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Will you be the Agile Champion of 2015?

17 Apr

Agile Olympiad is an initiative of India Agile Week (IAW 2015) June 12-17 and UNICOM Agile Thoughtleaders to run India’s most prestigious Corporate Quiz on Agile Methodology. This contest also gets participation from several other countries, making it a global contest.

Every year hundreds of Agile Enthusiasts participate and enjoy this experience and bring laurels to themselves as well as to their companies, whose contribution in building an Agile champion cannot be denied.

Visit our website to learn about Agile Olympiad‘s past winners

What makes this corporate contest unique is that almost every company, that is running an Agile project, encourage their employees to participate. Participants then form a team within the organization to do group preparation on the topics provided by the Olympiad committee. Several HR’s of reputed organization have confirmed to me that they have found this active learning more effective than any training they have given on Agile. This sounds as music to our ears as UNICOM’s core belief is to Develop professionals into a global though leader and minimize the learning cost via maximizing the skills gained.

Additional bonus to the contestants is to attend India Agile Week conference @ their city. India Agile Week runs across 6 cities every year in 2nd week of June. In this conference, we share the best practices followed by Indian companies where they are innovating to run Agile suiting their culture and employees temperaments. While other Agile conferences suggest their delegates to change themselves, India Agile Week encourages them to focus on innovation. Our patrons understand this difference and join us all over India to share their stories and learn from their peers.

To view Conference website visit our home page: Click Here

Our Sincere thanks to Tathagat Varma, Founder ThoughtLeadership for agreeing to host the Finals of Agile Olympiad 2015. His work for Agile Olympaid 2014 finale can be seen here:

These are my thoughts. Please do write to me if you think you shall like to participate or join the Olympiad committee.

 

Attitude that we will do all the innovations ourselves needs to change!!

20 Nov

By Nitesh Naveen, Co-founder & CEO – Unicom Seminars India
20 Nov 2015


Innovation has been a buzz word ever since it was coined. Innovation can be viewed as the application of better solutions that meet new requirements, inarticulated needs, or existing market needs. This is accomplished through more effective products, processes, services, technologies, or ideas that are readily available to markets, governments and society. The term innovation can be defined as something original and, as a consequence, new, that “breaks into” the market or society.

UNICOM Seminars brought in Innovation by developing a team and process that enabled us to build a capability of getting “U” number of people (we think ‘X’ has been overdone with and love the Letter “U” as it is all about you and Unicom) under one roof on any particular day at 10% of the existing cost. “U” depends on the objective (Why, when, etc.) and $$$$$ in hand. 🙂

We realised that we can do multiple businesses with this capability. We chose IT industry as our first home because we knew it better. We decided to run Knowledge share Summits, Trainings and Showcase events as our initial ‘Value to Market’ strategy. So from what started as building an Unfair Advantage (reference: Lean Start Up) has now resulted in defining UNICOM as B2B2C platform in the area of knowledge share and customer reach for IT Industry.

We now work closely with Marketing department of few IT companies (product, services and consulting) and help them to reach out to their customers. We also work closely with L&D teams helping them to develop future thought leaders of the world. We are building communities of highly passionate professionals about whom you will read or hear in months to come. We have still not reached the million dollar mark, but have created a platform that can help us cross it next year.

In 2014, we experimented and found success in getting the “U” in 9 countries across 5 product lines. We chose to silently build this capability, sensing that we need to keep a low profile till we raise the entry barrier in our highly lucrative business, a lip smacking $100bn industry. This innovation in Marketing was possible because the corporate Marketing team was open to use innovations outside their company. The usual chase to reach the target keeps them focussed and they were culturally open to absorb innovations thanks to the cut throat competition in their function.

In all the 9 countries where we ran events – India, USA, UK, Singapore, South Africa, Malaysia, Sri Lanka, Switzerland and Netherlands – we noticed that innovations are now largely carried out by smaller companies esp. in the start-up phase. This was hardly surprising. However what was surprising to see was very few Big companies were involving those ‘outside their office” innovations in their innovation basket. I spoke to few CIOs/CTOs of IT Product and Services team and realised that they want their employees to do those innovations themselves, file for the patent themselves or consider their innovation plan to be superior than ‘others’. Good thing was that they were talking about innovation. Bad thing was that they were having little idea about the ground realities, thanks to their companies who have allowed only their sales team to talk to their customers. Worse thing was that they think they completely know what their customer wants and what their competitors are doing, little realising that their competitor’s face is changing faster than they think.
India’s celebrated Retail king and promoter of Big Bazaar retail chain, Mr Kishore Biyani, used to compete with RPG, Reliance, Tatas and Birlas of the world and had a team of strategists working out ways to tackle international retail biggies. He is now competing with year old start-ups who are using technology to change the buyer’s behaviour. In Australia, the likes of Coles and Myers are going through similar phase. This story is similar in most of the countries where we entered in 2014. Companies that had ears and eyes close to the ground, like Target and Walmart adopted the market ready innovations provided by start-ups and are looking competitive enough to face the next disruption in retail.

 

Biggest adopter of ‘Ready to Market’ Innovation is Healthcare sector. This was surprising to me as it is also the most regulated industry. However their evolution is a case study for other industries to imbibe.

 

One of the industries I find to be vulnerable is Indian IT Services Industry. They are competing on cost as revealed by Mr Vishal Sikka, CEO of Infosys (was that a revelation??) and in my opinion are trying to rely on their execution capability to replicate an innovation done by others. While being a fast second mover is a good and safe bet for IT Services companies, it can sometimes be too late when business brings a disruptive competitor/technology/change. Would it not work to the best of their advantage to promote strategic Tech start-ups by inviting them to work closely with their innovation team, helping them to grow and thereby provide more and better service to their client base? While IT services in India are working with few start-ups, won’t they be real leaders (like their US counterparts) when they adopt at least 100 start-ups each aligning to their business profile. Do they have money to do this? I think they have plenty. Do they have vision to do this? I hope they do have.


Just imagine how our world would change if each of the top 5 IT services company in India (TCS, CTS, Infosys, Wipro & Tech Mahindra) adopts atleast 100 tech start-up each. Now tell me why they are not doing? Can’t we show the world that we can take initiative in not only adopting villages & toilets but also start-ups?

 

Mahindra REVA Makes the Connected Car a Reality with M2M Connectivity from Vodafone

17 May
Since its foundation in 1994, electric automotive specialist Mahindra REVA – a part of the $15.9 billion Mahindra Group based in India – has grown to become a world leading pioneer in electric vehicle technologies and manufacturing. Recently the company was named by ‘Fast Company’ magazine as being in the Top 50 Most Innovative Companies in the world. Today the company licenses out its electric vehicle technologies, helps to develop zero-emissions mobility solutions and has a large deployed fleet of electric cars across 24 countries.

Enabling customer support for its electric vehicles spread over the world can be a costly and challenging task for a niche player in the automotive market. Telematics-enabled remote diagnostics promises to reduce the cost of fault-diagnostics, improve vehicle uptime for customers and also enable customers to ‘stay connected’ with the car, and through that with the OEM brand. Mahindra REVA has been developing its telematics platform with a strategic focus to address these needs.

“‘Connected Cars’ are at the frontier of innovation in the car industry – they bring automotive, infotainment and communication technologies together to provide a great new experience for customers,” says Gopal, General Manager – Mobility Solutions and Business Development for Mahindra REVA.

The Need

Having set out its strategy, there was still a lot of work for Mahindra REVA to do. Even in an era of ubiquitous communication, cars have so far remained relatively untouched by the rapid advancements in communication and information technologies. Delivering the data reliably, securely and with the desired performance over mobile networks under diverse conditions and also managing the connectivity of large numbers of vehicles as volumes grow required a partner with expertise in M2M communications.

“M2M is a really exciting area right now,” says Gopal. “It has the ability to transform cars into intelligent devices that exchange real-time information and open up a range of groundbreaking new services for customers – especially the ability to monitor and control the car functions remotely.”

So when Gopal and his team started their search for an M2M partner they had three main criteria. First, they wanted to find a company that understood the strategy and vision for M2M and the possibilities that it can open up.

Second, they wanted to make sure that the partner could provide reliable connections across India. “There is little point introducing this kind of concept if it’s going to be let down by connectivity,” says Gopal.

Last, they also preferred a M2M partner with a global footprint to ease the launch of the car in other international markets.

The Solution

After researching the market, Mahindra REVA quickly realised that Vodafone would be the perfect partner for its new venture. According to Gopal, it was an easy decision to make. “Vodafone was the only network provider we spoke to that demonstrated that it had a long term vision and roadmap for M2M,” he confirms. “Vodafone has its own dedicated M2M service platform in India – something which is unique – and because Vodafone is such a strong global operator we could also see that we were going to get both the domestic and international network coverage that we wanted.”

After this selection process Vodafone advanced the project almost from its outset.

“We started working with Vodafone in 2011, two years before the official launch of the car,” Gopal explains. “Vodafone supplied us with the connections we needed for our tests, effectively linking the cars to a range of applications that we were in the process of developing.”

At this point, there was a big impetus to find out whether the service was going to be robust and reliable.

“We worked very closely with Vodafone throughout the development period, particularly when it came to testing the connectivity and the overall performance of the network,” says Gopal. “For example, we had some initial issues with connections in a factory in a remote area. Because Vodafone owns its own network, and has its own in-house team of M2M specialists, the problem was fixed straight away.

“Overall it was a great example of collaborative working between two companies with a similar vision of global innovation,” Gopal continues. “Indeed, this is the first and only project of its kind in India where a telecom service provider and an automotive manufacturer have joined hands to bring a major advance in technology to market.”

The Impact

Mahindra REVA’s connected car – the Mahindra e2o – first launched in India in March 2013. There are already 350 e2o’s on the road, all connected to a range of applications and services via the Vodafone network. This means owners are able to access various features and functions of their vehicle remotely using a smartphone app or from a dedicated webpage. By doing so they can check the state of charge in the battery of their car, control its air-conditioning, lock or unlock doors, find the nearest charging station and more. The e2o also provides the owner with automatic SMS text alerts on a variety of safety and security checks, such as a door left unlocked, or a parking brake not applied.

In addition, Mahindra REVA’s service team is also using the remote connectivity to track potential maintenance issues in real time and proactively warn drivers when they may need to book in for repairs or a service.

According to Gopal, this is all part of a package that is really pleasing customers. “The reaction we’ve had from people that have bought or driven the vehicles so far has been very positive,” says Gopal. “Many of the features we have introduced are ‘firsts’ for the Indian market – such as the remote diagnostics and a charging station locator. They are proving to be a real hit with technology-savvy customers that want their car to fit with their connected and busy lifestyle.”

Looking to the Future

Over the next few years Mahindra REVA forecasts that sales of the e2o will reach over 30,000. In fact it has built a new factory in Bangalore that’s capable of producing 30,000 of the cars a year.

This faith in the e2o’s future is partly because of the success of the initial launch in India, but also because the company sees great potential for expansion overseas.

“We’ve already had great success over the past decade, particularly in places like Europe where there is a very strong demand for solutions that address carbon emissions and the need for greener cities,” says Gopal. ”With this product we now have the potential to penetrate even further, offering customers the zero-emission solutions they crave, but with a lot of added features that completely revolutionise the driver experience.”

According to Gopal, this plan for international expansion is just one more reason why Mahindra REVA’s partnership with Vodafone is proving to be such a continuing strategic success.

“We knew from the outset that this was going to be a global product, so we needed a global partner that would help us to get this right,” Gopal says. “With Vodafone we can roll out this service to other territories using one network, one management platform and one provider. It gives us every confidence for the future, and helps us to keep one step ahead of our competitors.”

Source : http://www.connectedenterprise.in/case-study/mahindra-reva-makes-connected-car-reality-m2m-connectivity-vodafone#front