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I N D I A
LLC
Your B2B Brand Accelerator
Jason Gladu
President
TechnOvate
Future Media Industry
of the Metaverse
VOL 04
IS...
Editor's Note
A SAGA OF THE PIONEERING
LEADERSHIP SPIRITS
The evolutionary process is very simple. Nature records
living o...
Dr C. S S Bharathy,
Founder
Jason Gladu,
President
Punit Rastogi,
MD
Muthoot FinCorp Ltd., the flagship company of Muthoot
...
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This edition of CIOLOOKINDIA, "League of Innovators 2022" bring you gems of such pioneering leadership spirits and their stories to reassure you that out future is safe in their awe-inspiring acumen.

This edition of CIOLOOKINDIA, "League of Innovators 2022" bring you gems of such pioneering leadership spirits and their stories to reassure you that out future is safe in their awe-inspiring acumen.

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League of innovators 2022.pdf

  1. 1. I N D I A LLC Your B2B Brand Accelerator Jason Gladu President TechnOvate Future Media Industry of the Metaverse VOL 04 ISSUE 01 2022 New League Changing Dimensions of Industry 4.0 Innovations
  2. 2. Editor's Note A SAGA OF THE PIONEERING LEADERSHIP SPIRITS The evolutionary process is very simple. Nature records living organisms’ responses to the changing environmental scenarios surrounding that organism. It is stored in the cells in the form of genes. Taking those genes, a fundamental survival and reproductory framework is created. Generation after generation, every organism then operates, survives and reproduces according to that pre-established framework. This process continues if the surrounding environment remains unchanged. How can it happen when change is the only constant? Change keeps happing, and the organism keeps adjusting itself to that change, again keeping a record of everything in the RNA or DNA at the genetic level. However, when an avalanche of changes occurs, giving the organism little time for adjustment, chaos erupts. The simplest mechanism of natural selection termed ‘survival of the fittest’ kicks in. It naturally selects only those who are fittest to survive. Nature further investigates into it and finds that those organisms who challenged the established framework and kept themselves changing even when that change was not needed are the ones from the fittest category. Nature calls them innovators. We, as species homo sapiens, survived, thrived, formed and advanced our civilization because of the fittest spirits of such leagues of innovators, generation over generation, challenging the established status quo and always asking questions to themselves and finding out innovative answers and solutions to the many and all human problems. Underlying innovation is their nature. An innovative approach is their frame of reference. They look at challenges as opportunities, problems as chances to prove their worth, and crises as possibilities to explore their shortcomings and correct themselves so that they can seek their ultimate goal, improvisation. These noble spirits and innovative minds are the torchbearers of our collective genius. They will lead us in the race to the future—humankind in the race of survival of the most innovative minds. CIOLOOK India’s exclusive edition titled ‘League of Innovators – 2022’ brings you gems of such pioneering leadership spirits and their stories to reassure you that our future is safe in their awe-inspiring acumen. You can further quench your curious mind’s thirst by reading two crisp and trendy articles written by our in- house editorial team. So, don’t you wait. Just read, learn, and innovate! Abhishek Joshi Deputy Editor abhishek.joshi@insightssuccess.com
  3. 3. Dr C. S S Bharathy, Founder Jason Gladu, President Punit Rastogi, MD Muthoot FinCorp Ltd., the flagship company of Muthoot Pappachan Group, is one of the largest NBFCs in India, registered with the Reserve Bank of India. Fusion VR is India's leading Customer Focused VR, AR and Industry 4.0 solutions company that is focused on helping businesses in their Digital-Transformation. Avani Media is a B2B Marketing and Advertising Agency based in Nashville, Tn. Harish Kohli, President & MD Acer Inc is a Taiwanese multinational hardware and electronics corporation specializing in advanced electronics technology. Solutions India System Pvt Ltd – (SISPL) is an Audio-Visual solutions and system integration Company, for turnkey greenfield projects. Sadaf Sayeed, CEO Brief Company Name Avani Media Solutions India Systems Mumbai Muthoot Microfin Ltd Fusion VR Chennai Acer India Bangalore Featuring
  4. 4. C O V E R S T O R Y 08 LLC Your B2B Brand Accelerator
  5. 5. c o n t e n t Acer India Connecting People and Technology 16 Fusion VR Bringing Forth Indian Industrial Revolution Via Enterprise Metaverse Muthoot Microfin Ltd Micro-Financing Indian Dream for a Better Future Solutions India Systems Delivering Top-Class Unified AV Communications to The World of Business 24 28 36 Articles 20 32 TechnOvate Future Media Industry of the Metaverse New League Changing Dimensions of Industry 4.0 Innovations
  6. 6. CONTENT DESIGN Visualizer Sandeep tikode Art & Design Director Rashmi Singh Associate Designer Revati Badkas SALES Operations Head Megha Mishra Assistant Manager Tejaswini Whaval Sr. BDE Suraj Gadekar Business Development Executive Meera Patel TECHNICAL Technical Head Aditya K. Technical Consultant Tanaji APRIL, 2022 Copyright © 2022 CIOLOOK India, All rights reserved. The content and images used in this magazine should not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior permission from CIOLOOK India. Reprint rights remain solely with CIOLOOK India. FOLLOW US ON www.twitter.com/ciolookindia www.facebook.com/ciolookindia/ WE ARE ALSO AVAILABLE ON Email sales@ciolookindia.com For Subscription www.ciolookindia.com CONTACT US ON Pooja M. Bansal Editor-in-Chief sales@ciolookindia.com I N D I A SME-SMO Research Analyst Amol Wadekar SEO Executive Sujay Bhavsar Abhishek Joshi Gaurav PR Wankhade Deputy Editor
  7. 7. C o v e r S t o r y Jason Gladu President
  8. 8. Our USP is our people, our ability to understand the industry, and our proprietary database of B2B publishers worldwide LLC Your B2B Brand Accelerator
  9. 9. To thrive in today’s digital arena, every brand needs an accelerator that helps it navigate the complexities of outbound marketing and generate high-impact demand. Avani Media LLC, a B2B marketing and advertising agency based in Nashville, Tennessee, is that accelerator. Its tight-knit team of experts specialise in demand and lead generation; it focuses on planning, managing, and executing marketing programs that transform its customers’ businesses. With deep roots in content syndication and outbound marketing, the company works with brands and venture capital firms of all shapes and sizes to accelerate their outbound marketing and drive new customers. It always aims to do things a little differently. Rising Faith, Scaling Mountains Avani Media was founded in 2007 as a publisher’s rep firm representing publishers based in Europe who wanted to sell media to the United States. In 2019/2020, the firm pivoted to becoming a demand gen agency that focuses primarily on B2B technology companies largely driven by customer requests. The clients loved the campaign management and insights they were receiving from Avani Media. They were increasingly asking the company to expand its service offerings. It was their client’s faith that pushed Avani Media to move and grow in this new direction. From NVIDIA, Sage, Khoros to LogMeIn, the Avani Media team has created complex, multi-vendor demand generation programs for some of the best brands around. “We’ve been lucky enough to collaborate with and plan programs for a broad range of industries including fintech, automotive, healthcare, physical security, and artificial intelligence,” says Jason Gladu, the President of Avani Media. An operator by nature, Jason has played a pivotal role in taking the company to where it is today. Prior to his current role at Avani Media, Jason built and scaled Spiceworks’ lead generation business and moved to Ziff Davis to run their B2B partnerships. In addition to running Avani Media, Jason also speaks on podcasts and at conferences, usually on demand and lead generation, and invests in commercial real estate - but, if he had it his way, it might be more about wine, whiskey, or soccer – ideally Liverpool Football Club. Jason mentions that for all of Avani’s clients, the company stays on top of the latest trends in B2B marketing, be it developing relationships with new publishers or leveraging previously unavailable data. Its job is to constantly innovate and accelerate outcomes by refining programs and executing tailor-made solutions. Its proprietary technology and dedicated client success team allow the company to sift through leads to deliver unparalleled quality assurance. An Inspirational Compass When asked Jason about his inspiration to venture into the advertising industry, he said that he had always enjoyed advertising - and Lead Gen was more or less an accident. He was introduced to demand gen at Mindshare, where he worked on the SAP account. Avani Media has collaborated with and planned programs for a broad range of industries including fintech, automotive, healthcare, physical security, and artificial intelligence League of Innovators - 2022
  10. 10. From there, he moved to Spiceworks. There, he ran multi- channel demand gen programs for some of the largest advertisers in the B2B space, such as Microsoft and Dell, and also built the lead gen product line, which encompassed everything from product management to building an intent model and a delivery and campaign management team. The biggest draw to running the lead gen business at Spiceworks was being able to run a business unit that grew from under $1M annually to north of $20M in a short span of time. Surmounting the Challenges Jason believes that the media and demand gen agency space is very crowded. You've got very large holding companies that do billions of dollars a year of revenue, and then you've got a more recent push where brands are moving to more independent and smaller agencies. There was no shortage of competition when Jason made this jump in 2020. He knew that based on Avani’s history of knowing how the lead gen and international media space, it could provide additional value to its customers and help them accelerate their growth. Team-work is the Key The quality of work is only as good as that of the team behind it. With decades of combined experience in the demand and lead generation space, Jason states that his team strategises and develops top-notch services and programs. From complex, global media buys to lead generation programs spanning six continents, the team at Avani Media continues to increase its value to its clients, resulting in long-lasting, fruitful relationships. While defining Avani Media’s uniqueness, Jason puts,“Our USP is our people, our ability to understand the industry, and our proprietary database of B2B publishers worldwide which contains the audiences they cater to, the media they offer, and how they perform for current and past clients. Our team comprises folks who show up and want to help our clients succeed and want our clients to feel like we're an extension of the team rather than just an agency or a vendor. No request from our clients is too small or too big of a burden because, at the end of the day, our job is to make their lives easier, save them money and time, and ultimately drive growth for their brand. So when you combine the passion that our people have for helping our customers, our unique database of hundreds of B2B media publishers worldwide, and our team, we are able to plan and execute more efficiently. Those three things are what contribute to our growth and the growth of our customers.” Success, A Journey of Relationships Talking about the core values, Jason states that the people at Avani Media operate with below key values in mind: • Being Agile • Treating everyone with respect • Being Transparent • Putting people first • Going the extra mile These five values are reflected in everything Avani Media does. These values allow the company to get programs into the market very quickly as it focuses on ensuring that it has great relationships with its clients, the vendors who are important to execute programs for its customers, and its people who need to be in an environment that allows them to be fresh, be themselves and operate at the highest level for its clients. We understand that the B2B marketing and technology world moves very quickly, and we are here to ensure our clients feel supported every step of the way
  11. 11. Jason notes, “We understand that the B2B marketing and technology world moves very quickly, and we are here to ensure our clients feel supported every step of the way.” The Future Digital Navigator Jason firmly believes that the digital advertising landscape only intensified during the pandemic, and he doesn’t see that slowing down in the near future. Talking about the roadmap ahead for Avani Media, Jason marks, “We are scaling up our team and spaces to meet the needs of our clients, which entails ensuring we have enough coverage in all of the timezones our clients operate in, building out a new office to ensure we have a space where clients can meet when they are in Nashville, and building out unique specialities to ensure our clients can take advantage of the increasingly complex digital media landscape.” Valuable Wisdom In his advice to the budding aspirants, Jason states, “Your career path will not be linear, and you're in control of your career path. It is imperative that you take control of your growth and career path. Lean in and go solve problems for the business. Don't be complacent, and don't wait for your business, boss or the world to hand you something. If you can find problems that need to be solved in the business (and you are already doing a great job in your current role), solve them!” He concludes, “You'll become invaluable to not only your current business but also to other businesses in the future. If you're going to start your own business, you’ll certainly need the mindset of being able to solve multiple problems while keeping the business moving forward.” We are scaling up our team and spaces to meet the needs of our clients
  12. 12. 16 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
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  15. 15. 19 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  16. 16. Future Media Industry of The Metaverse elieve it or not, we are already into the future. BBecause of a futuristic conception of an entertainment event based not on physical but virtual reality. Where instead of real people, a huge crowd of 3D avatars cheering and jeering has already happened. It all began when Travis Scott held his virtual concert in April 2020 in the immersive surroundings of Fortnite, where an audience of over twelve million was playing. K- pop group BTS followed it at the same virtual venue by debuting in September 2021 with their new single. Although the trend began, thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions on physical gatherings, metaverse as virtual reality was already in enthusiastic tech companies' fancy. As the industry has started its foray into the metaverse realm, extended reality – XR – entertainment brings in renewed momentum. Instead of being standalone events like a VR app service or even a live webinar, our future media and entertainment experience in the metaverse is going to be beyond our imagination. It will be a universe converged of interoperable virtual spaces in which users from all around the globe, irrespective of their physical location, will have a choice. A choice of multiple kinds of entertainment venues, services, and events as they liked and preferred. The Future is Here: Metaverse media and entertainment is going to be truly futuristic. The metaverse can be defined as a unified virtual space integrating multiple extended realities – including augmented, virtual, and mixed realities – into single, inseparable, and interoperable localities that multiple users access. In science-fiction language, the metaverse reflects our physical reality into a stunning verisimilitude amplified by advanced conveniences, content projection, teleportation, infinite appearance personification, and customisation. This surreal reality will be based on technologies like advanced Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), Augmented Reality (AR), big data management, blockchain, cloud computing, and mixed and virtual reality. It will enable users to perceive, sense, and intermingle in virtual reality with other metaphysical entities just like they are real. 20 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  17. 17. TechnOvate 21 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  18. 18. The metaverse can be seen as a highly seducing and entertaining experience in its early sensations. Because the very fact that users could escape their physical reality and engage with familiar-yet-unfamiliar surroundings is beyond sensational. Media Psychology of Virtual Engagement: The human brain as hardware and its operating system called the mind is a truly extraordinary creation of natural evolution. Some facets of it are amazingly bamboozling even for the scientists. One such aspect is a phenomenon called psychovisualisation, or a fact that the human brain – including its mind – cannot distinguish between actual and virtual realities. That is because our sensory perception and consciousness lead us all the time to suspend our disbelief and accept the virtual/visual as 'real' although we know otherwise. This is why watching a genuinely immersive movie in a theatre; we forget that we are sitting in a chair but feel like we are a part of that on-the-screen story. Now imagine that we are watching a movie not in 3D but inside the virtual reality of the metaverse, where we as an avatar can move around in that imaginary world, believing it to be real. Are you getting why the media and entertainment industry are so excited about the metaverse? That is because such key phenomena – like psychovisualisation – of media psychology explain perfectly why we are so hoping for the metaverse to succeed. Another such phenomenon called synesthetic describes how a deep cumulative impact could be created with multiple sensory experiences. Media psychology also explains the science behind our emotional attachments, habit-forming through self-influencing behaviour, and the capacity of emotions to influence our brain, mind, and behaviours. These factors altogether affect how we intermingle with digital and virtual entities and why we are always eager and excited to do so. A Global Survey of DFC Intelligence, in 2021, revealed that not only amongst teens and adults, content streaming is hugely popular – 96% – but also that if it is possible, then 84% of the audience are ready to virtually interact with the content. What is more, half of them (50%) are ready to pay for these experiences. Practical Cases of Metaverse: As the media and entertainment industry explores practicalities within the metaverse realm, three possible scenarios are to consider. Metaversal Concerts: The leading artists have already established and exploited the idea of virtual concerts, showcasing its effectiveness even during the pandemic. So, if media and entertainment providers could imagine and conceptualize future VR concerts similar to those organized in the last two years by leading artists like BTS, Dragons, Muse, Post Malone, Travis Scott, and other contemporary artists. Then similar to real life, the metaverse will become a successful platform where multiple artists can perform, and everybody wins. Since it will ensure flexibility and greater visibility for the user, and greater guaranteed reach for artists. Metaversal Theme Parks: Theme Parks are always a rage amongst the hardcore fans. Since the pandemic, they too struggled like every other industry. However, come metaverse, and such theme and amusements parks are prime candidates for XR. Because building them in physical reality is very costly compared to extended reality, where they could be created and executed efficiently and safely. Similarly, physical parks have limitations of localities, as visitors from long distances must travel to that place, which is still difficult during the restricted times. However, XR parks have no such limitations. Global visitors can visit them without moving out of their homely comforts. The metaverse defying physical laws could also enable complex parks to give easy access to international visitors while rapidly innovating without extra costs. How Amazing! Virtual Sports and Competitive Tournaments: VR Sports, competitive tournaments and betting would be an incredibly futuristic and monetarily profitable phenomenon in the Metaversal media and entertainment business. VR would allow global players to participate in erasing physical boundaries and enable betters to make better decisions by observing the game closely. In other words, the metaverse phenomena fulfil the basic human psychological desire of socializing by finding commonalities, connecting and having shared experiences. As a result, the future of the media and entertainment industry is extended into the metaverse. - Gaurav PR Wankhade 22 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  19. 19. I N D I A
  20. 20. The disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic has forced the Indian (and global) industry to adopt fast, disruptive technologies coming under the umbrella of extended reality (XR). The globe's technological and social media giants have already immersed themselves into this eminent virtual reality (VR). The hesitancy on the part of India Inc. is due to their profoundly conservative attitude and age-old traditional business mindset. Dr CSS Bharathy, Certified Industry 4.0 Professional and the Founder and CTO, has taken a pledge to replace that hesitancy by infusing his positive attitude, caring nature and visionary leadership style reflected in his futuristic mission called Fusion VR. In an interview with CIOLOOK INDIA for its ‘2022 League of Innovators,’ Dr Bharathy is compellingly detailing his very promising plan, demonstrating the reality- altering future scenarios of this alternate reality. Highlights of the discussion are produced below so that you can enthral yourself by going beyond your imagination. Describe your professional journey. My professional journey began as a humble plant operator in the petrochemical industry twenty-seven years ago. Such a beginning has made me appreciate the struggles and the meaningful contributions of people at every level of an organisation. I had the opportunity to work in India and Singapore and gain expertise in plant operations. My passion for multimedia and a creative drive motivated me immensely, and I became the first Adobe certified video specialist in Southeast Asia. I have been closely associated with the Panasonic SEA core team and worked on the celluloid to digital film making production pipeline design in 2004. I have trained innumerable professionals with my expertise during my teaching stint in Singapore. I became an entrepreneur and succeeded in multimedia training and stereoscopic imaging, and in the process, I helped many people achieve their dream careers in multimedia. With a doctorate in Stereoscopic 3D and a team of engineers, technologists, and creative professionals, I founded Fusion VR, becoming one of the very first to commercially launch a VR experience, ImmeX Zone, for the general public. I helped develop indigenous VR-HMD and a simulation chair integrated with dynamic haptic and effects for experiencing VR in 2014. We have developed the technological and domain experience to provide many Industry 4.0 solutions in the areas of VR, AR, MR, and digital twins. We have successfully developed VR training modules for local and international clients. We have developed a proprietary XR platform to deliver top-notch solutions to customers with compressed development timelines. I’m a keynote speaker at industry conferences and seminars, in addition to being recognised by Forbes and Fortune magazines for technological leadership. I’m also actively contributing to the Government of India in the framing of the new XR policies for the nation. I am also looking ahead as there is an excellent future for the manufacturing industry in what I call the Enterprise Metaverse. League of Innovators - 2022 Bringing Forth Indian Industrial Revolution Via Enterprise Metaverse 24 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  21. 21. Who inspires you to wake up every day and keep making a difference in the respective industry you are catering to? The unlimited potential and benefits of immersive technologies such as VR, AR and MR is the most important reason. And wondering how companies can tap into these benefits is what gets me up each day. The future of Industry 4.0 and the enterprise metaverse is promising and opens the door to provide huge advantages to all manufacturing sectors. I really want all verticals of the manufacturing industry to step boldly into the Fourth Industrial revolution and help make this country a leader in manufacturing. As a leader of Fusion VR, what challenges have you faced while establishing and running the business? The most significant challenge is convincing the manufacturing industry leaders about the benefits of industry 4.0 technologies. Except for a few, there are many manufacturing companies that are hesitant to implement disruptive technologies; this hesitancy disappears after a demonstration of use cases and the finer aspects of our products and services. With the government’s focus, energy, and incentives, I hope to see greater adoption of VR/AR/MR. Brief us about the operations of Fusion VR, its mission, vision, and core values. The focus of Fusion VR is to deliver innovative Industry 4.0 solutions to the manufacturing sector. Our expertise is in the oil and gas, chemicals, utilities, mining, and automotive sectors. We have diversified our operations, collaborated with like-minded partners, and entered the education space where we deliver end-to-end solutions for VR infrastructure and training. We have also delivered innovative projects in the digital museum’s space. The focus of Fusion VR is to deliver innovative Industry 4.0 solutions to the manufacturing sector 25 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  22. 22. Our mission is to make Industry 4.0 technologies more accessible for all manufacturing companies. Fusion VR is not just a technology company, but one with extensive as well as deep domain expertise to develop and implement effective solutions, unlike companies that have come out of the VR gaming and entertainment sector. Our vision is to become India’s leading provider of all Industry 4.0 services such as VR, AR, MR, Digital Twins and become a key player in the Enterprise Metaverse. Our core values are innovation, excellence, and exceeding customer expectations. How has the current pandemic affected your business, and what steps have you taken to safeguard your employees while catering to your clients? While the first and second waves of COVID infection affected, our employees readily embraced remote working technologies, which significantly minimised the impact on our operations. What is important to note is that our processes were geared for remote working through our secure infrastructure even before the pandemic began. Such technological leverage helped us sail through the pandemic without hiccups and any such situations in the future. In fact, Fusion VR delivered on significant projects within agreed timelines amidst the pandemic. Perhaps the only constraint created by the pandemic was our inability to meet potential customers and conduct product demos and interactions due to quarantine and travel restrictions. We always believe in direct discussions with our clients to establish a personal connection and tap into the unlimited potential of immersive technologies and the Enterprise Metaverse. What creative ways have you employed to make the work environment of Fusion VR vibrant? At Fusion VR, we strive every day to foster an open and inclusive work environment. We promote an informal and results-focused approach with our internal and external customers. Our work culture promotes excellence and rewards employees who deliver that. Employees are indeed our partners in the many growth initiatives we undertake. We believe a positive and caring leadership style makes our workspaces more vibrant and working more fun. According to you, what are the essentials of being an innovative business leader? In my humble view, an innovative leader demonstrates a keen willingness to embrace opportunities. This inspires the team to develop a can-do attitude and always view challenges as opportunities. This kind of leader also needs to be open, inclusive, and caring. A leader who eliminates fear and job insecurity promotes greater innovation. To become an innovative leader, transparency in all aspects and walking the talk are a must. What would you like to share with the young generation of entrepreneurs looking to step foot in a leadership role in their respective businesses? The young generation stepping into leadership roles need to foster a work environment that is open, flat, inclusive, empathetic, and results-oriented. They also need to focus on creating a learning organisation and demonstrate that they have something to learn every day. Humility, respect for experience and genuine caring from leaders will enable employees to contribute more than what they are asked for. In terms of future growth, where do you see yourself and Fusion VR? Fusion VR will continue to provide excellence in delivering innovative solutions to the manufacturing industry and play a key role for companies embrace in joining the Fourth Industrial revolution. We will continue to work with a broad spectrum of industries and customers in the private as well as government sectors. We firmly believe we will be part of the tremendous manufacturing growth path and blaze our own innovative trail towards the Enterprise Metaverse. As a leader, I will continue to evangelise the enormous potential of Industry 4.0 while encouraging young leaders to be bold, innovative, and persistent in their endeavours. 26 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  23. 23. Mr Sadaf Sayeed CEO 28 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  24. 24. Micro-Financing Indian Dream for a Better Future At the beginning of the twentieth century, Mahatma Gandhi said, ‘the soul of India lives in its villages.’ Though the percentage of rural India came down from 89% to today’s 69%, it is safe to say that the real India still lives in its villages and semiurban population. And after seventy-five years of Independence, the biggest challenge faced by real/rural and semiurban India is inequality in the provision of basic needs to live a life of dignity, including financial inclusion. Currently, out of the 1.35 billion people, over eighty million people (or 6.5%) still lives below the poverty line, which means surviving on the daily income of meagre ₹93. This is where micro-finance ushers the rays of hope to bridge this ever-widening rural-urban divide. And Muthoot Microfin Ltd. is leading this mission to elevate India out of poverty and put it on the growth pedestal. In an interview with CIOLook India for its edition of ‘League of Innovators – 2022,’ Mr Sadaf Sayeed, an enigmatic leader and the CEO, is speaking compassionately to achieve their goal of helping Indian families enhance their financial well-being and empowering the entrepreneurial spirit by mainly focusing on the women, the real transformers of the humanity. Below are the highlights of this pathbreaking vision. Describe your professional journey. After completing my MBA in Finance and Marketing from Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, I decided to pursue a career in the banking and financial services industry. Before joining Muthoot, I have worked with organisations such as HDFC Bank, GE Money, Spandana Sphoorty Financial Limited and Satin Creditcare Network Ltd. Being passionate about the financial inclusion drive, I opted to head the microfinance business of Muthoot Pappachan Group in 2010. The microfinance business was started from scratch and emerged as the fifth largest microfinance company in India. I am also the longest-serving Chief Executive for Muthoot Pappachan Group. And our company - Muthoot Microfin, has won several accolades, including Great Place to Work certification in the meantime. We have envisioned the company to become the most prominent microfinance institution in India by 2025. Who inspires you to wake up every day and keep making a difference in the respective industry you are catering to? The 190 million unbanked population and 8500 Muthoot Microfin employees working on a mission to eradicate poverty from India motivates me every day. The opportunity and the vast canvas of the financial inclusion landscape inspire me to think of new ideas and innovate to fill the gap between the have and the have nots, along with the opportunity to alleviate millions out of poverty and change the lives of many households. As a leader of Muthoot Microfin, what challenges have you faced while establishing and running the business? The challenges in establishing or running a business are continuous, and the secret of overcoming them is to invent solutions every day. Lately, the COVID-19 pandemic posed the biggest challenge for us, but we managed to overcome all three waves of the pandemic with a collective effort of all the employees and management. We protected all our employees and maintained the business with minimal damage though our door-to-door collection process was hit hard. Despite all, MML registered a modest growth of 5.08 per cent in its portfolio during the period. With systematic planning and a long-term approach, we have been managing risk and unsolicited instances such as COVID quite efficiently. Brief us about Muthoot Microfin’s operations, mission, vision, and core values. Muthoot Microfin offers micro-loans to women entrepreneurs from the remote rural sectors of India. Our operations are designed to promote entrepreneurship among women and financial inclusion. Our financial inclusion drive aims to deliver financial services to the masses, including underprivileged and disadvantaged people, living in the rural sectors of the Indian society at affordable terms, in quick turnaround time and with hassle-free processing. League of Innovators - 2022 29 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  25. 25. We have adopted the joint liability group model of microfinance, which caters exclusively to women in lower- income households and is premised on the fact that if such individuals are given access to credit, they will be able to identify new opportunities and supplement and grow their existing income. Our vision is to become the most innovative and successful financial institution in India, serving the life cycle needs of the underserved. And our mission is to be the No. 1 microfinance company by 2025, managing the best portfolio quality, highest level of customer satisfaction and highest wallet share among our customers. How has the current pandemic affected your business, and what steps have you taken to safeguard your employees while catering to your clients? Microfinance is a touch-and-feel business. Our operations and collection of funds are all community oriented. Microfinance is one of the worst affected businesses during this pandemic. However, we could resume the operations after the government of India categorised this industry as an essential service. Our competence and leadership in the market helped us survive the pandemic with minimal impact. As far as the safety of our employees is concerned, we took all the necessary precautions for the wellbeing and safety of our workforce. The staff from our head office individually called up the 7000 employees in the field and offered them all the help and guidance throughout the lockdown. The company ensured the much-needed emotional support to our employees during the period. We protected all our employees and paid them full salaries throughout the lockdown and pandemic. Further, employee loans were extended, and COVID vaccination reimbursements with paid leave were provided. We also provided free online doctor consultations through video calls, chat, and phone calls for all the employees during the period and most of these services are still active. What creative ways have you employed to make Muthoot Microfin’s work environment vibrant? Muthoot Microfin has been a Great Place to Work certified company for the last four consecutive years. We won the The 190 million unbanked population and 8500 Muthoot Micron employees working on a mission to eradicate poverty from India motivates me every day 30 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  26. 26. challenges they face and never give up. We live in a world filled with Volatility, Uncertainty, Complexities and Ambiguity (VUCA); businesses face challenges all the time, but only those businesses/entrepreneurs who do not give up and adapt to the changing environment survive and thrive. As Jeff Bezos said on entrepreneurship, “You can be grinding for four years with no result and in the fifth year, it becomes the biggest thing on the planet,” Don’t be afraid of failing; keep hustling. In terms of future growth, where do you see yourself and your company? We have set our target to become the largest microfinance company in India. We have been growing phenomenally well in the last decade. The company will double its AUM to Rs 10,000 crore over the next two years, with an immediate target of Rs 6,200 crore AUM by March 2022. We’ll also go for an IPO within a couple of years. The company will open around 500 branches in the near term and establish itself as the market leader. Personally, my growth is aligned with the organisation. My core team at the organisation and I have a long vintage and enduring commitment to the company. Our promoters have always held us closer and have helped us grow with the company. Being a continuous learner, I experience new things here every day, and of course, I can utilise the tons of experience I am gaining from this business. We are looking forward to a brighter future. certification for retaining a “high trust, high performance” culture in the organisation. Muthoot Microfin considers employees as its greatest asset. As a Pan India organisation, our workforce is diverse, with people from different regions, ethnicities, traditions, and social structures working for a common cause. To take care of our employees, especially during pandemic times, we availed the best insurance coverage to our staff, including special COVID protection policies. Apart from healthy incentive schemes, we have plenty of employee recognition and rewards schemes to boost the morale of our employees. Every employee becomes an integral part of our company culture the moment they join the organisation. Our Internal and external communications always reflect employee contributions and recognitions. We have quickly adopted the latest technologies to our business, making our employees' work easy and more productive. Professional training is provided to all employees at regular intervals to ensure our workforce's personal and professional development. Our company’s values have been pivotal in grooming our culture for the well-being of employees. We are a “Purpose” driven organisation, which is the key factor in stimulating our daily work culture. According to you, what are the essentials of being an innovative business leader? As I mentioned above, coming out with solutions for continuous business challenges is an inevitable quality for any business leader. Further, an innovative business leader needs to think out of the box to lead his team, especially during troubled times. They need to apply technology along with creativity to run the business in the modern era and always involve their team before taking critical decisions. Thinking and moving along market trends and inspiring a team is vital. A leader should be willing to take risks and ready to explore new opportunities. What would you like to share with the young generation of entrepreneurs looking to step foot in a leadership role in their respective businesses? My advice to the young entrepreneurs would be to hustle hard and stay focused irrespective of the size of the
  27. 27. Changing Dimensions of Industry 4.0 Innovations ivilization has undergone important industrial Crevolutionary phases to reach the level of productivity that the industry has arrived at today. In Industry 1.0, the development of steam-powered and mechanical production facilities changed the game. In Industry 2.0, these mechanical production facilities were powered by electricity resulting in mass-scale production levels. In the third stage, or Industry 3.0, electronics and information technology wholly automated the production. The further advancements in electronics, information and communication technologies (ECT and ICT) as an extension of these three industrial revolutions became st Industry 4.0, an early 21 -century revolution in production. The Dawn of the Fourth Industrial Revolution: Industry 4.0 describes an ecosystem of new production techniques; automated systems are fully integrated with technologies so that the exchange and flow of data happen across the entire entity in real-time. Industry 4.0's characteristics are Ÿ Advanced digitalization Ÿ Integration of industrial processes of manufacturing and logistics, Ÿ Use of the cloud computing and Internet of Things (IoT) and 'smart' objects – automated machines and products Ÿ Amalgamating the tangible and the virtual realities by adopting ICT. Industry 4.0 fosters novel organizational business models combining human and mechanical production systems, enhancing the overall value chain, environment, and society. It is already positively influencing sectors like manufacturing, construction, supply chain management, logistics, shipping, etc., transforming all aspects of humanity and civilization. Industry Four Rise: Over the last few decades, Industry 4.0 has gained widespread recognition and popularity due to ongoing innovations in cyber-computing capabilities. The virtual-physical divide is narrowed down by advanced techs like Artificial Intelligence (AI), Cloud Computing, 32 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  28. 28. New League 33 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  29. 29. Extended Reality (XR), and the Internet of Things (IoT). It creates an interoperable digital environment between actual physical operations and Information Technology (IT). This cyber-physical domain is leveraged by Industry 4.0. Then combining it with Big Data science, 3D printing, 5G, Drones, Communications etc., it is leading to hi-tech innovations of smart machines within the framework of streamlined processes. The entire assembly is thus capable of a smooth decision- making process through real-time information exchange over the Industrial Internet of Things (IIOT). The result is less human effort and time investment, error and accident- free assembly lined manufacturing, and enhanced industrial productivity. Industry Four Tech: Today, along with the human-to-machine interactions and interface, machine-to-machine real-time communication is already happening. The advanced visualization and augmented simulation techniques have been striding rapidly due to increased semiconductor chips' processing power. Various complex, personified, customizable, and modular products designed with the help of computers can directly be communicated to assembly line machines to follow and produce. Thus, in a cyber-physical environment, designers, planners, engineers, and workers within the embedded systems of factories connect over the IIoT to collaborate and work together. Today's digital industrial robots equipped with pre- programmed AI, ML, Robotic Process Automation (RPA) and IoT are so flexible that they can make real-time human decisions by themselves in a factory environment. So, now, we have Autobots: Automated Robots performing almost all of the human activities and taking many critical decisions, Cobots: Collaborative Robots joining intrinsically through human-like activities, and Chatbots: Communicating Robots used to answer FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions). Welcome to the Smart Factory: XR (Extended Reality) technology is an umbrella term which contains the Augmented, Mixed, and Virtual Reality (VR) techniques. This reality is a combination of both the real as well as the digital world synced together to enrich the virtual world's applicability. In the XR Industry scheme, various cyber-real systems function together to make self-corrective decisions enhancing the final output. Further, to ensure uninterrupted assembly functioning, timely alerts of predicted cause and likely maintenance needed are generated and passed on to humans for their timely intervention. An analytics framework is created by a centralized decision-making hub that logically distributes the processing of regular tasks. This framework is extensively utilized in Industry 4.0 scenario. The process happens like this: First, using the smart sensors, information is generated, stored, and shared across the cyber-physical systems. Then, the emanating information and data are processed on the cloud servers. Second, mathematical models based on AI analytics run predictive algorithms on that data and information in the cloud servers. It is then utilized to assist in guiding the process of manufacturing and improve productivity. The implementation of Industry 4.0 requires a complete inter and intra organizational transformation. Because it achieves horizontal factory-to-factory integration and a hierarchical production line vertical Integration. This leads to smart factory intelligence, which is achieved by converging information processing technologies streamlining the digital ecosystem. The Future is Surely Here: In the past decade, the concept of Industry 4.0 was initiated in Germany and accepted globally. Today, it has revolutionized the industrial civilization of the modern era. But the story does not end here. It is only the fourth chapter, as the European Commission already announced the fifth chapter called Industry 5.0 on the eve of Industry 4.0's tenth birthday. Industry 4.0 is technovation-driven, while, Industry 5.0 is and will ultimately be value-driven. Innovation and technological advancements keep our civilization on the evolutionary path. The co-existence of two Industrial Revolutions promises a future beyond our wildest imagination. A future of innovation, technological advancements, and a futuristic value continuum. The future is surely here, in our present moment, that is for sure. - Gaurav PR Wankhade 34 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  30. 30. There are n-number of enterprise or consulting organizations in the world. To be an honourable and reliable organization one must exhibit a high degree of proficiency through a notable and sustainable contribution. Moreover, consulting services is one such square-shooting industry. They often bridge the gap between the evolving needs of the industry to current practices in the industry. One such reliable and the evergreen firm is achieving new heights year after year. Solutions India Systems PVT LTD is a multifunctional consultancy firm that provides unified AV solutions to numerous settings like corporate offices, educational institutes, retail industry, and many among them. It plays a major role in seamlessly incorporating technology and helps provide a smooth and efficient system for the constructive functioning of the business world. In a talk with CIOLOOK INDIA, the Founder and Managing Director Punit Rastogi have helped explore the 25 years of their miraculous journey. Let’s see some of the ways they have implemented various strategies to become a pioneer and leading consultancy firm in the country. Describe your professional journey. Began my journey in 1993, right after my graduation with a Bachelor in Electronic Engineering from Pune VIT. That too became a matter of chance that I opted for Electronics when all my friends were all set for Mechanical Engineering! My 1st stint was with Plus Business Machines in the year 1993-94 was there for 1 year. with HCL which lasted for Delivering Top-Class Unified AV Communications to The World of Business Punit Rastogi Founder and Managing Director 36 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  31. 31. another 1 year. I was selling high-end photocopiers and Office Automation to Corporate and SMB clients before the Entrepreneurial bug bit me. By June 1995, I was clear that I would want to do something on my own. Technology has always fascinated me and the Audio-Visual Industry in the late 90s had just begun to grow or boom. It was a leap of faith that made me jump from being an employee to an entrepreneur to launch my own company in 1995-96. Having understood the nuances of the market and gaining knowledge from my previous experiences, we entered the market with the inception of “Solutions India” with a team of three people. With our product base to be projectors from Philips and security systems from Zicom. In March 1997, Solutions India Systems was registered as a Pvt Ltd. company and incidentally, this year happens to be th our 25 year of foundation! Early in 1998 -2000, the Economy had started to liberalize and the effects of the reduction in customs duty were adding to the use of High-End Projectors and other display products in use. We started promoting Philips and Sony Projectors and during those days they were heavy and expensive. In 2000, we introduced NEC Japan to India for their high- end projectors and were appointed as distributors for projectors in India. In 2001 and 2002, our need to grow and expand operations across Pan India was the only way forward and so we set up branches in Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, and Kolkata. We had now specialized and moved from box sales of Projectors to Smaller AV Integrations Jobs by providing complete AV setup other than Projectors as well, giving our expertise in complete solutions to the AV needs. In 2005, we partnered for Videoconferencing with Poly- com & Tandberg, as the future became more evident in the “Meeting on Video” though it had challenges on Bandwidth and several other issues. By the year 2008, we had consolidated quite a bit and started working on larger AV projects saw our achievement, and crossed the Rupees 20 Crore turnover mark. The team size also grew to 100 members. We had decided to take a leadership position in the industry. In the year 2010, we established State of Art Experience Centre at a new facility in Mumbai. We are even today one of the few players who have our own Experience Centre where the customer can come in touch, see the kind of work we do, and what they can expect from us. We are constantly updating and adding to our facility. It works as a tech Lab where we try out and evaluate new technology and solutions for the future. In 2014 and 2015, we crossed the Rupees 40 Crore turnover mark, and the team is now 150 members strong. The year of 2017, Solutions India Systems completed 20 years in the AV Industry. We are a name that instills trust and where customers have complete faith in our ability, proven time and again with repeat business. In 2020, we have ventured into retail spaces and home automation as well. Broadening our base and extending our expertise in these sectors as well. Who inspires you to wake up every day and keep making a difference in the respective industry you are catering to? To do what we are doing requires a passion for Audio Visual Technologies. How do we work and how do we use them to solve the various problems that customers face in day-to-day operations? The approach to “Problem Solving”, and “Putting a Smile on the Customers Face” is what drives us on a day-to-day basis. We are committed to a consistent, honest & reliable way of action with empathy “ “ League of Innovators - 2022 37 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  32. 32. What differentiates us, is that we understand that all stakeholders need to be given attention and, if we don’t take care of them someone else will. We also differentiate by going that extra step in serving our clients to meet or exceed their expectations. This relationship-building is the reason why we have so many returning clients. I strongly believe that I am responsible for the 150 families that are a part of the SISPL family and that is my biggest inspiration to strive to do better each day. As a leader of your company, what challenges have you faced while establishing and running the business? We had to compete with businesses that were ahead of us in the industry years before we entered. And that is true for anyone that starts afresh. So, our struggle was not a new one but unique in its own way because we had to handle the market differently with an approach that would be unique. Being a startup with just three people, to begin with, and trying to break into the big leagues from day one has been nothing short of a fascinating journey for us. Proving our capabilities and delivering the promises with sheer dedication, hard work, and commitment we could run the race with the established firms in the industry. Brief us about the operations of your company, its mission, vision, and core values. Customers are at the center of everything we do. Our Values: reflect who we are and what we stand for as a company. Ownership: We take responsibility for our area of influence with a strong sense of ownership or involvement. Trust and Integrity: We are committed to a consistent, honest & reliable way of action with empathy. Diversity and Inclusion: We embrace differences and use a consultative approach with our clients and partners. Team Spirit: We actively contribute to facing and overcoming challenges as a team. Transparency: We provide the full information required and communicate openly and sincerely. Customer Focus: We create state of art solutions for our customers by carefully listening to their needs and trying to exceed their expectations. Our Mission: “We aim to create value and make the difference in the lives of people through innovative solutions and thus helping our clients improve their workspace efficiency and business productibility” Our Vision: “To be the trusted partner of choice that inspires and fulfills every audio-visual need and in creating an amazing experience for their customer” How has the current pandemic affected your business and what steps have you taken to safeguard your employees while catering to your clients? This has been a very difficult time for everyone globally and we were surely not an exception. But having said the difficult part was that of physical and emotional challenges that everyone passed through in one form or another. The discipline that has been instilled in our culture luckily played out to be a huge boon and we were able to stay afloat through the finances even when there was no income generation due to lockdown. We didn’t have any layoffs and managed with minimum pay cuts, jumped up right back to the pre COVID times as soon as the markets opened up. To ensure the safety of our SISPL family we organized a vaccination drive. Also, we made sure that medical assistance was given to those who needed it. Sanitizing our premises and ensuring regular monitoring has been maintained. Our client visits were only through video conferencing early on and since some time that the client visits have begun, COVID regulations are followed. What creative ways have you employed to make the work environment of your company vibrant? We spend so much time at work and to be able to be comfortable, work well, but giving in your best consistently requires a lot of commitment. This is possible only if the work environment is conducive. We have our own sprawling office of over 3500 square feet, where we have made creative workspaces. This also includes our branch offices which are adequately furnished and thus enhance productivity. Talking about the work front, we have empowered teams that take complete ownership of what they do and they with their trust and merit provide for a superlative customer experience. 38 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com
  33. 33. We also ensure to celebrate all the festivals together. Saturdays are birthday celebrations. We have sports activities and similar team-building activities to bond with each other. Annual picnic, movie evenings, a disco night post-sales meet are all a part of bringing in the good vibes and celebrating our hard work together. According to you, what are the essentials of being an innovative business leader? However, cliched it may sound but “thinking out of the box” or rather not confining to thinking there exists a box is a way to go. For a Business Leader to be out of the box, one of the attributes is that he or she must be innovative in everything that they do. Innovation is not only about using the latest technology but also about ensuring that you create an experience for the customer, in a way that they come back to you repeatedly for all the good work that you do. All the while when we do a Consulting Role with the customer, we are always thinking out of the box for creating AV Solutions that simplify the customers’ user experience and help to Collaborate with the Best and “At Par with the World” Solutions. In 2010, when experience centers were a thing of awe and caught eyeballs, we created one in our own office to let the customer come and experience the beauty of technology he can expect us to create for him. For him to touch, feel, and see before he would set up his own. This was something no one in the industry had done at that point in time. What would you like to share with the young generation of entrepreneurs who are looking to step foot in a leadership role in their respective businesses? It is a very different time to do business in today’s scenario where the concept of funding and investments is quite active and prevalent. With ample liquidity in the markets there are lots of opportunities, but eventually, what entrepreneurs require is a long-term vision and goals to deliver value to the customer in a manner that can meet their pain areas and solve problems. Proper handling and a committed approach to growing with the customer is what should be the Mantra towards building leadership. In terms of future growth, where do you see yourself and your company? We are what we Build. If we construct a process-driven, disciplined company where “Ownership towards the Customer” is a Motto, then Sky is the Limit. We are working steadily to meet customers’ high expectations in a challenging business environment where technology changes rapidly and the costs of Electronic Products are becoming affordable. In such situations, there is a process of continuous learning and evolvement is inevitable. Having said that, we have built an organization that is Solid and reliable with strong Fundamentals, for whom Quality is at the Core of Customer Excellence. Hence there is only one way for us to go. Higher, Faster, and Stronger. We have been one of the pioneers in the industry, and in the future, we will continue to work on our leadership position. 39 | April 2022 | www.insightssuccess.com

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