INFOCOM rings in its 18th edition with the mantra for Winning in this VUCA World

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INFOCOM, one of the largest congregations of technology professionals, buyers-sellers, corporate leaders, academics, visionaries, and policymakers, stepped into its 18th edition with a three-day business-technology-leadership conclave at ITC Sonar, Kolkata.  As the world goes digital and technology keeps defining the new way of life, many organizations are struggling to figure out how they should go Digital and face up to the Digital disruption challenge that is happening in their respective industries. The bigger challenge that is staring us right in our face is that this world has become VUCA – Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. With this thought in mind, the theme of this year’s INFOCOM was aptly chosen to be ‘Winning in this VUCA world’, where great minds will come together to find ways to face the new challenges through innovation, speed, customer collaboration, resilience, technology, and clarity. INFOCOM 2019 was inaugurated by the esteemed Chief Guest, Mamata Banerjee, Hon’ble Chief Minister of West Bengal, who also delivered an inaugural address. The inauguration was also graced by revered guests like – Dr Omkar Rai, Director General, STPI; Mr Arijit Basu, Managing Director, State Bank of India; Mr Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies India; Mr Amitabh Ray, Managing Director, Ericsson India Global Services Pvt. Ltd; Ms. Shantha Maheswari, Managing Director, Industry Lead, Advanced Technology Centers in India and Microsoft Cloud Lead, Growth Markets, Accenture Technology; Ms. Seema Ambastha, Senior Executive Vice President – India & Global Sales & Solutions, NTT-Netmagic and Mr. B S Mishra, Regional Manager – Marketing, Eastern Zone, Life Insurance Corporation of India. The welcome address was delivered by Mr D D Purkayastha, Managing Director and CEO, ABP Pvt Ltd and Chairman, INFOCOM.

This year, INFOCOM, the annual conference, is being held from December 5th – 7th 2019, acting as a convergence of the best global minds in Technology, Business Strategy and Leadership. The flagship event of the ABP Group is supported by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY), Government of India along with the Digital India Plan and the National E-Governance Division (NeGD). Department of IT and Electronics, Government of West Bengal and Webel are partnering with INFOCOM 2019 as the Host State.

The Partner State for the event is Govt. of Bihar and the Tourism Partners for the event are –Jammu & Kashmir Tourism, West Bengal Tourism and Meghalaya Tourism. The event is being supported by SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industries, NASSCOM and BCCI.

The event will bring together over 1200 delegates from large Corporates, IT, SMEs and Government with close to 120 Speakers from Business, IT, Government and SMEs and over 55 Sessions on Strategy & Leadership, Technology & Information Security, State Offerings & Tourism and Innovation and Entrepreneurship. More than 250 top CIOs/CISOs from across India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and other SAARC Countries are also participating in the event.

This year the focal theme of INFOCOM is ‘Winning in this VUCA world. The last five years have challenged every business leader to survive and sustain performance. VUCA makes economic changes and its impact a difficulty to face with. There is no way to go back to the old world as this VUCA World is the new normal. But one can look at this VUCA world as an opportunity because at the same time that it is Volatile, it is also Vibrant as one can do all the things that one never did before, especially with technology. Instead of thinking about Uncertainty, it is actually Unreal in which the physical and digital come together. Instead of being Complex, it is Creative considering all the innovative and new things one can do to address the situation, changing the pace of life and finally instead of being Ambiguous it is Astounding in terms of the impact and return on investment that one could potentially have in this VUCA World.

This change requires new thinking, making sense of changing markets, developing new strategic directions and energizing your people. It’s time to hit the RESET button. Winners in this new VUCA world will have to think bigger and different, to harness the growth potential of new markets and technologies, to redefine markets in their own vision, and engage customers and employees in more relevant and inspiring ways. Winners in this VUCA World are the Game Changers who define new purpose and strategy, innovate business models and brands, harness networks and movements, to create a positive impact financially, and make a real difference to people’s lives.

The pre-inaugural Plenary Sessions started with FOUR keynotes. The opening theme keynote address was delivered on ‘Winning in this VUCA World with Innovation & Creativity’ by Mr Duncan Wardle, Chief Innovation Officer, Id8&innov8 and Former VP Innovation & Creativity, Walt Disney. Duncan Wardle spent his 25-year career at Disney developing some of their most innovative ideas and strategies. Ideas that would forever change the way the company expands its impact, train its employees and solves problems creatively. The interactive session was hosted by Ms Shantha Maheswari, Managing Director, Industry Lead, Advanced Technology Centers in India and Microsoft Cloud Lead, Growth Markets, Accenture Technology. His keynote was followed by the theme keynote, ‘Winning in this VUCA World’ by Mr Amitabh Ray, Managing Director, Ericsson India Global Services.

This was followed by a leadership keynote on ‘Digital Agility in VUCA World’ by Mr Alok Ohrie, President and Managing Director, Dell Technologies India and another on ‘Empowering Digital Transformation Together’ by Ms Seema Ambastha, Senior Executive Vice President – India & Global Sales & Solutions, NTT-Netmagic.

Post inaugural ceremony, the sessions were held in two tracks. Track A is the Strategy and Leadership Forum and Track B being the CIO Connect & Security Forum.

Track A commenced with the STPI Export Awards 2018-19 for the State of West Bengal. This award ceremony, now in its seventh year has been an endeavour to recognize the efforts of enterprises who have accomplished milestones and have contributed immensely to West Bengal’s IT/ITES export and growth. The Award Ceremony was attended by key investors and SME/MSME Heads from across Eastern India.

The next session was a Panel Discussion on ‘5G Commercialization and Beyond’ which was chaired and moderated by Mr Arnab Basu, Managing Partner – East and Technology Consulting Leader for PwC in India, PricewaterhouseCoopers Pvt. Ltd. The panel comprised of Mr Michael Patrick Foley, Chief Executive Officer, Grameenphone Ltd., Bangladesh and Ms Seema Ambastha, Senior Executive Vice President – India & Global Sales & Solutions, NTT-Netmagic.

The third session commenced with a panel discussion on ‘Disruptive Trends in BFSI’. Mr J A Chowdary, Chairman of Blockchain Committee, Bureau of Indian Standards, Government of India was the chairperson and moderator of the session which hosted eminent panellists like Mr Robert Healey, Senior Director – Marketing, APAC, Tenable, Mr. Muhammad H Kafi, Senior Executive Vice President and Head of Operations, NCC Bank, Bangladesh, Mr. Krishnenjit Roy, Vice President – Technology, Bankbazaar.com and Mr. Gauri Prosad Sarma, OSD – IT & Amalgamation, United Bank of India.

This was followed by a Keynote Address in Track A on Autonomous Database Powered by Machine Learning: Converged Data Management’ by Mr Tirthankar Lahiri, Senior Vice President, Data and In-Memory Technologies Group, Oracle USA.

The CIO Connect & Security Forum in Track B commenced with a keynote session on ‘Ignite Your Curiosity’ by Mr Giri Balasubramaniam, Quizzing Wizard and Founder and CEO, Greycaps, also nicknamed as “PICKBRAIN.

This was followed by a keynote address by two INFOCOM Product Innovators Showcase Partners – Teamviewer: Represented by Mr Krunal Patel, Business Head – India & South Asia and Oasys Tech Solutions: Represented by Mr Pradeepta Mohanty, Managing Director. These presenters showcased their innovative product offerings to the CIO audience.

This was followed by a Keynote on ‘Going beyond EDR with XDR’ by Mr Vijendra Katiyar, Director – Enterprise Business (non-named), India & SAARC, Trend Micro. This was followed by another keynote address Mr Debjyoti Gupta, CTO, TCG Digital Solutions Pvt. Ltd. on ‘The Digital Dreamer in Today’s VUCA World’

The session was succeeded by a panel discussion on ‘Unlocking the potential of AI for the Enterprise’. Mr. Bimal Patwari, Founder and President, Pinnacle Infotech Solutions was the chairperson and moderator of the session that witnessed distinguished panelists like Mr. Indrajit Sanyal, Head of Service Delivery Unit – Cloud & NFV Infrastructure, Business Unit Digital Services, Ericsson India Global Services, Mr. Utpal Chakraborty, Head – Artificial Intelligence, Yes Bank Ltd., Business and Digital Technology Solutions Group and Mr. Arindam Saha, Joint CEO, TickerPlant Ltd.

‘Integrating Edge, IOT and Cloud’ was the topic of the panel discussion that followed next which was chaired and moderated by Mr Burgess Cooper, Partner – Advisory Services, Information and Cyber Security, Ernst & Young LLP. The panel included noted panellists such as Mr Avinash Velhal, Group CIO, India, Middle East and Africa and VP –  IT & Process, Atos India, Mr Vibhore Sharma, CTO, Info Edge India Ltd. and Mr Gautam Dutta, Senior Director- Marketing, Siemens Digital Industries Software.

There were three interesting Evening Plenary sessions:

A keynote session ‘Where Today Meets Tomorrow’ by Mr Suprakash Chaudhuri, Vice President & Managing Director, Siemens Digital Industries Software.

A fireside chat hosted by Mr Aritra Sarkar, CEO, Wedoria Technologies on ‘Innovation Making a Difference’ which witnessed an interesting exchange of ideas with Mr Abhinay Choudhari, Co-Founder and Head – New Initiatives, Big Basket.

The first day of INFOCOM 2019 ended on a high note with a spotlight session by Mr. Harrish Sai Raman, Motivational Speaker and Leadership Coach who shared his thoughts on ‘ACCELERATE’- Achieving Excellence Together. Mr Harrish Sai Raman is one of the most recognized and sought-after inspirational speakers in the country. His ability to deliver life-changing, scientifically sound, relevant and metaphysical messages in a powerful, humorous and insightful manner integrated with high energy has earned him a reputation of bringing about a difference with a difference!

Host State for INFOCOM 2019 – Department of IT and Electronics, Govt. of West Bengal and Webel. The Gold Sponsor for INFOCOM 2019 was LIC and NTT-Netmagic. Silver sponsor for the conference was Eduguy.com. Delegate Partner-JIS University, CIO & Security Forum Knowledge Provider – Ernst & Young, Technology Partner – Dell Technologies India,  Theme Partner – Ericsson India Global Services, Technology Knowledge Partner – Accenture Technology; Partner State – Govt. of Bihar, Tourism Board Partner – Jammu & Kashmir Tourism, Celebration Partner – Blenders Pride Reserve Collection Music CDs, Co-Host – STPI, Innovation Partner – Hewlett Packard Enterprise and Intel; Mentoring Partner –Adamas University, Digitalization Partner – Siemens Digital Software Industries, Education Partner –Sister Nivedita University, Cloud Technology Partner – Oracle, Business Transformation Partner: NUTANIX, Digital Partner – TCG Digital, Information Security Partners – EmailAuith.io and HumanFirewall, Banking Partner – Bank of Baroda, CDN Partner – Akamai Technologies, Infrastructure Partner – Infinity, SME Partner – AAJ Global Foundation, Tourism Partner – West Bengal Tourism and Meghalaya Tourism, Travel Accessory Partner – myBiz by Make My Trip, Associate Sponsors – Tenable, Pinnacle Infotech Solutions, Trend Micro, State Bank of India, Coal India Ltd, ESDS, Fortinet, Dot 1 – 4C Plus, Powergrid, Workmates Core 2 Cloud, Ambuja Neotech Hub, NTSC, Wow! Momo, Intueri Consulting LLP; Product Innovators Showcase Partners – Team Viewer, Oasys Tech Solutions and MAD Street Den, Supported by Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India, Digital India and National E-Governance Division (NeGD), INFOCOM State Tourism Forum supported by Incredible India, Association Partners – SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industries, NASSCOM and BCCI.