The three speakers were:
- C Ganesh Narayan, Executive Director, C Krishnaiah Chetty & Sons
- Hameed Bhombal, Sr. President & CTO, Aditya Birla Group
- Jawahar Malhotra, CTO & VP, Yahoo India Research and Development
Ganesh started with providing an overview of the jewellery industry, a high end luxury retail business which is unorganized and is ruled by emotional purchases. It has moved from purchases for occasions to portfolio divestment. During recessionary times when spending is low, purchases are postpone, cash flow dries-up, there are specific areas of focus, these are: Leveraging CRM; eTailing is not enough as customer needs to touch, feel and wear; Paying more attention to customer desires and invest in employee training.
Offering an R&D view to Manufacturing Innovations, Hameed opined that with recession comes newer opportunities in having a fundamental look at the processes and practices. Further low carbon initiatives are an imperative and provide a lot of business opportunities. This calls for investment in R&D. The Group has built a new Science and Technology Centre to address the same.
Jawahar from the Yahoo Research spoke about the need to straighten the fundamentals. He pointed out that the long term general trend is the movement of revenues from traditional publishing to online publishing. But in the downturn, the revenues are reduced. This calls for online publishers, like Yahoo come up with innovative methods – business models, advertising etc. Some of these are: iPhone apps; Open Web; Open Social; and Cloud Computing (Applications/platforms as a service; Democratization of Grid; Hardware Optimization). Further there's ongoing research on newer pricing models, new methods to display; new ad formats and tapping into the Web 2.0.
Quite an enriching session just before the close of the day.