Driving “People Excellence” through Social Onboarding

Any company trying to compete must figure out a way to engage the mind of every employeeJack Welch

People are the most valuable asset of any organization. There could be buildings, machines, assets worth millions of dollars but if the right talent is not available, organizations could never scale the pinnacle of success. “Talent shortages” takes priority over “operational execution” reveals a recent survey involving 780 CEOs. Today, any initiative around people excellence is no more a cost item, its survival.

For any enterprise, addressing the people’s issues is of prime importance because it directly impacts its performance and growth. ‘People Excellence’ department is always on a quest to make employee’s performance optimal so that every employee is able to contribute his maximum to the organization. Inspite of such sincere efforts, the culture, practices & technologies used within the organization often hinder performance. Organizations make massive investments in building HR policies & systems but a shouting contrast to it is that the manpower still remains largely untapped.

We could use some ludicrous euphemism- but reality is work still sucks!

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IDC estimates that the average worker spends up to 35% of their time just looking for information. 89% of new hires say they don’t have the optimal level of knowledge to do their job. The typical mid-level manager takes 6.2 months before they start to add more value than they have consumed. What a waste!

Initial 45 days are critical for any new Hire. This is when 1/3 of the employee-churn happens. The cost of losing an employee is 3x the annual salary. Traditional onboarding adds lot of chaos to work. The induction program organized for new hires does not add much value. The new hires are bombarded with dozens of PowerPoint presentations in the 3 days program and are then expected to understand all of it and start performing next day onwards. When asked for more information they get numerous email forwards which only fill their inboxes up. When they need experts help, it’s really hard to find any.

If we have the right digital transformation strategy, we could barrel through all employees related problems. A better way of onboarding could be the social way by building strong internal employee communities. The employee could join a group relevant to his role & his interests. The news feeds give him constant updates on the activities taking place on a project, event or topic. Experts are added to the group where they could collaborate with the team, share ideas, best practices and the entire team could be in sync. Views/ comments could be corroborated & fast actions could be taken. Eventually, the load of unwanted emails is eased, there are lesser numbers of meetings, less time wasted and productivity shoots up.

Let’s accept the fact that the days of ‘9 to 5’ jobs are over. Employees today want more flexibility at work. Millennials who use Smartphones & Tablets at work want a more flexible & freelancing work environment. No wonder 60% of them are leaving their companies in less than three years. A recent ‘Millennial Branding’ report also found that 45% of millennials will choose workplace flexibility over pay. It’s a radical shift in priority. So what we see written on the wall is, it should not be just about how much time an employee spends in the office but how much value add he does. Unlike the baby boomers, the millennials don’t mind taking work along on their smart devices. For them there is a thin line between their personal & office lives. In order to ensure longevity of today’s ‘thumb-typing’ workforce its important to make work more engaging,  mobile, increase freelancing & make work hours flexible.

61% of CEOs worldwide say that Innovation is a primary concern within their business according to PWC. Where from these ideas for innovation come? Social could provide a platform for Ideation too where employees could share ideas on policies, projects and other topics of interests. Innovation often comes out of ideas of normal employees NOT always the top bracket. Crowdsourcing of ideas could help a lot in making better policies, products and contribute into over all organization’s growth.

Social Onboarding could improve employee productivity & reduce churn through better collaboration, sharing & communication.

I am all pumped up to share more on how Social onboarding could change the way we work. Let’s clear the farrago and help the employees perform to utmost. Am sure the idea intrigues you too. How about giving me a shout?

sure the idea intrigues you too. How about giving me a shout?

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san1smallSanjay holds a Bachelors in Engineering (Computer Science) and a PG Diploma in Business Management. He has worked with top names in the IT sector like Avaya GCL & Mahindra Satyam.  His client list includes top bracket names across Banking, Insurance, Retail, Telecom, BPO/ITeS, Public Services and other verticals. His contact coordinates are:

Microsoft’s Nokia buy out- just another damp squib?

Two slipping companies which were considered to be leaders in their own fields have now become one! Microsoft’s has recently acquired Nokia for a whopping $7.2 billion.

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Remember the days when software just meant Microsoft and Mobile just Nokia. That was how these two brands monopolized their markets. It was an expected move as Nokia had already made a move from its Symbian OS to adopt Windows Mobile. While many of the industry experts are gung-ho about the deal, many are criticizing it. There are many apprehensions. Microsoft’s share prices too went on a down spiral the day the deal was inked. How would this association take off? Would it add any value to the industry or its just another damp squib as Microsoft  earlier too had made a move to get into the smartphone market through Surface Tablet which was a notable flop. Are there some solid reasons which could have prompted this deal? Yes.

Today Microsoft is at a rickety 4% growth rate and Nokia is left far behind by companies like Samsung . Its not just due to the features and user ‘friendliness’ of the Samsung devices but the large pool of Google’s Android based apps which are available for the users. Google has very smartly nurtured the Android developers community and today its a big driving force. Remember the days when Microsoft launched Windows Operating system and changed history for ever. The Apple’s Macintosh was left behind for Microsoft was much more developers friendly. Seems as if history is repeating itself.

The drivers which could catapult Microsoft to the top in the  smartphone industry are as follows…

Smartphone revolution in emerging geographies

New geographies like India, other South Asian countries, Africa etc. are still getting ready for the big smartphone revolution. 3G & 4G are just getting introduced to the market and the potential of these markets is huge. Most of the Asian countries still have decent Nokia presence. Products like Nokia Lumia are getting good customer response. Microsoft could leverage on the existing market share of Nokia to grow it further. 

Leveraging on the combined strength of Hardware & Software

The reason for the success of Apple’s products is because it controls & has ownership of both- its hardware and software. Now on Microsoft and Nokia would have the liberty develop better products for the customers and they don’t have to rely on outsiders.

Leveraging on Microsoft’s Enterprise Applications strength

There wont be a single enterprise in this world which would not be using any Microsoft product. Products like MS Office, Microsoft based LoB, MS Dynamics, Sharepoint, Windows based client & server applications, applications built on VB, .net and other software platforms, collaboration tools like Yammer…Microsoft has a deep seated presence in the IT ecosystem.

Today a big challenge with Enterprise Mobility is how to enable mobile access to enterprise applications. People today not only want to access emails, messages etc but also want to access their LoBs and other software on their smartphones. Here Microsoft could have a a major advantage for being an incumbent in all top customer accounts.

This could open new frontiers for mobile application integration, enterprise mobility and collaboration. Developers will again embrace the new platform which has best of hardware and software. Think of the value the users will get.

If Steve Balmer could make it happen then this deal would be considered one of the smartest in the history.

The key business drivers for Enterprise Mobility

One of the key focuses of CIOs today is to try and adopt Enterprise Mobility in their organizations at the earliest.

Big question is…Is mobility really going to change the way business is done. Will it radically improve the performance of the employees. Is it a fab or fad? There are still many doubts about the real value-add enterprise mobility would bring for enterprises.
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Lets identify the key factors which are driving it today.

Consumerization of IT

We know, today it has become easy to choose & own technology.  Solutions like storage, LoB apps, analytics, collaboration etc, which were considered to be costly are available on the cloud today at a very low subscription fee or even free.  Employees often use such services to store & access content on their mobile devices often putting the enterprise at risk.  Does the Enterprise have any control  as to which and how these apps are used?

Consistent brand experience on mobile devices:

More than 78% of the US Facebook users access it on mobile.  Customers today want to have all the features they have on their laptops to be present in their tablets and  smartphones too. A major challenge before the enterprises is how to provide a seamless, consistent & continuous brand experience. Using Social, Location & Mobile, the customer could have more fulfilling experience  when he  browses and buys on his mobile device.

Making Enterprise Applications available on Mobile devices

Today employees want to do real work on their smartphones & mobile devices. User wants to access the his LoB applications &  core business systems like ERP, CRM etc. on his mobile. He also wants do necessary analytics, access dash boards, data visualizations, reports etc too. How to integrate mobility with Enterprise Applications is a daunting task before the enterprises. Most of the mobile apps ( for enterprise software) available today  are quite poor as they are just a watered down version of the original software. They are not optimized or tuned to access on mobiles.

BYOD ( Bring Your Own Device)

Employees today use multiple devices at the workplace. Tablets, Blackberry, Smartphones…all these are used to access corporate resources from anywhere. These devices have mobile platform which are diverse too like Android, Symbian, Blackberry, Microsoft Embedded, Windows phone etc. How could these devices be used as an integral ‘device fleet’ to get work done smoothly, is a real big question.

Enterprise mobility management helps BYOD programs become successful by providing features like device enrollment for employees to use corporate content & other resources ( based on his role & group) with his one or more devices. Using self service portal on the device employees could manage their profiles, passwords etc. Enterprise risk could also be mitigated with every device accepting  terms & conditions/ access policy.

Better security & privacy policy using Containerization

The corporate resources have to be secure and employees privacy should also be respected. The success of BYOD program depends much on how smartly containerization is done while deploying mobility.  Researches say that most of the employees save corporate data on personal device and personal data on company’s device. This is a real threat for the safety and security of both employees and the company.

Mobile Content Management (MCM)

Ensuring secure content collaboration on mobile is a business imperative. With BYOD and consumerization of IT there is whole new focus on how to make the content share process smarter and secure.

Enterprise File Share & Sync (EFSS) products are rapidly getting into the IT ecosystem of the enterprises. Such software enable latest version of the document be available across the enterprise and on different enrolled devices. Also the content is encrypted and secure both at rest and in transit.  Similarly employees too could share their content with others in a secure environment. Access of content has to be as per the policy of the enterprise, if found to be compromised or misused, access could be denied and or content could be wiped off.

Mobile Device Management ( MDM)

Think about the difficulties, IT department has to face while dealing with hundreds of devices of different types.

MDM could help in better management of devices through ‘common console’, where new devices could be added/ deleted and access rights of the employees could be modified.  Directory services through LDAP integration could create role based groups so that the device could accesses the right content. It could also provide various dashboards and log reports for better control & management of the device fleet.

Enterprise Mobility is significantly changing the business world by making the lives of the people easier and enhancing their productivity. Bygone are the days when work was limited to the workstations and there was no work outside the cubicle. Today work moves with the employees in their mobile devices. Enterprise mobility is making it possible in a big way.

Big Data Analytics- Predict where you’ll be in future

PTI | Jul 19, 2013, 04.53 AM IST

NEW YORK: Do you know precisely where you’ll be 285 days from now at 2pm? Researchers have developed a new tracking software that can tell you exactly where you will be on a precise time and date years into the future.

Adam Sadilek, formerly of Microsoft, and John Krumm, a principal researcher at Microsoft used information from a pool of 300 volunteers in theSeattle metro area, Sadilek and Krumm and gathered a mountain of location data.

As the volunteers went about their daily lives – going to work, to the grocery store, out for a jog, even for transcontinental travel – each carried a GPS device much the same way they carried a cell phone,Fast Company Magazine reported. The researchers also installed GPS devices in commercial shuttles and transit vans that the volunteers used regularly, and the volunteers’ own vehicles, to further ensure accuracy.

After collecting over 150 million location points, the researchers then had Far Out, the first system of its kind to predict long – term human mobility in a unified way, parse the data. Far Out does not need to be told exactly what to look for – it automatically discovered regularities in the data.

“For example, it might notice that Tuesdays and Thursdays are usually about the same and fairly consistent from week to week. Then when we ask about a future Tuesday or Thursday, the algorithm automatically produces a typical Tuesday/Thursday as a prediction,” they said.

Times of India

Social Business/ Social Intranet explained in HINDI. सोशल इंट्रानेट – कार्यकुशलता को नए आयाम दे सकता है. (Social Intranet could add new dimensions to work efficiency)

Imageहम सभी फेसबुक, ट्विटर  इत्यादि का उपयोग करते हैं  लेकिन ये ज्यादातर अपने निजी उपयोग  लिए होता है। अपने दोस्तों से संपर्क करने, नए मित्र बनाने, वीडियो / फोटोज शेयर करने में यह सोशल नेटवर्क्स काफी मददगार हो रहे हैं।

भारत में फेसबुक उपयोग करने वालों की संख्या करीब 12 करोड़ पहुँच चुकी है। जहाँ ये उपयोग निरंतर बढ़ रहा है, सोशल नेटवर्क्स  का एक नया रूप ‘सोशल इंट्रानेट’ जिसे आप उसका औद्योगिक ( Enterprise) रूप भी कह सकते हैं,  काफी प्रचलन में आ रहा है। सोशल इंट्रानेट किसी भी व्यापारिक संसथान में जहाँ बहुत सारे व्यक्ति काम करते हैं उपयोग में लाया जा सकता है. आज जो ईमेल सिस्टम का  हम उपयोग  करते हैं वह 1 9 7 1 में बनायी गयी थी . पिछले 4 0  सालों में उसमे कोई परिवर्तन नहीं आया है जबकि व्यापारिक क्षेत्र  और हमारा कार्य दोनों पूरी तरह बदल चुके है। विभिन्न संस्थानों  में काम करने वाले व्यक्तियों से पूछिये  की ईमेल का उपयोग कर अपना काम बेहतर तरीके से करना अब कितना मुश्किल हो गया है। दिन भर में सैकड़ों इमेल्स आती है. बहुत सारी  ‘फॉरवर्ड्स’, जंक मेल्स  इत्यादि सब इनबॉक्स में आकर भर जाती हैं। इन में से अपने काम की मेल कौन सी है यह सब खोजने में घंटों लग जाते है। जब एक मेल बहुत सारे लोगों को भेजी जाती है तो यह पता करना मुश्किल हो जाता है की ‘किसको क्या करना है’. इस कारण कार्य करने में अकारण देरी भी होती है. विभिन्न शोधो से भी पता चला है की अपनी समय का एक बहुत बड़ा हिस्सा लोग  इमेल्स  खोजने में व्यर्थ कर देते हैं.

क्या कोई ऐसा तरीका है जिस से व्यक्ति कार्य को बेहतर तरीके से कर सके। वो  बेहतर तरीके से अपने सह कर्मियों के साथ सम्बद्ध ( Engage)  हो सके.  उनके साथ बेहतर सहयोग ( Collaborate)  कर सके ?

इसका जवाब है हाँ .

–  सोशल इंट्रानेट कार्य क्षेत्र को बेहतर बनाने में इस तरह बहुत मददगार हो सकता है.

–  व्यक्ति अपने सह कर्मियों के साथ बेहतर सम्बद्ध होता है और सहयोग कर सकता है

–  उपलब्ध संसाधनों का और समय बेहतर उपयोग कर सकता है.

–  ग्राहकों को बेहतर सेवाएं दी जा सकती है

–  पूरे संसथान को एक धागे में पिरो कर कार्य की गति को नया आयाम दिया जा सकता है.

अब आप पूछेंगे की सोशल इंट्रानेट यह कैसे कर सकता है?

 

– सोशल इंट्रानेट मैं सब लोग किसी भी डॉक्यूमेंट, प्रोजेक्ट, कार्य पर अपना दृष्टिकोण, अपने विचार  तुरंत व्यक्त कर सकते है. उसके लिए बार बार इधर उधर मेल भेजने की ज़रुरत नहीं। वास्तव में सोशल इंट्रानेट सभी सम्बंधित व्यक्तियों को एक साथ जोड़ कर जल्दी निर्णय लेने और कार्य करने का प्लेटफार्म प्रदान करता  है.

– मान लीजिये 5 व्यक्ति एक ही डॉक्यूमेंट पर कार्य कर रहे है। ईमेल द्वारा अद्यतन डॉक्यूमेंट की उपलब्धता सुनिश्चित करना मुश्किल होता है. हम खोजते रहते हैं की सबसे लेटेस्ट डॉक्यूमेंट कौन सा है. जबकि सोशल इंट्रानेट में हमेशा लेटेस्ट डॉक्यूमेंट ही उपलब्ध होता चाहे कितने भी लोग उस पर कार्य कर रहे हों।

–  कम्युनिटी Communities) द्वारा हम किसी खास विषय/ प्रोजेक्ट चर्चा कर सकते है/ उसकी प्रोग्रेस को मॉनिटर कर सकते हैं/ आवश्यक संसाधनों को साथ ला  सकते है ।

– ग्राहक सेवाएं कम्युनिटी के माध्यम से काफी सफल तरीके से की जा सकती है। ग्राहकों के साथ निरंतर संपर्क में रहना, बेहतर सम्बद्ध रहना कम्युनिटी  के माध्यम से संभव है. ग्राहकों  और एम्प्लोयीज़ दोनों को GAMIFICATION के माध्यम से बेहतर रूप से जोड़ा जा सकता है

– सोशल इंट्रानेट/ सोशल बिज़नेस  के द्वारा किसी भी एंटरप्राइज को बेहतर कार्य क्षमता दी जा सकती है। शोधों से पता चला है की सोशल बिज़नस के द्वारा कार्य क्षमता में का इजाफा हो सकता है. अर्थात प्रति सप्ताह एक दिन का कार्य ज्यादा किया जा सकता है. इस तरह बहुत से आयाम हैं जिस पर सोशल बिज़नस के माध्यम से उत्कृष्टता  लायी जा सकती है

क्या आपको सोशल बिज़नेस  बारे में और जानना है तो कृपया निम्न फॉर्म भरें

Big Data in India

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Big Data comes to India naturally. The population, the variety in culture, demography, religions, languages ( In India every 7 miles we have a new language so there are hundreds of languages and thousands of dialects).

India has seen successes in many areas of business during the last decades across verticals like Banking, Insurance, IT & ITeS, Retail, Manufacturing, Government, Health Services, Telecom, Media & Entertainment etc. Like any other country, India too has its own business problems which needs to be addressed for better growth. Understanding India is important especially while we present any solution. India is different and so are her problems. The use cases which seem fit for the US & UK customers will intrigue the Indian customers too provided they are presented in the right context & connect.

Currently, India accounts for 2.5 per cent of the global Big Data market of $8 billion and is expected to grow to $1 billion by 2015. The average amount Indian companies spent on Big Data in 2012 was $ 9.5 million (about Rs 52 crore), according to a 2013 TCS study. Big Data is set to grow in the Indian Enterprise in 2013. According to State of the Indian CIO Survey, 40 percent of Indian IT leaders plan to implement big data analytics over the course of this year—while 16 percent say they are already in the process of implementing it. Given the potential in India, I feel if we take the right approach, this milestone could be surpassed faster, provided we understand the  Indian customers needs.

Based on my years of experience understanding customers business,  am presenting some key business drivers for Big Data in India and also How Big Data would work for India across various vertical businesses in the coming times.

Big Data in Government

There are around 50 ministries under the Federal (Central) government and same numbers under the state government. Approximately 1000 departments all having data at different levels from the block, district, directorate to the state and country head quarters. Imagine the type of data these government entities have spread across locations in varied formats like Word,  Excel, text, video, geo-spatial data so and so forth.  Some still have it on COBOL, Foxpro etc.

I had presented Big Data use cases to couple of IT heads of state during the last couple of months, where in data spread across many departments/ directorates like Health, Women & Child, Agriculture, IT etc will be used to get valuable insights. Say for instance where should ‘water hand pumps’ be installed on priority? Obviously where there is more of water borne diseases.  Similarly where should the Education Department open a new school or the Health Department a new Primary Health Center (PHC)? Currently there isn’t any intelligence involved in taking these decisions.  Big Data analytics would enable them identify areas which have more cases of diseases for opening a new PHC or areas not having any school within 3 kms radius to open a new school in priority. Where would this analytics come from?
Government of India has started the project to provide unique ID (Aadhar) to every Indian citizen through Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI).  While Aadhar would be a Big Data source, there is a huge load of other legacy source systems too like Electoral Roll, Census Data, National Population Register (NPR), PAN, NREGA etc. Analytics on these data could help a great deal in the successful execution of projects like under Food Security Bill  using predictive analytics which could improve the PDS (Public Distribution System).

Similarly, crime details of last 30 years are now digitized by the Delhi Police department. This has varied types of data- FIRs (First Information Report), video, case diaries, criminal & crime details like -modus operandi, court proceeding, witnessess etc. This data could be used to understand crime & criminal psychology to empower both police and the citizens.

Indian Railways employs 1.4 million persons, runs around 11000 trains and serves more than 13 million passengers daily. Big data analytics could help manage trains better, enhance safety,  give better passenger service, use staff efficiently etc. Predictive anlytics could help cater to passengers better (especially during festive seasons), start new trains, new stops/stations etc.

There are thousands of such use cases which could directly impact peoples lives. No doubt Big Data analytics could play a great role in the identification of ‘patterns of life’ to provide better citizen services in India.

Big Data in Banking, Insurance & Financials (BFSI)

Banking & Financial sector in India are the early adopters of IT solutions and especially Data Warehousing & Business Intelligence. Almost all banks now have core/ internet banking facilities. There are around 40 banks in India and 50 insurance companies (while these companies are yet to reach out to 85% of the uninsured Indian population). There are around 15 new banks in the pipeline too which are in the process of getting licenses to operate. One of the focuses of the government is to make banking & insurance facilities available to as many people possible at the earliest. This has put the sector exposed to more risks.

Risk modeling could help Indian banks take calculated risks and mitigate it too. Predictive modeling for Mortgage management could be great as the bullion, equity, commodity & real estate markets is India show strong variations due to internal & international factors. KYC (Know Your Customer- the due diligence activities the banks must perform with the customer before they do any business.) norms are mandatory for the Banking sector to prevent money laundering & financial frauds. Big Data analytics could augment this initiative.

It  could also be useful for improving the subrogation yield as its quite low in India despite adequate laws being in place. The claims recovery process needs lot of documents and they are to be thoroughly scrutinized too. Check my blogBig Data – Adding Big value to the Insurance industry”

Personalization of banking & insurance portfolios for customers based on spend patterns, financial goals and other parameters is also an important area of focus.

Big Data in Telcos (CSP)

India has around 900 million mobile users which is second largest in the world.   An interesting fact about India is while most of the countries have maximum 2-4 telco operators, India has around 12. Also unlike US & UK, the prepaid customers are quite large ( around 90%) of the total customer base. Also no other industry in India has its IT ecosystem as complex as the Telcos.  They have scores of OSS and BSS to keep the business running.

While the market is huge, with number portability allowed now, Customer churn is a major problem. Customer poaching is on and retention is a big challenge. Big Data Analytics could help a lot in offering ‘right’ packages to the customers. The prepaid customers usually recharge for as low as Rs. 10 ( 1/6 of a USD), they change the CSP quite often based on offers they get. This customer base though being huge, is quite volatile. If a repaid customer is ‘burning’ his minutes fast its likely he is about to move to other CSP .Big Data analytics could help in offering better deals and retain such customers.

Fact of the matter is, the idea of ARPU has lost its sheen across the globe today. It makes more sense to use ARPA (Average Revenue per Account) in today’s context. Deals for the company, Family, Community etc makes much more sense. Big Data Analytics could help in offering ‘smart’ group packages.

Big Data in Energy & Utilities

Energy & Utilities is all the more important for an Agriculture based country like India. The sector has been plagued by high distribution losses (30% overall) along with theft of electricity, low metering levels and low recovery. Analytics around usage patterns and ‘sensor’ data from various electrical equipment & technologies like EMS/ SCADA could help in identifying such ‘leakage’ of power. Operations & Maintenance is critical as it directly impacts on the ‘outage’.

Power is necessary not only for lighting the households & running the industries but also to irrigate the land meant for agriculture.India has multiple crop cycles, which have different irrigation requirements. Is the present power supply in sync with the crop cycles? Are valuable insights being drawn from irrigation & agriculture data to make power supply more efficient?

During break-down, how to minimize ‘call-to-repair’ is another important area of concern. Electricity companies had started the BSK (Electricity facilitation centers) to resolve consumer problems like faults, new applications, load enhancement requests etc. These centers over the period of 8-10 years have huge accumulated data and its growing fast. This could be used ( along with departments Operations & Maintenance (O&M) and Transmission & Distribution ( T&D) Data) for better customer care.

 Big data in IT, ITeS & Captive contact Centers

India is the Back Office of the world. There are 1497 software companies in India (as per NASSCOM 2013). Software & services exports contribute around 8% of the GDP. While IT/ ITeS companies are considered good paymasters, this industry has the highest employee churn at around 40%. For almost all companies, I have interacted with; the most important area of concern is “Employees productivity & Retention”.

Big Data could directly improve call center metrics like AHT (Average Call Handle Time), ACW (After Call Work) etc by presenting consolidated view of information to the agents which is spread across multiple applications in the organization, while they handle calls.

Similarly millions of Line of Code (LOC) is written by software engineers daily in software companies in diverse platforms and languages. Software techies study, spend hours and days to build ‘logic’ and write codes. How efficiently are these resources reused in order to solve similar software problems in future? How is software configuration managed & reused? Do the software companies use Big Data analytics to understand which, where and how a logic to be used in an algorithm? Shouldn’t they have access to intelligence which tells which logic or methodology is suitable for solving a particular type of software problems? I have seen software engineers of software companies ( with more than 50k of head count) searching Google, books, putting questions in external forums to get answer to their technical questions.  Big data analytics could give them insights to solve these problems better and enhance there productivity.

This could directly address the attrition problem of the industry as it makes the lives of the engineers ‘easy’.

 Big Data in retail

A retail revolution is on the anvil for India. With almost 95% of the retail segment under unorganized sector (small shops & groceries) lot many new retail giants are beginning to open their stores in India. FDI in retail is also in the pipeline. Within a short time we would see new players in the market with stores across urban and rural areas too. The government too is seeing a lot of value in retail as this would enable the farmers and customers both getting better deals.

Since the organised sector in Retail is quite small in India, this sector still lags behind in terms of technology. Necessary POS and standard software like inventory, payroll, billing etc are used but very less of any analytics.  Check my blog Retail should be dataSmart” which presents how Indian retailers unknowingly get disengaged with customers due to lack of data insights.

India is in a Retail growth phase when many new stores are to be opened in the coming years. Opening a new store requires a lot of study based on areas demand, demography and other details.  Analytics could also help retail giants in taking such decisions based on hard data.

India is the land of festivals & social events. Most of the family shopping/ outing/ gifting happen during these festive seasons.  Retail vendors could listen to social media to know about such events in different locations and ‘Predictive demand management’ could help maintain stocks accordingly. Similarly they could offer ‘location based’ pricing of products to customers.

Giving customers a consistent experience via omnichannel is gradually becoming a trend worldwide. Big Data Analytics could help in providing a seamless connect with customers across channels. Better customer insights increase cross-sell and up-sell, customer retention etc.

Quick Tips for Big Data companies

Following are my quick inputs for all companies which want a share in the Indian Big Data market.

1)      Eschew clichés: No one buys clichés like ‘360 customer view’, ‘enhanced customer loyalty’ etc. anymore when every other software vendor is using these catch lines to sell all types of products like CRM, BI, ERP etc. People in India too want Big Data to solve their real life problems.

2)      Instead of presenting a big new project which would need huge initial investment and a long deployment time, Identify low hanging fruits, processes & pain points to start.

3)      Don’t declare the entire existing infrastructure with the customer as useless.  Many of the top Indian customers already have Data warehouse solutions in place. Best way to start is to help the customer augment the existing ones with Big Data.

4)      Don’t jump the gun discussing technology. Open Source or proprietary, SQL of NoSQL these discussions at the initial level just put the initiatives on the back burner. Instead try and intrigue the customer. If he sees value business is certain.

5)      Businesses in India often tend to formulate analytics strategy based on ‘intuition’, ‘personal experiences’ & ‘gut feelings’. It’s important to educate customers that hard data could be more reliable when it comes to taking business decisions. One way could be to conduct workshops and boot camp training for customers to ‘experiment’ with data and discover themselves.

Big Data initiatives should also be driven by the top bracket of the organisation. I have always promoted the idea to have a single custodian of all data across departments and applications. You might call him a CDO ( Chief Data Officer) Or the Chief Data Scientist but he should have the mandate to use data for delivering ‘business value’ for the entire organisation. Check my blog “Why enterprises need a CDO (Chief Data Officer)”

Big Data definitely has some karmic connections with India. All would depend on how we show Value to the Indian customers while India Inc. naturally has the Volume, Variety & Velocity. After all, every thing about India is Big.

About the author
Sanjay Abraham

Sanjay Abraham is an Enterprise Social & Big Data consultant, Business Developer & Trainer. He comments & blogs on the Enterprise Technologies on regular basis. He also provides consulting & training to organizations on Big Data, Enterprise Social,  SoLoMo and other topics.
Sanjay holds a Bachelors in Engineering (Computer Science) and a PG Diploma in Business Management. He has worked with top names in the IT sector like Avaya GCL & Mahindra Satyam.  His client list includes top bracket names across Banking, Insurance, Retail, Public Services and other verticals.
Consulting, Training, blogging, Business Development through ‘customer pain pointing’ is his personal areas of passion. Linkedin:in.linkedin.com/in/sanjayabraham. Twitter: @asanjay100 email: abraham@techsocial.in

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