By @SimonCocking, interesting interview with Jagadish Iyengar-VP and Head Application and Data Practice, Sasken Communication Technologies,  speaking at the IoT World event in Dublin tomorrow.

What is your background?

I head Digital Transformation Services at Sasken Communications Technologies Ltd. I bring over 2 decades of experience in the IT Services and Digital domains, spanning industry verticals such as Financial Services, Technology, Telecom, Retail & Utilities across North America and Europe geographies. I have been fortunate enough to have a ringside view of multiple waves of technology adoption in my career – the personal computing wave, the network computing wave, and now the smart computing wave. I have had the opportunity to work both in India as well as North America while engaging with marquee customers across the globe.

Does it seem like a logical progression to what you do now?

Absolutely! It is fascinating how technology has evolved to the point where it is no longer a passive system of record. Technology is akin to the central nervous system for today’s businesses, sensing everything that is going on — and enabling key business decisions or responses in real time. I have seen that reflect in the nature of customer engagements over the years, and in my current role at Sasken I lead our Digital Transformation practice where the raison d’etre is to enable our customers leverage the power of digital technologies.

What inspired you to speak at the event?

I have been associated with data and analytics initiatives for over 13 years now. My earliest engagements involved traditional Enterprise Data Warehouse (EDW), Master Data Management (MDM), Reporting and related initiatives. In the last five years, the engagements have involved nuances around unstructured data, ‘big data’ and predictive analytics. It has been a privilege to be part of some very successful initiatives and I have learned quite a bit from not-so-successful outings as well. The IoT World, Dublin event provided an opportunity to share my learnings over the years and compare notes with an outstanding peer group. And how could I possibly pass up an opportunity to visit Dublin?

What will you be talking about?

I will be talking about “Critical Success Factors for a Data Analytics initiative” on November 22, at 02:50 pm. I am sure that most people in the audience would either be in the middle of an analytics initiative or are mulling over similar ideas. A surprising percentage of analytics initiatives fail to live up to expectations. My session would focus on key aspects to keep in mind while planning an analytics initiative and share learnings from our past experience to ensure success.
Some points that I will be touching upon during my session are:
i. Importance of Data Discovery as a precursor
ii. How will insights be monetized or leveraged to create business value?
iii. New skills and approach required; traditional mind-set will not work
iv. Voyage of discovery to actionable insights; rarely a linear execution plan

Looking back at your own experience what would you have done differently?

I have surely made mistakes in my professional life but always learned from them. Who I am today is really because of the path that I have taken in the past and therefore no regrets. One thing I could say is this – I don’t think I really appreciated the power of networking and staying connected with the outside world in my early years as a professional. I was very ‘inward’ focused. Perhaps I would have gained better perspective sooner had this not been the case.

Why is India great place to launch a startup?

We are blessed with a ‘demographic dividend’, an energetic set of youngsters just entering the industry with loads of talent, energy, and can-do attitude. We have lots of problems to solve given that we are a developing nation. We have wealth that is looking for investment opportunities. We have the required technical expertise to launch world-class products. And we have the world’s largest customer base after China. Makes for a perfect combination to launch a startup, I would think!

What trends are you excited about in IoT?

The Internet of Things is today enabling use cases or functionalities across industry verticals that only resided in the domain of science fiction just a few years ago. For instance, it can provide brands the ability to stay engaged with customers post purchase, which hitherto was not possible (even if it were, it was extremely non intuitive such as ‘registration’). The IoT has entered our homes making it extremely convenient and intuitive and simplifying life for the average resident. The automobile is getting transformed into the connected car. Various industries are poised to move to the next level of productivity and agility thanks to the Industrial Internet, also referred to as Industry 4.0. We live in exciting times indeed, thanks to IoT!

What are the challenges in launching/developing IoT initiatives?

The biggest challenge in my experience is to build out a solid business case for the IoT initiative. In other words – how can the organization confidently invest in the initiative and be sure that it would generate sufficient returns? While the possibilities are indeed exciting, there is no clarity at this time on who will pay to make it all happen – is it the customer? Would it be one of the intermediaries in the value chain? Would the organization itself foot the bill? And if so, how could the organization monetize insights being generated by the IoT setup?

Secondly, an IoT initiative is a business initiative and not just a technology program. This should be treated as a ‘Change Initiative’ of the highest criticality and all business stakeholders need to buy into it and help it succeed.

What are you working on now?

At Sasken, we are working on a series of initiatives organization-wide centred on the theme of “Physical to Digital” or P2D. We believe that in order to build out systems of the future, there needs to be a convergence of devices, connectivity, cloud, data analytics and mobility competencies applied to specific business use cases. And to enable this, we are working on a toolset called Ensemble that will help our customers build out IoT solutions quickly with reduced complexity.

Anything else to add / we should have asked?

I am looking forward to legendary Irish hospitality that I have heard and read so much about!


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