As Abhijit Varma, partner ITA at KPMG India, ended his presentation, the audience—who hadn’t let their eyes wander from the stage for ten whole minutes—suddenly rose in applause. Abhijit’s presentation, which was nothing short of a roller coaster ride, managed to touch upon everything from Elon Musk to Calvin and Hobbes. Abhijit finished his talk with one final thought for the audience, urging everyone to think along the lines of “how organizations, and the world, can benefit from technology.” This directive probably best summed up last month’s The Economic Times – ManageEngine CIO Symposium in Bangalore and Delhi. The two-part symposium was held in the JW Marriott in Bangalore and the Hyatt Regency in New Delhi over the course of three days.

The symposium’s theme was “The changing role of IT in the era of digital transformation,” which left the stage open to a wide range of conversations—with evolving compliance policies and the reliability of IT management tools amongst the hottest topics. The symposium’s panels were comprised of CIOs from top firms and the very best minds from analyst firms, resulting in two action-packed mornings with ManageEngine and The Economic Times playing host to more than 165 CIOs and IT directors of various organizations across Bangalore and Delhi. The telecom, banking, e-commerce, and research industries were particularly well represented, with national IT directors and vice presidents from the likes of British Telecom, ShopClues, and Nielsen in attendance.

We thought the engagement at Bangalore was tremendous…

The effervescent host, Alokesh Bhattacharyya, got the ball rolling at Bangalore in his trademark witty style. He immediately threw down the gauntlet to the panelists, asking them to convince the attendees how quickly IT really is changing. What ensued was five high-quality presentations, each peppered with examples and anecdotes ranging from customer engagement to government projects, with a round of Q&A following every panelist’s speech. Dr. Pallab Saha, chief architect at The Open Group, stressed that technology can seamlessly cut across industries, and went on to talk about how the Telengana government is leveraging technology to empower businesses.

After all the presentations were finished, they were followed by an hour-long panel discussion where the attendees got into the thick of things with intense discussions. Eventually, everyone was left with some food for thought as the event drew to a close, and the aroma of the event’s sumptuous lunch spread began wafting in.

But the intensity of conversations at Delhi was something else! 

Just a few days after the Bangalore event, the attendees’ response and involvement in Delhi was electric, right from the get-go. Compared to Bangalore, the Delhi symposium featured even more panelists, more attendees, and more heated conversations on the impact of technology in today’s business world. The event’s high-level knowledge transfer was probably best exemplified by an exchange involving panelists who were in support of analytics and two audience members who strongly argued that the power of analytics is over-estimated with a significant percentage of all data being cooked up by organizations. Tall claims indeed! But the strong facts furnished by both sides ensured that the debate raged on, and in fact spilled over into the lobby during lunch.

The ManageEngine team was kept busy at both of the events. Quite a few CIOs and directors showed keen interest in the mini-demo setups, which showcased IT management best practices and the capabilities of ManageEngine’s solutions. Our team of solution experts engaged in one-on-one discussions with the attendees, going in-depth about our products, that particular solution’s domain, as well as how better IT management could help improve their business’ profitability.

“IT is all about asking the right business questions”

Although the panels, the audience, and the discussions were varied, there was one common line of thought that emerged from the symposiums in both cities. In the end, “IT is all about asking the right business questions” was the one key takeaway that the host, Alokesh, the members of the two panels, and the audience were all in agreement with. And we here at ManageEngine couldn’t agree more.

Haritha Ramachandran, associate director at Frost & Sullivan, even specifically included this decisive point during her presentation in Delhi, and went on to initiate an interesting conversation within the panel. Jasjeet Singh, partner at EY India, quoted examples from healthcare, stating the game-changing impact the use of drones is having on the medical supply chain in war-torn Rwanda, while Vijay Sethi, CIO at Hero MotorCorp, discussed how probing with the right IT tools can answer questions about employee productivity.

Ending with a beginning

After the panelists were presented with mementos as a token of appreciation, the networking session began and the attendees loosened their ties and let down their hair. “Everything about the symposium—from the presentations to the vote of thanks—was very different, quirky,” beamed a visibly excited Kannan P., national channel manager at Kotak Mahindra Bank, as he shared a conversation with the ManageEngine team over some flavourful biryani.

The morning ended on a positive note with some of the CIOs and directors extending an invitation to the ManageEngine team to work with them in their journey of digital transformation. And as always, with our expertise in IT management, we stand ready to help organizations align their IT to business. In a sense, although the event was over it wasn’t truly the end, but just the beginning.

Marketing Specialist