Ramdas Shenoyy in conversation with Mr. Manoj Chugh, President – Group Public Affairs at Mahindra and Mahindra.
An ICT industry veteran, Manoj has, over the last 37 years, managed and led businesses to achieve pole position, across Technology & Services Domains. His experience spans diverse business segments including Systems Integration, Compute, Satellite Communications, Networking, Information Infrastructure and Global IT Services. He has worked extensively with both Indian and Global Majors.
How has the industry evolved over time when you used to head CISCO in India to now as a President – Group Public Affairs at Mahindra and Mahindra?
India’s GDP in the Year 2000 was less than a third of what it is now. Internet was at it’s very early nascent stages in our Country. My team worked incredibly hard to Network India- from Telecom Service Providers to Enterprises and Governments. We ran at a frantic pace. Data Centers had started coming up, Wireless Technologies and IP Telephony had just been introduced and were in early stages of deployment. Those were crazy times. We then evolved. Organizations started leveraging Internet to run their businesses efficiently. Customer engagement moved to the next level. Call Centers, powered by IP technology emerged and Internet began impacting every aspect of life- from the workplace to the home.
Fast Forward to today. Digital Technologies enabled by the Internet, not only impact enterprises, but every aspect of human existence. With connectedness having moved to the next level, who could have ever imagined that one could consult with Doctors online, work from home, watch movies on the mobile phone or learn online. Technology led Disruption has advanced to levels unimaginable, since the time I started with Cisco.
What is your vision for India and how can together we achieve it?
I have always believed in India. That is perhaps one of the reasons I did not leave the Country unlike many others in the High Tech sector. I stayed back. Our talent is second to none. The hunger of our people to learn, our native intelligence and self-belief are legendary. We are unbeatable when it comes to multi-tasking, speaking many tongues, including Computer languages and of course, in terms of our emotional quotient.
We accept diversity as a natural way of life, from the time we enter school. From Idlis to parathas, we have shared everything from very early years of our tiffin times. India will be one of the top Economies of the World in our lifetime. We will grow to $ 10 Trillion from where we are today. We will be that generation that will be Blessed to have seen and contributed to such huge Growth in our lifetime.
How can India Inc differentiate itself in the global market place amidst the Co-COVID scenario?
India has a huge opportunity to Differentiate itself. Our demographic dividend continues to be a strength. Every aspect of human existence is being converted to Digital. Talent will be needed Globally and in India. If we train and skill our youth in these technologies and their usage we will be able to move the needle for ourselves and the World. Our large domestic market also offers opportunities for the Global best to come to India and invest here to produce and serve the local market. We have an opportunity to learn from the Best and then localise. The Global Entertainment Industry offers Opportunities as platforms come to India. We can contribute in terms of the production and creativity of the content. Frugal Innovation has always been our strength. We can help Developing Markets. Whether it is pharma or Manufacturing, we have a lot to offer.
What will be your advice to young India in taking India to the next level?
Work hard. There is no short cut. Old World values of dedication, sincerity, focus are invaluable. Never lose the fire in the belly. Always remain hungry. Stoop to conquer. Remain humble.
How do you see the start-up scene in India and what will be the success mantra for building Unicorns?
Focus on differentiation and not valuation. What new value do you bring? What is your right to win? How can you make the lives of your customers better? How will you move up the value chain? Wake up in the morning thinking about your customer- how do you serve him better. Ask yourself before you go to sleep at night- what have I achieved for my customer today? Will your customer sleep better. If you do not have a good answer- it better be a sleepless night for you!