Technological advancements are positively impacting businesses across the world. For communication and for work tasks, or using software and programmes, tech solutions continue to make business operations smoother and more efficient. Most businesses have transformed, thanks to the innovation of communication software. Companies are now able to function with employees in different parts of the world. Managing health recovery, while supporting economic recovery is still a major challenge but innovations are helping us get there.
Google India in association with YS hosted a roundtable discussion with industry leaders such as Amit Zunjarwad, VP – Product and Engineering, Flipkart; Ankit Khanna, Chief Product Officer, MakeMyTrip; Sachin Jhanghel, Co-founder and CTO, GOQii; Mohit Maheshwari, VP – Marketing and Growth, Nestaway; and Mitesh Agarwal, Director – Customer Engineering, Google Cloud.
Boom in e-commerce
The e-commerce market in India is expected to touch $40 billion, as per a Kearney report. The tremendous growth can be attributed to a rapid increase in internet user base and online shoppers. The changing attitudes of consumers towards purchasing essential and non essential goods online is presenting opportunities for sellers and e-commerce sites.
Amit spoke about sellers in the marketplace and added that Flipkart has been working very closely with the seller and MSME ecosystem. “With one of the largest marketplaces in India, we have about 3.75 lakh sellers on our platform. Sellers who are working to do business both for business continuity and growth have really started to embrace e-commerce,” he said.
A customer-focused approach
Before COVID-19, travel and tourism accounted for 10 percent of global GDP and more than 320 million jobs worldwide. The COVID-19 pandemic, the first of its scale in a new era of interconnectedness, put millions at risk. Tourism-dependent countries continue to feel the negative impact of the crisis.
Sharing a few insights about the hotel industry, MakeMyTrip’s Ankit said, “One good part about our engagement with hoteliers was that both of us were consumer-focused even while reeling under the impact of the pandemic. We were interacting with hoteliers when the demand was close to zero, and when it started to slowly pick up we started looking at what the consumer wanted. This led us to build ‘MySafety’, an app that helps us certify hotels, guidelines, and protocols. We made it easier for customers to walk into a hotel without excessively worrying about hygiene and safety.”
He also shared how MakeMyTrip gave importance to flexibility. While customers were not used to paying extra for flexible bookings, airlines and hotels were not prepared for large-scale cancellations at the last minute. But after hoteliers realised that this will continue unless a comprehensive policy is in place, they were open to changing their policies to make it easier for customers.
Another example of user-centric innovation is GOQii, a smart preventive healthcare ecosystem that combines the latest tech and old coaching methodologies, with gamification and motivation. “Since users need motivation and guidance to achieve their health goals, we did extensive research of existing wearables and apps before developing GOQii. We understood that users lacked guidance and they needed someone to personally monitor and motivate them,” added Sachin.
On working with property owners to scale up Nestaway’s services, Mohit shared his insights and experience about the impact of the pandemic on his business. He said, “A lot of property owners require our help to onboard their houses on our platform. But the tools help the owners list properties on their own.”
Nestaway’s focus was on minimising physical contact with external parties and this worked well because unlike before, people were willing to rent properties just by seeing pictures and videos online.
Shift to cloud-based services
Mitesh from Google Cloud talked about how the pandemic imposed constraints on many businesses. And that to build organisational agility, constraints are necessary. “The way we interacted with our employees and customers, and how we provided services to them, whether you are building a B2B service or you’re doing a B2C service, all of these needed to be rethought when the pandemic hit,” he said.
Mitesh mentioned how there were multiple customers from traditional enterprises who wanted to move their existing workloads to the cloud, because they couldn’t afford to be just a bunch of services anymore. The unique ability of cloud to be able to not only function as an efficient storage solution but also as a unique platform for generating data and innovative solutions to leverage that data, made more companies accelerate the adoption of cloud services.