razorpay-joins-unicorn-club

India’s Razorpay joins Unicorn club with fresh funding, eyes expansion

by | Oct 13, 2020 | Industry News

The company foresees enormous potential in the Indian payment gateway space due to the growing demand from organizations to build their e-commerce presence amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.
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One of the few successful Indian fintech startups, Bangalore-based Razorpay, joins the Unicorn club, as it has secured $100M in a new funding round. With this cycle of financing, the payment startup has also become the first Indian payment-gateway to achieve US$ 1bn valuation.

“Razorpay secures $100 million in Series D funding led by GIC, Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund, along with Sequoia & our existing investors Ribbit Capital, Tiger Global, Y-Combinator and Matrix Partners. The funding also comes with a significant milestone of Razorpay becoming the newest unicorn in India, informs Shashank Kumar, Co-founder, Razorpay, through the company’s official blog.

Set-up in 2013 by Shashank Kumar and Harshil Mathur, Razorpay had raised $75 million in Series C funding last year. 

Razorpay’s ambitions after joining Unicorn Club

Razorpay offers social media sellers and SMEs a convenient mechanism to take payments online without a website or a payment gateway integration.  The company plans to employ the fresh capital to scale up its solutions such as RazorpayX, a neo-banking platform, and Razorpay Capital, a quick business loan platform. It also plans to hire about 500 employees this fiscal year.

Razorpay also provides cash advance service to Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME), through collaboration with banks. As Razorpay secures $100 million funding, this will enable it to expand its lending solution capabilities. The company says that over 50% of Indian SMEs still don’t have access to digital financial tools, and it is determined to help these businesses in the best possible manner.

“We strongly believe that RazorpayX will charter our next growth chapter – driving the mobile-first, technology-first transformation of business banking, suited to the digital needs of businesses today and helping them make better decisions,” adds Kumar.

Market onlookers view this development as spectacular since it demonstrates investors’ growing confidence in the Indian startup ecosystem despite the uncertain economic environment. The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital technology’s acceptance, forcing people to alter their behavioral buying patterns and move to online channels.

Razorpay’s list of clients includes Facebook, Google, Jio, Hotstar, Wikipedia, Meesho, among many other independent contractors and SME’s.

Digital transactions gain steam during the pandemic

Led by the Indian government’s increased impetus and growing digitization, the country’s digital payments ecosystem is ready to see a monumental rise. According to the Bank for International Settlements (BIS), India saw digital transaction uptake of about 55% in 2018 compared to 11.4% in Brazil, 35% in Russia, and 23% in Indonesia.

With a mushrooming work-from-home and cautious approach due to COVID-19, the country is expected to see rapid growth in the digital transformation across all sectors and industries. Additionally, from a demographic perspective, more than 60% of India’s population is under 35 years, mostly extremely tech-savvy. This young population is equipped with high disposable income, inexpensive smartphones, and 24*7 data connectivity. It makes them prime potential customers of non-bank digital players.

Additionally, events such as demonetization and COVID-19 have also fast-tracked the digital payment ecosystem’s overall growth.

Companies like Razorpay seems to be cashing in on these exceptional attributes and expanding their solution capabilities. There is also a tremendous interest among many fintech companies and investors to set their shop locally and be a part of India’s growth story.

Besides Razorpay, other prominent digital payment gateway players battling for India’s market share include PayMate, Paytm, CC Avenue, PayU, Paytm, and Mobikwik.

MORE FROM BETTER WORLD

Signs that show 2021 will be the year of rebound!

Signs that show 2021 will be the year of rebound!

The year 2020 has likely been among the worst in the history of humankind. At the start of this year, no one expected us to devote the entire year fighting against a deadly virus with no escape path. Everything was unprecedented, whether it was nationwide lockdowns, restrictive travel, widely implemented social distancing measures, and mass working-from-home. In recent months, however, there have been some strong signals in the rebound in 2021. (See: Growth of Indian IT sector set for revival in 2021)

It was not as if things were going great from an Indian economic standpoint in the pre-Covid normal. However, sound fundamentals maintained macroeconomic stability before the pandemic.

The pandemic has been a blow for many companies, mainly brick and mortar businesses, who now face an existential threat. This grave situation also caused so many job losses, making a devastating impact on millions of people’s livelihoods.

Despite these setbacks from the COVID19 meltdown, the pandemic also brought few silver linings, such as the increased adoption of digital technologies and robust business continuity planning. The pandemic has unleashed a new era of thought process and cast away everything for granted theory.

As we are embarking on 2021, here are some of the significant signs that indicate that the next year will the year of transformation and rebound!

Acceleration of digital transformation

Amidst adversities, technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning models, cloud, and predictive analytics have helped the world move forward, harness human potential, and augment our capacity to partner virtually. This is one of the foremost factors that indicate 2021 as the rebound year.

Digital technologies emerged as a new force of change amidst the unstable equilibrium. For instance, telemedicine and online consulting have become more common; mobile payments and e-banking transactions have surpassed all previous record levels; e-learning has become widely accepted, and virtual recruitment is the new norm. (See: CIOs’ digital transformation focus accelerates recovery for IT firms)

Many skeptics who earlier questioned these technologies’ roles and called them a substitute for human potential have suddenly become the most prominent adopters. Not only these technologies helped maintain business continuity for enterprises, but they also facilitate COVID-19 preparedness and enable countries to contain the spread of the infection. (See: It’s time to invest in a Chief Transformation Officer!)

According to Fitch, a global rating agency, the Indian IT services sector is expected to resume high single-digit revenue growth in 2021-2022 due to a higher demand for digital transformation. The coronavirus pandemic’s impact is seen to be only moderate and short term, as customers focus on transforming their businesses digitally, moving services and work platforms online, and minimizing spending on legacy services.

In 2021, these technologies will further enable organizations to respond to challenges with agility and resilience. Over the next twelve months, new technology shifts are expected to fast-track the Indian e-commerce sector’s growth, remote education, and virtual healthcare support.

The continuous aggregation of data by enterprises and their meaningful interpretation will elucidate consumer behavior and influence business decisions. Contactless technologies will make the reopening of offices smooth and safe.

Improved investor sentiments

A critical positive that has emerged in the last three months is that foreign investors improved sentiments in the Indian market. Capital inflows to India’s Foreign direct investment (FDI) surpassed US$ 500 billion in September, restoring the country’s credentials as a key investment destination.

US technology firms such as Google, Facebook, and Amazon have all pledged large new India investments this year. Early rebound in investment activity indicates that country can accelerate its growth prospects in H2 2021. (See: Will FB–Jio deal create magic?)

There have also been several revisions by global rating firms such as S&P and Fitch in India’s growth projections for 2021. India’s road to recovery is faster than the previous estimations due to rising demand and declining COVID-19 rates.

Robust business continuity models

While the pandemic scars may take some time to heal, the disruption has sparked a global awareness around the importance of firm business continuity models.

Many of the insights gained from the pandemic have translated to create systematic business continuity plans, contactless behaviors, dynamic processes by organizations of all scales. As we advance, this will enable businesses to improve their ability to combat similar disruptions and rebound with more confidence and skills in H2 2021.

According to a report, COVID-19: Implications for business, by Mckinsey, there is now better awareness around risk preparedness and governance. Corporate decision-makers introspect which protections and technologies are worth the investment and can translate into long term solutions.

Salary hikes

Many employers are rolling-back salary cuts and hiring freeze that they enforced in April this year after the pandemic due to increased uncertainty. Many of the IT companies have also announced salary hikes in response to growing optimism. (See: Salary hikes at IT firms on cards as COVID disruption eases)

According to LinkedIn statistics, hiring has improved by 30% in September. There has been a significant rebound in the sectors such as construction, services, logistics, and retail.

The remote workforce trends mean that many opportunities have lost geographical barriers, allowing people from different countries to compete for an opportunity.

Salesforce fills compliance gaps with Hyperforce cloud tool

Salesforce fills compliance gaps with Hyperforce cloud tool

Customer Relationship Management (CRM) major Salesforce has recently launched Hyperforce solution in India. The new architecture will enable Salesforce’s customers to run all existing Salesforce solutions on the public cloud and select where their data is hosted.

Some of the platform’s key features are: higher compute capacity, ease of cloud resources deployment into the public cloud, minimize the implementation time from months to weeks, and backward compatibility.

With a backward compatibility feature, every Salesforce app, its customization, and integration, regardless of cloud, will run on Hyperforce. 

Enabling digital transformation goals

In 2021, when technologies like artificial intelligence and machine learning will be heavily tested and deployed by organizations, businesses would need the agility and ease to utilize various clouds’ competencies the way they seem fit.

Salesforce Hyperforce will enable users to leverage Salesforce’s CRM tools via cloud infrastructures of other cloud service providers, such as Microsoft, Google, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

While Salesforce has not shared whether it has already signed-up with any cloud service providers to offer a hosting option to its customers, it is likely that it will take advantage of its strategic partnerships with AWS and Google. Microsoft’s Azure onboarding seems like a certainty due to Salesforce’s recent acquisition of Slack. (See: Salesforce buys Slack to expand its cloud footprint)

Salesforce’s new approach is in line with meeting the growing enterprise digital transformation roll-outs requirements and bring flexibility to businesses to move their apps and infrastructure the way they want it.

Data compliance

For many years, Salesforce hosted the data of its customers in its own cloud. However, with changing times, governments worldwide have begun to stiffen data security laws to address privacy-related concerns in the economy. And businesses have been demanding more control of their data and decide where it gets hosted — on-premise or cloud.

With Salesforce Hyperforce, the San Francisco-based company will let its customers choose to store data in a particular location or a country to support mandatory compliance and regulations applied to that region, company, and industry.

“One of the broader global trends that have impacted India and also the world, there’s a proliferation of data privacy laws, of compliance requirements around data residency. This platform will enable our customers to respond to this (requirement) whether they operate just within India, whether they’re a multinational with customers in multiple countries,” said Salesforce President and COO Bret Taylor in an official statement.

Hyperforce will also enable Salesforce to tap sectors such as banking and finance, telecom, and government enterprises in India that follow strict data compliance policies. The new architecture is currently available to users in India and Germany. Salesforce plans to unveil the offering in ten more countries by 2021.

Top technology trends to look for in 2021

Top technology trends to look for in 2021

Not only has 2020 been one of the most challenging years in the history of humanity, but it has also completely transformed our way of thinking and working. Many of the top technology trends help us navigate the crisis.

Throughout the year, COVID-19 has hurt all areas of life, causing businesses to close, economies collapse, and people to be anxious. Amid panic and uncertainty, technology and connectivity have become vital elements that have given people and companies hope, courage, optimism, and the competence to continue. (See: Technology trends for businesses in 2020)

The year was marked by many technological trends surrounding the cloud, robotics, the Internet of Things (IoT), and augmented reality (AR), leading companies through the crisis. As the year concludes, organizations in all sectors have realized the importance of a scalable and secure network, superior connectivity, and advanced analytical tools to enable their people to meet new challenges while working from anywhere.

For technology leaders, this new approach has led to the accelerated execution of digital transformation efforts, the review of their IT budgets, and the redesign of their future business continuity frameworks.

At Better World, we expect businesses to continue focusing on cutting-edge technologies in 2021 and upgrade their networks to equip themselves to deal with any future barriers fully.

top technology trends

Let’s look at some of the top technology trends that will be key to delivering business transformation in 2021.

5G adoption to take off in 2021

One of the most anticipated wireless technologies of the modern era, the fifth-generation technology standard for broadband cellular networks, is likely to pick up pace in 2021. The technology would match or even exceed the speeds of physical, optical fiber connections under most conditions, strengthening many it-based deployments soon.

5G has already been introduced in many countries by select telecommunications companies in limited locations. It is likely to be available for approximately 15% of the world’s population by the end of 2020. By 2021, there will be more dynamic deployments and expansions worldwide, making them available for at least 70% of the global population.

For successful 5G rollouts, telecom operators will focus on robust network planning and monitoring tools to offer new monetization opportunities and control operating costs.

In India, Reliance Jio has been working closely with numerous national equipment makers to lead the 5G race. The telecom operator has put aside the ambitious 5G rollout schedule for the second half of 2021, depending on spectrum availability. Once available, the technology will bring more incredible automation benefits to the manufacturing and logistics process. It will enable enterprises to control mission-critical devices remotely in real-time and drive innovative customer experience.

The explosion of customer-data-platforms (CDP)

The COP ranks second among the major technology trends for 2021. While the pandemic put most businesses under enormous pressure in 2020, there has been high interest and investments around CDP. The CDP is a collection of software that retrieves dispersed data, let’s say, from a single client, from multiple sources in a single organized and central location.

Compared to conventional customer relationship management (CRM) systems, CDP allows companies to give their customers a consolidated view from broader contact points. It helps strengthen customer engagement by enabling organizations to track customer profiles through their lifecycle and interactions.

Technology majors such as Microsoft, Oracle, SAP, Salesforce, Treasure Data, and Adobe are investing heavily in CDP deployment. By 2021, businesses will see a more significant amount of data from data lakes and other sources. This will speed up the demand for automated tools and technologies that allow companies to intelligently analyze data, benefit customers, and generate new opportunities.

Hybrid cloud to occupy center stage

Although there are no crystal balls to precisely forecast enterprise cloud strategy, it is clear that hybrid cloud technologies will substantially grow in popularity among CIOs. In the post-pandemic era, organizations realized the importance of a modern hybrid multi-cloud architecture. They had to amplify their collaboration activities across their business functions in a work-from-home setup.

A greater realization came around managing IT resources through a combination of on-premise cloud computing services and third-party services to reduce the chances of network downtime, eliminate data silos, and help scale business with agility.

From 2021 and throughout the next few years, hybrid cloud is expected to be one of the top technology trends. Most young enterprises and organizations who plan to migrate to the cloud in 2021 will be looking to take the hybrid cloud route to exploit business opportunities and provide an exceptional consumer experience.

Acceleration in AI deployments

In 2021, organizations will rely heavily on artificial intelligence (AI) to improve resilience, rapid computer operations management, decision-making, maximizing resources, and improving supply chain efficiency. According to Better World, at least 70 percent of enterprises across all sectors have adopted some form of AI-based technologies this year. A majority of them will pledge aggressive AI-based production deployments during the next twelve months to establish a competitive edge.

Some of the leading examples in the AI-space are Chatbots, intelligent analytics, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), driverless vehicles, contactless technologies, digital assistants, and location finder apps (such as Google maps).

The next year will see several AI-based use case studies, which will also be driven by 5G rollouts. In a fast-growing virtual environment, technology leaders would require intelligent models to manage and use enormous data wisely. AI-led solutions will enable organizations to derive concrete insights and break down the data smartly with a tremendous speed. (See: Enterprises in India leading AI adoption globally)

Greater emphasis on cybersecurity and cyber resilience

While in 2020, enterprises were largely focused on adjusting to the crisis, 2021 will see the aggressive implementation of robust digital transformation initiatives that can expand businesses’ remote workforce capabilities and strengthen corporate resilience. This unparalleled workplace transition also requires businesses to build newer strategies to protect employees’ networks by augmenting their cybersecurity architectures.

In 2021, a significant focus on cybersecurity will be looking at IT security areas that are too expensive to implement. With the upcoming expansion of IoT connected devices, networks will be more vulnerable to large-scale multivector cyberattacks.

In the second half of 2021, organizations are expected to focus on cybersecurity and accelerate their deployment efforts around advanced solutions to protect their networks and clouds and improve security controls.

Technologies that could drive the adoption of secure cloud solutions will be much in demand. (See: How COVID-19 has changed cybersecurity focus for 2021).

Additionally, there will be a continued emphasis on remote monitoring capabilities, automation, and zero-trust models for robust user access patterns. (See: Top enterprise cybersecurity trends of 2020)

Inroads into quantum computing

Another top trend of 2021 will be a stronger focus on quantum computing. A lot of industry viewers believe that next year might be the year of quantum computing planning. Several algorithms will drive the quantum computing performance, and those will be seriously looking at making inroads into IT use case workflows.

Several vendors such as IBM, Google, Honeywell, and DWave have showcased their quantum solutions scale. While quantum computing still has a long way to go, in 2021, several use cases are expected to be deployed.

 

Enterprises in India leading AI adoption globally

Enterprises in India leading AI adoption globally

The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated AI-focused transformations in Indian companies, according to the latest report from PwC India.

The report, AI: An Opportunity amid a Crisis, found that AI in India had greater adoption and usage than other major economies, the USA, the UK, and Japan.

It is interesting to mention that over 70% of Indian businesses, according to the PwC report, have implemented AI in one shape or another, in one or more functional regions, compared to about 62% in 2019.

The result is fairly consistent with Better World’s projections that at least 70% of companies across all sectors will likely adopt some form of AI-based technology and adopt aggressive AI- Production deployments based within the next 12 months to build a competitive edge.

AI India

PwC India survey results, which include responses from more than 950 corporate decision-makers, also show a massive increase in AI optimism since last year. Amongst Indian companies surveyed, the positivity around AI rose from 72% to 92%. Forty-five percent of Indian organizations made greater use of artificial intelligence after COVID-19, and 94% of those interviewed stated that they have implemented or plan to implement AI within their organization.

Why is AI on the rise?

Artificial intelligence is the science behind intelligent machinery. It allows computer systems to sense their surroundings, analyze, learn, and make the necessary, evidence-based decisions, just as a human brain does, at times, much faster.

The technology has been deployed rapidly in the enterprise ecosystems as it enables organizations to make informed, data-driven decisions and forecast the potential outcome of those decisions. The recent pandemic has proven to be the worst order crisis in recent times and has had a spiraling impact on consumer and corporate sentiment. (See: How artificial intelligence is transforming Indian retail sector and AI in banking now geared for a takeoff)

During the pandemic-induced nationwide lockdowns, organizations were quick to realize that they had to move away from traditional ways of working faster to stay relevant in the market. Since virtual has become the new mainstream, much data is generated and can be harnessed by technologies like artificial intelligence to improve the user experience.

From new customer acquisition to retention and enabling them to resolve grievances in an automated and quick way, AI-led solutions can automate the processes to a greater extent. Leveraging AI, enterprises can derive concrete insights and break down the data intelligently with a tremendous speed to improve their customers’ life-cycle value.

Some of the prominent examples in AI-space are Chatbots, Robotic Process Automation (RPA), driverless vehicles, digital assistants, and location finder apps (such as Google maps).

Trends 2021

In 2021, Indian businesses are expected to witness a significant transition. There will be continuous traction around remote working environments. Consumers will also remain committed to spending a large proportion of their purchases through online channels or apps.

This will compel businesses to step-forward their AI-based strategies to retain and provide an exceptional consumer experience.

Nevertheless, companies considering deploying AI applications will face challenges such as data quality, limited success models, and staff inexperience to get the most from their AI investments. (See: How will AI impact enterprise ecosystems in 2021?)

 

 

Key recent C-suite movements to watch

Key recent C-suite movements to watch

Here is a quick update on some key recent C-suite movements in the information technology and information security technology areas in India.

11 December 2020 Update

Jagdip Kumar roped in by Lohia Group as CIO

Jagdip Kumar, General Manager, IT, left Cosmo Films to join Lohia Group as CIO. In this new position, Kumar will lead the digital transformation efforts of the Lohia Group.

Lohia Group is a diversified manufacturing company that produces various products such as flexible packaging, threads, plastic components for automobiles and machines.

Kumar has over 19 years of experience and has earlier worked with AMW, VE Commercial Vehicles, and Welspun.

Puneesh Lamba joins Shahi Exports as Group CIO

Puneesh Lamba, Group CIO of CK Birla Group, has moved to Shahi Exports as their Group Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Lamba will directly report to the Board of Directors of Shahi Exports.

Shahi Export is India’s biggest apparel manufacturer and exporter and has several manufacturing units across nine Indian states and over 100,000 workforce. In the new role at Shahi Exports, Lamba will spearhead its digital transformation and cloud-based tech-innovation initiatives.

Lamba is a seasoned IT professional with a strong experience of over 27 years. He has previously associated with firms such as BILT, Punj Loyd, GE Capital in leadership roles.

Kapil Madan is Spark Minda Group’s new CISO

Spark Minda Group has appointed Kapil Madaan as its new Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). The company has a strong presence in the global automotive sector, catering to a passenger vehicle, commercial vehicle, two-wheelers, and off-road vehicle manufacturing.

Madan has previously worked with Max Healthcare as a cybersecurity leader.

Rohit Kilam moves to CMS Info Systems as CTO

Rohit Kilam has joined CMS Info Systems Ltd as Chief Technology Officer (CTO). CMS Info Systems is India’s top Cash Management and Payment Solutions company. In his new role, Rohit will lead to several process transformations and tech-innovations at CMS Info-Systems.

Rohit has earlier worked in a gamut of challenging assignments in Digital Transformations, IT Strategy, IT Performance Management, Building Digital products, Operating Models, M&A IT Integration, Outsourcing Governance, Tech Product development, and ERP implementations.

He has earlier worked with companies such as Adani Enterprises, Masan Group, and IBM in leadership roles

20 September 2020 Update

Shuvankar Pramanick, CIO, Columbia Asia Hospitals

Shuvankar Pramanick has been appointed as the new CIO of Columbia Asia Hospitals Pvt. Ltd, a group of multi-specialty hospitals that operates in cities like Bangalore, Ghaziabad, Gurgaon, Mysore, Kolkata, Patiala, and Pune.

Bringing 20+ years of experience, Pramanick will focus on building new tech innovations in the healthcare sector while leading the IT team of the group. Pramanick has previously held senior IT leadership positions Paras Healthcare, Fortis Healthcare, and Asian Institute of Medical Sciences.

Marc Concannon, CTO, Cubic Telecom 

Marc Concannon has joined as CTO of Software IoT (Internet of Things) and connectivity management company, Cubic Telecom. In this new role, he will focus on Cubic’s software product roadmap and growth strategy. With over 20 years of experience, Concannon has previously served as the CTO at ClavisInsight, LogEntries, and Edge by Ascential.

Kamal Hathi, CTO, DocuSign

DocuSign has roped in former Microsoft veteran Kamal Hathi as their new CTO. With over 25 years of experience leading technology and product teams at startups and global multinationals alike, Hathi will oversee the development and execution of DocuSign’s technology roadmap, and support product expansion.

San Francisco based DocuSign help organizations manage and automate electronic agreements.

 

24 July 2020 Update

Munish Mittal, Group HeadIT & CIO leaves HDFC Bank

Munish Mittal, Group Head-Information Technology & Chief Information Officer at HDFC Bank has exited HDFC Bank. He had joined the private lender in 1996 as IT Manager. During his 24 years tenure at HDFC, he spearheaded various roles, including managing the IT strategy of the bank and its associated companies, HDFC Securities, and HDB Financial Services. Mittal has not disclosed his future plans yet.

A Shiju Rawther roped in by Poonawalla Finance for CIO role

A Shiju Rawther has been appointed as the CIO of Poonawalla Finance. In his new role, Rawther will lead IT functions and strategies, and be responsible for designing the digital roadmap of the organization. He will also spearhead the company’s analytics function. Rawther has moved from IIFL Finance where he was the Executive Vice President–Technology. He has over two decades of experience in driving digital transformation, innovation, and analytics in various multinationals.

Dr. Jai Menon joins the Advisory board of IndiQus Technologies

Dr. Jai Menon, the former Group CTO of HT Media, has joined the advisory board of IndiQus Technologies, a leading telecom cloud monetization platform provider. Dr. Menon is a global technology leader with over three decades of global experience across the US, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia. He is largely known for his various technology leadership roles at Bharti Airtel. In his new role at IndiQus, Dr. Menon will play an active strategic role in IndiQus’s product evolution and the company’s expansion plans.

Gaurav Kataria joins Sai Life Science as Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO)

Gaurav Kataria has joined Sai Life Sciences as Chief Digital and Information Officer (CDIO). He was previously working as Vice President of Digital Strategy and Solutions (Aerospace & Defense) at Cyient. In his new role, Kataria will be driving the digital and IT strategy for Sai Life Sciences, a full-service Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization (CDMO). Sai Life Science works with innovator pharma and biotech companies globally to accelerate the discovery, development, and manufacture of complex small molecules.

Amit Waghmare takes up CIO role at DB Corp

Amit Waghmare has joined DB Corp as the Chief Information Officer (CIO). Amit has moved on from Page Industries where he was heading IT for more than two years. DB Corp, formerly known as Dainik Bhaskar, is a leading media organization headquartered in Bhopal. Waghmare has over 17 years of work experience in the IT sector with a demonstrated history of working in the Media, Power, Textile, Pharma, Real Estate, Luggage, Apparel, and fashion industry.

09 June 2020 Update

Unique Kumar joins CK Birla Group as Group CISO
Unique Kumar has been appointed as Group CISO of CK Birla Group, a diversified $2.4 billion conglomerate with over 25,000 employees and 41 manufacturing facilities.

Kumar joins the CK Birla group from Max Healthcare, where he was heading Digital Innovation and Cybersecurity. He has also held leadership positions with Aviva Life Insurance, Aptara, and Idea Cellular.

Manish Shetty moves to Diageo India as CIO
Manish Shetty is Diageo India’s new CIO. Shetty was earlier working as Director–IT at Tata Consumer Products. Prior to that, he was CIO at Sanofi and before that Director–IT at Tata Global Beverages. Shetty has also held leadership and managerial positions at companies like Birlasoft, Radian, KPMG US, American Express, and Larsen & Toubro Information Technology.

Diageo plc is a British multinational alcoholic beverages company, with its headquarters in London, England and offices in six continents.

Sun Life names Laura Money as new global EVP and CIO
Sun Life Financial Inc has announced the appointment of Laura Money as Executive Vice-President and Chief Information Officer effective 29 June 2020. Laura will report to Kevin Strain, Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice-President, Sun Life. She succeeds Mark Saunders, EVP, and Chief Information Officer, who announced his plans to retire at the end of April next year.

Sun Life is a leading international financial services organization providing insurance, wealth, and asset management solutions to individual and corporate clients. Sun Life has operations in a number of markets worldwide, including Canada, the United States, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Japan, Indonesia, India, China, Australia, Singapore, Vietnam, Malaysia, and Bermuda.

31 May 2020 Update

Jayanta Bhowmik joins Kesoram Industries as group CIO
Kesoram Industries is a part of the BK Birla Group Of Companies. The company is engaged in the manufacturing of cement, tyres, tubes, rayon, paper, heavy chemicals, and spun pipes. Bhowmik has moved from Usha Martin, where he served as a Senior Vice President of IT and Group CIO. In his earlier stints, he had held senior leadership positions at Appejay Surrendra Group, Tega Industries, HCL Technologies, and ABP.

Ranjit Satyanath, Head of Technology Operations at Croma, quits
Satyanath had joined Chroma in August 2014, and successfully led the IT strategy and digital initiatives at Croma, one of India’s largest consumer electronics and appliances retailer.

Manish Mimani quits Aviva Life Insurance to become an entrepreneur 
Manish Mimani, CIO for Aviva Life Insurance, has moved on to pursue an entrepreneurship path. Mimani has launched a new cybersecurity firm, Protectt.ai Labs, with an aim to build next-generation mobile security and real-time fraud management solutions.

14 May 2020 Update

Anis Pankhania joins Capgemini as Senior Director – Security Operations and Compliance.
Pankhania is based in Pune and joins Capgemini from Vodafone Idea, where he was heading Security Compliance and Data Privacy. In his new role, Pankhania will lead a team of specialized IT security and risk professionals. Pankhania has earlier worked in senior IT security roles in companies such as Aircel, IBM, and Airtel.

Mihir Joshi joins HDFC Pension Management and HDFC International Life and Re as CISO
In his new role, Joshi will be managing the operations and administration of various IT security devices, solutions, technologies, and processes deployed to enhance the security posture for HDFC Life, HDFC Pension, and HDFC LifeRe. Immediately prior to this, he was with Ares Management Corporation where he set up the Cybersecurity practice from scratch.

BNP Paribas appoints Mannan Godil as Director & India Head, Information Security & Business Continuity Management
Mannan Godil has joined BNP Paribas as Director & India Head, Information Security & Business Continuity Management. He has been roped in from Edelweiss Financial Services where he was working as Senior Vice President, Head – Information Security / CISO. Previously, he had also served in companies, such as eClerx Services, Zener Electronics, Stream Tracmail, and S.S. Nirban Enterprises.

Rajesh Hemrajani is the new CISO at Paytm Payments Bank
Rajesh Hemrajani has been appointed as CISO at Paytm Payments Bank. Prior to this, he was CISO at IDFC First Bank. Previously, he has held several leadership and roles at companies like RBS, Nomura Securities, Emirates Airlines, and Dubal.

Manish Bhatia joins Lendingkart as President – Technology, Analytics & Capabilities
Manish Bhatia has been roped in by Lendingkart as President – Technology, Analytics & Capabilities. In his previous role, he was the CTO at Amazon Pay India. He was also the Co-founder and CTO at Buymaxo, and previously served in organizations like Education Finance Partners, FedEx Office, and JP Morgan Chase.

If you think we’ve missed out featuring any other key recent C-suite movements/appointments in the above list, please feel free to drop a line to us at betterworld@bmnxt.com

Cisco buys IMImobile to reinforce CXaaS capabilities

Cisco buys IMImobile to reinforce CXaaS capabilities

Networking giant Cisco is eyeing the growing pie of customer experience as a service (CXaaS) business as it buys IMImobile, a London-based cloud communications software company, for $730 million, including debt. IMImobile provides software and services that enable businesses to connect to their clients via interactive channels, including social media, messaging, and voice.

According to Cisco, the acquisition will offer an end-to-end customer interaction management solution for customer-facing businesses. IMImobile extensively focuses on customer interaction management (CIM) through several capabilities such as automation, orchestration, and monitoring.

The purchase process will likely complete in the first quarter of 2021, subject to shareholder mandates and approval requirements. After the acquisition, the IMI Mobile team will get integrated into Cisco’s Webex Contact Center business unit, currently headed by Omar Tawakol.

Cisco’s IMI acquisition demonstrates the growing interest of technology specialists in scaling up their collaboration and communications services capabilities to meet the ever-increasing demand for real-time customer interactions. (See: Salesforce buys Slack to expand its cloud footprint, and Facebook entices creators as it eyes the online events market)

In the middle of the black swan of 2020, organizations are fast turning to cloud services like AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud. It has forced tech majors like Cisco to transform their business models to meet evolving business demands.Cisco buys IMImobile

Effectively shifting gears

Cisco’s business started as a router company and emerged as a significant internet connectivity supplier for enterprise business in the early 2000s. About three years back, in the wake of changing IT spend forecast, the networking giant announced to restrategize its revenue focus from hardware purchases to a subscription-based model.

At that time, Cisco had set a goal of 30% of its revenue to come from software services a few years back. Cisco achieved 29% of the target in fiscal year ’20 and 31% in Q4 alone. In the fourth quarter of FY2020, Cisco reported a 9% decline in annual revenue to $12.2 billion from $13.43 billion in the year-previous quarter. For Cisco, the positive aspect is to see tremendous demand and pipeline in its biggest customers’ orders in the digital transformation space.

Since the start of the pandemic, the priority of Cisco’s customers has changed rapidly. Enterprises are looking at technologies that can give them agility, security, and more excellent resiliency. Applications have become a lifeline for business continuity, and remote-collaboration tools an essential.

Many of the businesses are keen to adopt a full-scale everything-as-a-service model, and that’s been reflected in Cisco’s software revenues as well. Today, Cisco has about 80 percent of its total software revenue from subscriptions.

Acquiring new capabilities

The focus toward working from anywhere will continue to generate a significant uptake. As a result, businesses are less likely to invest significantly in their on-premise enterprise networks. Instead, they will continue to deploy technologies that could allow them to meet the new demands of digital clients and help their distributed remote staff stay connected and productive.

Given this, the San Jose based tech-giant has recently stepped up its software and subscription offerings by investing heavily in research and development. There has been increased traction in Cisco’s Webex platform, its flagship offering in the space of remote collaboration. The company says it has over 600 million meeting participants on its Webex platform, almost doubling the pre-pandemic days, while online work was still in its infancy.

Cisco is putting substantial efforts into strengthening its Webex’s capabilities to support the growing demand for large online web conferences and virtual events. Several of this year’s acquisitions, such as Slido, IMImobile, and BabbleLabs technology, have been completed to optimize the user experience and improve the delivery of information to Webex customers in multi-cloud environments.

Another area of increasing interest in Cisco’s business remains cloud security as it has become an absolute priority for her customers in the distributed digital world. The company has achieved double-digit sales growth quarter-on-quarter from its security solutions portfolio.

In 2021, the company is expected to continue its acquisition spree, albeit of smaller companies, to strengthen its software capabilities and improve revenues. Cisco is also likely to make substantial investments in the software-defined WAN technology space as organizations rush into the 5G and Internet of Things (IoT) era and plan for a significant increase in data traffic (See: How SD-WAN and IoT can help enterprises unlock ‘smart’ ).

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