personalized experiences? Can you share some success stories?

Sudhir: Personalized experiences use data to provide actionable insights at an individual level. There is a whole element of data curation and data analysis that is required. Vega actually enables that and delivers the right kind of insights at the user level, whether it’s a physician in a hospital, or a patient, or a banking customer. The platform enables these users to make personalized decision right there on the spot.

Over the last few months, we have a few customers transform their experiences for stakeholders using our platform. For a large New Jersey hospital, we created a series a digital experiences for patients, providers and others involved in the delivery of healthcare. For example, a paper based authentication that was conducted at each department was replaced with a digital bracelet that can be tapped to make relevant patient information available at every step in the patient journey. For a regional bank, where putting senior experienced consultants at branches was cost prohibitive, we implemented kiosks with biometric recognition. Upon identification, the agent gets to see a contextual profile of the customer, including suggestions on best suited products. This enables even a semi-experienced agent to not only service the customer better but also drive new business for the bank.

Zinnov: How do your customers buy and use this platform, what is your sales process like? How is this related to your platform partners and partner-centric sales model?

Sudhir: Customers can leverage the platform as a subscription or a one-time purchase. My view is that consumption based or per-user type of pricing models become less compelling as the digital experiences deployed on the platforms start to scale. Customers also engage with us for systems integration and other services in addition to the base cost of the platform. In addition to the advantage of speed, the platform allows customers to rapidly iterate and deploy new experiences, and there is no need to invest into new platforms while the infrastructure also remains the same.

In terms of sales process, we mostly sell to the line of business who understand the use case and are looking for speed. They work with us to flesh out the solution roadmap, and any proofs of concept. The CIO and IT teams get involved for integrations with other systems.

Our platform partners for digital make it possible to get into new customers and engagements. That said, the core of the offering for us is digital transformation and a platform-centric approach that drives continuous transformation by design. We work on the premise of an API economy and use the APIs that are exposed by our partner platforms. An open platform like Vega with an API orchestration and API management layer is the way forward and it works well for partners as well.

Zinnov: When was this platform launched and what is the growth plan ahead?

Sudhir: We launched this platform about 6 months ago and the two industries we are focused most on are — Healthcare and Banking. We have significant traction in these verticals and plan to expand into retail and logistics as well.

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“Google is coming!” – The Game of Autonomous Cars

About the author: Vishnu Shankar is a Lead Analyst with Zinnov in the Global Engineering Insights Platform team

“Google is coming!” – The Automotive Industry has been hearing this since 2009, the year the Self Driving Car Project was announced. Autonomous Cars are the most discussed topic in the industry right now and we were curious about what is happening with the Self Driving Car Project. We pulled out some data from Zinnov’s Global Engineering Insights Platform (GEIP) and here’s what we found out:

Google Self Driving Car’s R&D Team

Google has over 11,500 engineers out of Bay Area working on a wide range of products. Of this, a team of around 350 engineers under the Google X umbrella is the complete engineering team that is working on building the Self Driving Car. This team does not look like any regular Automotive R&D team – It is a mixture of software engineers, sensor systems engineers, UI/UX specialists, data scientists, machine learning, computer vision & deep learning experts who are all working on the “Autonomous” component of the Car. This team is primarily based out of Mountain View. The team is led by the CTO, Chris Urmson, a Robotics Scientist with a doctorate from CMU.

Screenshot 2016-07-19 at 13.59.09

The Self Driving car is currently being tested in Bay Area, Kirkland and Metro Phoenix and has completed over 1.5 million miles.

Technology Partners

Google has always been very clear that they will not become a manufacturing company. The Self-Driving car will replicate the same model as Google followed in its Nexus handsets where Google only owns the software and brand though the manufacturers are LG, HTC or Huawei. Even in Google’s self-driving car, nothing except the “Autonomous” component comes from Google. Every other part of the car and in fact, the car itself are from several traditional Automotive partners which includes Bosch, Continental & the recently announced, Fiat-Chrysler. Google is also setting up a testing facility in Michigan to stay close to its suppliers. The below illustration shows the various technology partners of Google’s Self-Driving Car:

Screenshot 2016-07-19 at 13.55.34

This is actually transforming the way the industry has been working – where generally, the OEMs are the final end customer facing entity. Now, with entry of firms like Google, there could be a transformation in this model. Here, Google becomes the end customer facing entity whereas the manufacturer of the Self-Driving Car – for example, FCA would become a supplier to Google.

With Google making big bets in this space, there are other Tech firms who have already jumped into the Automotive car race:

  1. Apple’s Project Titan: Though no official announcement from Apple, they have been hiring a large number of people from Automotive Companies like Tesla, Ford, Volkswagen, GM & Bosch. Apple has also made a Billion-dollar investment in Didi Chuxing, a Chinese Ride sharing company
  2. Uber (in which, Google Ventures is a major investor): Uber’s driverless cars are not a secret as they are being tested on a Ford Fusion in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania already.
  3. Baidu: The Chinese competitor of Google has setup a lab in Silicon Valley with an autonomous-car research team and plans to mass produce autonomous vehicles by 2021. They are currently developing and testing the car in partnership with BMW.
  4. LeEco: Another Chinese Tech company which is the major investor in Faraday Future has now partnered with Faraday Future and Aston Martin to develop Autonomous Cars. They have also set up a Silicon Valley Lab for the same.

The Technology supplier landscape is also fast evolving with more than 200 start-ups in ADAS, Connected Car and Autonomous Technology space globally. These start-ups have received over 1 Billion USD funding till date.

This does not mean that the OEMs will be replaced by these Tech companies. The OEMs are also participating in the shift towards autonomous cars either by partnering with these Tech firms or by setting up their own Autonomous Technology teams. We populated some data from GEIP on where the Automotive companies are running their Autonomous Tech research and who their technology partners are:

Screenshot 2016-08-03 at 11.19.59

We are eager to wait and watch how the Game of Autonomous Cars would turn out to be in the next few years.

Google is coming!

Want to know more about Zinnov’s GEIP?

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Digital Disruption via Pokémon GO: A lesson for brick and mortar firms

About the authors: Prasanna SatpathyMember, Zinnov Advisory Board (Co-founder AgileMinds Inc., ex-Lead Partner & VP, IBM GBS with 25+ years of IT Strategy/ Consulting/ Transformation experience) and Shobhit MohantyConsultant with the Enterprise Digital Transformation Team at Zinnov

What is all the craze on Pokémon Go about?

On July 6, Nintendo released Pokémon Go, a simulated Augmented Reality (AR) gaming app based on the extremely popular Pokémon characters. Created by leveraging location based geocaching and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies, the game took the world by storm and became viral within hours of its release in a handful of countries (currently launched in Japan, US, Australia and New Zealand). That day on Tokyo’s exchange, Nintendo’s stock zoomed 36% intra-day with its market cap rising from $20 billion to $37 billion within a week!

Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 21.14.40

As per mobile engagement firm Similar Web, in 2 days of the game’s release, it had become the most successful game ever with daily average user (DAU) engagement of 45 minutes, compared to WhatsApp (31 m), Instagram (25 m), Snap Chat (23 m) and Messenger (13 m). Smart Tower estimated that the daily in-app purchases in the US alone hit $2 million per day by the end of first week, and Niantic is now looking for new monetization channels including paid sponsorships and advertisements.

What is it about Pokémon Go that has made it such a viral phenomenon?

  1. It connects with the millennial generation at multiple levels. This generation grew up watching Pokémon and bingeing on the first generation of Gameboy based Nintendo Pokémon games—277 million Pokémon games were sold between 1996 to 1998 alone. Along with all technology advancements, there is a wave of nostalgia that is currently driving game adoption for two generations of Pokémon-lovers
  2. While the adoption of AR tech seems to be stealing the limelight as one of the primary reason for Pokémon Go going viral, it really is more than that. The beauty of the game lies in the way it converges Massively Multiplayer Online Gaming principles with AR to successfully transport users into a parallel Pokémon universe– not as an individual but as an entire population of Pokémon lovers
  3. The other powerful factor working in favour of Pokémon Go is that the requirements to play are minimal. A charged smartphone, access to internet (Wi-Fi or 3G/4G), GPS, and a phone camera. Pokémon Go’s potential market is approximately 2 billion devices – or more than a quarter of the world’s population

Emotional connect, advanced technology, affordability and the affinity in bringing people with similar interests together– Pokémon Go has all the right ingredients to become a viral phenomenon and unsurprisingly it has!

So what is in it for brick and mortar businesses?

Pokémon Go offers tremendous possibilities for most B2C businesses to effectively market their services within the burgeoning Pokémon Go user base, and with minimal expense. All one has to do is purchase and drop lures inside the game, to increase the chances of Pokémon popping up in the vicinity of the lure location. Given the relative rarity of Pokémon in the game (especially the rare Pokemons like a Vaporean or Dratini), businesses can expect a steady stream of Pokémon seekers rushing into their establishment as soon as a lure is dropped.

Bloomberg reported how L’inizio’s Pizza Bar in Queens spent approximately $10 on Lure Modules and saw food and drink sales spike by more than 30 percent during the Pokémon launch weekend. Bon Appetit reported that businesses from Flying Saucer Pizza Company in Salem, Massachusetts, to Huge Café in Atlanta are seeing huge in-store traffic bumps, either from buying and dropping Lures or from the good fortune of being located near Poké-stops. Flying Saucer Pizza Company is encouraging customers to post a Pokémon Go picture to social media and then tag the restaurant to automatically enter a daily raffle for gift cards. Some establishments are also running deals on different Pokémon Go teams. CitySen Lounge in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is offering a 10 percent discount for Team Mystic. Zoe’s Kitchen in Texas is offering a $25 gift card to anyone who catches a Pokémon in one of their restaurants and tweets it.

Pokémon Go phenomenon opens up multi-fold opportunities for digital marketers. It offers the kind of convergence between the digital and the physical channels that businesses can leverage. It takes digital marketing to an altogether different level because it is more than just a channel for communicating your offers and discounts. Here is an app that allows you to advertise in hyper-local scenarios, where in-game actions within the digital world directly incentivise customers to physically visit your brick and mortar outlet. Pokémon Go shows us the kind of digital-to-instore integration that any true Omni-channel tool must comprise of. It points towards the kind of possibilities that MMOG and AR based games can open up for businesses.

Screenshot 2016-07-28 at 21.14.20

What is Niantic planning for the future of Pokémon Go?

We are at the cusp of a significant digital disruption, make no mistake about it. One can only imagine what will happen (and it’s a question of when and not if) once Niantic opens up the Pokémon world for businesses to advertise. Gigaom has already reported of talks taking place between Niantic and McDonalds to make their outlets official Poké-stops (where players pick up items) and Poke-Gyms (where your Pokémon fights others to take control of the gym). If the examples quoted earlier are anything to go by, it would provide McDonalds with an immensely powerful marketing tool.

Niantic hasn’t built in social media integration yet; and once players can post and tag directly to platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and Vine without even leaving the Pokémon Go app, businesses may be tempted even more to advertise within the game.

Like all other advertising channels, the popularity of Pokémon Go has a direct influence on its effectiveness. But its more than just Pokémon Go, imagine how Google Glass, smart watches, smart phones, ADAS, wearables can all be integrated into a seamless AR enabled physical reality that businesses can leverage to interact directly with consumers.

AR based futuristic scenarios for brick and mortar firms

Retail stores are already targeting near-by shoppers with coupons and rewards, using geo-locations and beacon technology. They can now build much more motivational means to lure (no pun intended) consumers leveraging such a game app that builds an emotional connection. Using smart sensors and cameras, stores were already making preliminary efforts to watch customer behaviour, plotting heat maps from their movement within the stores, using advanced analytics to direct the shopper to specific shelves/products, and influencing the shopping cart. An app like Pokémon Go can simplify these efforts and make the shopping experience fun and rewarding.

Think of combining Pokémon Go with the likes of Waze to build AR based hyperlocal mapping applications.  Retailers can use them to help shoppers navigate their path to reach desired products, advertise their features, run basic budget analytics, compare with other products, etc.– all of which can be juxtaposed onto real world images. Add a layer of communication and collaboration on top of it for shoppers to exchange shopping ideas, share personalised discount offers, post reviews & tips– and you can bet that enterprising developers are already working on these!

Such AR apps can deliver for retailers where other approaches to gamification have failed thus far. It is up to the imagination of the stores to use (or even build) a game such as Pokémon Go tailored to their context. As an example, imagine friends, families and neighbours who often shop together (especially at Groceries, Dept. stores, Outlet store malls, etc.) competing among each other for Pokémon-like prizes and rewards while shopping inside the stores

ADAS or Advanced Driver Assistance System is another AR based use case that seems to be picking up quite rapidly with the pioneering work being done by industry behemoths such as Google, BMW, Nvidia, Tesla among many others (not to mention the rumours of the work that Apple seems to be doing in automotive). ADAS thus offers another potential AR based platform for physical businesses to market their offerings on. Google is already building a repository of information on physical locations that is integrated into its Maps and StreetView offerings. Imagine an ADAS based car windshield that not only helps people navigate but provides a channel for Google to advertise physical outlets of highest bidders whenever people search.

Wait, what about VR?

The opportunities are staggering, what remains to be seen is how well can businesses leverage AR technology to meet their goals. Remember AR is only a part of the story; we haven’t even begun on Virtual Reality (VR) which is an altogether different and more powerful tool. With better and more affordable AR/VR headsets coming soon from tech giants like Facebook, Google, Samsung and Sony, the 3-D high-def immersive experience will feel life-like. Microsoft’s Nadella believes that the experience can feel more natural by customers using contact lens type Hololens instead of additional gadgets like headsets.

These are truly exciting times we live in– where the physical and digital realms seem to be morphing into each other through advanced digital technologies. The question is what are you going to do about it?

– A blog by Zinnov Digital

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Self-Driving Technologies – Time for Greater Collaboration?

About the author: Ashwin Ballambettu Pai is an Associate Director at Zinnov with the Global Engineering Service Provider Practice.

Self-driving technologies have come a long way from hands-free and minds-off driving to driverless pods in a short span. Luxury car maker BMW is expected to launch a fully self-driving car by 2021¹. 10 million self-driving cars would potentially be on the road by 2020². Arguably, the automotive industry has its priority on self-driving technologies for the future.

According to Zinnov, global R&D spend on self-driving technologies in 2015 was close to $6B. Toyota has earmarked $1B over next 5 years to develop advanced driver assistance systems³. Technology giant Google is spending $30M YoY on autonomous cars⁴. Tier 1 supplier Bosch is leveraging artificial intelligence(AI) to develop its autonomous technology⁵. Uber has started testing its own self-driving car in Pittsburg, PA⁶. In summary, we would potentially see plethora of autonomous technology offerings from multitude of players – OEMs, Tier 1 Suppliers, Technology Giants, Ride sharing companies, and more.

Thanks to hyper competition self-driving technology is advancing and maturing at rapid pace. However, a recent fatality involving a Tesla Model S electric sedan using the Autopilot feature has casted doubt on the safety aspect of autonomous driving technology⁷. Earlier this year, Google’s self-driving car caused an accident with a public transit bus⁸. Mid last year test cars from Google and Delphi Automotive nearly collided, a first such instance involving a pair of self-driving cars⁹.

Autopilot systems comprise of disparate hardware and software sub-systems such as image and proximity sensors, Radar, Lidar, vision processors, AI algorithms, etc. Also, such sub-systems are developed/supplied by multiple industry players adding to the complexity and reliability of autopilot systems. Ironically, Tesla and Mobileye – a provider of Autopilot technology to the former, are in disagreement on why the Autopilot did not apply brakes¹⁰.

A deeper inspection into the above incidents point at gaps in testing of self-driving technologies. To achieve 100% test coverage for countably infinite number of potential scenarios that could lead to an accident is humanly impossible. Also, testing conditions exacerbate due to interoperability challenges that could potentially arise between self-driving technologies from multiple players. Further, in countries such as India with no lane discipline, future autopilot systems must also deal with chaotic traffic including pedestrians as well as holy bovines. Having said, 1.23 million vehicle collisions occurred with deer in the US during the 12-month period ending June 2012¹¹.


(Image source: Google Self Driving car)

With too many corner case scenarios that would potentially escape test, automotive industry is bound to face regulatory hurdles further delaying wide spread adoption of self-driving cars. Regulatory bodies would ensure parity for safety standards across self-driving technologies irrespective of premium or mass market OEMs. Automotive players should seize the moment to collectively address the challenge and win.

First, the automotive ecosystem including the regulatory bodies should jointly formulate the policies and regulations around self-driving cars. Second, there should be an industry wide effort to define and adopt open standards/ technologies based platform for self-driving systems. This would ensure transparency about the limitations of such autopilot systems. Finally, define a robust framework for system test – modeling, simulation, test and validation. Also, partner with extended ecosystem such as engineering services players to accelerate test and ensure zero test escape.

“Our vision is that by 2020 no one should be killed or injured in a new Volvo car.” – Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Cars

In conclusion, it is the spirit of competition that led to the advancement of self-driving technologies. However, the primary challenge of automotive industry is to ensure passenger safety which can perhaps be achieved through greater collaboration.


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The Agile imperative for enterprises and how Service Providers can help

About the authors: Andre Wegner is the Founder CEO of Authentise, a 3D printing startup based out of Silicon Valley. Shobhit Mohanty is a consultant with the Digital Transformation practice at Zinnov.

World economies are more connected than ever before. One only needs to look at the recent Brexit vote and the financial mayhem caused by it across global national stock exchanges to fully understand the extent of globalisation and interdependence between economies and firms today. Globalisation has opened up enterprises to a wide variety of external forces. There is an urgent need to be agile and nimble in the face of such uncertainty but it’s easier said than done.

When we think of agility our minds tend to focus on software and internet giants such as Google, Amazon etc. innovative firms who are known to always stay ahead of the curve. Yes, it is “easier” for IT companies to be agile thanks to the relatively lower proportion of fixed assets and reliance on internal talent and IPs created rather than fixed assets such as heavy machinery and factories. But there is a much sharper contrast between IT’s relative and lack of agility in manufacturing than just that. When global macro-economic conditions, natural disasters and fickle customer demand are not selective in impact then why should some companies be more agile than others?

Digital technologies such as sensors and mobile devices can today, deliver rapid insight to traditionally inert verticals such as automotive, consumer electronics and embedded systems. Insight itself is not enough, however. Customers and managers want the insight from sensors turned into action as companies try and adopt to rapid changes as quickly as their digital peers.

Here are six reasons why companies need that agility to survive

1. Agility to react to market forces

Market conditions change fast, and when they do, it’s important to respond quickly and decisively. While the concept sounds fairly simple, we can see industries struggling to adapt.

During the 2003-2008 energy crisis, rapid rise in the prices of auto fuel discouraged car purchases especially sport utility vehicles (SUVs) and pickup trucks with low fuel economy. This posed a major challenge for the American “Big Three” of General Motors, Ford, and Chrysler who had made them their primary focus, given historical popularity and relatively high profit margins. Their combined US market share declined from 70% in 1999 to 53% in 2008. In comparison the impact of the crisis on big European and Asian manufacturers was much lower given their higher focus on hatchbacks and fuel efficient cars, highlighting the need for firms to quickly redirect resource allocation in response to changing market conditions.

Fairphone has partnered with 3D Hubs (a network of 30,000 3D printing locations) to produce protective cases, on demand, in 200 different locations. This has helped reduce inventory levels to zero, ensuring that the company was not subject to currency fluctuations anymore while also delivering enhanced customer engagement

Agile production methods make tooling less expensive and machines fungible, and thus enable companies to adapt rapidly to changes in global markets by redirecting resources easily to new tasks

2. Agility to react to competitive changes

The relentless pressure to improve performance is particularly clear in today’s automotive industry. The value of digital manufacturing technologies in the areas of designing and rapid prototyping is fairly evident. This is why companies such as Ford, BMW and others have all incubated 3D printing technologies in their labs or innovation centres. Digital manufacturing can go beyond that; it can also help firms in end to end production of high precision products at feasible rates to support truly innovative projects.

Case in point being Konigsegg’s inclusion of 3D printed Turbocharger in the “world’s first megacar”, the One:1. The turbocharge delivers fully variable performance at any RPM, giving it a relatively flat torque curve from 4000RPM all the way to its 8250RPM redline. Car companies wishing to compete with that kind of performance explosion have to adopt production technologies that are sufficiently flexible to not constrain engineers.

Another way to provide agility is to crowdsource innovations. Examples abound in the embedded market, where Apple and Google opened their respective mobile OS’ to app developers contributing valuable content. Nokia did so too slowly for its Symbian OS and as a result its market share of the global smartphone industry dropped from a whopping 48% in 2007 to just over 3.5% in 2013. It was sold twice in the last 4 years, and is now a shadow of its former self.

3. Agility to use cheaper inputs/reduce costs

It’s not just tooling prices that can be reduced through more agile operations. Smarter manufacturing operations are allowing companies to adapt to changing raw materials prices. In the embedded industry we see such disruption being brought about by Nano Dimension. Their Dragonfly 3D printers can print multi-layered circuit boards (PCB) enhancing a product designer’s ability to experiment with their projects and cut down development time as well as end consumer costs.

In another example, Jabil Circuit has integrated extensive backend systems through which it is able to coordinate 17,000 suppliers – always picking the cheapest one while maintaining deadlines. By leveraging mobility, advanced analytics and other technologies within this platform, Jabil has been able to reduce inventory by more than $300 million over several years while elevating customer service levels by more than 20 percent.


4. Agility to meet fickle customer demand

The customer is always right. Managing inventory to keep up with quick changes in needs and tastes is a must. Failure to react to consumer demand is not only dangerous, its suicidal. We know what happened to Kodak with its refusal to enter the digital camera industry. Intel too was slow to react to shifting customer demand from desktops to mobile and tablets which has led to it losing ground to the likes of Qualcomm- who chose to focus on the mobile processor segment. Intel has seen rapidly falling chips sales since 2013 signifying the level of impact of missing the mobile bus.

For physical product companies the cost of moving slowly is high. Some are adopting software-like cycles of testing, measuring, and updating to get an edge. Xiaomi, the billion-dollar Chinese consumer electronics tech start-up uses a flash-sale strategy which helps test demand of a product before moving to mass production. This enables Xiaomi to keep very low inventory and have much faster release cycles than competitors. It’s akin to devOps for a physical products company!

5. Agility in the workforce

Who you employ is just as important as what you produce! Traditionally, CEO’s have simply interpreted this to mean a reduction in labour cost or headcount. Car producers in Europe moved production eastwards; Foxconn automated 60,000 jobs in a single factory in China.

However, automation is not everything. Savings from automations are simply re-routed into higher value tasks, as a slow education reaction to technological changes has led to a talent crunch in coding and software related areas. Where the labour comes from and how it’s trained is hence more important than ever.

Many interesting innovations are resulting from this insight. GE Aviation, for example, crowdsourced the redesign of an aircraft bracket, receiving designs from 56 countries and reducing the final weight by 84%. Qualcomm meanwhile increased its collaboration with universities to increase its agility in R&D by not being locked in to a particular skill set of its employees.

6. Agility to react to environmental issues

While companies may spend a decade planning for shifts in the workforce, environmental disasters often dictate significantly more agility—and its absence can cost companies dearly.

When the Tōhoku earthquake and following tsunami wiped out four key Toyota plants and countless suppliers, no contingency plan would hold. Nearly a month later, two thirds of their suppliers from north-eastern Japan were still not functioning. Toyota’s production declined by over 600,000 cars in 2011 and the firm lost its place as largest automaker by volume. The price of a less-than-agile manufacturing operation is staggering.

Western Digital, the largest drive manufacturer in the world, also suffered massive SCM disruption when its hard disk drives manufacturing facilities submerged during the Thailand floods of October 2011. The floods were reported to have cost $199 Mn with operations not returning to pre-flood scale before January 2012.

In both the above cases, a more agile manufacturing operation that allowed production to be re-routed autonomously may have been able to keep more of Toyota and WD’s operations running during the event.


Role of the Service Providers

While the benefits of digital manufacturing are clear for everyone to see, most businesses are not aware of the urgency of the situation. This is where service providers come in to spread awareness and help firms expedite their journey towards becoming a more agile enterprise. In order to tap into this opportunity, services firms need to quickly build capabilities and position themselves as a digital manufacturing services provider. We have provided a broad, step-by-step framework to help in doing so:

  1. Build thought leadership around digital manufacturing technologies: Blogs, webinars and roundtables are the best way to showcase capabilities as well as build expertise in new technology areas. Service providers should look to leverage said collateral to increase awareness within clientele as well as build connects with new logos. SPs should also look to attend popular conferences such as CES, International Manufacturing Technology Show
  2. Partner with leading digital manufacturing technology providers: Firms such as Authentise (with their microservices based 3DIAX platform) and Stratasys (leading 3D printer and production systems manufacturers) are laying most of the groundwork by building vital components of Digital Manufacturing. It is vital for Service Providers to partner with them to enable knowledge sharing and build expertise on said platforms/solutions.
  3. Identify how best to leverage current expertise in the digital manufacturing domain: Digital Manufacturing lays heavy emphasis on revamping the IT systems and machinery utilised, thus creating a need for allied IT services. Leading IT service providers can leverage existing staff augmentation, testing, automation, analytics, integration and security services capabilities to build relevant offerings around these needs in digital manufacturing.
  4. Initiate consulting led digital manufacturing conversations with top current accounts: As with other advanced technologies the level of awareness within most firms with regards to digital manufacturing technologies is considerably low. Service Providers need to drive consulting discussions with relevant stakeholders to create the need for said technologies within their clientele- starting with the top accounts.
  5. Build accelerators and frameworks to help firms in rapid prototyping of digital manufacturing technologies: The age of Digital transformation has increased emphasis on digital technologies, pushing numerous enterprises to setup digital labs and innovation centres to constantly innovate. Given the rapid growth in number of digital labs, service providers who can provide accelerators and frameworks to build prototypes of digital manufacturing technologies quickly and effortlessly will be able to differentiate themselves in this space.
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Indian Fintech Startups – Riding a high tide!

About the author: Anjan Krishnamurthy is a Management Consultant at Zinnov with the Global Advisory & Performance Consulting Practice. 

In a letter to shareholders last year, JP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon warned of growing competition for Wall Street in the form of new age Fintech startups.

“Silicon Valley is coming” Jamie Dimon, CEO, JP Morgan.

I believe this warning is applicable to banks across the world. A disruption in the Fintech industry has just begun and it is certain to change the way how banking is done. The question is only ‘By when and by how much?’

India too is proving to be a hot-bed for Fintech, as these startups have raised over USD 1.3 Bn over the last 3 years. These include payment start-ups (Mobile Wallets & mPOS), p2p platforms, marketplaces and aggregators, crowdfunding platforms and financial services. Mobile Wallet startups have received the most funding over the last 3 years with PayTM alone raising over USD 890 Mn. This growth is attributed to the rise of the Indian e-commerce and the active M&A’s in the mobile wallet space, with Snapdeal acquiring Freecharge, Ola acquiring Qarth, Flipkart acquiring PhonePe and Amazon acquiring EMVANTAGE.

Another sector to watch out for is the p2p lending with more than 80% of the P2P lending startups founded over the last 3 years. With more than 50 Mn. SMEs and growing – quick access to capital, avoidance of tight regulations and credit checks, coupled with an unfriendly banking system has aided the growth of P2P lending start-ups.

As on today, majority of the Indian Fintech startups are curating platforms for alternate lending, mobile wallets, marketplaces & aggregators. While there are startups in financial services that facilitate risk analysis and fraud detection, improve customer experience, automate trading systems etc., this number is significantly low. In the long run, It would be great to see more product startups with a global focus, building deep tech solutions.

A growing number of startup accelerators too has helped in nurturing the ecosystem. While there are 70+ broad-themed accelerators across the country, a number of Fintech focused startup accelerators too have emerged. These include Start Tank (part of PayPal), Startup Studio, amongst others. Barclays’ RISE program is set to launch in Mumbai in 2016.It wont come as a surprise if a number of other banks, especially in the private sector incubate similar initiatives in the near future.

And finally, the India stack with open APIs, especially the payments layer, could redefine banking solutions for Indian SMEs & consumers. It will be interesting to see how one could leverage the stack in order to enable efficient B2C or G2C services.

As the high tide is set to create newer energies & synergies, it is interesting times ahead for anyone who is a part of the Fintech ecosystem.

Posted in Financial Services, Startups | Leave a comment

Driving internal innovation initiatives effectively at your Organization

About the author: Vivek Gupta is a Senior Consultant at Zinnov who works with the Engineering Excellence team.

That continuous innovation is the mantra for survival & success for organizations globally is now an established fact. Avenues such as setting up accelerators/ incubators, startups connects, leveraging the existing developer ecosystem, academic connects etc. can provide an impetus to innovation-related aspirations of the organization. However, these avenues, alone should not be seen as silver bullets to innovation woes or as alternatives to internal innovation within the organization.

Most of the organizations try to have it covered through a defined blueprint for internal innovation initiatives & programs. However, it is the manner of implementation of these programs where the actual-rubber-meets-the-road! Implementing such initiatives effectively can be challenging, especially for organizations that may be large in terms of headcount, or for entities that were established with a certain mandate in place, Example – Being a support Org. for the global HQ.  

How do you bring about a cultural shift, a change in mindset at such organizations that evolved with a certain DNA that was not necessarily attuned to innovation? How do you overcome stereotypes, pessimism with regards to failed attempts earlier at implementing similar initiatives?  How can you drive cross-team/ cross-BU collaboration across vertically aligned functions and teams?

Driving (1)

If these are some of the thoughts that cloud your mind, then there’s some help to follow!

  1. How to Increase awareness & know-how about innovation initiatives/ programs? – Start small in case program is just being rolled-out, probably with a pilot program or with a specific team or BU that you have generally found to be supportive towards such initiatives. Leveraging internal social/ collaboration platforms to spread the word about programs, using gamification techniques (Ex: Points system for top innovators/ collaborators, Badge-of-honor etc. for person contributing most number of relevant ideas etc.) can serve as great mechanisms to increase awareness and uptake of such programs .
  2. How do I rope in the right evangelists for such initiatives? – Try to identify someone from within a specific team/ BU who is willing to champion your cause. A person who has the ability to positively influence the team, a prolific innovator/ inventor, a role model for the team, someone with intrapreneurial tendencies etc. are typically the right set of candidates for such roles.
  3. Some of these initiatives failed in the past, How do I overcome pessimism surrounding the same? – This can sometimes be a difficult question to answer. Be candid about what went wrong last time around, what is different this time and what will be improved upon or done better. Provide clarity about roadmap of such initiatives with clearly defined outcomes. Specify the actual support on offer for ideators/ innovators through these initiatives/ programs (Example: Mentorship support, collaboration support, time-funding, monetary funding etc.). Evangelize any recent success story, emerging role models that emerged through recent pilot programs etc.  
  4. How can I enable collaboration across large, vertically aligned functions & teams? – Create provisions for frequent connects between innovators & potential collaborators. Provision for both online (emails, social platforms, virtual connects etc.) & offline (one-on-one meetups through forums such as Hack days, Expos, poster presentations etc.) forums, diligently track status/ progress on your efforts. Encourage ideators to be specific about nature of collaboration that they seek for their ideas. Example: Specify whether they need dedicated time off, help with idea roadmap definition, SME support, hands-on support in terms of development & testing etc. Seek feedback from innovators & collaborators to improve collaboration-driven initiatives on regular basis.
  5. What about rewards & recognitions? Are monetary/ material rewards & recognitions the right tools to motivate potential innovators & drive participation in innovation programs? – Although a popular tool, material rewards & recognitions may not work with those who may have moved up the Maslow’s hierarchy! For some ideators, visibility for their ideas and opportunity to showcase them at the highest level within the organization maybe highly motivating. Aim to create opportunities for ideators to showcase their ideas to relevant stakeholders such as CxOs, Site leadership, Product Managers, sales & marketing teams. Peer recognitions (through memorabilia, badge-of-honor, SWAGs etc.), providing multiple opportunities/ platforms to showcase, seek feedback & refining ideas can also serve as the right motivation for innovators.
Posted in Human Resources, Innovation | Leave a comment

Captive vs Service Provider : A Zero Sum Game?

About the author: Sidhant Rastogi is a Partner at Zinnov and leads the Global Engineering Service Provider practice.

I have run a tad rugged answering the R&D center versus engineering service provider question. At times am piqued with either side taking one or few data points out of context or plain opinions to construct tall arguments in favor of the respective sides.

Quick primer on Facts/Numbers:

  1. Global Size 2015:
    • Offshore In-house: Globally, there are over 2500 offshore in-house R&D centers delivering ~ $31B of Engineering work.
    • Outsourcing: There are over 250 Engineering outsourcing partners across the world delivering ~ $36B of Engineering work.
  2. Global Growth 2014-15:
    • Offshore In-house: ~7.5%
    • Outsourcing: ~8.5%
  3. India Size 2015:
    • Offshore In-house: India houses over 900 companies with in-house centers accounting for ~ $12.2B
    • Outsourcing: India has over 75 outsourcing companies accounting for ~ $7.8B
  4. India Growth 2014-15:
    • Offshore In-house: ~9% (note the larger base)
    • Outsourcing: ~12.5%

Therefore, from above data points, at the very least, we can establish that:

  1. Globally and also in India, captives and outsourcing partners are doing very well for themselves.
  2. India is growing faster than the global growth rate across captives and partners

So how do we solve this ‘debate’ as the facts point to a happy co-existence of both parties.

NON Zero-Sum Game:

The problem is that most people think of this as a contest – “captives versus service providers”. I must agree that to an extent, this is exactly how the premise was originally framed 15 years back. That was when a tsunami of companies set up their in-house R&D centers in India (500+ i.e. 50% of the current companies set up shop between 2002-2007). The service providers tried hard to ‘stop’ or gain share of this offshoring wave. Battles (now part of folklore) played out in the R&D offshoring company’s board rooms. Some of the veteran center heads and senior leadership at service providers still carry the ‘battle scars’.

However, a lot has changed in the last 10 years (like Apple launching the iPhone 🙂 ). Following are the key developments on either side:

In-house R&D centers:

  1. Scale: Over 50 centers with 1000+ engineers; multiple above 10,000 engineers each!
  2. Maturity: From the initial days of ‘supporting’ basic engineering work such as test / validation and drafting / modeling to owning not just complete engineering but also product management of product lines out of the center. This has been achieved by investing in capability, labs and talent.
  3. Efficiency: Scale and Kaizen over time has allowed in house centers to keep their cost of operations per FTE flat (in fact reduce in USD or EUR terms) over the last few years.
  4. Market/Ecosystem Integration: In-house center engineers have aligned, and in many cases tied to the hip with the company’s sales teams to drive growth in India / emerging markets. Companies are also using their India centers as channel to reach out to the broader India innovation fabric – start-ups, universities, etc. Centers have invested on multiple start-up incubators, reach out programs.
  5. Power (for lack of better word): Many in-house R&D centers have elevated themselves to “seat on the table” at overall company level decision making. Many are now important stakeholders or owners in global procurement.

Outsourcing partners:

  1. Scale: Scale growth is undeniable. We now have 8 companies with only engineering revenues over $1B with the largest being over $2B.
  2. Capability: Partners also have made massive investments to build accelerators, solutions and plug-n-play IPs to help their customers. They have also made investments in large labs, test facilities, proto shops to enable full life cycle product development.
  3. Footprint: Outsourcing partners have moved away from India-only or Eastern EUR-only delivery models to a larger global footprint. They can now offer a choice of talent and ecosystem “plug-in” across continents and countries – Argentina, Mexico, Eastern Europe, China, India, Vietnam, etc.
  4. Near shoring: (not onsite staffing – landed or local). In the day and age of fast moving technology, companies want to iterate on certain engineering areas faster.  Outsourcing partners are setting up shop close to the company engineering hubs or in nearby lower operating cost locations to enable greater collaboration and customer ‘comfort’. This is also leading to full cycle offshoring as the customer becomes more adept at carving out engineering work packages or the product they started working on together moves up the S-curve.
  5. Skin-in-the-game: Outsourcing partners are committing to unique engagement models. They have taken on complete product suites of say end-of- life products on a revenue share or upfront payment model. This not only helps companies focus management/engineering bandwidth on newer areas but also infuses/frees-up capital for new initiatives. Some partners are also working in outcome-only models such as payment linked only to quantum of reduction in the BoM cost of a component/assembly.

Also, in the last few years the in-house centers and outsourcing partners have warmed up to each other. They say money speaks the loudest – there is an estimated $350-400 Million of engineering work coming directly from India in-house captives to outsourcing partners. The engagement levels are improving from pure staffing to work-package and in many cases outright joint product development and technology collaboration.

Finally, from the product company perspective, both in-house and partner outsourcing models are tools to leverage during the process of Engineering globalization and innovation journey of a company. Each of the two models has its un-deniable value and both models can / are also being deployed simultaneously in multiple cases. I firmly believe that both models are here for good. It is high time we stop seeing this as a zero-sum game between in-house R&D centers and outsourcing partners.

Note: This post is only in the context of Engineering/R&D.
Source: Zinnov Global Insights Platform, Zinnov Globalization Accelerator Platform.

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Revving up India’s Accelerator Engine

About the authors: Vignesh Balagopalakrishnan is a Management Consultant at Zinnov who works with the Engineering Excellence team. Iris Babu is a content writer. 

India undeniably has a vibrant startup ecosystem, with Zinnov and NASSCOM pegging the number of technology driven product/digital startups in the country at over 4,200 in 2015, trailing behind only the US and neck-to-neck with UK. Startup accelerators have been a critical part of the ecosystem providing valuable resources and mentorship to help startups mature. One of the earliest startup accelerators in India was Microsoft Ventures established around 2012, a model now replicated by the tech giant globally.

Today, India is home to over 40+ accelerators, with about 1/3rd of them being corporate accelerators. Some of these include Microsoft Ventures (Bangalore), Target (Bangalore), Reliance (Mumbai), PayPal StartTank(Chennai), Pitney Bowes (NCR) to name a few. In the past few months, there has seen a surge in the number of corporate startup accelerators being set up in India. In 2016 alone, several large corporations have announced/set up accelerators in India: Apple, Oracle, Airbus, Lowes, Tesco, SwissRe to name a few. Why are we suddenly seeing this new trend?

The average lifespan of a company on the S&P 500 has decreased from 90 years in 1935 to 18 years today. For several organizations, growing in size and becoming process-heavy has resulted in an innovation bottleneck that needs to be addressed. Innovation has become cornerstone for organizations of tomorrow, with the landscape evolving into a disrupt-or-be-disrupted mode. With large corporations acknowledging this trend and bolstering themselves for the future by investing in innovation, startup accelerators are emerging as the most preferred engagement model to work with startups across India. The appeal of the model primarily lies in the fact that it’s a win-win situation: startups get an opportunity to gain strong footing with no interference while large companies achieve their corporate objectives, a model being dubbed as “co-opetition” (collaboration + competition).

Corporate Accelerators – What’s the value for large corporations?

Different accelerators are aligned with different organizational priorities. Here are the most common drivers for setting up corporate accelerators:

  • Promotion of own technologies – Promote own technologies/platforms by offering them to startups at no or subsidized costs (Ex.: Microsoft accelerator was initially launched to promote adoption of Microsoft Azure)
  • Complementary products – Develop complementary products/services that can add value to the organization’s existing offerings (Ex.: Apple is looking to strengthen the iOS developer ecosystem through the proposed India accelerator)
  • Access to external (disruptive) innovation – Access to and incubation of next generation technologies and products aligned with organization’s future priorities
  • Joint Go-to-market solutions – Enable access to newer markets through joint GTM solutions or eventually M&A. (Ex.: Target has signed vendor agreements with startups like Konotor & MuHive that graduated from Accelerator Program)
  • Exposure to employees – Promoting intrapreneurship and a culture of innovation within organization (Ex.: Airbus BizLab Bangalore has three internal Airbus teams as part of the current cohort)
  • Branding and Talent Sourcing – Building a strong employer brand as an innovation-focused company and thereby attracting quality talent


Accelerators have become a valuable component of the startup ecosystem in the country today. While startups are gaining significant value from these accelerators, large corporations setting up accelerators need to be cognizant of their intended outcomes from the accelerator, design and operate them effectively to derive significant value from them. Target’s vendor agreements with its accelerator alums Konotor & Muhive, and Microsoft’s investments in its alums like Ranku are clear instances where companies have realized value from their accelerator programs. If done right, these programs can evolve into an inevitable tool for large corporations to stay ahead of the curve.

Posted in India Business, Startups | Leave a comment

Advantages of setting up Global Development Centers in India

Today globalization has made our world smaller! Though globalization has its roots in cost arbitrage, companies now understand that globalization can help them create competitive advantage much beyond cost.  Most large companies are going global to source diverse intellectual capabilities that can help them innovate faster for both large and emerging markets.

India is the emerging hub for value creation

Global Development Centers in India have not just increased in number and in diverse industries but have also seen a tremendous transformation in value contribution. A majority of global development centers are focusing on developing solutions with global relevance driving high-end design and development from here. Global development centers in India are not only taking up ownership of end-to-end product, but also owning more strategic initiatives like analytics, user experience, convergence etc.

India Advantage

India inherently presents some advantages which companies today have come to leverage better.

This includes the following:-

 1. Workforce availability

  • India today boasts of a large workforce suitable for IT/ITeS industry with more than 100 million English-speaking population; the second largest in the world after the US.

The trained and experienced IT workforce relevant for R&D is expected to grow at a steady rate of 14% in years ahead. Every year more than 200,000 engineering graduates join the IT industry.

  • India also presents diverse industry capability – verticals such as banking &finance, healthcare, retail, manufacturing, government and utilities with experienced workforce and qualified graduates. (finance consultants (CAs, accountants, tax specialist), post graduates , lawyers, doctors, and many others )

2. Optimal costs to drive scale

The cost advantage has definitely seen a dip in the last few years but increase in value contribution has been much higher. Despite recent operational cost increase and higher inflation rate India still holds a comparative advantage and will continue to do so in the future as compared to other technology majors . The reasons:

  • Continuous increase in the supply of the workforce available (as high as 14% yoy)
  • Dollar / INR rate variation also helps contain costs
  • Established IT/software destinations in the country such as Bangalore and Hyderabad which are still less expensive compared to similar destinations across the world and provide the required infrastructure
  • In addition, the emergence of Tier 2 offshoring hubs such as Kochi, and Indore which offer 20-30% cost arbitrage as compared to a city like Bangalore
  • The presence of government recognized IT/ITeS promotion bodies and various tax incentive schemes for the technology sector act as icing on the cake.

3. Availability of hot skills such as   Big Data and Analytics

For most companies, Big Data and Analytics have become key focus and they are working to unleash the power of information and intelligence. Finding an edge, or a new niche, through extrapolating insights from data is more important today that ever before. Analysis of these vast datasets by various businesses is already creating a transformative impact across multiple sectors and is beginning to demonstrate that sophisticated analytical capabilities can result in great competitive advantage. Ironically, even with such vast data available, its’ its value remain locked in.  .

The availability of experienced workforce especially people with expertise in statistics and machine learning together with managers and analysts who know how to obtain and use insights from data is a critical constraint in realizing the benefits of emerging technologies. Skills like Big Data and Analytics are comparatively new anywhere in the globe. India has seen a big opportunity in this area and fast becoming a hub for these skills.

By 2020, Bangalore is expected to emerge as the second largest destination for Big Data R&D, driven by its fast growing experienced workforce. MNCs such as Amazon, IBM, EMC and E-bay have big data teams operating from Bangalore. Local companies such as TCS, Wipro and Infosys are also building Big Data capabilities to cater to their international clientele.

4. Time zone advantage

India has an 8-12 hour time zone difference with respect to the US and other developed markets. This gives companies an option to execute the “Follow the Sun“ model from India. (especially in development and support function.) The time zone difference offers other key advantages as well:

  • Business Continuity: Emerges as a great location for providing business continuity – optimally located in terms of time zone – can support countries in the west and in the east
  • Time to market : Reduced turn-around time and speed to market (aided by agile development) to compete with changing market demands
  • Support: Infrastructure and 24×7 support for multiple regions from Americas to EMEA and SEA; immediate issue resolution and customer satisfaction
  • Professional services: Expertise available at optimal costs . Can be a hub for APAC customers

5. Thriving ecosystem

Vibrant ecosystem provides an opportunity for global centers in India to enhance existing capability. This includes:-

  • Presence of 4000+ technology startups, 400 VCs & 2500 Angel Investors, and 150+ incubators.
  • Presence of over 238 million internet users; and one of the fastest growing smart phone market in Asia
  • 400+ Universities available to provide research support
  • Engineering institutes making available of 250 K plus fresh graduates (from Tier 1 colleges) in the next 5 years who can be trained for R&D.
  • Conducive services ecosystem with the presence of 350+ Service Providers. India provides the widest array of services (IT, BPO, KPO, R&D, and Engineering services ) and has the presence of most mature service providers such as Wipro, TCS, and Infosys
  • Presence of 300+ national laboratories pushing the quality of research up by the day

6. Multi- function center advantage

Availability of experienced professionals be it in engineering, professional services or shared services, makes India a lucrative destination to build multi-function center. Multi-Function Centers offer certain unique benefits and enable the parent organization to derive higher value. Some of the key advantages have been stated below:-

  • Creates a microcosm for the global organization and provide the “One Organization“ view
  • Provides the global center with a clear vision and hence enables the site leadership to make strategic investments
  • Helps create and operationalize a sustained innovation agenda
  • Helps global center leverage economies of scale and hence deliver more for the money spent on services provisioning
  • End-to-End process ownership provides for an integrated career path and hence helps in improving retention rates at the MNC Captive Centers

Globalization is a strategic imperative however it is essential to keep some key points in mind to lay a strong center foundation:-

  1. Ensure existing product roadmap, current operations and service delivery are not destabilized
  2. Create capability across functions – R&D, Support and Services
  3. Focus on functions that can increase efficiency and create business advantage
  4. Focus on roles for which there is adequate supply of skills in India
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