“Business Innovation through IT: Myth or Reality?” This was the topic of the Panel Discussion held as a part of the ongoing National IT Conference at XLRI. Stalwarts from the industry – Mr. Shivakant Mokashi, CIO, TATA Steel; Mr. Debapriya Dasgupta, Director & Chief Architect, Cognizant; Mr. Kumbhkar, Business Consultant, TATA Technologies; Eminent Academicians – Mr. Sharad Sarin and Mr. Jeetu Singh debated the capability of IT as a source of sustained competitive advantage rather than just being a support tool.
Mr. Mokashi discussed about the history of IT and how large computations can be given simple solutions with its help. With the help of Sub-titles below the Chitrahaar songs, IT helped in increasing the literacy. Mr. Dasgupta stressed on Innovation Capacity which defines the percentage of money invested in IT which is used finally for innovation. One needs to serve the client in depth and make them understand how valuable is it to understand the customer and that requires one to be in the thought process of the client for innovation with IT. Mr. Kumbhakar discussed about IT as a conglomerate of ERP, word processing and web services. He also mentioned about the behavioural, economical and technical differentiation of IT business and also the use of IT as a tool. He also mentioned about the limitations of IT.
Prof. Sarin appreciated the use of IT in Marketing and its support in the fundamentals of Better Served-Better Choice-Better Informed customer. He gave example of WalMart, Asian Paints, HLL and American Airlines. But he criticised IT for not being user friendly. According to him, IT has not been fully used for Innovation. Prof. Jeetu Singh was the host for the discussion and made some interesting comments throughout. The panel was then open for questions from the audience who enthusiastically raised issues from different arenas of business world. Various arguments and counter-arguments were raised which resulted in a lively and fruitful event. Students from various B-Schools who are participating in the event felt enlightened after this discussion as NITS being one of the foremost IT conference across top Indian B-Schools.