Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella on Monday exhorted Indian CEOs to build their own tech capability and highlighted how that will be one of the most defining aspects of the coming decade. He was speaking at Microsoft’s Future Decoded event in Mumbai, attended by top CEOs from across the country.
“I always say you will never be cool by association… you have to build your own technology business,” he told a hall full of business leaders from India Inc.
“I want to see a ubiquitous computing fabric that is distributed, you would have intelligence that is ambient, you would have experienced that is not limited to a single device… that’s the richness of this world,” he said, adding how it will come down to how every organisation in India can ride this wave. “By this I mean build your own tech intensity.”
However, he said that while building this tech intensity, especially in a country like India, we have to be mindful of how this is driving inclusive economic growth and ensure trust in technology, right and in privacy and ethics around AI.
Nadella said in the last decade technology has had a tremendous impact on our lives. “But if there was one criticism, I’ll say it’s pretty narrow. I mean a consumer economy is important, but it’s not the only economy. The profit that was derived from all that progress was even more limited,” he said about the most successful “aggregator” or “marketplace” business model. “Is that enough? Clearly not. So when we look towards the next 10 years, we need broader productivity and broader impact of technology.”
Interestingly, the Microsoft CEO said now 72 per cent of the jobs for software engineers are outside the tech industry. “The question is how productive are these developers when they are employed by you,” he said, adding how Microsoft was focused on bringing toolchains for these developers.
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In a conversation with Nadella, Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani said every entrepreneur in India has the potential to become a Dhirubhai Ambani and reminisced how Reliance too was set up with just a simple table and a chair and Rs 1000 five decades ago.
“The opportunity we have for India is the opportunity to become the premier digital society in the world. With all the components coming in place, I have no doubt that we will be among the top three economies of the world,” Ambani said, adding: “When that happens… will we be the most technically enabled society? Will we be having all our development enabled by all the tools of technology? Can we really be a pacesetter in terms of using our technology?”
Earlier, Microsoft India president Anand Maheshwari said India was leading in digital because of a range of unique features: a $180 billion IT industry, the third-largest startup ecosystem, 650 million people under the age of 25 and 4.5million pro developer community. “This will affect the world as we go forward.”
It is no longer a decision if you get on to the public cloud, Maheshwari said, adding how over 70 per cent of enterprises in the country are already using the cloud with a similar rate of AI adoption among SMBs. “This is creating a competitive advantage,” he underlined.
Speaking to Microsoft EVP Jean Philippe Courtois, TCS CEO Rajesh Gopinathan said the millennials come with a lot of knowledge and technology just needs to leverage this to offer incremental technology skills. At TCS, he said, they had reimagined their learning modules to make content available for the young employees in easily consumable formats.
In a bid to accelerate the startup ecosystem in India, Microsoft has announced the launch of the 100X100X100 programme which will bring together 100 companies and 100 startups with enterprise-ready solutions to offer, with each participating company committing a spend of $100K over the next 18 months on solutions provided by the SaaS startups. The programme has kicked off with 50 startups.
Microsoft has also announced a collaboration with SBI Foundation to create opportunities for youth with disabilities in the BFSI sector. Calling it an ideal partnership, SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar said India’s top bank has always striven for “inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities”. In the first year, the programme aims to upskill 500 youth in five major cities in collaboration with government organisations and spilling bodies.
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