YourStory’s EMERGEOUT Conclave exclusive—“EMERGEOUT Conclave is a great initiative led by the EMERGE Community”: Krishnakumar Natarajan, Chair, NASSCOM EMERGE Forum

Team YS
19th Apr 2010
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“In Chennai, the focus is on the addressable domestic market for the IT-BPO sector”

Krishnakumar Natarajan (KK) is the chair of the NASSCOM EMERGE Forum, helping the Indian IT Industry build a globally competitive ecosystem comprising of both large and emerging companies. In executive capacity, KK is the CEO and Managing Director of MindTree. He has the overall responsibility of both the IT Services and the R&D services businesses of the organization. Until recently, KK served as President & CEO – IT Services for MindTree.

One of co- founders, KK is responsible for taking the company’s IT Services to a global leadership position. In the early years of MindTree, KK moved to the U.S. to launch its operations in the region and was instrumental in acquiring some of the early customers for the organization. He then drove MindTree’s expansion into Europe, Asia Pacific, the Middle East and Australia. As a result of his leadership, MindTree has added several Fortune 500 companies to its client list and has now grown to make a guidance of $186 million business for 2007–08. KK has been elected to the Executive Council of NASSCOM for three consecutive terms and works towards strengthening India’s position in IT through key strategic global initiatives. KK is also an active member of professional industry organizations such as the Manufacturer’s Association for Information Technology and the Confederation of Indian Industry. He is a regular speaker/faculty at reputed conferences and management schools worldwide.

KK earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the College of Engineering, Madras, India, and a Master’s in Business Administration majoring in marketing and systems from the Xavier Institute, Jamshedpur, India. Golf and travel rank high among his interests.

YourStory’s chief evangelist Venkatesh Krishnamoorthy caught up with KK for getting the inside info on the EMERGEOUT Conclave at Chennai. KK also spoke about the EMERGE Forum’s mandate before dwelling in detail about the EMERGEOUT Conclave. So as the saying goes, now you have it from the horse’s mouth.

YourStory: Thank you Mr. KK for talking to YourStory. As Chair of the NASSCOM EMERGE Forum, what in your opinion is the mandate of NASSCOM EMERGE Forum and how many SMEs are members of this forum?

Krishnakumar Natarajan (KK): The mandate of the EMERGE forum is to act as a catalyst for growth for emerging and start-up companies. The EMERGE forum provides an interactive platform, which helps companies to share information, best practices, network with delegations (inward/outward), define local issues that impact business and offer mentoring from industry experts. SMEs form 74% of the NASSCOM membership.

YourStory: How many SMEs have benefitted from the forum?

KK: We have got around 65–70% of the SME members who have been benefitted from the activities that we initiate as a part of the EMERGE Forum.

YourStory: What are the various initiatives of the EMERGE Forum that help the technology SMEs directly?

KK: The initiatives that help SME companies are:

  1. Mentorship Program – Advising companies in scaling their operations. More than 40 companies have been mentored so far in Delhi and Bangalore.
  2. Delegations – More than 8 inward/outward delegations planned to US/UK/Emerging markets every year. Atleast 10–12 companies would benefit from each of these delegations.
  3. Exciting Emerging Companies to Work for – A listing which indicates companies which follow good HR practices.
  4. EMERGE 50 – identify and honour the emerging companies that are redefining the benchmark of excellence for the next generation of SMEs, companies succeeding in emerging/domestic markets and companies that are growing at a rapid pace.
  5. EMERGEOUT Conclave – Community-led event
  6. The EMERGE community – Community, which allows more than 2700 people to exchange and share thoughts. A great platform to learn from each other.
  7. Visibility through the EMERGE newsletter
  8. Innovation Awards – Showcasing innovative companies

YourStory: Does the EMERGE Forum facilitate deals of technology SMEs with VCs and PEs by providing exposure to prospective funding agencies

KK: At this stage we are not focussing on facilitating deals with the VC and the PE community. Through the mentorship program, guidance is provided for companies that require them.

YourStory: How did the idea of the NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Conclave come about? How do you view the evolution of the Conclave from the first to the  fourth edition?

KK: The idea of EMERGEOUT Conclave germinated 2 years back when we wanted to do a conference exclusively focussed on the emerging and the start-up companies. We organise many conferences at NASSCOM focused around the needs of the IT Industry but this was one area where we were not doing enough. Hence the idea of putting together a conclave for the Emerging and start-up companies was conceptualised. The Conclave has evolved from 200 people to around 400 plus people and we have been able to replicate the model in Chennai also [EMERGE Conclaves are held in Delhi and Chennai at present.]. We are in the process of exploring other destinations like Hyderabad, Pune and other tier 2 cities.

YourStory: In the last three editions, what is the significant takeaway for the participants? Any great feedback from participants

KK: The last three editions have been excellent and the EMERGE community has benefitted from these conclaves. The EMERGEOUT has provided a great platform to network, learn on emerging opportunities and partner with like-minded companies. The EMERGE community is a very vibrant one. This platform has been leveraged by our SME members to celebrate each other’s success as well as share best practises. The feedback for the conclave can be accessed online.

YourStory: Any interesting anecdote from the previous EMEREGOUT editions that you would like to share with YourStory audience

KK: Some interesting posts can be accessed at EoC2 - a Roaring Success.

Great events for start-ups. Keep the good work going! http://nasscom-emerge.groupsite.com/discussion/topic/show/176217

YourStory: Now coming to the fourth edition at Chennai on April 30, 2010, who are the target audience for EMERGEOUT Conclave at Chennai and what can participants expect from the event? [Please elaborate on the theme for the benefit of the audience and your views on how participants can benefit]

KK: In Chennai, the focus is on the addressable domestic market for the IT-BPO sector. This sector is showing phenomenal double-digit growth constantly, and is expected to touch close to US$100 billion in the next decade. Needless to say, this four-fold growth will be driven by the emerging companies and start-ups, who need to make adequate preparations now in order to leverage this opportunity. From understanding, “How big is the domestic market really?” to “the untold story of Emerging UID ecosystem”, the Conclave explores what kind of opportunities UID presents to the IT businesses to build disruptive applications to tap into the significant domestic markets, like banking and financial services to the public welfare schemes.

SaaS has moved from being a buzz word to next hybrid service model while opening up multiple opportunities for vendors and customers. At NASSCOM EMERGEOUT conclave, the session “On Demand Software: An Essential Ingredient for Emerging Market” is planned on whether OnDemand software delivery can explode IT applicability in India and how can YOU leverage the coming flood? In this session, you will participate in a conversation with OnDemand practitioners and customers about implications of consultative selling, customer support and pricing. Compare in-premise and services business models to help build your own OnDemand offering and get answers to your questions from the Industry experts. Also our CIO session will help you understand their experiences in using on-premise software vis- a-vis SaaS implementations and how they have transformed their organizations by effectively leveraging IT. At NASSCOM EMERGEOUT conclave, you will be meeting and interacting with not just with Chief Information Officers (CIOs) but Chief Innovation Officers sharing their part of the stories on effectively using IT to transform organizations. The focus on small-and-medium scale manufacturing/automotive sector lends itself naturally to Chennai.

YourStory: Your thoughts on the keynote speaker Mr. Bharat Goenka and his contributions…

KK: Tally is a very successful “Made in India” brand and we are delighted to have Mr. Bharat Goenka, who would be sharing his insights on the topic – "How Big is the Domestic Market really?" He would share his journey on what it takes to create a product and build business around the domestic market.

Bharat is a also a new generation entrepreneur who has built a domestic product business ground up and his insights will be invaluable for the Emerge Community.

Some of the topics he would cover in his talk are mentioned below:

1. Sizing India as a market: different ways to address it, and looking at opportunities within it.

2. The pendulum swing of Cloud vs OnPremise software.

YourStory: Your thoughts on Mr. Lakshmi Narayanan and his contributions…

KK: Lakshmi is the vice chairman and ex-CEO of Cognizant and is also part of the Chairmen’s council at NASSCOM. He has been instrumental in formulating the company’s strategy and building and managing the development centres for Cognizant. He would be sharing his thoughts on “How SMEs can reinvent IT services?” Lakshmi is an acknowledged thought leader and visionary and his inputs in the context of changing market conditions would be valuable.

Even a little over a decade back, Cognizant was only a mid-sized organization. It would be interesting to note what they did right, to emerge as a behemoth in the Indian IT industry. It is also about celebrating success stories that can be truly exemplary for some of the emerging players today.

YourStory: Any interesting speaker(s) or the panel discussion(s) the audience should specifically look forward to.

KK: We do have an interesting line of speakers and some very good panel discussions. More details about the sessions and speakers can be  accessed online at www.nasscom.in/emergeout. Some of the interesting topics covered are:

-         Automotive software: Is there an Opportunity for IT and Where?

-         The Emerging UID inspired ecosystem and what it means for you?

-         OnDemand Software: An Essential Ingredient for the Domestic Market?

-         Frugal Marketing in an Emerging Economy: what works, what's hype, what's trendy?

  • IT & SME: Is SaaS finally bridging the gap?
  • User Centric Design: Designing Products for New Markets

YourStory: How can the participants get involved: would there be any brainstorming sessions or Q&A sessions?

KK: Participants can join the EMERGE community as most of the chair-person/moderators have already initiated discussions on their topics online. This is helping speakers to plan what the audience expects. We would also be having Q&A sessions after the topics are covered. Few links are:

Frugal Marketing - What works, What's trendy, What's hype

Discussion about "Making India proud with a product – Introducing Mr. Bharat Goenka, Tally as Keynote Speaker of NASSCOM EMERGEOUT Conclave, Chennai"

User Centered Innovation and Design(UCI&D): a Session at EMERGEOUT Conclave 2010

IT & SME - Is SaaS finally bridging the gap?

YourStory: Final summary of how you view the whole initiative of EMERGEOUT Conclave.

KK: This is a great initiative led by the EMERGE Community and I am happy to see so many volunteers who help us putting together this conclave.

YourStory: Any credit you would give to an individual or a group that makes NASSCOM EMERGEOUT happen successfully for three editions and raring to go for the fourth edition?

KK: The Program Committee plays a great role in conceptualising the event with the help of EMERGE community. The participation of community members and the volunteers have really made the EMERGEOUT Conclave what it is today.

YourStory: Final word…

KK: The market opportunity in India is huge. NASSCOM McKinsey report 2020 indicates that this market in the next 5–7 years will grow and be larger than the size of what UK IT market is today and will be the third largest market for IT services. With the rapid adoption of SaaS this presents a great opportunity for emerging companies in India to create new markets and also be involved in the process of creating a successful industry.

We thank Mr. KK for sparing his valuable time to share the highlights of the EMERGEOUT Conclave.

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