Indian firms should create own technologies: Nadella

Nadella exhorts Indian firms to develop own tech capabilities with focus on inclusivity

Mumbai: CEO Microsoft Satya Nadella speaks during Microsoft Mumbai CEO Summit, in Mumbai, Monday, Feb. 24, 2020. (PTI Photo/Shashank Parade)

Global tech giant Microsoft's chief executive Satya Nadella on Monday urged Indian businessmen to keep inclusivity at the centre of their digital technology pursuits.

Nadella said the last decade has seen the advent of connected technologies through mobile but rued that only aggregators have made the most out of the opportunity, and underlined that there is a case for broadening of the productivity gains.

The India-born Nadella made the remarks while addressing a CEO summit organised by his company as part of a three-day visit to the country. The speech, which came in the backdrop of Nadella's disappointment with the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), did not have any political overtones.

The 30-minute speech focused heavily on the way forward on technology and was peppered with real-life examples of Microsoft's work with Indian companies.

Addressing the CEOs, Nadella said, "When you build tech intensity, you also got to consider how is what you are doing with digital technology driving more inclusive economic growth?"

He added that "stakeholder capitalism" is very important in a multi-constituent world.

Leaders need to be ready to adapt to technological changes as quickly as possible, while they build the tech capabilities, Nadella said.

In the decade gone by, we understood the importance of consumer economy, he said, wondering if it is the "only economy".

"The business model which was most successful during that period (last decade) was the aggregator business model or the market places. Is that enough? clearly not!" he said, making a case for a cross-sectoral impact of technology which will broaden the productivity gains.

"To me, it boils down to how every organisation in India can ride this wave, build their own tech intensity," he said.

While giving the example of an artificial intelligence-powered safety system being implemented by online cab aggregator Ola, Nadella said "driver safety and road safety in India is going to be a massive issue".

He said all the companies that are deploying technology in their processes need to create trust among stakeholders in aspects such as maintaining privacy or using artificial intelligence only for ethical purposes.

The nature of tech jobs is changing, making re-skilling an important aspect, he said.

Stating that tech is getting used more broadly by all companies now, Nadella cited data from its professionals' networking site, Linkedin, which says 72 percent of the jobs available for software engineers were in non-technology companies.

Nadella asked companies to be wary of cyber security risks, adding that compromises have resulted in losses of USD 1 trillion on this account.

He also cited a focused attack on 11,000 devices in north India carried out to do blockchain mining while citing a domestic instance.

The companies whose case studies got cited by Nadella included Piramal Glass, Ola, Narayana Health and also Reliance Industries.

He said the partnership with Reliance will be a "defining" one for the next decade.

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