Rural Women from Assam make masks, sanitizers

by | Apr 14, 2020 | Circular Economy, Covid-19

Rural women groups have been trained to produce homemade masks and disinfectants to help people fight Covid-19 in nearby villages.
Share to lead the transformation

Rural Women Technology Park (RWTP) under CSIR-North East Institute of Science and Technology, Jorhat, Supported by SEED Division, Department of Science and Technology (DST), has engaged rural women to prepare various products such as hand sanitizer, homemade mask, and liquid disinfectant to be distributed freely among family members and poor people in the nearby villages to help combat COVID 19 in the area.

“Meeting a challenge such as COVID-19 needs strong community participation and support. Self-help groups and dedicated NGOs are perfect vehicles in the current scenario for awareness creation, introducing relevant solutions, making and distributing the low-tech items such as masks and disinfectants,” said Professor Ashutosh Sharma, Secretary, DST.

Rural women from the region were trained to produce homemade mask from traditional ‘gamocha’ (a traditional Assamese cotton towel) by RWTP, Jorhat. Design of the home made mask has been finalized, around 150 gamochas purchased and two sewing machines arranged (6 homemade masks can be prepared from one gamocha).

It has been proposed that the women be paid at the rate of Rs 15 per mask. Apart from this, 200 liters of liquid disinfectant is being produced. The raw materials required for liquid disinfectant like dettol, ethanol, glycerine, essential oil have been acquired. The disinfectant will also be distributed freely among the family members and poor people in the nearby village.

The women of RWTP were trained before closing down on March 24. The participant women prepared about 50 litres of hand sanitizer, 160 litres of liquid disinfectant which have been distributed among the 60 women participants and their family members. The RWTP also prepared posters and leaflets on ‘COVID19 : Do’s and Don’ts’ in Assamese language for making people aware about the Corona Virus and precautionary measures to be taken during the present situation.

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Wipro ropes in Subha Tatavarti as its new CTO

Wipro ropes in Subha Tatavarti as its new CTO

Subha Tatavarti CTO

Subha Tatavarti, CTO, Wipro

Indian IT services Major Wipro has appointed Subha Tatavarti as its chief technology officer (CTO).  Subha Tatavarti’s career spans over two decades across domains such as enterprise infrastructure, security, data science, and edge platforms. She lives in the Bay Area in San Francisco, the USA, and has earlier led technology initiatives for online payments processor firm PayPal and retail giant Walmart.

In her decade-long stint at PayPal between 2010 and 2020, Subha led product, cloud and platforms, and data and analytics divisions. At Paypal, her portfolio of products included machine learning, artificial intelligence, and data ALM. Besides, she has also worked at CliMetrics, Inc. (as cofounder and director), Abbott Laboratories, Fannie Mae, and BearingPoint.

KR Sanjiv, the former CTO of Wipro, was superannuated on 31 Dec 2020.

Part of the organization’s structural revamp

In her new role at Wipro, Subha Tatavarti will be leading service transformation, robotics, Silicon Valley Innovation Center (SVIC), Technovation Center, open innovation, and applied research.

Subha Tatavarti’s appointment at Wipro is a part of the tech major’s recent structural revamp, implemented in January this year. As part of the structural reshuffle, Thierry Delaporte, the newly appointed Wipro CEO, announced the streamline of its business units, service lines, and geographies to fast-track the company’s growth amidst tough competition with other IT services majors – TCS, Infosys, and HCL.

Wipro had also recently announced several other leadership appointments, including Pierre Bruno as the CEO of Europe, Tomoaki Takeuchi as managing director for Japan, and Stephanie Trautman as the Chief Growth Officer.

Looking for new growth areas

Even though Wipro is behind in its revenue growth as compared to its peers TCS and Infosys, the company is expected to make a strong comeback in the next two to three years due to its strategic investments to strengthen remote working capacities and IT infrastructure modernization in 2020.

With over 190000 strong employee base across six continents, Wipro acquired several firms in 2020 in customer experience solutions, IT solutions, system design, and cloud domains. (See: With Encore buy, Wipro eyes DX edge in fintech and Wipro to acquire Capco).

Wipro posted a 20.8 percent YoY rise in net profit at Rs 2,966.70 crore for the Q3 (December 2020) quarter compared with Rs 2,455.80 crore in the same quarter in 2019.

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Rajesh Pathak, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Accedian

Rajesh Pathak, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Accedian

In Focus

Rajesh Pathak, Country Manager

India and SAARC, Accedian

Network performance monitoring lets CIOs maximize network’s potential, cut risks.

The scope of digital transformation is not just confined to the use of new technologies. Instead, this transformation encompasses a whole new journey that requires enterprises to maximize the potential of new-age technologies by obtaining complete network visibility across on-premise and cloud environments.

With continuous monitoring and deeper insights into various applications’ performance, IT professionals can proactively identify any network anomalies before they impact business operations and adapt to their users’ unique needs.

In a recent interaction with Jatinder Singh of Better World, Rajesh Pathak, Country Manager for India and SAARC, Accedian, outlines the key challenges faced by enterprises in their digital transformation journey and the role of network and application performance management solutions in the post-pandemic reality

Pathak also shares the best practices that organizations can adopt to convert the new normal position into the winning position.

Better World: The disruption caused by COVID-19 has compelled enterprises to reimagine their overall tech implementation strategies to meet the changing consumer expectations and remain competitive. What are the key challenges that enterprises are facing given this changing landscape?

Rajesh Pathak: The rapidly increasing number of new remote users has posed significant challenges for businesses. They have had to adjust by building and rebuilding capacity while controlling their networks 24/7. The distributed workforce has exacerbated this by increasing the number of endpoints, requiring specific performance and security management.  (See: How is digital transformation shaping the new future?)

Companies need to be adaptable and flexible when scaling their networks as their business needs evolve. In short, the ability to rapidly deploy and accurately monitor services for performance and security while also maintaining SLAs consistently has become much more complicated. This challenge can be solved through greater visibility and insight into network and application performance. This type of technology solves for needs to be prioritized – it should no longer be written off as a capacity issue but critical to business continuity and success.

Better World: What is the importance of performance analytics in enabling enterprises to respond to the post-pandemic world?

Rajesh Pathak: As businesses continue to navigate these unprecedented times, network performance analytics has become a critical tool to manage disruption. Network and application performance management (NAPM) and security are pivotal to any business looking to optimize their network to maintain business continuity. It also is an essential part of preparing the network for the post-pandemic reality, whether that’s seeing an uplift in traffic, identifying a behavioral anomaly that might refer to a security issue, or pinpointing the cause of degradation. Businesses will want their networks to be ready to support enterprises and end-users in the post-COVID world.

Enterprises should turn to solutions that incorporate intelligent technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) to understand the customer experience better. These technologies can look at large amounts of data, analyze them in a fraction of a second that a human could, and identify patterns that help with network preparation and management. They’re a huge advantage in managing end-to-end services and can ensure enterprises remain competitive by offering guaranteed performance to their customers. (See: CIOs’ digital transformation focus accelerates recovery for IT firms)

Better World: With remote working environments likely to continue for a longer time, how can organizations securely accelerate their digital transformation initiatives?

Rajesh Pathak: Companies can continue on their path toward digital transformation. They need to do so safely. This means that every company should be adopting tools that help them become more cyber-resilient: the ability to prepare for, respond to, and recover from cyber-attacks. As we have seen this year, the distributed workforce has lent itself to more excellent opportunities for hackers, and it seems like every week, a new exploit or exposure is unearthed. A report from the fall of 2020 found that every endpoint connected to the Web faces 1.5 attacks per minute.

Rajesh Pathak, Country Manager, India and SAARC, Accedian 

Rajesh Pathak is a transformational leader who believes in big picture thinking for exceptional results with over two decades of solid experience in both enterprise and service provider domains. At Accedian, a performance analytics and end-user experience solutions company, Rajesh Pathak shoulders a massive responsibility of accelerating Accedian’s growth plans in India and SAARC.
Before joining Accedian, Rajesh Pathak held leadership roles at BT India, Agnity, Alcatel-Lucent, and Ciena. He is an avid risk-taker and firmly believes that consistent hard work leads to success.

Expertise

  • Leadership development, general management, and strategic leadership
  • Mentoring and coaching
  • Revenue growth, sales P&L
  • Partnership and channel alliances
  • Technical solution sales, business development
  • Practice development

Education

  • BE in Electronics and Telecommunications, Amravati University, 1992–96.

Many solutions need to be considered when it comes to cybersecurity, behavior-based intrusion detection. The tool utilizes network traffic analysis to view 100% of all transactions and identify behavioral anomalies raised to IT teams before affecting the end-user. Cyber-resiliency is about complete visibility across your network, which gives IT teams a greater understanding of patterns and trends in the traffic and sound insight into what might be out of the ordinary.

Better World: What are the key learnings that technology leaders can apply to unlock the true potential of their networks? How are you helping businesses in this direction?

Rajesh Pathak: Network and application performance monitoring (NAPM) gives control back to CIOs and allows them to understand and maximize their network’s potential while reducing risk. This is particularly important because networks are becoming more complex to manage, and CIOs oversee multiple environments, including cloud, private cloud, and legacy infrastructure. With NAPM, CIOs can monitor their network’s performance, identify outages that could cause bottlenecks, recognize potential security threats, pinpoint the root cause of issues in real-time, and resolve them quickly. This information will allow their workflows to be more efficient, customer experiences to be more seamless, and improved business outcomes.

Better World: Many of the AI-based implementations require cultural shifts to scale and collaborate. What are some of the best practices for businesses to adopt AI amid crisis?

Rajesh Pathak: Adopting new technology is only successful if you make sure your team is onboard the tools and is equipped with the proper knowledge to use them properly. This requires the development of a broad understanding of new tools through training and educational collateral. But it also requires a focus on creating a culture that supports this change. This is done through frequent company-wide communication, from the start of the process to the finish – have teams weigh in on new tech adoption, understanding the pain points that led to this and how the new tool can help with some of these challenges.

By bringing your people along with you, they’ll feel more invested in the technology from the start and will have a complete understanding of why it was adopted and how it can improve processes and work. Then, it’s about making sure they have the correct information to use it successfully, which eases the onboarding process and helps them see firsthand the value of tech from the moment they start using it.

Better World: What are your strategic focus areas for the Indian market this year?

Rajesh Pathak: India continues to be a growing market for us due to recent investments in tech infrastructure. It’s crucial to have this foundation to adopt the tools they need to stay agile and prioritize security. This past year, we saw a massive uptick in cyber breaches, making IT teams reconsider their tech stack as they navigated connecting distributed and remote end-users in a safe way.

In 2021, we look forward to continuing to bring expanded tools and services to the area, driven by technologies like cloud, AI, ML, and 5G. 5G, in particular, will prove significantly impactful, especially for enterprises looking to achieve rapid growth while working with the realities of distributed workforces. We believe that NAPM technology can fully transform how enterprises and end-users manage their workflows and will be a critical part of India’s role in the age of global business.

At least 2022 until pre-COVID normal returns: Study

At least 2022 until pre-COVID normal returns: Study

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe has put a big question mark on returning to pre-COVID normalcy this year. According to a recent survey by KPMG, despite improved confidence, most of the enterprises are apprehensive if the business would return to normal until 2022. (See: How is digital transformation shaping the new future?)

According to the findings revealed by the 2021 KPMG CEO Outlook Pulse Survey, 45% of the top executives expect that the pre-COVID normalcy would return sometime in 2022 instead of the 31 % who expected the transformation to happen sometime later this year.

This report is a stark contrast to the earlier sign in late 2020 that things would be back to normal for businesses by late 2021. Early last year, the sudden emergence of COVID-19 cases impacted the business continuity of several enterprises drastically. It paved the way for distributed, remote working culture and transformed businesses’ go-to-market action plans across the globe.

The Pulse survey findings are based on the responses received from 500 global CEOs (of companies that have annual revenue over US$500M) in February and March this year. The CEOs from the world’s leading companies across 11 key markets (Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, the UK, and the USA) were asked to provide their 3-year outlook on the economic and business landscape, as well as the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

Employee safety and vaccination top priority

For most CEOs, the pace of vaccination distribution is among the top factors that will influence their decision to resume physical offices and return to pre-COVID normalcy. About 55% of CEOs shared that they were anxious about the availability of the COVID-19 vaccine to their employees. Not surprisingly, 90% of the leaders are contemplating asking their workforce to resume offices only after they are vaccinated.

One-third (34 percent) of global executives are concerned about distortion of facts on COVID-19 vaccine safety and the influence of this misinformation on the employees deciding not to administer the vaccine. Twenty-one percent of organizations will ask clients and guests who were visiting their facilities if they have been vaccinated, and 26 percent planning to significantly reduce global travel until the pandemic situation placates.

For half of the CEOs, increasing awareness around workforce stress and societal issues remains a high priority. They plan to increase their HR resources to help manage employee wellbeing and mental health.

The digital transformation continues to be a focus area

The acceleration of digital transformation continues to be a top boardroom agenda for CXOs with a deep focus on deploying strong collaboration channels. 74% of business leaders in the survey report that their organization’s digitization efforts have been accelerated significantly, up from 50% in August 2020.

Understandably, for most business honchos, new digital business models, developing seamless customer delivery models and revenue streams remain a key focus. Across organizations, the understanding of the growing threat landscape has also increased. Most CEOs, according to the survey, are planning to increase their investments in beefing up the cybersecurity capabilities that could enable them to innovate confidently and provide consistent value to their clients. (See: Combating cyber threats in the new normal).

Vinod Bhatt joins Vistara as its new CIO

Vinod Bhatt joins Vistara as its new CIO

Vinod Bhat Vistara CIO

Vinod Bhat, CIO, Vistara.

Tata SIA Vistara has appointed Vinod Bhat as the new Chief Information Officer (CIO).  Vistara is a joint collaboration venture between Tata Sons and Singapore Airlines.

Bhatt has joined Vistara after working with Tata’s IT Services company TCS for around three decades, where he was Global Business Head – Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG): UK, Ireland & Europe & Delivery Center Head.

In his new role at Vistara, Vinod Bhatt will be responsible for leveraging digital technologies and enabling advancements in the IT infrastructure. He will be closely working with business, partners, and other stakeholders of Vistara for driving operational excellence at the full-service airline. Bhatt will report to Vistara’s CEO, Leslie Thng.

A long association with Tata

Vinod Bhatt started his career in 1993 with TCS as a program manager and team lead and managed various IT leadership roles at the IT major. He replaced Ravinder Pal Singh, who quit TCS in January this year.

At TCS, Vinod Bhatt managed complete P&L for UK and Europe, including Unit strategy, business growth, delivery, customer interactions at the CXO level, driving business benefits for our customers, Managing Margins, and other operational parameters. During the last 17 years at TCS, Bhatt worked at CXO level clients and helped them realize business benefits.

Academically, Bhatt finished his Masters’s in Engineering from the University of Hyderabad. Vinod Bhatt is also a Certified Quality Analyst (CQA) from the Quality Assurance Institute, US.

About Tata SIA Airlines

Tata SIA is a joint venture of Tata Sons Private Limited and Singapore Airlines Limited (SIA). Incorporated on November 5, 2013, Tata Sons holds a 51% stake in the partnership, and Singapore Airlines owns 49% stake. The company is registered as TATA SIA Airlines Limited.

The carrier has a five-member Board, comprising its Chairman, Mr. Bhaskar Bhat, Ex-MD of Titan Company Ltd, Directors-on-Board, Mr. Lee Lik Hsin, Executive VP (Commercial) Singapore Airlines and independent Directors Mr. Som Mittal, former President & Chairman Nasscom, Ms. Sangeeta Pendurkar, CEO, Pantaloons (Aditya Birla Group) and Mr. S. Padmanabhan, Executive Chairman – Tata Business Excellence Group & Group Chief Ethics Officer, Tata Sons.

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Fueling DX through data protection modernization

Fueling DX through data protection modernization

In the age of hyper-competition and elevated uncertainty, digital transformation (DX) has become a top boardroom agenda for organizations. However, amidst this rush of transformation and adaptation, a wide array of challenges have also sprung up. One of the significant constraints impacting the digital transformation initiatives is growing data loss incidents witnessed by organizations. This calls for immediate measures around data protection modernization.

According to a recent Data Protection Report 2021 by backup and disaster recovery firm Veeam, most data backups are susceptible to failure. This puts many businesses at severe risk of data loss and cyber attacks as they plan their digital transformation journey.

The dispersed workforce environment has shifted everything on the cloud. The traditional workplace models have thrown out of the gear and pushed businesses to modernize their data protection strategies and move their workloads from data centers to the cloud. The failure to revive their data backup efforts can jeopardize their growth prospects and significantly affect their goodwill.

The Veeam report asserts that more than half (58%) of backup recoveries fail, and about 14% of the data are not even backed up in organizational ecosystems. Based on the inputs gathered from 3000 IT decision-makers in global enterprises, the report says that IT leaders are examining ways to immediately solve their critical data protection needs. (See: Technology trends for businesses in 2020)

Exposed digital deficiencies of unprepared organizations

The DX strategy aims to enhance the organizational ecosystem where data play a crucial role in delivering an exceptional user experience and outsmart the competition. And if the information itself is susceptible to attacks or lacks good recovery tools, enterprise DX initiatives are doomed for failure.

Due to the abrupt external pressure and sudden changes required to maintain business continuity, many CIOs and enterprises didn’t get enough opportunities to plan their digital transformations seamlessly. According to the Veeam report, 91 percent of the survey respondents mentioned an unprecedented increase in cloud services used during the pandemic.

The inadequate data protection modernization efforts posed significant pressure on IT systems, and IT heads that are already laden with a rapidly evolving IT landscape comprising a mix of traditional on-premise infrastructure.

“In response to the COVID-19, we have seen organizations accelerating DX initiatives by years and months to remain in business. However, the way data is managed and protected continues to undermine them. Businesses are being held back by legacy IT and outdated data protection capabilities, as well as the time and money invested in responding to the most urgent challenges posed by COVID-19. Until these inadequacies are addressed, the genuine transformation will continue to evade organizations,” says Danny Allan, Chief Technology Officer and Senior Vice President of Product Strategy at Veeam.

Best way forward

In their bid to data protection modernization, many organizations are increasingly looking at integrating data protection as a service (DPaaS) to minimize their dependency on in-house infrastructure and resources. The backup solutions are moving from on-premise to the cloud.

As part of modernizing data backup strategy, it is a good practice for enterprises with distributed workforce across locations to move their data backups to cloud ecosystems.

Solutions such as Backup-as-a-service are also becoming an appealing alternative since they allow organizations to invest only as per their need, ensure data availability for different time spans as per their need, and remove the dependency on the on-premise resources.

The key to successful AI implementations

The key to successful AI implementations

Most enterprises today are swiftly exploring the potential of artificial intelligence (AI). Companies operating on archaic models have started to lose customers in the digital age and cannot accelerate their go-to-market strategies. However, according to various industry estimates, about 80% to 85% of AI implementations hit a dead end despite this growing understanding. The secret to successful AI implementations is a comprehensive approach that encompasses the integration of people, processes, and technology.

One of the primary reasons for this high failure rate is businesses’ inability to shortlist the primary growth objectives they wish to achieve. With the enterprise business landscape is becoming complex at an incredible pace, the time for organizations to be on edge for AI is over. No longer can they focus on deploying AI-related tools without building a solid business orientation.

Look for the unique business needs

The growing focus on digital and changing patterns of consumer preferences has compelled businesses to take a deep dive in long-term strategical technology deployment decisions.

Through successful AI-enabled implementations, firms can predict customer behaviors, analyze process anomalies, predict market uncertainties, optimize supply chains, and better manage employee and customer expectations.

Before embarking on the AI journey, enterprises should evaluate the business impact that AI can bring. Today, the advantages of AI have been leveraged for diverse tasks and processes. However, not all operations are fit for an AI use case. There’s no one size fit all methodology for AI-based applications, and the use cases where you intend to build AI must be clearly defined and prioritized.

“IT leaders must adopt a well-thought-out plan for AI adoption. Conversations must be struck with several business leaders (finance, customer success management, business operations, product development, and other management) to identify the relevant business goals tied to the IT domains. This approach will ultimately lead to the selection and prioritization of appropriate use cases,” said Greesh Jairath, Global IT Head at ITC Infotech.

Involve people in your strategy

More than technology, successful AI implementations need full support from the people within an organization. Most of the problems arise due to half-baked AI orientation strategies with the internal staff.

One needs to understand that transformation through AI doesn’t work on its own to solve a problem. You need people to understand and supervise at some level to deploy and analyze the predictive analytical solutions. To ensure that the processes are automated seamlessly, strong executive leadership is also essential. The more informed and engaged is the people inside the organizations, the better are the chances of successful AI adoption within an enterprise.

If you’ve just focused on deploying AI tools and not making any efforts to improve the organization’s cultural impact, the chances of AI failures will be on a higher side. (See: Five key steps to a successful RPA implementation)

Lack of in-house talent

Another challenge that technology leaders face is the acute shortage of qualified in-house talent who can manage end-to-end AI projects and tools. An effective AI model involves a lot of raw data that needs to be arranged systematically and processed for meaningful insights.

By consuming enormous data, the AI-based deep learning algorithms interpret and make decisions for a specific process. However, if you do not have the right people to analyze what data to be fed and understand why specific data is essential for an operation, your entire effort can go in vain.

Besides, CIOs have a tremendous challenge in fine-tuning their internal operations and reducing costs in light of growing ambiguity and uncertainty. In this context, investing significantly in training and building an internal talent pool may not be wise, especially when competitors are ready to poach skilled resources. (See: How will AI impact enterprise ecosystems in 2021?)

Many technology firms such as Google and Microsoft are offering drag and drop no-code AI solutions to tackle this issue. These ready-to-deploy frameworks can help companies develop world-class predictive modeling capabilities without investing immensely to build coding skills internally. These modules can help businesses design and scale AI-based processes and workflows at a large scale.

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