In my previous post, I shared examples in the industry that are ripe for unleashing the potential in companies and individuals who are ready to take the leap. In this post, I’d like to share a few examples of how we’ve been unleashing potential at Tata Communications in recent times and what lies ahead.
We all know that open systems drive innovation, and Uber is an oft-cited example of a company that is known to embrace, and thrive on, the open source approach. Like Uber, we have also embraced openness by embedding APIs in our networks to give our partners and customers access through software development kits to ‘callable’ services.
This is important because it gives us the speed and agility to help our customers deliver new services to their customers. For example, using WebRTC APIs, we worked with one of India’s biggest investment banks to embed ‘in browser’ video conferencing for their VIP customer relationship management team. This helped to develop a more intimate, premium service for the bank’s most important customers, ultimately delivering higher financial returns and increased loyalty. What I was most proud of was that we delivered the pilot in days — spending thousands of dollars not millions – enabling the bank to outpace their competitors and unleash the potential of real time communications.
A key component of the Digital India vision is digital inclusion. But is it a hype or reality? What of the next billion to become connected? Well, for sure this is truly a 10x growth challenge and our best engineers are working on how we can take our networks deeper into rural India in a sustainable way. But the important thing is that we’ve started. Partnering with Google, the Tata Trusts (the charitable arm of the Tata Group) is bringing internet cycle carts to train over 500,000 rural women to use the Internet and to access the Internet by the end of next year.
And we believe that economic growth is stimulated by linking digital inclusion with financial inclusion, which is why Tata Communications joined forces with Mastercard and other partners, as part of a Clinton Global Initiative commitment to action, to deliver payment enabled phones to ultimately reach 100 million women in India and other developing countries. We know that fewer than 10% of rural women have access to the internet compared to 50% of women in our cities. We call our digital inclusion initiatives a dream with a deadline to bring the potential of 10x economic and social growth to India and new potential customers for every industry.
I know many people think the 10x growth concept is just for startups and that established businesses can’t operate at 10x. Certainly that’s what I thought until four years ago when we started to work with Formula One Management. Formula One is not only one of the most watched sport on the planet, but also a multi-billion dollar business with media rights management and broadcasting at its heart.
So when Formula One asked my team if we could set up a 1GB network in three days and then decommission it post-race in three hours, and do that in 19 different countries during a 40 week season, sometimes even in back-to-back weekends to delight hundreds of millions of fans around the world… well, that demanded 10x changes in how my business operates. And I’m proud to say we unleashed the potential and achieved all that and more every year for four years now.
And where can you go from the craziest hyper-innovation on planet earth and working with teams like world champions Mercedes AMG Petronas? I’m humbled to be supporting Team Indus, the only Indian team competing in the Google Lunar X-Prize for a prize purse of $30M. It’s a competition where a commercial team have to launch a craft on the moon’s surface, move it half a kilometre and then send content such as film, photographs, and emails back to earth. Tata Communications is the technology partner, working with the deep space networks, our data centres and cloud services. It’s thrilling to think that right now, our engineers are helping put a spacecraft on the moon.
Bringing it back to earth, I’d like to quote Microsoft on the power of partnerships: “Microsoft partners are a driving force in business transformation and our collective innovation has never been stronger. In this mobile-first, cloud-first world, businesses that embrace technology to reinvent themselves will thrive and those that embrace status quo risk extinction.” Just as Team Sky didn’t succeed alone but by building a new cycling ecosystem with their partners, Microsoft knows the importance of partnerships for collective innovation.
That’s why it was an honour that Microsoft invited me to keynote at Future Unleashed earlier this month and to represent Tata Communications as a strategic partner to Microsoft in the mobile-first, cloud-first businesses of Azure, Skype For Business and Office 365. Microsoft is the first hyper-scale public cloud provider to offer services from datacentres in India and I’m so proud that Tata Communications is the market leader in India for data services and colocation services. We want to work together with our customers as they embrace these new technologies and thrive. Together, we can unleash the potential.
How is your company unleashing potential? Leave your comments below as I’d love to read your examples.