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Value innovation spurs growth: Kaura

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CIOL Bureau
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CAIRO: Value innovation, which is still in its infancy among Indian companies, is the key for growth, said Satish Kaura, chairman and managing director, Samtel India.

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Speaking at the CIOL C-Change here, he said that while the pace of value innovation is just picking up, it is not prevalent in all the companies, and that without it these companies will have no future. He was referring to the manufacturing sector.

He said that the Indian manufacturing sector has gone through a huge transformation especially the automobile sector, with a focus on quality and not just quantity. This has in turn, fueled innovation in the components sector with various design capabilities.

Kaura said that in the “fast changing world, one of the key pillars of growth is innovation” and the “ability to plan and ride on the technology wave to either modify or design products and processes.”

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Drawing references from Samtel's innovation journey from black and white television to colour and then to plasma, he said, “With a lot of process innovation, state-of-the-art facilities, at much lower costs, the productivity cycle has gone through a huge change. We started looking at not only conversion on cost, but dwelled on the technology cycle.”

Samtel is currently working on a project for organic light emitting devices, which is scheduled to be ready by 2007.

However, the primary challenge in evolving a value innovation organization is the mindset and trying to put together the fundamental shift, said Kaura. “Behind the innovation, there is a necessary culture. With control dependence, one cannot expect creativity. There has to be a cultural transformation. Value creation through innovation is the key challenge and a very significant one,” said Kaura.

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The second issue according to Kaura, is the disregard for IPR among Indian companies. He said: “IPR is being used by CIOs sensitive to it, very strategically. But, in India, knowledge and awareness (of IPR) is a very serious issue. Ability to build own IPR is very serious. This becomes key as companies grow and change products and processes.”

The third challenge according to Kaura is discipline. “Innovation requires tremendous discipline. In the US 70 percent of the attempts at product innovation has failed”, he said.

He said that there were no shortcuts to discipline - risk management, process facilitators and technology process management systems, which will ensure focus on the target.

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The need to develop effective networks is the fourth challenge. Tie-ups for infrastructure or expertise are essential to leapfrog. “Locate sources, where knowledge exists and tap into it, instead of creating a knowledge product ourselves,” he opined.

Talking about the role of a CIO as a change agent, Kaura said that the biggest problem in change is socio-tech. He said that while there is good focus on selecting the best technology, what lacks is leadership. “CIO is the main process owner of this change, and this a major issue, when you move onto value innovation, transforming organizations.”

“Just putting elegant technology together is not enough.” He stressed on the importance of dialogues with users.

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Security is another area, which requires the CIO's attention, said Kaura. With easily accessible networks and knowledge transfers taking place, users are not sensitive to the power of all kinds of knowledge in the network, said Kaura.

Using ERP as a source of information and not to create knowledge is another disconnect, that needs to be closed according to Kaura.

With the Net creating active communities, he also suggested using the power of active customer communication for co-creation.

“Indian manufacturing is doing extremely well, we have great talent, but we have to build in the necessary processes and then we will give China a run for its money,” stated Kaura.

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