100 CIOs come together for 13th Express Technology Senate

Jyotindra Thacker of Reliance Jio receiving the Technology Senator of the Year award from Anant Goenka of The Indian Express Group
Jyotindra Thacker of Reliance Jio receiving the Technology Senator of the Year award from Anant Goenka of The Indian Express Group

Jaipur, 20 August 2015: From panel discussions to technology presentations and from expo to awards—the 13th Express Technology Senate had it all. The event, being organised in Jaipur’s Fairmont Hotel, from 19th August 2015 to 22nd August 2015, was presented by Vodafone and has attracted around 100 CIOs and IT heads from India’s leading business houses, several technology specialists, keynote speakers and a new wave of exhibitors. A series of presentations and panel discussions on new emerging technologies energised the event, which had the theme of “Digital Transformation—Leveraging Emerging Technologies”.

The event was inaugurated at 9.30 AM on 20th August 2015. The keynote address was delivered by Romi Mahajan, the noted author, marketer, investor and board member for multiple start-ups. Speaking on the subject of “The Responsible Executive: CIOs in the Digital Transformation Age,” Romi said, “The CIO is the most important executive in the company because technology and business have converged.”

The presentation by Govindraj Avasarala, Head – Enterprise Mobility Products, Vodafone India, was followed Romi Mahajan’s keynote. Govindraj Avasarala spoke on the topic of “Getting ready for the Digital Era”, and gave convincing arguments to show that what was happening in the physical world was also happening in the digital world. He gave the examples of businesses like app based taxi services and e-commerce that had emerged suddenly created disruptions in the traditional business models.

The panel discussion on “Driving Digital Transformation in the Enterprise—Evolving the IT Department” was moderated by Sunil Chandiramani, CEO, Nyka Advisory Services. The panelists were: Suneel Aradhye, Group CIO, RPG Enterprises; Vinay Nigudkar, Head – Technology Projects, Reliance Capital Ltd.; Harnath Babu, CIO, Aviva Life Insurance Company India Ltd.; Satish Mittal, Sr. Vice President and CTO, Vodafone Business Services. This serious brainstorming session highlighted the issues and challenges that businesses face while driving digital transformation.

It was Sanjeet Banerji, Sr. Vice President, Technology & Innovation, Datamatics Global Services Ltd., who gave a detailed presentation on the best ways by which businesses in India could take advantage of Big Data. This was followed by a presentation by Kuldeepak Sharma, General Manager – Channel Business, Amararaja Batteries Ltd. “Without power, the best IT infrastructure is of no use,” said Kuldeepak Sharma and then he went on to present a detailed overview of the solutions that Amararaja Batteries Ltd. has developed for ensuring reliable round the clock power.

Just before the event broke for lunch, there was the interesting presentation from Piyush Somani, MD and CEO, ESDS Software Solutions Pvt. Ltd. Speaking on the subject of “Enlightened Cloud-Made in India” Piyush made a strong case for businesses to move their operations to the cloud. He said that the cloud was not only cheaper, it was also more efficient and secure.

Romi Mahajan moderated the next panel discussion on “Reinvention of Consumer Experience.” The panelists with him were: Goutam Datta, Vice President Technology, ICICI Lombard GIC Ltd.; Manish Godha, CEO, Founder, Advaiya Solutions; Parna Ghosh, Head ICT – India, Far East & Japan, CNH Industrial Group. The idea that every business must focus on improving the consumer experience was expressed strongly in this panel discussion.

The last presentation of the day 1 of the Express Technology Senate was delivered by Akhilesh Tuteja, Partner and Head of Technology, KPMG India. This interesting presentation had Tuteja using famous concepts from mathematics and science to highlight the difficulties that businesses may face in their digital journey. The thought provoking presentations and panel discussions were interspersed not the only thing that transpired on the day 1 of the event. In the evening, a three hour tour of Jaipur had been organised. Many CIOs and other guests availed the opportunity for visiting famous landmarks of the city.

Post evening, all the guests were once again gathered in the auditorium for the much-awaited Express Uptime Champion Awards 2015. The objective of the awards is to recognise companies for having the best network uptime records for the year. The session began with Jyotindra Thacker of Reliance Jio receiving the Technology Senator of the Year award from Anant Goenka, Wholetime Director and Head-New Media.

“Reliance Jio will lead to a new communications revolution in the country,” said Jyotindra Thacker during his on-stage conversation with Goenka.  He confirmed that Reliance Jio will soon be launching an array of ultra-cheap 4G devices like smartphones, dongles, WiFi tablets and other WiFi devices. He said that we are not content in merely creating a pipe through which others can provide their services, we are focused on building an intelligent network. “A number of apps are being developed for providing services directly to our customers,” he said.

In the Express Uptime Champion Awards 2015, awards were given under four categories — BFSI; Manufacturing; Media & Entertainment; Travel & Hospitality; Retail. In the BFSI category, the winner was – Goutam Datta, VP-Technology, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Ltd. In Manufacturing Category, the winner was Hemant Kulkarni Deputy General Manager – Corporate IT Kirloskar Electric Company Ltd. In Media & Entertainment category, the winner was, Sayed Peerzade – Vice President – Technology – Reliance Entertainment – Digital. In Travel & Hospitality category, the winner was Vipil Gupta. General Manager (IS), The Indian Hotels Company Ltd. In Retail category, the winner was Subramanian Chittur Head – IT Metro Cash and Carry.

The entire award ceremony was enlivened by the scintillating live performance of folk dancers of Rajasthan.