Monday, January 15, 2018

YES FOUNDATION Announces Rs 7.5 Crore Grant and Accelerator Support for NGOs and Social Enterprises

YES FOUNDATION, the social development arm of YES BANK, will launch the 5th edition of YES! i am the CHANGE (YIAC), a nationwide mindset transformation program to inculcate the spirit of responsible youth citizenship and drive positive social action through the impactful medium of films.

YES FOUNDATION will provide Youth, NGOs/Social Enterprises with a platform to use films as a storytelling medium to drive social impact. The Foundation invites Youth/ Filmmakers/ NGOs/Social Enterprises to participate in the YIAC Social Filmmaking Challenge, to depict stories of change in a 3-minute film

Through this process, the Foundation hopes to identify 25 deserving NGOs/ Social Enterprises who operate in areas of Climate Change/ Natural Capital, Livelihood Generation, Gender equality etc. YES Foundation would support these NGOs with Grant of Rs 7.5 Cr, towards scale up & capacity building. The grantee organizations will also receive 3-year mentoring to ensure onground tangible social impact.

Additionally, to encourage mainstreaming of India’s youth in social development aspects, YIAC has lined up awards, and all-expenses paid scholarships to acclaimed documentary film festivals such as IDFA (Amsterdam), Docedge Kolkata. As part of the Open Challenge (Youth/Individuals/Filmmakers), the top 20 winning film entries will be eligible for the same.

The program will also identify Everyday Heroes, discovered through YES! i am the CHANGE film entries, to be felicitated across 1000 locations across India for their exceptional attitude towards community service.

Commenting on the launch, Rana Kapoor, Chief Mentor & Co-Chairman, YES FOUNDATION and Managing Director & CEO, YES BANK said, “YES FOUNDATION follows a differentiated approach innovatively harnessing media to channel high octane energy and stimulate entrepreneurship for an empowered and equitable India. This year, through YES! i am the CHANGE, we will continue to inspire individuals and nurture development sector organisations, enhancing their contribution to nation building.”

“India is in a revolutionary phase with the nation’s youth driving social impact by developing innovative solutions to social challenges. Through YES! i am the CHANGE, we are keen to provide a platform to young changemakers and development sector organisations to accelerate and maximize their social impact.” said Prerana Langa, CEO, YES FOUNDATION

Interested Youth and NGOs/Social Enterprises can register online at

Important dates:
Applications open for film entry acceptance(Round 1)
January 11, 2018
Closure of film entry acceptance
February 28, 2018
Call for written applications from top 500 NGOs(Round 2)
March 28, 2018
Live pitches by 50 NGOs to jury panel – Mumbai (Round 3)
May 24-25, 2018
Result announcement – top 25 NGOs and top 20 Youth
May 28, 2018             
Awards ceremony/Kick-off capacity building program
June 15-20, 2018

Fourteen Startups Graduated From the 11th Cohort at the ThinkNext 2018 in Bangalore

Banking and Fintech 

I-exceed: I-exceed is a fintech company that is powering the digital transformation of financial institutions worldwide including some of the largest tier I global banks. Appzillon, the flagship product of i-exceed, consists of a unique combination of Appzillon Digital Banking and Appzillon Digital Platform.

Appzillon digital banking is a suite of pre-built omnichannel digital solutions that offer customers and employees of banks a transformative yet unified user experience across all customer touch points.

Appzillon digital banking solutions are powered by Appzillon digital platform; an award-winning low-code development platform that facilitates rapid app development while ensuring future readiness at all times.

With offices in India, Singapore, the UAE, and the US, i-exceed serves over 55 customers worldwide.

Clonect: Clonect Solutions is an IT solutions company incorporated in 2014 with an aim to provide innovative solutions for the GRC challenges faced in the organizations by simplifying and automating the processes. It helps organisations to leverage technology optimally and innovatively, addressing GRC, GST as well as other finance IT solution needs.

Within a short span of three years of its existence, Clonect had rolled out three major products in the GRC segment, in the previous year it also entered the GST segment with a roll out of its GST Compliance Software. Currently, Clonect in its portfolio has 70+ reputed enterprise clients with each of them having multiple group companies ranging from five to 120 in number.
The flagship product for Clonect happens to be the first product rolled out by it – the Compliance Management Software (CMS) for which it aims to improve both technologically as well as through its content and be a market leader in the GRC and GST segment.

KrypC: KrypC is a differentiated blockchain platform and solutions company which aims to accelerate the adoption of blockchain-based applications for enterprises. KrypCore, KrypC’s platform, abstracts the complexities and nuances of blockchain protocols; and its studio enables non-technical folks to configure their business process and workflows which are transformed into relevant Blockchain code, smart contracts, node deployment etc.

KrypCore is a protocol agnostic platform and supports HyperLedger, Ethereum and Multichain. The team, with its presence globally in the US, the Netherlands and India, enables blockchain adoption across various industries and has enabled enterprises with production level blockchain solution adoption in the areas of insurance, microfinance and banking and looks forward to implementing more such solutions.

Retail Tech

Ace Turtle: Ace Turtle is a technology-driven platform company that provides direct-to-consumer web commerce solutions for leading retail brands. Its proprietary platform integrates online and offline retail channels to automate and optimize omnichannel fulfilment and provides brands with a single view of inventory and a single view of customers.

The startup helps reduce the cost and complexity of omnichannel transformation for brands by using their existing framework and systems. Ace Turtle solutions are currently used by brands such as Fossil, Puma. Ray-Ban, Max, Arrow, Flying Machine, Ed Hardy and US Polo amongst others. Ace Turtle omnichannel platform comprises of technology, logistics and customer support and enables brands to improve the web commerce experience for their customer.

The startup is backed by Singapore-based Vertex Ventures the venture arm of Temasek Holdings and C31 Ventures, the venture arm of CaptaLand. We have offices located in India and Singapore.

MintM: MintM is a robotic platform which helps create frictionless customer experience by empowering ordinary devices like signage, kiosks and cameras. Driven by AI, MintM BOTs can recognize customers and objects to make things frictionless such as visitor management, customer loyalty, product discovery and personalized promotions.

Started in 2014, MintM has been funded and accelerated by Microsoft. MintM has won several awards including London Business School, Tie Silicon Valley and Nasscom Emerge 50. The startup is working with several large companies with its BOTs deployed in more than six countries, claims the company.

Emerging Tech: Language Processing is the first and leading AI startup in Indonesia that builds natural language understanding of Bahasa Indonesia. The startup has been founded by ex-Silicon Valley engineers who used to work at Google Deepmind, IBM Watson, VMware, Airbus and tech companies in Hamburg, Tokyo, London and Paris.’s Natural Language Processing (NLP) technology powers multi-purpose chatbots (virtual customer service / virtual friend) for major corporations in Indonesia across a different kind of industries such as, Unilever (FMCG), Telkomsel (Telco), Bank BRI (Financial Services), and Alfamart (Retail).

The company’s proprietary Kata Bot Platform can be leveraged to create feature-rich chatbots on top of’s robust and scalable AI technology platform, ensuring company of any size can easily build their own chatbot on any messaging platform. With this platform, it is now possible for the business to focus on designing engaging interaction for their customers, while handles all the technical aspects of the chatbots.

Established in 2015, the company has become a trusted partner for major corporations such as Microsoft, Accenture, and Line. In 2017, the company also received Series-A funding led by Trans-Pacific Technology Fund. is a deep learning and artificial intelligence based speech recognition and natural language tool for Indian languages.’s aims to enable a billion Indians to communicate with their devices, businesses and government in their own language. The startup has developed breakthrough speech recognition technology in nine Indian languages besides English.

This speech recognition technology picks up most accents and is adept at cutting out background noise as well.’s Speech APIs are being used by hundreds of developers and the company has found success with enterprise clients across multiple domains.

VideoKen: Videoken is a AI-based continuous learning platform that helps organizations effectively utilize freely available videos on virtually any topic, and curate quality engaging learning content. 

With its paented solution, VideoKen’s customers have been able to put together learning content over three times faster, with higher quality and lower costs, claims the startup. The startup enables self-learning and peer-to-peer learning, leading to greater learner engagement and increased productivity. VideoKen’s customers include large global enterprise, small and medium organizations and educational institutions.

VideoKen was founded in January 2017 by Dr. Manish Gupta, the former VP and Director at Xerox Research IndiaAshish Vikram, a former VP at Flipkart and subsequently joined by Vishnu Raned, former VP of Asia-Pacific & Japan at Zend Technologies. VideoKen is headquartered in Princeton, New Jersey, with a R&D lab in Bangalore, India. VideoKen has raised seed funding from a consortium of angel investors including LG Chandrasekhar, chairman of Sutures India, Sashi Reddi, partner at US based SRI Capital LLC, and some former and current executives of Flipkart.

Deep Tech: Enabling Business Productivity

Docswallet: Docswallet (formerly MyEasydocs) web application is a digital document vault, wherein digitally certified documents can be stored and shared for visa applications, employment, higher studies, trade application etc.
Docwallet eliminates the exchange of paper and creates trust on digital documents between organisations and individuals. A large number of universities and other organizations in India have already adopted DocsWallet. Docswallet uses blockchain technology to provide digital locker services.

MegDap: Megdap Innovation Labs has been founded by two ex-Microsofties Meghashyam Karanam and Pradeep Parappil with an aim to bridge the digital divide by creating an ecosystem for business that blends local relevance with a sustainable business model for all stakeholders.

The focus is to bring the collective power of technology, language & business to a global non-English speaking audience. Megdap is a part of Barclays, Microsoft and Reliance GenNext Accelerator program. The startup is also a part of Kerala Startup Mission. MegDap has built a highly scalable cloud based AI Platform for Languages – TexLang, Through the use of technology, TexLang is addressing the language technology demands of large enterprise customers.

GIEOM: GIEOM is an award winning software product company providing solutions to banks for change management, regulatory compliance and knowledge management. Catering to 38 banks across Africa, Middle east, Europe, USA and India, the company offers a unique business visualization technology with Intelligent linking that monitors, controls and optimizes Operations while reducing risk and increasing compliance. Additional benefits include better Customer service and increased employee satisfaction.

Simplilearn: Simplilearn aims is to help professionals around the world acquire the skills they need to succeed in today’s digital economy. The company provides online training in disciplines such as Cyber Security, Cloud Computing, Project Management, Digital Marketing, Data Science and other emerging technologies. Based in San Francisco, California and Bangalore, India, 

Simplilearn has helped more than 500K professionals and companies across 150+ countries get trained, acquire certifications and upskill employees.
Simplilearn provides outcome-centric training courses relevant for the digital economy in domains such as Digital Marketing, Big Data and Data Science, Cloud Computing, Cyber Security, Mobile App Development,  IT Services and Architecture, Agile & Scrum, and more. The courses are delivered through online self-learning and instructor-led virtual classrooms and are supplemented with live projects and global teaching assistance.

Microsoft Accelerator India Partners with Accenture Ventures for ThinkNext 2018

As the 11th cohort of Microsoft acceleration programme marked its graduation on the semi-annual conclave ThinkNext 2018, Microsoft Accelerator announced its partnership with Accenture Ventures.

The two companies will help growth-stage technology B2B startups boost their enterprise readiness and go-to-market strategy, and also assist them in achieving scale in national and international markets.

Speaking on the ecosystem partnership, Bala Girisaballa, MD, Microsoft Accelerator, said, “Startups are the centres of innovation, and over the past decade they have played a crucial role in disrupting many industries worldwide. Today, the need is to create a collaborative environment and bring startups and corporates together to co-create and co-innovate. Our partnership with Accenture showcases our commitment to connect start-ups with large corporates and help them scale up to become successful businesses.”

The partnership aims to strengthen the startup ecosystem further. On ThinkNext 2016, Microsoft Accelerator had announced a similar partnership with another IT giant TCS. Unlike the previous partnership, the latest partnership announcement with Accenture Ventures will be more engaging, as both the companies share a common goal in this regard, said Bala. Technology and innovative solutions and scalability are two important parameters that both companies share, as part of the common goal.

Under the partnership, Accenture Ventures will help in shortlisting startups for the Microsoft accelerator programme through referrals. Accenture will also provide mentorship to the startups and will actively participate in ThinkNext 2018.

Commenting on the ecosystem partnership, Avnish Sabharwal, MD, Accenture Ventures, India, said, “At Accenture Ventures, we believe that an open innovation approach can help enterprises accelerate adoption of ‘The New’, underpinned by innovation and digital. This ecosystem partnership is an example of how we orchestrate the innovation ecosystem and create opportunities for start-ups to grow and scale-up. We are excited about the unique value that Accenture Ventures and Microsoft Accelerator can together create for start-ups and enterprises.”

Leading the acceleration programmes of India’s startup ecosystem, Microsoft accelerator has so far incubated 130 startups in India, and over 750 startups worldwide.

As Microsoft accelerator programme and Accenture Ventures are active in many other countries including Israel, and the UK, the US. The partnership if successful can be implemented in other countries where both share a similar chemistry with common goals, hinted Avnish.

Indian Home Launches Crash by 41% in 2017, New Supply Now One-Fourth of 2015 – Knight Frank India

Knight Frank India today launched the eighth edition of its flagship half-yearly report -India Real Estate. The report presents a comprehensive analysis of the residential (across eight cities) and office(across seven cities) market performance for the period July – December 2017 (H2 2017).

Residential takeaways:
  • Homes launches in 2017 plummeted by staggering 78% from the peak of 2010. Volume of new projects entering the market in the second half of 2017 stood at approximately one-fourth of the supply levels in 2015
  • Launches below the demonetisation-hit H2 2016
  • All cities witness fall in launches YOY, Hyderabad worst hit
  • At 84%, Hyderabad records steepest fall in launches. Other IT/ITeS dominated markets such as Pune (58%), Bengaluru (37%), Chennai (33%) also witnessed massive drop in launches
  • Sales volume hit seven-year; 62% down from the peak of 2011; YoY drop of 7% in 2017
  • Sales similar to demonetisation-hit H2 2016; down by 2% YoY
  • Sales struggle across markets; Bengaluru down 34%
  • Mumbai (19%) and NCR (21%) see a spike on a demonetisation base effect
  • Bengaluru, in particular, recorded negative growth in both launches (-37%) and sales (-34%) for the first time in H2 2017. Hyderabad also recorded the decadal low in home launches
  • The weighted average prices fell by an average of 3% across cities with Pune witnessing the highest decline of 7% YoY followed by Mumbai at 5% YoY. Markets high on ready to move inventory such as Hyderabad and Ahmedabad saw prices move up 3% and 2% respectively.
Office Takeaways
  • New completions increase by 7% in 2017 but not at par with occupiers’ demand. Supply in H2 2017, 13% up YoY
  • Transactions maintain a steady momentum. Technology sector headwinds and supply crunch responsible for subdued growth
  • Major cites record robust transactions, Bengaluru maintains its lead
  • Vacancy levels hit 5-year low in the face of inadequate supply. Want of quality office stocks was glaring in turbulence-hit IT/ITeS dominated markets such as Bengaluru (3%), Pune (6%) and Hyderabad (5%) 
  • While the share of the office market held by the tech business tapered from 39% in H2 2016 to 37% in H2 2017, the Other Services sector captured more than one-third of transactions recorded in the second half of 2017
  • Co-working service providers an emerging phenomenon until the beginning of 2017 fortified its position by taking up approximately 1.3 Mn sq. ft office space in H2 2017
  • Except Mumbai that saw surprise new supply of office stock, strong rental growth was recorded across other office markets. While Mumbai saw flat YoY rental growth, Hyderabad and Bengaluru experienced the strongest rental growth at 8.5% and 9.2% YoY respectively.
Speaking on the occasion, Shishir Baijal, Chairman & Managing Director, Knight Frank India said, “2017 was been packed with uncertainty, volatility and long-term promise of new opportunities. While a battery of reforms tested industry stakeholders, the new paradigm of transparency and consolidation achieved in the process should pave the way for healthy momentum in the near future. Until the end of 2017, India’s residential sector had shrunk to a fraction of its size in less than a decade. Nevertheless the near standstill triggered by demonetisation seems to have tapered with time. At the same time stakeholders are growing in confidence with the gradual acceptance of structural reforms such as the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016. The Industry however, is still grappling to navigate its way through the new tax regime post the introduction of the Goods and Services Act.

Meanwhile, select markets wherein RERA has matured have witnessed developers re-launch projects at attractive prices which led to an uptick in sales volumes in 2017. The strategic switch in developers’ approach has led to a price reduction is most markets. All in all it is a buyers’ market today. And, we hope the momentum to hold steady in the near future.”

Unsold Inventory, RERA Ambiguity Trouble Indian Real Estate Market in 2017

Knight Frank India has launched the eighth edition of its flagship half yearly report – India Real Estate. It presents a comprehensive analysis of the office market performance of Bengaluru for the period July – December 2017 (H2 2017).

Residential Takeaways:
·         The unsold inventory has come down by 10% YoY in H2 2017, courtesy competitive pricing in a sluggish market. However, the quarter-to-sell (QTS) graph indicates that India’s IT capital would take more than two years to offload unsold homes in the city.
·         New projects dwindled by a 37% YoY in H2 2017 as developers’ focus shifting on two primary aspects – fast tracking delivery of under construction projects and compliance to RERA.
·         Although the weightage average price fell by 5% in H2 2017, home sales plummeted by 34% during the same period.
·         Is it a good time to buy a house in Bengaluru? Developers’ focus on fast tracking delivery of under construction projects coupled with marketing campaigns at IT parks, widespread promotion of RERA registered projects, discounts on base selling price and , festive period freebies and the drop in average weightage price are collectively wooing buyers.
·         Neighbourhoods such as Sarjapur Road, Kanakpura Road and Devanahalli were among the pick of residential micro markets. Upcoming metro connectivity to Whitefield has pushed absorption pace of residential units in this location.
Office Takeaways:
·         With total transaction volume of 5.91 mnsq.ft at a rate of 12% YoY growth, Bengaluru reaffirmed its top position as the leading office market among eight cities
·         Small office spaces in vogue. More than eight out of 10 office deals comprise space take up of less than 50,000 sq. ft.
·         While the average deal size shrunk by 37% YoY in H2 2017, the total number of deals rose by more than 80% during the same period   
·         The share of the IT/ITeS sector shrunk to 44% of the gross leasing in H2 2017, 20% lower than the space consumed in H2 2016
·         Bengaluru office markets records staggering weighted rental growth of 9.% YoY
Speaking about the findings, Shantanu Mazumder, Senior Branch Director – Bengaluru said,“Bengaluru’s residential markethas been impacted by a variety offactors impacting both demand andsupply.Residential sales have witnessed a 34% YoY decline in H22017 over H2 2016. On the launches front, though the declining trend began since2014, the rate of decline was never asmarked as in 2017 as the new supplynosedived by a mammoth 71% from thepeak witnessed in 2013.North and South zones have witnessedmaximum curtailment of new launchesregistering a YoY decline of 66%and 52%, respectively, in H2 2017,as developers put new projectlaunches on the backburner whilst theyprioritised RERA compliance. On a YoYbasis too, overall city launches declinedby 37% in H2 2017.Competitive pricing coupled with asharp decline in new launches in 2017has worked in the favour of Bengaluru developers; as a result, the unsold inventory has gradually declined by10% YoY in H2 2017. In terms of micro-markets Sarjapur Road, Kanakpura Road, Thanisandra and Devanahalli have been the buyers’ choice; however, with the metro construction in full swing, Whitefield too has pickedup pace.

In H2 2017, the total transactionvolume was noted at 5.91 million sqft registering a 12% YoY growth over H2 2016. This high transaction volumereaffirms Bengaluru’s top position asthe leading office market across the topeight cities.Of all the micro markets, Outer RingRoad (ORR) continued to fare well interms of occupier stickiness accountingfor 47% of total transactions in H22017 thereby recording a massive YoY growth of 83% over H2 2016. Despitelimited new supply and low vacancy,the absolute quality of office assets keptoccupiers interested in leasing any newspaces that became available in thismicro market.An interesting trend that emergedduring H2 2017 was the dominanceof smaller deal sizes in the totaltransaction volume with 82% of the total numberof deals belonging to a spacetake up of less than 50,000 sq ft.TheIT/ITeS sector accounted for 44%of gross leasing in H2 2017, 20% lower than the space consumedin H2 2016. Amidst automation andreskilling challenges, cautious hiringprevailed in this sector thus deterring the expansion momentum.E-commerce, on the other hand, emerged as a surprisefrontrunner for space consumptionaccounting for a 16% share in totaltransaction volume.Co-working operators, too, continued expanding footprint accounting for a 6% share in H2 2017 leasing volume. ORR also accounted for 69% of the 4.4 million sqft of newsupply in H2 2017 which was well received by occupiersand eased the supply crunch in this belt, albeit in the short-term.”

SIDBI India Opportunities Fund invests in Corporatedge Serviced Offices for Expanding in India

Corporatedge, a leading provider of Serviced Office Infrastructure in India gets funded by SIDBI India Opportunities Fund to support the expansion of the company’s Serviced Offices business. With this funding, the company aims at expanding to over 6 locations across India.
Formed in 2012 as a privately held company, the company provides fully serviced offices, virtual offices, meeting rooms and co-working spaces for companies ranging from start-ups to multinational conglomerates. Since inception, CE Serviced Offices Private Limited (Corporatedge) has been passionately focusing on service delivery and premium yet value for money offering in the Serviced Offices vertical.

The company has two operational serviced office offerings in premium locations in Gurgaon. Corporatedge launched its first Centre with 40 office suites and 178 workstations spread over 16,000 sq ft – at DLF Cyber City in 2013. In 2016 another premium offering was set up at Corporatedge Horizon Centre, spread over 25,000 sq ft. with 60 suites and 280 workstations at DLF Two Horizon in April 2016. Corporatedge has created a mark in the Business Center industry with MNCs and international firms largely working out of their state of the art modern facilities. They have a total of 500 desks operational and have grown their capacity by 60% in the last quarter of 2017.

Positioned as a Premium offering in the Serviced Offices space, ‘Corporatedge’ is known for its Premium offering as – Location, Address, Product-mix, Infrastructure, Interiors, Technology and Service support. With the India Growth story gaining momentum and the country’s brand equity in the business world being stronger than ever, the demand from foreign companies, domestic companies, and startups within the country for serviced offices will continue to grow over the next several years. “We want companies to have a premium workplace environment experience, second to none in the world. The world wants to do business with India and in India. And they will demand the best service standards and settle for nothing less”, says Mona Shukla, Founder, and CEO at Corporatedge Serviced Offices.

“We are humbled by the support of SIDBI IOF Team. Our commitment of an excellent service, followed by manageable growth has made us reach this far. With this round of funding, we see ourselves grow into a national entity. We dream to be a global entity soon and this would be a major milestone in our journey”, adds Mona.

Leading Enterprise Collaboration App DingTalk Introduces English Version

DingTalk, a professional office application for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) unveiled an English version of the app. A product by the Alibaba Group, the app aims to enhance communication and redefine organisational collaboration for small and medium-sized enterprises that prefer to correspond in English. Over 5 million enterprises and organizations in China are already using the Chinese version. 

Equipped with cutting edge technology, DingTalk is a revolutionary platform providing SMEs with a simple, efficient and secure platform for collaboration. Currently available on iOS, Android, Mac and Windows operating systems, DingTalk offers organizational-centric functions and features aimed at improving business-to-business communication and collaboration:

             •       Unified Communications – supports audio, video and/or conference calls for up to 3,000 parties in a single call; integrated emails, chats and message reminder features; voice and video services are currently only available via VoIP for users outside of China
       Office Automation – allows businesses to manage attendance, make approvals, maintain business reports, send files of up to 700MB in size;
       Internal and External Collaboration – businesses can book and host meetings, manage CRM information, create tasks and service tickets, set up private chat and more;
       Open Platform – allows third party SaaS applications and services to be integrated with DingTalk and provide an enterprise service ecosystem for SMEs.
       ISO security certification – Dingtalk is one of the first Chinese apps to have obtained the ISO/IEC 27001:2013 standard, a globally recognized data security benchmark. That means data is encrypted at SSL/TLS security standards to provide high-level communications protection.
Speaking on the launch of the English version of DingTalk at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Chris Wang, Head of Global Business Development for DingTalk said, “Our endeavour is to empower SMEs so they can scale and become part of the global marketplace. Technology is a powerful tool to help businesses enhance operations, and function smoothly. With DingTalk, we will enable organizations to seamlessly communicate and collaborate across locations, thereby increasing productivity. We believe that this is the future of the workplace, and we see immense potential in helping businesses redefine their organizational connectivity.”

Currently, DingTalk serves businesses across sectors such as e-commerce, manufacturing, education and finance, providing them with a growing slate of business-centric functions. The goal is to create an effective platform which is mobile-optimized while offering cloud-based corporate solutions and freeing companies from the costs of building or buying software and maintaining their own servers for business communications, workflow management, and data storage.

Data Democracy, Online Consumer Engagement and Brand Advocacy are Influencing Modern Marketing Landscape

Digitisation is changing the paradigms in marketing across sectors. This global phenomenon is introducing new practices in marketing communications and renewing the significance of online media for B2B and B2C businesses. 

How marketers can adapt to a rapidly evolving arm of marketing in the world of business and what are the challenges and opportunities in the next decade were some key topics discussed at International Research Conference organized by S.P. Mandali's Prin. L. N. Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research (WeSchool) And Academy of Indian MarketingThe symposium under the theme "Marketing in the Next Decade", revisited the fundamental pillars of marketing in the backdrop of technological advancements. 

The event was consequent to the three day 6th AIM - AMA Sheth Foundation Doctoral Consortium that invited doctorial students to share their research about ‘’Marketing in a Connected World." Noted academicians from international universities participated in both events. The conference saw marketing leaders discussing the influence of digital technologies in marketing and also the academic scholarly work on this subject.

The inaugural of the conference was attended by the leadership team from WeSchool and AIM (Academy of Indian Marketing) at WeSchool, Bengaluru Campus. The Chief Guest, Sharad Sharma, Founder, iSPIRIT emphasized on the power of data empowering lives through data democracy and bringing in economic prosperity. He showcased the progress of technology by citing the fact that more people have mobiles phones than wrist watches. He also highlighted that advertising was shrinking in a significant way and that video content would continue to be a non-advertising supported model in the foreseeable future. 

Prof. Dr. Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University said, “Technology enables innovation hence, it is bound to have a profound impact on marketing. In this digital age one cannot maximize profits but organizations need to focus their energies on scaling up and minimizing the cost.” He rightly pointed out eye opening facts on consumer behavior by stating that demographics were changing globally with more individuals staying alone on an average for ten years. As a result, influencing the consumption pattern. More individuals are attached to unanimated objects and the virtual world of internet. The world is moving in a direction where people are experiencing stress due to paucity of time than scarcity of money.  Basic chores of cooking and baking have become hobbies. Dual income is no more a choice but necessity.

Addressing the dignitaries present at the conference, Prof, Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool said, “We believe in catalyzing knowledge exchange between academia and businesses. The conference provides exposure to evidence-based researches undertaken by academic fraternity that may find a productive utilization in coming up with innovative strategies in marketing practice. We are confident that it will provide professionals an opportunity to get ready for future changes and challenges in marketing domain from both academic and practicing perspectives.”

The Chief Marketing Officer roundtable with Ragavendra Prabhakar, Strategy Lead on Digital Marketing, BOSCH; Vikrant Bhargava, Digital Practice Leader, IBM; Vivekanand Venugopal, MD, Hitachi Vantara; Indroneel Das, Principal Technology Architect, Flipkart was moderated by Marketing Guru, Prof. Jagdish Sheth, Charles H. Kellstadt Professor of Marketing at Emory University.  The discussion underlined how consumerism was driving companies to become digital. The panelists agreed that consumer engagement as key to influencing the dynamic profile of a consumer.

Speaking on the future trends in marketing, Ragavendra Prabhakar, Strategy Lead on Digital Marketing Bosch said, “By 2020, 30% of web browsing sessions will be done without a screen. It is imperative for the IoT to blend with business ethics in this digital world. In the retail sector omnichannel presence and e-commerce penetration will see rapid increase with more physical stores launching apps and adopting IoT in their marketing mix.”

Emphasizing on how marketers can enhance customer experience using digital tools, Vikrant Bhargava, Digital Practice Leader, IBM said, “Three things that companies need to focus are to know your visitors, let them be advocates of the brand and create best in class web experience through data driven knowledge.”

The following session on “Marketing Research in Digital Age’’ saw N. S. Muthu Kumaran, Executive Director, Hansa Research; Ashutosh Pujari, Founder, Chief Epic Maker and Lokesh Sewak, Head of Digital Marketing and Analytics, Loccitane. The session moderated by Prof. Dr. D. N. Murthy, Dean Marketing & Research, WeSchool asserted the significance of data as the new currency and business analytics.

On a concluding note, Dr. Uday Salunkhe, Group Director, WeSchool expressed the need to nurture talent in a super VUCA world. He mentioned how placements in 2025 will be cloud based and open to a wider group of individuals. He stressed on the need to develop skill sets that are changing with changing time.

The valedictory session saw Chief Guest, Beena Patil, Vice President - Human Resources, Indegene Lifesystems, describing the event with an outcome that is practically viable. The event concluded on a positive note with closing remarks from WeSchool and AIM leadership.