Nasscom and the Art of Conference Success

DQI Bureau
New Update

Every year, Indian IT gets together to introspect, discuss, analyze and

listen to the pundits talk about the state of the world of Information

Technology, particularly software. The NASSCOM event, made famous over the years

with the participation of international think tanks and the who's who of the

Indian software industry was embellished further this year by the participation

of Fortune 500 CIOs like Brad Boston of CISCO Systems and CEOs from major

corporations like HSBC. What made NASSCOM 2005 truly remarkable were three

unconnected yet interconnected events.


First: the NASSCOM Awards for globally successful professionals. Three

of the five recipients-from Siemens, HSBC and Shinzhei Bank-were personally

present to receive the awards. The best acceptance speech was that of Carly

Fiorina, whose passion, charisma and love for India came through on video and

mesmerised the large gathering, It was, of course, rather ironic and not a

little tragic that three hours before the awards were announced, the lady had

received marching orders from her Board of Directors in the USA.

Ganesh Natarajan
President Kalam's inspiring speech lifted the mood of an already enthusiastic gathering

Second: the grand finale to the NASSCOM Innovation Initiative for

2004-05 where a nation wide search for innovation among India's emerging

companies saw six outstanding companies make presentations to a packed hall-demonstrating

that through the range and diversity of their innovations, the third wave of

Indian software success had surely been born at this event. Speaker after

speaker echoed the vibrancy and optimism of this new breed of entrepreneurs who

are catching the imagination of the country and the world by their ability to

think out of the box. Innovation is taking firm roots in the country, but as

Prof Gupta rightly pointed out, it will take open minds and a willingness to

step out of the comfort zone of predictable ITO and BPO services for the roots

to result in strong saplings and trees, and, finally, fruits.


The piece de resistance of the event, for all of us, was the scintillating

hour long interaction through video conference with the President of India, Dr

Abdul Kalam. He made a powerful Power Point presentation, replete with

statistics and analysis, that served to motivate and inspire all of us to dream

bigger. His exhortation to the industry CEOs to rise above such small goals as

$50 bn, which would be less that 4% of the global IT market, and aspire to

capture at least 15%, his outstanding views on a range of innovative horizons

like tele education and strategic defence and scientific partnerships between

government and Industry-all this served to lift the mood of an already

enthusiastic conference to stratospheric levels.

Where is the connection between these three landmark events, you may ask!

First, in the fact that innovation is in the air, whether in the NASSCOM track

or threading through the President's speech or the honouring of CEOs like

Craig Barrett of Intel. Second, the future of Indian IT can be bright only if

every company does not struggle to achieve better sameness and instead innovates-in

products, services and frameworks, to make a real difference. Then and only then

can the industry move into a third wave of growth, meet the President's

aspirational challenge of double digit market and opportunity share, and

hopefully put some of today's young and struggling entrepreneurs on the awards

list of future NASSCOM events.

The author is deputy chairman and managing director of Zensar Technologies

and chairman of Nasscom's SME Forum for Western India Ganesh