Catalysing digital South India

The first edition of Technology Senate Digital South India, organised in Chennai recently, witnessed an exciting blend of discussions, thought leader insights and partner presentations

Considering the growing progress of the southern states in empowering Digital India, Express Computer hosted an exclusive Technology Senate focused on the southern states of India. Technology Senate Digital South India focused on the digital transformation of enterprises, enabled by emerging technologies such as AI, blockchain, virtual reality, IoT and big data.
Organised in Chennai from December 11-12, the conference was an exciting blend of discussions, thought leader insights and partner presentations. The focus was on real-world IT deployments and the latest solutions and business insights that attendees can put to practical use.

The event was inaugurated by Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, CIO, Apollo Hospitals; TG Dhandapani, Ex – CIO, TVS Motors; V Sendil Kumar, VP – IT, Shriram Value Services; Vishal Baibhav, Country Channel Lead – HPE Greenlake, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) and Srikanth RP, Group Editor, Express Computer & CRN India.

The conference commenced with the keynote address by Arvind Sivaramakrishnan, CIO, Apollo Hospitals, wherein he said, “The fact that life expectancy has increased significantly is a proof that technology has improved in healthcare. The skills gap in healthcare can be reasonably eliminated using disruptive technologies. Effective algorithms at point of service are capable to deliver the same quality, irrespective of the skills gap. Medical technology and information technology must be delivered in combination, not in isolation.”

Focus on emerging technologies
A panel discussion on ‘Best practices: Choosing emerging technologies and making them work’ was moderated by TG Dhandapani, Ex-CIO, TVS Motors. “Technology keeps moving at a very fast rate, thus it is important to build robust and agile technology that can be upgraded when required,” said Rakshit Daga, CTO, BigBasket.

KNC Nair, CIO, The Muthoot Group mentioned that we must not limit the good practices in selecting the technologies. Any technology introduced in the organisation should be backed-up for the business purpose to improve the top line or the bottom line. G P Ashok Kumar, CTO, The Karur Vysya Bank; Ananthnarayan Narasimhan. Head – IT & SAP, The Himalaya Drug Company and Vishal Baibhav, Country Channel Lead – HPE Greenlake, Hewlett Packard Enterprise were the other panelists.

Partners in transformation
While hosting his session ‘Make Customer Experience Your Business’, Sridhar Narayan, Digital Leader, Adobe said that Indian consumers have far greater expectations from technology than global peers, but with a human touch.

“Everything that HPE is dealing in today will be available as-a-service by 2020,” pointed out Vishal Baibhav, Country Channel Lead – HPE Greenlake, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, while addressing his session on ‘Delivering Everything As A Service’.

Addressing the august gathering, Jagan GM, Business Development Manager, Skylark Information Technology, said, “Skylark’s approach to create digital infrastructure includes data centre networking solutions, campus networking, IoT, data centre application delivery availability and SD- WAN solution.”

Vijay Sivaraman, Head, IT, New Technologies, TVS Supply Chain Solutions hosted a session on emerging trends in AI/ML and how TVS SCS is leveraging the tools to widen the horizon. He said,“Cutting edge technologies like AI, ML, IoT, neural networks, etc, help in delivering greater customer experience today. We are leveraging IoT to optimise utilisation of Material Handling Equipment (MHE), predictive model to identify spares requirement and real-time alerts to improve productivity.”

Further, Sivaraman revealed that TVS SCS is implementing Smartlock to eliminate the use of one-time locks, saving costs as a result. Smartlocks clear audit logs to ascertain the lock opening, bringing in more transparency and accountability, and instant alerts in case of violation.

In his session on ‘Layered Approach To Security’, Rushikesh Chitre, Sr Manager, Technical Support and Pre Sales, eScan said that eScan offers a wide range of solutions including management and control, data leak protection, core protection, STEM, asset management and network protection.

Honouring the best
The Day 1 concluded with Technology Senate Digital South India Awards, starting with the ‘Special Recognition Award for Excellence in AI’ to Apollo Hospitals and ‘Special Recognition Award for Best Usage of Technology for Social Good’ to Akshaya Patra Foundation. Federal Bank and ITC Infotech won in the category of Artificial Intelligence and Ashok Leyland, T V Sundram Iyengar & Sons and Sterling Holiday Resorts won in the category of Cloud.

Jana Small Finance Bank and Hyderabad Industries were awarded in the category of IoT and Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail and Bharti Airtel in the Enterprise Security category.

TVS Supply chain was awarded under Analytics / Big Data; Novac Technology Solutions for Data Centers and Ramco Cements for Data Centers. Indian Bank won the award in the category of Enterprise Applications and The Karur Vysya Bank Ltd won for Enterprise Mobility.

Key highlights: Day 2
The second day of the conference started with the panel discussion on ‘Unconference: Lessons from the Trenches’. The panel consisted of V Sendil Kumar; Srinivasa Rao Muppaneni, Group CIO, Andhra Pradesh and Telangana State and Central Cooperative Banks; and Ramakrishnan Sudarshanam, Divisional Vice President – IT, United Breweries. They shared their experience on their most challenging projects and the key lessons learned.

Sudarshanam said, “In IT, every project is a tough project and most projects are challenging. One project which I want to talk about is the migration from our old ERP to the new SAP ERP, which involved 12 modules, 1,500 users and was spread across 40 locations. It had to be deployed in a very short time. However, we achieved the target; it was undoubtedly one of the most challenging and successful projects.”

V Sendil Kumar said, “Shriram Group is a 45-year-old entity which is predominantly into finance and insurance. As both businesses are critical services, we wanted to redesign the Business Continuity Process. We enabled in such a way where we have both data centres in an identical setup where 50 per cent of the applications run as a primary in one data centre and balance 50 per cent run in the other data centre. We enabled total replication strategy where application, networking, database gets replicated. Earlier we were replicating only the data. We have enhanced by reducing both Recovery Time Objective (RTO) and Recovery Point Objective (RPO).”

Sharing his experience, Muppaneni said that digitising the rural banks was one of the major challenges. The panel discussion was moderated by Srikanth RP.

Next in line was Vivek Upman,Enterprise Lead – South Asia, Seagate, who spoke on ‘Edge Computing: Technology and Markets’. “Seagate, now with edge compute, wants to address customers directly, unlike previously when it was more of an OEM. Edge computing brings in low latency, high data volume, cost effectiveness and compliance,” he emphasised.

Saurabh Sanghoee, Head of Global Solutions and Services, India, Orange Business Services gave a presentation on orchestrating data to create business insights. “5G will bring in a new wave of development and telcos will have to introduce new equipment. Thirty per cent of data will be real-time with 5G, which is a good number. 5G may replace campus WiFi.” He also said that the third wave of internet heralds the “Internet of Enterprises”, comprising an open and interconnected ecosystem where machines, platforms, trades, employees, customers, partners, providers exchange information to create more value.

Ganesh Thyagarajan,Vice President, Automation Anywhere, gave a presentation on ‘Digital Worker and the Future of Work’. He said, “It is important to leverage a digital workforce for an array of reason; it optimises labour cost and increases capacity; it increases speed, provides 100 per cent accuracy and 24x7x365 availabilty; it improves compliance, controls and auditability; delivers business intelligence; enables digital transformation and enhances employee morale.”

In his session, Jithesh PV, Deputy Vice President and Head – Digital, Federal Bank, informed, “At Federal Bank, for hiring, a candidate’s mental state — confidence, sorrow, anger, etc — can be tracked by AI, which lends recommendations to the recruitment team which helps them immensely. The cutting-edge technology components that Federal Bank uses today for recruitment include: Intelligent screening, online proctoring, robotic interviews, behavioural tests, gamification, AI-based recommendations, candidate engagement, scenario-based assessment and analytics.”

The mentioned technology deployed for recruitment helps to improve candidate experience; fasten the hiring process; make it easy for the interview panel; offers effective engagement; removes elements of subjectivity; uses technology to automate; and provides 360 degree assessment of candidates.

Vijay Kumar, IT Head,The Akshaya Patra Foundation, spoke on ‘Technology for social cause: How Akshaya Patra is delivering food to 1.5 million children efficiently’.

Akshaya Patra is a not-for-profit organisation striving to address classroom hunger and malnutrition in India by implementing the government’s Mid-Day Meal Scheme in government and government-aided schools. The initiative was set in motion by feeding 1,500 children in five government schools in Bengaluru. Today, it provides mid-day meals to 180,2517 children in 51 locations across 12 states and two union territories of India.

Some of the technologies that helped Akshay Patra achieve its goal are ERP, CRM, Adoption Management System, BI tools for analytics, 0365 Cloud Email Solution and Cloud Infrastructure as a service.

“With the help of a mobile and a web based app, the requirement of daily delivery of food — mid-day meal — to around 16, 600 schools, 51 factory branches, 1200 routes has been addressed,” he informed.

In another session, Debojit Maitra, Head – Information Security, Aditya Birla Fashion and Retail, spoke on ‘Zero Trust Network and Software Defined Perimeter’. Explaining the benefits of Zero Trust VPN, he said that Zero Trust VPN can overlay complex network topologies, simplify and streamline access. With Zero Trust VPN, networks can be quickly and non disruptively interconnected without requiring wholesale changes. Zero Trust VPN can require 2FA prior to granting access to specific applications and use MFA to legacy applications. Zero Trust VPN reduces compliance scope (via micro segmentation), and automates the compliance reporting task, via identity-centric logging and reporting of access.

The power of discussions
Orange Business Services conducted a power discussion with the end user enterprises. The spokesperson explained various technologies and features offered by the company. Alpesh Sarvaiya, Head – Presales, Orange Business Services said that SDX is not about one-size-fits- all. Not all deployments are zero-touch. Underlay is still important. He emphasised on companies driving their network transformation through business drivers and especially their allocation strategy. He also said that end-to-end orchestration is a key for maximum flexibility and simplified operations, consulting and co-development approach.

“Our approach with SD-WAN includes partnering with best of OEMs, it is internet and cloud ready, offers best of breed security, has operational models, is flexible and competitive, offers end-to-end orchestration,” he pointed out.

Cyber security company eScan’s spokesperson engaged in a power discussion with the technology heads of various companies to make them aware of the company’s products and how they can partner for the common good. Rushikesh Chitre, Sr Manager, Technical Support and Pre-Sales, MicroWorld Software Services spoke on eScan Enterprise Security which does Ransomware behaviour analysis, offering analysis of suspicious behaviour of a file with resemblance to a Ransomware infection behaviour; the reserve list check- the reserve list contains signatures of various files that may behave in a suspicious manner; behavioural check which checks for version resource for various known extensions like exe, DLL, etc. The company also offers Signature Check which checks the presence of digital signature.

A valid digital signature gives a recipient reason to believe that the message was created by a known sender and that it was not altered in transit; TSPM which identifies and blocks from brute force attacks over RDP connection; File check which checks whether the file has hidden, and system hidden and system attributes set. The company offers anti virus and content security for Windows, Mac, Android and Linux systems’ antivirus and content security for mail servers; vulnerability management systems (VAPT), etc.

Every business today is going digital. “Initially, IT used to be the support to organisation; now it has transformed into the core of business, today IT is the key to any business decision that happens. Without IT, the key business decisions are not moving and it is not specific to any industry,” said S Murugavelarasu, Server Specialist – TN & Kerala, HPE at HPE power discussion.

“Today look at what has happened to the transport industry. People are running transport businesses even when they don’t own any vehicles,” he added. “Also the IT infrastructure in the businesses has to be extremely flexible and scalable. Rapid scalability has to happen in the shortest period of time as a company grows,” he emphasised.

The spokesperson explained how various products and solutions of HPE can be utilised for the best benefit of the enterprises. He also explained to the audience at length about HPE’s storage products.

“Enterprises are struggling with the semi-structured and unstructured data, also known as dark data, that resides within the documents, images or email. Hence enterprises need to apply some cognitive ability with ML and AI. RPA deals with structured and rule-based data; our cognitive ability looks at semi-structured and unstructured data,” Thyagarajan said at the power discussion session by Automation Anywhere.

Arvind Sivaramakrishnandigital transformationIT ConferenceTechnology SenateV Sendil Kumar
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