‘Self’ and ‘Identity’: The Pillars to Live A Life Worth Living!!

The experience of being human is mysterious, exciting and challenging. One lives a pattern of events, feelings, thoughts and choices that differ from those experienced by any other human being. Whereas, one is continuously ‘becoming’, evolving from a simpler version of ‘oneself’ to a more complex version; it’s mystifying, intriguing but nevertheless an experience altogether exciting and compelling.

What Is Self?

When vagaries of life abound, how does one evolve and yet remain the same without disintegrating the core fabric of one’s Self?  ‘Self’ is an ever-changing system of perspectives formed and sustained in communication with others and ourselves; a process of exploration, search and concretization of one’s identity. We all desire for a sense of (core) self, an ‘I’, an independent, autonomous being, free from pressures of conformity – the forces that attempt to dissolve the sense of ‘I’ to align it with the traditional/ typecast mould.

Search for identity is a gruelling task; one that requires courage of assertion, the persistence of a zealot – to carve, maintain and retain one’s identity. The search for identity is equivalent to finding a statement of Motto for one’s endeavours in life. Multiple values, ideologies, principles, beliefs, ethical tones and ‘shoulds’ (protocols) prescribe the template. A clearcut statement of agenda one should espouse is non-existent. Endowed with a mind of one’s own, coupled with the unique experiences one accumulates and unique feelings one possesses, an individual embarks on finding his own meaningful place in the society.

Most of us strive to figure out what one should do (line of career) that is worth its while and engaging. In late adolescence, one tries to fathom the relative importance of feelings, reason, emotion, mood variations, sadness, joy, love etc. In all probability, one is set on the path of crucial questioning when life-turning events put one in a state of melancholy or ecstasy, all of which call for examining yet different facets of the kaleidoscope of life. Troubled with one’s state of mind, with no succour or readymade answers, one may perforce examine one’s baseline beliefs and guiding principles.  The identity of an individual is quite synonymous to one’s core assumptions, beliefs or principles about oneself; equivalent to the academic word ‘paradigm’ – a principle that is sacrosanct – unshakeable.

What Is Identity?

Identity is the essence of what we stand for, what we worked for – our meaningful, identifiable contribution, something by which one is remembered or recalled, a one-word agenda or goal that one may have worked for. No individual wishes to be trapped in mediocrity or to remain obscure. We want to be seen, to stand out, to have the firmness of thought and vision and to be an entity to reckon with.  An individual may not be rich, successful or a shining star in the enormity of the universe, but nevertheless one desires to be distinguished , a separate domain , a distinctive and identifiable unit that is vivid, starkly clear, permanent in nature and pursuit – something that accords a degree of coherence and meaning to one’s life.

End on an inspirational note

We don’t want our descriptions to be hazy, nebulous or to remain nobody’s or non entities; we hate to spend our lives as wasted efforts, or as a rudderless ship. Deep down we want to be towers of strength, with our feet firmly planted in ground and be able to garner an easy recall of ourselves by others – by virtue of our indelible marks of action. At all stages of life these lessons are relevant to evoke deep thought, emotion, and even inner turmoil that each one needs to ponder and resolve.


Career in Entrepreneurship – First Choice of MBA/PGDM Students

MBA/PGDM students dreaming of high paying big corporate jobs is now an idea of yesteryears. The mantra of today’s generation is to “start-your-own” thing. Undoubtedly the fast-paced modern world is perfect for passionate leaders to transform their ideas/dreams into reality. The reason for saying this is several – with Start-up India Campaign, Government is trying to create a business ecosystem that is supportive of innovations and passionate intellectuals. The idea behind the campaign is to realize long term sustainable economic growth and large scale employment opportunities for demographic dividends of India. The initiative, through its ‘action plan’ for implementation, has plenty of opportunities for the youngsters of today.

Under this scheme, entrepreneurs get sustainable support starting from simplification of processes, hand holding to funding and incentives. The scheme also facilitates Industry-Academia partnership and incubation. An incubation center provides basic infrastructure like office space, stationary, furniture and connectivity amongst others to leaders. The primary individuals to take advantage of this scheme are students pursuing their PGDM/MBA from renowned management institutes. From a theoretical understanding of the nitty-gritty of managing a venture to technical & legal understanding of business-related rules and regulations, such institutions are not less than a boon for MBA students.

How FIIB helping students?

Fortune Institutes of International Business (FIIB) have an encouraging environment for entrepreneurship development. The entrepreneurship-cells or E-cells are prevalent in colleges, however, boot camp on entrepreneurship during foundation courses, relevant core and other elective subjects on entrepreneurship at FIIB not only creates a favourable entrepreneurship mindset, but it also motivates students to start a campus company.  The industry exposure during management education at FIIB also helps the students to identify partners, mentors and investors. Two years stint at good institutes connects you to an alumni network of people who can have an impact on your set-up.

Change in social perception matters

Apart from these, management professionals also have minimum risk involved. If the venture does not work as expected, they have a reliable option of joining other organizations in the future. Fortunately, the social perception about starting your own venture has changed now. The stigma attached earlier has now turned into admiration. Companies appreciate innovative and entrepreneurial people who burnt their fingers previously.

All these factors contribute to the idea of starting your own venture. Therefore, when students begin his management education, they should have clear goals in mind and actively work towards achieving them.


Analytics – A Crucial Skill for MBA Graduates

The competitiveness in business is often associated with right decisions at the right time which rides on ‘right information’. Managers no longer can afford to call shots based on their gut feeling and feel secure if the decision isn’t right, they will have the luxury of time to maneuver it back to the right path. With the help of current technologies, the organizations are sitting on all kind of possible data and scalable business intelligence tools.

Organizations are facing the challenge of effectively implementing the data utilization in their decisions due to the lack of human resources who can work with current technologies, business intelligence tools and, to some extent matured artificial intelligence.   Skilled human resources in business intelligence and business analytics are requisite to unleash productivity in processes and accuracy in their KPI. Organizations with able leadership in the area of Analytics are paving the way for others to follow their path to achieve success. The infographic by Denave in his article ‘Anatomy of Analytics’ published in AIM gives a peek view of the steadily increasing demand of analytics-versed leaders in the future.

FIIB without any hype works very closely with industry to understand their requirements of analytics-ready talent in all functional domain. FIIB involves industry in its curriculum creation to offer not only the specialized and focused courses in analytics but also the analytics components in every course. The design of every course is in a way that guides students to become ‘no hype and ready to deliver’ managers.


Q&A: FIIB Students Debate Implications of Budget 2019

Making and representing a budget requires a strategic approach and India has to work diversely to reshape its future. The finance budget 2019 panel discussion started with Government promoting sustainable growth and finished with students opening up their curiosity boxes in front of two panellists, Ranjeet Kumar Mishra (Chartered Accountant (C.A.) & Cost Accountant (I.C.W.A.)), and one moderator (Prof. Kirti Sharma).

These are the questions asked by the students of FIIB during panel discussion:

Q1: How budget 2019 is affecting the manufacturing industry of India?

A: Whenever a change happens, everything connected to the sector automatically experiences associated pros and cons. Undoubtedly with the budget 2019 coming in effect, India will soon become a global manufacturing hub that finely operates in a variety of sectors. Be it automobiles, aviation or any other manufacturing sector – leaders cannot attain good results in the absence of thought leadership.

To clear students doubt, the panellists explained that it is wrong to judge an entire industry by the goods and bads of a particular brand. For example: In the transportation sector, OLA and Uber are performing well only because they’re versatile with the thought leadership skills, and on the other hand, Mehroom is a vanishing name of transportation industry as it lacks in understanding customer needs. He further added, “Revenue, costs and loss are the major factors to consider”. In a nutshell, budget 2019 will actively boost the manufacturing sector only when you (as a taxpayer) don’t define the whole industry’s growth by merely talking about a particular brand’s growth.

Q2: Underlying the farmer’s benefits – will the income proposed to marginal farmers be a good step?

A: One of the students emphasised on the income support for farmers and asked whether it is a progressive step to put forward or not. The government proposed to transfer an amount of 6,000 INR per year into the accounts of farmers under the PM Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme to fight increasing rate of farm distress. The panellist draw students attention toward some facts in order to clear their doubts, which are as follows:

  • It is good to have something in hand rather than empty hands. The amount proposed by the government is, undoubtedly, lesser than what we expected in the first place. But, if we see it from their point of view of the farmers, then it is a significant amount to fulfil their basic utilities.
  • If you are aware of the fact that Orissa is paying INR 12,000 a year to their farmers then, you’ll get to know that the initial start is not that bad to go with.
  • The basic requirement of a common man or a student to live a healthy life is far different from what a farmer expects or wants to. They don’t like to eat pizza, go for outings or wear different clothes in their day-to-day life so, it is beneficial for them to have something in their hands.

To cut to the chase, a hefty amount of 6,000 a year might not enough to mitigate their stress, but it is not too bad to have progressive future goals.

Q3: What are the bigger threats to Indian economy?

A: While discussing on the matter of “Inflation rate in India”, one of the students raised his concern about the threats to Indian economy to which panellists replied – “Digital import is a big concern, even bigger than oil import”. They further added, almost every individual nowadays require a smartphone in their hand making it quite difficult for us to not import digital accessories from other countries. Henceforth, Smartphones are the bigger threats to the Indian economy.

Including this Q&A round, the students also discussed and understood the utmost need to make India an energy-efficient country. Fortunately, the Government not only passed such a worthy budget but also working progressively to make India a country that stands second to none in terms of economy.


Marketing: Retrospective to Future Trends

“Because the purpose of business is to create a customer, the business enterprise has two–and only two–basic functions: marketing and innovation. Marketing and innovation produce results; all the rest are costs”.

 Peter Drucker

Marketing as a business domain is always contemporary and fresh. Over the years, marketing has evolved as a domain which is contemplated to be close to the industry reforms. Marketing has evolved from concepts to reality. Marketing is, therefore, one of the important function of business which leads to growth and future.

Marketing Myopia, a concept by Theodore Levitt, viewed marketing as a short-sighted and inward-looking approach, having more company focus rather than having a focus on the customer needs and wants. Since the era of mass production, the focus was closely centred on more production with efficiency, which was further evolved to quality focus and transited to better sales. In all these phases, one thing was common- no customer focus. Companies were myopic in their approach of viewing customers only on the receiving end, rather than the consuming end.

In the past, organizations like Kodak- myopic for photographic film products, Nokia- myopic for a feature phone, were out of the business for not planning the future before. Marketers then realized that this phenomenon of being biased for any product or brand would not offer the desired yield and it requires to be more holistic and future-oriented. So, organizations like Maruti- petrol car to diesel car to CNG car, Pepsi- aerated drinks to packaged water realized that concentrating on a single product/brand will make them disappear and thus – they moved on for growth and multi-product/brand focus.

Undoubtedly, customer’s choices, preferences and habits matter a lot and likewise transforms in the long run. As a result, customers desire for new and better products, and due to this evolved behaviour, myopic view puts organizations in a self-obsessed trap. It is, therefore, a general realization in marketers to be future savvy and consistently eye for new trends and happenings. Being a product or process-centric individual would not work in this VUCA World- Volatile, Uncertain Complex & Ambiguous. Various concepts have emerged in the last couple of years which transformed the entire gamut of modern marketing. Some of the innovative and contemporary latest marketing are as follows:

1.Permission Marketing

Permission marketing is a unique aspect of marketing for those customers who provide pre-permission to the marketer. A concept propounded by Seth Godin, grounded on the premise of privacy and customer choice, has revolutionized the impact of e-mail marketing. Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) has to come up with regulations like Do Not Disturb (DND) etc. to make customer’s data and time private. Permission marketing in today’s sense is substantially impacted worldwide with new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) (EU) 2016/679 norm. If marketers practice customers’ permission-based marketing, it will lead to better profits and satisfied customers.

2.Screen Marketing

Mobile marketing is contemporary in terms of its usage. Keeping the mobile as the only screen, customers keep it with themselves most of the time, its usage has modern practices to its credit. Marketers considering mobile as the central medium among all the other communications need to be integrated. The time is not so far when every received call will have a commercial linked to various applications over the web. Marketers are realizing the worth of mobile as a multi-functional device, not only limited to SMS or Apps.
3.Virtual Reality in Marketing

Marketers across the world are utilizing virtual reality to leverage better customer experience. Customers are exposed to the non-real world with real-time feelings via the applications of virtual reality. They can see how the product looks on them without actually getting it on and visiting the store. Nowadays, it is quite difficult for marketers to avoid the engagement of virtual reality as it makes them a modern marketer.
4.Co-Creation in  Marketing

Most of the marketers have realized that generating customer-centric product or content is not the only desired technique to win their targeted customers heart and soul. However, it is true that marketers across the world are eyeing for user-generated product and content having a flavour of collaboration. People in the marketing sector now accepts that both marketers and consumers require to contribute and collaborate to claim a win-win situation arising out of a co-creation. Customization becomes a passé and, now the marketing world is leading to hyper-customization with marketer’s inputs.
5.Voice Search

Consumers due to limited time and accessibility are preferring voice search over various search engines, making it mandatory for marketers to ensure that there facts & information are not just available instead represented in an easy-to-understand format on the Internet. Additionally, marketers should also invest time in checking the ranking of their voice search results.

The future of marketing is therefore difficult to predict, but it is sure that it will be not the same as it is now. Marketing, which initially considered as a medium of communicating messages and ensuring it goes to the intended consumer – developing a product and its brand then deciding what to tell that target market.

But the next leap will be more personal, hyper-targeted and, above everything else, embedded with a service-oriented focus. This will turn marketing – on a one-to-one basis of mass scale – into a more dynamic and complex sector. Modern marketing will be entirely consumer experience based and broadly capitalize on previous, present and future experience from diverse touchpoints. This shift requires marketing to be customer driven and, marketers to be customer-centric.

“Good marketers see consumers as complete human beings with all the dimensions real people have.”

                                                         – Jonah Sachs


Artificial Intelligence (AI) – Transforming the Future of Marketing

One of the biggest disruptors in marketing today is Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI technologies are quickly advancing and changing the way marketers’ analyze, solve and implement solutions to improve customer engagement. With AI, machines perform tasks which involve intelligence at par with that of humans like decision making, visual perception, speech recognition, learning, reasoning, planning, and strategizing. It also helps machines learn from experience and take actions based on analyzing data without the need for coded instructions every time.

But what is AI Marketing?

“Artificial intelligence marketing (AI Marketing) is a method of leveraging customer data and AI concepts like machine learning to anticipate customer’s next move and improve the customer journey.”

The evolution of big data and advanced analytic solutions have made it possible for marketers to gauge a better understanding of their target customers than ever before. With the help of data mining algorithms and AI, marketers are able to identify customer’s preferences, purchase history, traits, characteristics, etc. All this helps companies in developing relevant products and services for their target consumers. With the advancement of AI, there has been a sharp increase in predictive analytics. Companies now can not only predict the future but also change it favourably. The AI systems are so robust that just like a doctor it prescribes the company the steps it needs to take in order to accomplish the goals.

Unilever recently used AI for unstructured data and predictive modelling for the purpose of product innovation. Unilever’s Head Global Insights and co-author of the book “AI for Marketing and Product Innovation”, Sthanunathan explained: “The movies we watch, the books we read, all influence our thinking. If you can analyse every single piece of dialogue in a movie or song, we may be able to unearth something meaningful. Consuming all that content is not a mind-numbing experience for a computer. We started mining unstructured data to get metaphors. We can use those same pieces of information to identify emerging trends to see.” With the help of these insights Unilever’s biggest brands, such as Ben & Jerry’s, was able to launch a range of breakfast flavours in 2017.

Similarly, Coca Cola announced the decision to launch Cherry Sprite as a new flavour based on monitoring of data collected from the latest generation of self-service soft drinks fountains, which allow customers to mix their own drinks. The company also planning to install AI in vending machines to allow greater personalization. For instance, customers will be able to order their favourite blend from any vending machine with the machine mixing it to their individual preference. The AI will adapt the machine’s behaviour depending on its location.

Companies are integrating AI not just in product innovation but also in personalization & profiling, SEO, content research & creation, buyer journey optimization, customer service, CRM, and image recognition software. AI does data mining at lightning speed. It performs sentiment analysis by analyzing people’s behaviour, opinion, attitude, and emotion towards issues, events, and various topics.

The future is about marketer and machine working together wherein the latter will enhance the former’s performance. Personalization also called individualization is the key metric for improved customer satisfaction, better customer engagement and a deeper relationship with the customers. Marketers have realized that tailoring products, services and content for each individual customer are the only way to win and retain their loyalty. However, personalization has to be done in the right way as mistargeted personalization leads customers to think that brand is unable to understand them. According to research by McKinsey, when brands get personalization right, marketing expenditures can deliver five to eight times the ROI and lift sales by 10% or more.

Brands are more likely to convert leads into sales if they offer personalized interactions with their customers. Consumers are more likely to buy from a company if they know their name, recommends new products based on past purchases or, knows their purchase preferences. Today’s consumers expect more humanity from their brands. They want to be listened to and truly understood. In light of this, the future of marketing is going to witness the power of personalization, and this would be possible only with the help AI solutions.


The Impact of Customer Responses and Buying Decisions in Global Arena

Illustrating a case, think about a situation where the customers at any place on the globe want to buy something, let it be a Gillette Shaving kit, McDonald’s Burger, IKEA Furniture, services of Uber Cab, American Express Credit Card or anything that they need. Customers yet are not sure of how to progress in their search to get the best value and deal from all the offerings available in the market. Well, past experiences of buying a new product may be an option that can act as an initial set of information for such decisions.

But at the same time, customers are getting some spread information and contradictory arguments. For instance, they hear from some of the online and offline selling platforms ‘we sell at the best price’ the other may say ‘we provide products at your doorstep’ one other give importance to ‘Best and Multi-facilitated Experience’. But who exactly is providing the best value is a tough decision for customers. However, customers are facing these decisions on a routine basis. The job does not end here; their interaction with the middleman and third-party collaborators also going deep and vital.

The Web of Multi-Brands

A customer who is buying Fastrack (Tata) watch at Amazon is using the card of HSBC bank, the payment gateway of Visa, the discount code given by Vodafone, and finally, delivery of the product is given by DHL. In process of buying a watch, a customer is coming in touch with multiple companies and, buying decisions get influenced at different points. Be it online or, offline purchase the case is quite similar. Multi-Brand outlets such as Shoppersstop and Big Bazar, a customer experiences almost the same process.

The reason is simple; today’s arena is largely characterized by rapid internationalization of business and accelerating the globalization. Competition on a global scale has thus begun to emerge and affects all types of products as well as customers. In particular, the recent years become increasingly committed to operating in global markets. Buying patterns are a multifaceted set of supply and demand forces including, macro, micro and product-related aspects. Customers simultaneously aim at achieving the lower prices and higher benefits. Therefore, we can assume that customers across the globe have benefited substantially from the global marketing activities. But the global marketplace has always been vibrant and complex in terms of the changes it brings.

Customer Response Matters

Customer response seems a complex puzzle for the organizations to solve. One school believes that response to marketing activities of a firm reflects in customer response to product/services. Another school believes, the process of managing customer response is playing with the human mindset. However, companies keep on investing their efforts on customer evaluations, preferences and behaviour upon any brand along with marketing mix activities. Customer response is generally referred to the processing of perception from comparative evaluations, preferences and experience.

At the same time, there is a strong influence on market characteristics. The customer is the king of the market. Customers boost the brand and customers spoil the brand. Therefore, customer and supplier relationship; global branding; production and supply chain decisions; customer loyalty; country of origin; nostalgic effects; word-of-mouth, and also post purchase responses are the points where companies need to bounce their mind.

Internet and digital sources have made communication more convenient for both the marketers as well as consumers. This is shaping and giving a new outlook to the consumer response. Advanced technology provides a fundamentally different environment to sellers for managing the customer response and motivates the customers to buy more. Companies will have more freedom to locate a service or product where it can be best in demand, rather than near the nearby market.

Digital sources have turned up as revolutionary tools on recreating the environmental site of business by providing many versatile ways that firms can employ to cultivate and maintain customer relationships, and empowering businesses to interact globally with customers in ways that were impossible before. This mega-trend is a new business norm not only in the developed world but also in emerging markets. For example, Facebook enables many small and medium companies to promote and communicate their products globally, while Alibaba also facilitates the early internationalization of numerous Chinese exporters.

The rapid world of digitalization also offers many new ways to customers in applying numerous filters, comparisons, evaluations while making a purchase decision. However, this global arena brings challenges to business organizations in designing and implementation of their offerings. For example, firms nowadays have to maintain multiple touch points on various digital & social media platforms around the world. Furthermore, fierce and dysfunctional competition (such as counterfeit products on various digital platforms) makes effective promotion and product introduction more challenging.

In the nutshell

In today’s arena buying patterns are boundary free; we wake up in the morning with the help of Japanese alarm clock. At breakfast we eat Indomie or drink Maxwell or Colombian coffee and eat bread made of wheat from America. We glance at advertisement for French wine in the newspapers. Many of the goods and services we consume each day are available at every part of the globe. Symbolizing, it is very important for a customer to decide what to buy and what not to buy? At the same time companies are more curious to escape STP tripod and implement a holistic way to sell their product.


Sales Trends: Relevance Overtaking Personalization!!!

The world of sales has been rapidly changing in the last few years as new technology evolved and became more accessible to businesses and sales teams. The question is what will future bring on to the table? What are the future trends in sales? The following are few sales trends which can impact any organization in the near future:

1.Selling to the new

A few years back the Generation “Y” was the key target group for the sales organizations. They used to be the generation that marketers and salespeople were majorly focusing on for minting profits and while Generation Y’s are increasing in terms of their buying power and income, there is a new generation emerging that both marketers and salespeople should focus on is millennials “Generation Z”. This generation is composed of those people born anywhere from the mid-1990s to the mid-2000s. So, this means the oldest of this group must be in their early 20s while the youngest is just barely teenagers right now. This set of generation is expected to be the highest spending consumers by 2020, which is right around the corner.

How can this affect sales?

This generation is quite different from previous generations, especially the environment they are living in. For example, they were born with access to advanced technology and are growing up using social media, smartphones, online shopping and all kinds of other technologies on a daily basis. This generation is more inclined towards sharing economy like Ola, Uber or Air BNB’s in the world. Surprisingly, they care a lot about worldwide issues and their own impact on the world, particularly when it comes to environmental and social issues. Also, there’s one very interesting statistic that might surprise many people: some studies show that generation Z actually prefers brick-and-mortar stores to online shopping.

How do you sell to this generation?

The secret stands in understanding who forms this generation and what they care about – the more you learn about them, the easier it will be to come up with the best approach to sell to them.

2. Sales Assistance

Nowadays, sales evolving too rapidly for individuals and organizations to work in silos, especially given the speed at which companies are growing. Also, the companies are hiring (or promoting) salespeople and leaders at record numbers into roles they’ve never actually done before; and in many cases, sales representatives are being asked to sell new innovative products within new markets with no industry or category experience. It’s creating a massive vacuum in knowledge, experience and strategy. One way or another, every sales team gets at least a little bit of sales assistance in terms of training or tools to understand the nitty-gritty of sales.

How can this affect sales?

There’s certainly been a lot of growth in the adoption of sales tools and sales training in the past couple of years, with more and more businesses and organizations focusing on the sales enablement, a trend which is very likely to continue in the coming years. More focus on new technologies can also aid the sales enablement process as well as the salespeople to sell more to reap maximum profits.

How do you stay on top of this trend?

In order to stay ahead of this trend, the organizations should devote time to plan out a sales assistance strategy, from helping recruit new salespeople to regular coaching to your existing salespeople.

3. Data Science and Sales

Data is a trending buzz-word which is being heard around quite a bit in recent few years, and in the coming future, it’s only going to get more prevalent. Data analytics and artificial intelligence have the power to disrupt entire industries and sales industry is no exception to this. There are definitely a lot of ways that Data Analytics and AI will continue to impact the world of sales in coming future.  The more the organizations can implement Data Analytics and Artificial Intelligence into the tools and techniques they use to sell, the bigger the impact they will have on productivity.

How data science can help salespeople be more productive?

The ability to analyze huge amounts of data in a very short time will help you personalize your sales strategy. Also getting the recommendations based on massive amounts of data will ultimately help to save time in following up and reaching out to the right people. Also, data science can help the organizations to predict the future- What will your next quarter look like based on your past work? What can you do to improve the results of your next quarter?

How can you leverage Data Science?

Data science is, fortunately, becoming more and more accessible by the minute. While the more complex systems might be out of range for the regular business, but there are plenty of regular sales tools implementing more AI-based features and analyzing data.

4. Customer experience: Understanding various touch points

One of the things that the younger generation expect more and more is an integrated experience across all of a business’s channels. With the advent of smart technology, the new generation uses various devices at any given moment, they search for products and services online extensively before they take the buying decision and often demand personalized but consistent experiences that flow seamlessly from channel to channel.

This trend toward creating unified customer experiences has a huge impact on sales. Most importantly, when it comes to the relationship between a sales department and a marketing department. While these departments are (theoretically) distinct, the move towards providing unified customer experience demands a much closer relationship between the two.

How do you create more unified customer experiences from a sales point of view?

There is a lot that needs to be done to develop a true customer experience for all of your customers:

  • Identifying all the platforms and channels your audience uses and leveraging them
  • Creating a seamless transition between all channels and platforms that audiences have access to (for example, if a lead starts a conversation via text messages while they’re on the bus or train but then want to change the channel once they get home, then they should be able to do as seamlessly as possible, without wasting any time)
  • Finding ways to integrate technology such as social media into bricks-and-mortar stores

How can this affect sales?

The more positive experiences organizations can create for the customer, the more customer is likely to become a promoter of the brand, thus increasing brand awareness within the community. Word of mouth marketing is, after all, a timeless strategy, and is always effective.


Technology Changing the Landscape of Jobs – An MBA Student’s Perspective

It has become very much complex to answer the question whether technology will reduce the number of jobs. The simple answer is ‘no’ but an elaborate answer would include how technology is changing the landscape of jobs and how we need to update our skills to stay relevant. Actually, there are two viewpoints, either with the rising technology human unemployment will be on a rise and robot will replace humans or due to artificial intelligence (AI) human will require more skills and maybe the demand for humans will rise. Let’s look at both perspectives here.

We are living in the era where technology and humans are working together. We get everything on a single click and it is actually very cool. You get food where at your place, you get the things of your choice without wasting your time in lots of research every time. Having fun on commanding the devices which are doing your digital stuff. Amazon, one of the top eCommerce markets have already started a sort of convenience store in its headquarters Seattle named as “Amazon Go” Where the customer just enters, scan their phone  look and pick up whatever they want and then just walk out. Due to their technological innovation, machine can sense what customer buys, and when they leave their phone pops up automatically with a receipt of all the item they have purchased. In developed countries, since the comparable data is easily available of diverse industries, so they lesser amount of people who are willing to take up low paying jobs that doesn’t evolve over time and doesn’t require any thinking.

What jobs will be gone?

Role of data entry nowadays is mostly done by the software and Artificial intelligence. For example, in large companies earlier there was lots of manpower were required to do certain kind of jobs like: – file transferring, data entry, file maintenance etc. But then Big data now a day is coming into the picture, which is handling a large amount of data in its data warehouse by using a “key matrices “system.  Where the role of the big data is to create a data warehouse in which its job is to maintain the CRM, Billing, ERM, Flat Files, and all the systems were operated in just at a single click. where earlier it was a very tedious task for the employees as well used to cost more to the company. All of these jobs will soon vanish in thin air.

Technology Changing the Landscape of Jobs - An MBA Student’s Perspective

What could be the upcoming jobs?

Blockchain, Artificial intelligence, Big data and Data analytics, with the introduction of all these new technologies the job were more emphasized towards the analysis of numbers and pulling out certain decisions. All the eCommerce companies such as amazon, Flipkart, Paytm, railway ticket booking system etc are using these systems to increase the demand and the level of consumer satisfaction. Data intelligence gathers the data related to the searches and transactions of the users and observes the pattern of the searches to predict the behavior of users. This information is used to display the products which are mostly searched by the users and improve the user’s interaction with the app or site. So, the upcoming jobs would require skills in analysis and analytics, and the ability to make rational decisions based on data.

As Business Students, we would say that there are only 2 things one can do to overcome this fear of technology changing the jobs: 1. Keeping yourself in pace with the trends that are taking over the corporate 2. Unlearning and relearning the concepts that are relevant to this modern techie corporate world. That is how we can stay ahead in the changing landscape of job market.

Arunesh Agashe
Divya Udharamani
Class 2018 – 20


Can India be an AI Powerhouse?

With AI alone generating over 2.3 million jobs worldwide by 2020, India’s ambition to carve a niche for itself in an increasingly AI-driven world is becoming a reality. Let’s take a closer look at how AI revolution is impacting Indian jobs and the workforce.

Even as the Fourth Industrial Revolution stares us right in the eyes, we are unable to assess with certainty the scope of artificial intelligence (AI) on our future life and work.  A lack of clarity has given rise to anxieties regarding what the future holds, and at one extreme end is the fear that intelligent machines and robots will render humans jobless and take over the world. However, if history is anything to go by, the previous three industrial revolutions managed to make fundamental structural changes to the society and business without ringing in the apocalypse. While the advancement of technology obviously made jobs, and sometimes entire industries, obsolete, it also gave rise to the automotive and digital industries which created jobs, for instance, a large portion of today’s workforce is working in jobs that were hardly heard of before the 1990’s. TeamLease Services expects AI alone to generate over 2.3 million jobs worldwide by 2020, but since it will also wipe nearly 1.7 million jobs off the market, the impact will be muted.

AI and Jobs

The popular, and inaccurate, notion that robots will replace humans is unlikely to materialize in reality as experts argue that while robots might take over blue-collar and white-collar jobs, they will not eliminate the need for humans completely, simply because, unlike humans, machines are not motivated to rule the world. Ekkehard Ernst, Chief of Macro-Economic Policies and Job Unit at UN International Labour Organization (ILO) opines, It is not so much about losing jobs but about how jobs are being transformed and employees in these sectors will add new tasks to their profile while being supported by computers and robots in others. In the process, however, AI will definitely make some roles and jobs obsolete. This means that new roles which require humans to interact with machines will gain prominence. The Indian workforce is also reaching this conclusion on its own. Data from Indeed, a job site, shows that between June 2016 and June 2018, a remarkable 179 percent increase was witnessed in the number of job searches for AI-related roles. There has been a notable rise in the search for the roles of ‘Data Scientist’, ‘Software Engineer’, and ‘Machine Learning Engineer’, ‘AI Engineer’, and ‘Business Intelligence (BI) Developer’ in the last couple of years. Thus, new roles and jobs are being created and sought, even as old ones see a slump in their demand.

An opportunity for India

India offers experience, expertise, talent, and a vast workforce that puts it in a prime position to become a hub of process automation. For India to be a leader in the wave of automation, a joint effort by all the stakeholders – industry, government, academia, and employees – is indispensable. The workforce’s innate inclination to work in the IT sector, along with strong capabilities and focus can become a huge resource, provided they are given the right training.

The Indian workforce has another advantage that is unique. Indians are one of the most optimistic in the world about AI and robots in the workplace and are actually looking forward to working alongside machines. In contrast, automation isn’t viewed as favorably the western world. A study by Salesforce showed that Indians hold a positive outlook towards AI compared to other nations, and most of them expect the job market will significantly improve with the advent of intelligent technologies.

64 percent of the respondents in the survey were confident that new jobs will emerge from AI and 56 percent were ready to upskill and update their skills to make them future-ready. Even Indian consumers expect AI to make the society smarter (50 percent) and life more convenient (58 percent), As the demand for expertise on AI, machine learning (ML), data mining and analysis, neural networks, NLP, deep learning, encryption, and cybersecurity goes up, employees will have to update their skills in order to act as an interface between machines and processes. The industries of banking, financial services, insurance, manufacturing, automotive, telecom, and healthcare hold immense potential for process automation. These industries have a unique opportunity to leverage the best of technology and human intellect and design the future of work.

The Challenges:

A recent Tata Communications study has shown that AI will diversify human thinking rather than replace it. However, the road to this diversification will be anything but easy, and the early signs are not very reassuring. While it is encouraging to see that Indian job-seekers are making themselves future-ready, the preparation is far from complete. The demand for AI skills has been double the talent supply beginning 2018 which has been consistently worsening, says Indeed. Furthermore, data from the National Institute of Skill Development (NISD) shows that a dismal 2 percent of the country’s workforce has undergone a skills training. If the current situation prevails, the evolution from a labor-intensive business environment to one that also incorporates machines and robots will, undoubtedly, be chaotic and tough. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. Organizations and employees need to work on delegating repetitive tasks to machines and make way for current roles to be more creative and thought-driven.

The increasing role of machines in a business and workplace setting needs to be viewed as an eventuality, and steps need to be taken to make the transition to this new paradigm as smooth as possible. As there is an attempt to automate everything that can be automated, the benefits will no longer be limited to a few groups or organizations. This democratization will make the process more inclusive and further the integration of AI and ML into core business models and practices. Preparing the workforce by reskilling and updating their capabilities, and equipping the right people to power AI solutions, is key to a smooth transition into the future of work. At the moment, the rapid pace of change and relative lack of knowledge is posing a challenge to predict the future. As an increasing number of professionals learn the technology better and interact with it more deeply, skepticism will give way to confidence. But the window to build an inclusive and well-planned future is shrinking fast, and if companies want to ride through this disruption smoothly, they need to build on their strengths. India has a unique advantage, which if leveraged smartly, can propel it to the leadership position.

Artificial intelligence (AI) has finally caught the Indian government’s attention:

In his last budget speech, finance minister Arun Jaitley told parliament that the government think-tank, Niti Aayog, will spearhead a national programme on AI, including research and development. The intent showed in the numbers: Budget allocation for Digital India, the government’s umbrella initiative to promote AI, machine learning, 3D printing, and other technologies, was almost doubled to Rs3,073 crore ($477 million) this year.

“It’s extremely encouraging to see the government recognise the need for research in cutting-edge technologies,” Subrat Kar, CEO and co-founder of Noida-based video intelligence platform Vidooly, told Quartz. Niti Aayog’s support will “allow us to indigenously develop technologies on par with our Silicon Valley counterparts, and reduce dependency on them,” Kar said.

Niti Aayog, led by CEO Amitabh Kant, has been a key promoter of various digital campaigns in the country, including the massive biometric programme, Aadhaar, and the India chain project, which is creating blockchain infrastructure to support IndiaStack, a set of codes developed around Aadhaar. That’s why the AI initiative has charged up tech companies.

Meanwhile, the department of science is also set to launch centres of excellence (CoEs), investing in research, training, and skilling in digital manufacturing, big data analysis, quantum communication, and internet of things (IoT). Yet, all this may have come a little too late.

Back of the line

Globally, several countries have already committed millions of dollars to developing AI programmes. The US leads the pack, thanks to decades of public and private investment. Over the last five years, San Francisco’s Bay Area, in It helps that the US is home to institutes that champion AI research. particular, has attracted 41% of all global investments in AI, according to China-based Synced Review. It helps that the US is home to institutes that champion AI research such as Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the world’s biggest tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, Apple, and Google.

The Chinese example

China, a close second, is swiftly ramping up efforts. Canada, reportedly the birthplace of AI research, is fast turning into a hub with tech majors like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook setting up research labs in Montreal.

To play catch up, India is following its neighbor’s footsteps.

“Arguably, China has set the example for India,” said Kartik Hosanagar, professor of technology and digital business at University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. Last year, the Asian nation laid out an AI development plan, outlining goals for the next three years and a blueprint for its strategy until 2030. Not only are its local players, including search giant Baidu, taxi company Didi Chuxing, or internet firms Alibaba and Tencent, spending aggressively on AI, global companies like Google have also set up labs there.

India isn’t faring badly, though. Over half (58%) of the companies using AI in the country work at scale, beyond pilot and test projects. However, the sector is dominated by American firms like Accenture, Microsoft, and Adobe, which have their innovation centres here. Home-grown efforts on the academic, business, and investor fronts are few.

Percentage of companies using AI who are doing so at scale, beyond pilots.

Between 2014 and 2018, AI startups in India raised less than $100 million from venture capitalists. India has a huge potential but also there’s a gap that needs to be filled by today’s and tomorrow’s managers and leaders so that India could become an AI powerhouse!

Lokesh Khandelwal

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