Tuesday, August 30, 2016

E-Commerce and its race in India

The dawn of the Internet era opened up amazing new possibilities and e-commerce has emerged as a perfect amalgamation of technology and marketing acumen. The latest statistics reveal that India has been reported to have 70 million active Internet users, the count rising exponentially by the minute. However, markets involve intricate interactions involving a variety of business/organisational factors, general economic and social trends. And the actual scope of growth in e-commerce cannot be evaluated without taking into consideration the aforementioned factors. For such doubts to be remedied, one may take notice of the recent industry reports. One such report, shared by ASSOCHAM, estimated the online retail industry to touch Rs 7,000 crore (rising from the current Rs 2000 crore), with an annual growth rate of 35 per cent. Adding on to this, IAMI has facilitated data to indicate a zoom in India’s e-commerce sector, with transactions rising 50 per cent annually. Online retailing or e-tailing, which accounts for about 6 per cent of the Rs 46,000 crore industry, has taken the forefront of this rapid growth.

There are shakeups in every industry & this sector is undergoing the same. Ask Me is shutting shop, Pepper Tap went dry, Jabong was bought by FlipKart, TaxiForSure was bought by Ola and then was gassed out completely. Let’s look into the phenomena called E-Commerce.

History of E commerce

   o   1970s: Electronic funds transfer (EFT)
·    Used by the banking industry to exchange monetary information over secured networks.

   o   Late 1970s and early 1980s : Electronic data interchange (EDI) for E commerce within companies.
·         Used by businesses to transmit data from one business to another.

   o   1990s : World wide web on the internet provide easy access to the technology for information publishing and dissemination.
·         It became cheaper to do business
·         It enabled diverse business activities

Some successful e-commerce platforms include:
   1) Amazon
   2)  Flipkart
   3) Snapdeal
   4) Urban Ladder 
   5) PayTm

Some interesting news:

1) Amazon surpassed Flipkart as the most downloaded mobile app on Google and Apple app stores during the first quarter of this year, a milestone for the US company that is seeking to become the No. 1 platform for e-commerce transactions in India.

     2) GST may prove to be  headache for the ecommerce players in India.

Watch this space for more info on this sector.

- Amit Yadav
  Student, INLEAD
  July 2016, INBM 

Friday, August 26, 2016

Carpe Diem

We celebrated India’s 70th Independence Day this year on the 15th of August. A huge contingent from India is out there in Rio, Brazil for Olympics and yet all we seem to be talking about is increasing earnings for our farmers, of including Dalits in our everyday lives and of fighting battles with terrorists in Kashmir.

We talk from the ramparts of the Red Fort like we are still under the clutches of East India Company. It would be the day when our Prime Minister isn’t talking about the malaises due to open defecation, due to unemployed youth and due to corruption.

We really need to seize that day! Carpe Diem..

I wait for the day when our Minister for Sports is not embarrassing us with his selfies and antics of his undisciplined entourage; for the day when a Shobha De’s pessimistic tweet prediction doesn’t come true; and for the day when our world number 1 shuttler doesn’t blame her knee for her loss from a 61st seed.

I wait for the day when at least halfway into Olympics extravaganza we have atleast a couple of golds in our kitty; when more athletes participate in more number of games; and when the number of players travelling far exceeds that of the accompanying government babus.

We need to seize that day! Carpe Diem..

Can we not have a team that plays seven rugby, beach ball, hand ball, that pole vaults? Can we not have a better system of sports in India where parents are not paranoid about their kids’ career when they choose sports over academics? We need to find that day when facilities in schools are stretched to accommodate children who want to pursue sports seriously and not as a 6-8 pm outing; when parents do not have to worry about their kids’ diet which gets taken care of by schools; and when there are ample monetary opportunities in the field of sports.

I dream of a nation whose PM addresses the nation from a modern sporting arena and encourages its youth to go play and make money and bring laurels to their country. If you don’t believe in my dream, watch the happiness and sunshine on the faces of Michael Phelps’ mother and wife, you will love it. Imagine the feeling of procuring 23 gold medals across multiple Olympic presences. I want that sun shine over India.

I want India to seize that day! And seize it real soon!

Carpe Diem...

- Ms. Monica Mor, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Battle between two MNCs – a result of massive cultural fallout or improper business practices?

Sometimes your legacy just catches up with you and bites you in the back. That’s when you realise how important it is to steep yourself in modern business practices and imbibe progressive thinking and articulation. In India we need to work on both, be it getting rid of unscrupulous work ethics or of a lackadaisical attitude that leads to unusual delays in decision making. Often it gets reflected as our work culture and hence the widespread stereotypes about our work demeanour.

We have been witness to the fallout between Walmart and Bharti Retail, the former from USA, as a result of corrupt practices of senior Indian officials working for the Joint venture. Both the companies are a part of two extremely huge organisations excelling in their respective sectors, Bharti in Telecom and Walmart in Retail.

The ongoing feud between Tata Sons and NTT DoCoMo, is proving to be a matter of serious concern and very soon will be served hot as a case study in business schools across India and Japan.

What went wrong?

Japan is a strategic investor in many Tata firms and in India. In fact it is the fourth largest investor in India and Japanese companies have invested $18.81 billion in India between April 2000 and June 2015. In October 2007 the marriage was sanctified between Tata Teleservices Limited (TTSL) and NTT DoCoMo, with DoCoMo picking up 26.5% for around $ 2.7 billion. By 2013 problems started to surface with TTSL failing to meet performance milestones and thereafter DoCoMo initiated its exit strategy. The safety clause which was a part of the initial contract for DoCoMo was dishonoured by TTSL, with the company’s stating that FEMA (Foreign exchange Management Act) rules had changed. This prompted DoCoMo to file for international arbitration in London Court. The case is now subjudice in Delhi High Court.

Ramifications of the fallout

The battle has gone ugly and very public. Journalists are having a field day reporting about it. Japan has already become wary of investing in India especially via Tata. The recent case of Japanese tech investment behemoth, SoftBank choosing Bharti Airtel over Tata Sons as it’s ally in India proves the point. But worse will be the ramifications on India as a place for MNCs parking themselves and for countries investing their dollars in. Maybe this case too will blow over and remain in business history books as just another JV breakdown, but we know the rot runs deep. And its high time Indian companies stopped procrastinating and worked in the now towards adoption of better management practices so as not to lose billions in settlements and litigations. Remember India still does not allow class action suits against companies. The day that law makes it’s entry, consumers can drag every erring company to court. Ask Volkswagen how much they suffered in USA, all for a small software glitch!

Ms. Monica Mor
Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Friday, August 19, 2016

Wellness industry: a new dimension

Health according to WHO is defined as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. That’s why this industry is not just limited to providing medical services and remedial care. The primary market for these segments is consumers in the age bracket of 25-35 years, with financial independence and disposable income.

So is the term “wellness” being overused, is it just a fad or being hyped? It comes across as an industry that has not been explored or mostly not used in its appropriate context. Wellness is accomplishing one’s full latent; it is self-directed and an ever-evolving process. There are seven dimensions to wellness: occupational, spiritual, intellectual, emotional, environmental and physical. Wellness is more than just products that are designed to make us feel good or be physically fit.

So what exactly does the wellness industry include? The industry includes spas, slimming & fitness sectors, salon and cosmetic therapy services, alternate therapies among others. People today are very conscious of how they look and feel, also it comes across as an ideal retreat from a chaotic day. While they are mainly enrichment needs, it also focusses on being therapeutic, which is required to maintain a aseptic and fit lifestyle. From spas to slimming centers to non-invasive surgery procedures, there is an entire array of services that the wellness industry can offer. These industries have flourished by taking advantage of ancient Indian therapies like yoga, meditation, Ayurveda etc. Thanks to the growing popularity of the wellness industry, it has fuelled the tourism industry in India.

Hotels too are wooing their guests through wellness. Most of the hotels irrespective of the fact whether its business or leisure is focusing on this segment. The hotels today either have their own signature spa brands or have outsourced the requirement to private spas. Irrespective of the formats hotels ensure that they have few components related to the wellness industry made available for the guest.

While the industry has the potential to boom in future, challenging path lies ahead. The biggest blockade is the lack of trained personnel for this sector.  The Indian wellness industry has seen changes, while the guests have become fully aware of the wellness needs; many spa schools have also opened across the country resulting in trained and skilled man power.  To hire quality manpower is the main issue, sadly most professional in India are by chance and not by choice.
The lifestyle that most of have nowadays wellness is a necessity and not a luxury. It promises to bring lot of positive changes not just physically, mentally as well as emotionally.

- Ms. Bindu Menon
  Sr. Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, August 15, 2016

Pollution in Delhi

Pollution is one of the biggest causes of climate change in whole world. According to the global environment performance index (EPI) 2014, India has reached a rank of 155, slipped 32 ranks form the previous year., it is disheartening that Delhi, the national capital of India is being tagged one of the most polluted city in the world. It is world’s worst city for air pollution.

There are various type of pollution like:
Air pollution
Noise pollution
Water pollution

Air pollution: Carbon dioxide is an atmospheric constituent that plays a vital roles in the environment, CO2 absorb infrared radiation in the atmosphere. It is the main the raw material for photosynthesis and its carbon is incorporated into organic matter in the biosphere and may eventually be stored in the earth as fossil fuels. During the autumn and winter months, some 500 million tons of crop residue are burnt, and winds blow from India’s north and northwest towards east. We have burning ever increasing amounts of fossil fuels ( coal, oil, gasoline, natural gas). Because of the fossil fuels burning Carbon dioxide. we all know about the ozone layer function. That is mostly prevent to ultra violate ray which is coming from direct sunlight. While the dominant gasses of the atmosphere (nitrogen and oxygen) are transparent to infrared, the green house so called greenhouse gasses, primarily water vapour (H2O), CO2, Methane (CH4) absorb some of the infrared radiation. Its effect global warming . Deforestation is also the main causes of global warming.

According to the Ambient Air Pollution report for the year 2014, Delhi had PM 2.5 pollution levels, which is the highest level in the world. Various type of serious disease like cancer caused by air pollution. Major air pollutants are like carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, sulphur dioxide, benzene that is directly impacted on health. carbon monoxide(co) that is very dangerous to causes pollution, is around 6,000 microgram per cubic meter in Delhi, which is much above the safe level. The safe level of co is 2,000 microgram. The nitrogen dioxide has also been increasing.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) is very poor in Delhi according to the ministry of earth sciences. AQI is about how the air clean or polluted is. Today, air pollution is happened by Increasing the no of vehicles specially that type of car which car is used diesel fuels engines. Most of the old vehicles that are not serviced regularly polluted the air more. Air pollution is also caused by many industry , as many as 10,000 people a year may die prematurely in Delhi because of air pollution.

Although the government has taken some steps to control the pollution
“Prevention is better than cure”. Pollution must be prevented rather than letting it go and than dealing with it. India has been working hard to improve the air quality since last 15 years. Delhi as a metro peloton city it can be one of the way to reduce the pollution, by using metro for travelling.

The odd even car rule in Delhi started to prevent the control pollution. Average pm 2.5 concentration in Delhi’s air was 309 micrograms per cubic meter during the period when the odd-even experiment was in force (January 1 to 15, 2016), remaining severe levels according to the central pollution control bureau. Road dust is leading polluter, trucks second, two wheelers third, cards are fourth

Water pollution: It is another major pollution. It causes by textile dyeing, rolling, pickling units, cleaning and washing metal, disposal of chemicals. Now a days the water become acidic, not only acidic but also including heavily iron, arsenic, cadmium, copper, nickel, led that is why water borne disease and infection, stomach pain are rapidly increasing.
Water pollution and a lack of solid waste treatment facilities have caused serious damaged to the river on whose banks Delhi grew, the Yamuna.

Noise pollution : The noise is generated from the machine, generator and bike, automobile traffic.

However , since the environment is a complex, variable and extensive system, protecting the environment is a hard and enduring task. I have been staying in DELHI NCR, since October, 2014. Here the air pollution has increased day by day. We have to take some steps and control the pollution. It is impossible that all the existing pollution problems in the environment can completely be resolved in the next decade. A wonderful and clean environment must be achieved by continuous planning, governmental policies and as well as public participation. We all should resolve to save the environment.

-Kakali Jana, Student, INLEAD

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Medical Errors- A Reality Check

Medical errors are unfortunate but preventable adverse effect of Medical care. Cases of wrong limb being operated, administration of double dose of medicine beyond the permissible limit, wrong diagnosis of disease, health care associated infections are some of the Medical errors which we are coming across every day. But, reality is that Medical errors is reported as 3rd reason causing death in US. WHO lists it among the top 10 killers in the world. Harvard University study in 2013 estimated that 5.2 million injuries occur across India each year due to medical errors and adverse events-majority of them being preventable.

Medical errors are associated with inexperienced physicians and nurses, new procedures, extremes of age, and complex or urgent care. Poor communication (whether in one's own language or, as may be the case for medical tourists, another language), improper documentation, illegible handwriting, inadequate nurse-to-patient ratios, and similarly named medications are also known to contribute to the problem. Patient actions may also contribute significantly to medical errors. The vast majority of medical errors result from faulty systems and poorly designed processes versus poor practices or incompetent practitioners.

“To err is human” but to not accept the err and not to take preventable measures for is grossly inhuman. Majority of errors go unreported and un documented because of the fear of blame and reprimands. Our culture only believe in identifying and putting a blame to the person who has committed the mistake but fail to identify how, when and where. 

Data says that there is one in 1,000,000 chance of traveler being harmed in an aircraft and on the other side there is one in 300 chance of patient being harmed while given health care. Key word is prevention as Patient Safety being the utmost goal of any healthcare organization. Measures like informed Consent,availability of a second practitioner's opinion, voluntary reporting of errors, root cause analysis, reminders to improve patient medication adherence,hospital accreditation, and systems to ensure review by experienced or specialist practitioners should be diligently followed.

- Dr. Anupreet Vig,
Faculty, INLEAD

Monday, August 8, 2016

Gurugram to #Gurujam – A tale of epic ironies

Two years ago, I decided to move to Gurgaon in search of career growth. I would hear stories, and be fascinated about the life in this ‘millennium city’ and looked forward to living here. Never did I imagine that within a span of 2 years, all my fascination will turn into nightmares.

Thursday, 28th July 2016 was any normal day until it started pouring heavily in the city. Within minutes, some major roads turned into rivers with knee-deep water clogging routes across the entire city. #Gurujam as it came to be called on social-media; the traffic jam lasted over 24 hours, causing the entire city to come to a stand-still and making commuting to and from the city impossible. While the city choked, the entire world watched.

Few Indian cities have witnessed growth the way Gurgaon has. More than 250 (over half) of the global Fortune 500 companies, which include biggies like Walmart, Shell, Microsoft, Samsung, GM, GE, PepsiCo, Coca Cola, Google, Toyota and Facebook, to name a few, either have their India headquarters or important offices in Gurgaon. The outsourcing industry, of which India is one of the biggest backroom offices of the world, hires around a half a million people in Gurgaon, directly and indirectly, and more than 200,000 workers are employed at factories, including Honda’s and Maruti’s, in and around the city. Gurgaon today is a sprawl of glass, steel and concrete high-rise offices, condominiums and malls, which are the workplaces, homes and shopping destinations for its population of two million and growing. The Millennium City (a nickname that now reeks of black humor) is on the verge of spiraling into a deep and precipitous fall from where it may never recover. The reason for it is clear - Gurgaon’s streets are unplanned, unnamed and, in many instances, unnavigable; electricity for most hours of the day has to be generated by residents, offices and malls (there are 35 of those in the city) using their own captive generator sets that burn diesel for fuel; there is no public transport system worth mentioning that functions within the city; air pollution levels rival neighboring Delhi’s (which is the worst in the world) in a city that has just a tenth of the population; and, as residents and commuters realize every year during monsoon, the city’s drainage and sewage systems are a hopeless failure.

#Gurujam however uncovered this grim reality, bringing it to the notice of the authorities who were responsible for its plight in the first place. The extensive media coverage forced the authorities to wake up from their slumber and initiate the much awaited repair work. By the following Monday, the city was back to its normal life and it hasn’t rained since. All we can pray is that we never experience the nightmarish traffic jam of 28th July.

- Mr. Sumit Chakravarty, Faculty, INLEAD

No frills: are economy hotels taking the center stage today?

Travelling has become a global phenomenon and has contributed to the rise of economy/budget hotels globally. The growing popularity of budget accommodation brands have led to many of the luxury brands including the same in their brand portfolio. The budget brands offer value, ease and suppleness within the realms of affordability. It’s an understood fact that economic liberalization is gaining momentum and with that business travel has increased in leaps and bounds. While there’s a rise in the disposable income of the middle income groups, the interest within the same segment for travel has also contributed to the upsurge of economy sized hotel.

It's not only airlines which are cashing in on the 'no-frills' model but hotels as well. According to the Indian Association of Tour Operator's (IATO), in India, there are around 1,285 budget hotels with a 51,000 room keys. Owing to the growing response, hospitality players are now intensifying their operations in the budget category.

According to HVS International, a hotel consultancy, economy/ budget hotels have great prospective across the country. What works better or could be considered successful would if the hotel has a brand affiliation or a unique USP to survive. Queries for branded budget hotel in India are growing by 179% year on year as compared to just 36% year on year growth in standalone budget hotel queries.  Budget hotel queries already account for 35% of total accommodation searches and a large share of 47% of search queries are for the brands providing budget hotel inventory online.

So, does staying at budget/economy hotels mean that one has to compromise on quality; of course not the hotels cut out on certain services, but not at the cost of quality. Budget hotels scale down certain non-essential services to reduce cost. One of the reasons for this sudden demand is the demand for accommodation in tier I, II and III cities and also their low operational cost. No frills hotels are for those who look for clean rooms, comfortable surroundings and hygienic washrooms. They also offer the regulars such as laundry, Wi-Fi, multi cuisine restaurants etc. other facilities or services required will be provided at extra cost. They attract students, business traveler, corporate on a slab system and at times airlines. They are quite popular in the domestic market and also have a demand from inbound traffic too.

Budget hotels have a promising market, but needs to focus more on a quality and personalization driven approach. The hotels to a large extent are able to achieve this because they have lesser number of rooms which helps them offer personalized services. Getting guest feedback will also help in improvising on service standards. Branded hotels or chain segments in this category are able to also generate brand loyalty and repeat business.

Ms. Bindu Menon, Sr. Faculty, INLEAD 

Friday, August 5, 2016

The Great Indian dilemma – The feeling of being alienated

When all of India was sifting through the news of insurgencies at Kashmir and some of the soccer aficionados were celebrating Portugal’s win in Euro cup, somewhere in the capital city of New Delhi an incident happened which really put us all in a shameful position. It definitely forces us to introspect that either we are way too ignorant or way too condescending in our general demeanor.

The incident unravels...

A very senior Indian aviation officer posted in I.G.I airport questioned an Indian-Manipuri girl to prove her nationality to be Indian. Despite showing her Indian passport the officer remained in a state of disbelief. He persisted with his relentless interrogation by asking her to name all the Indian states and all other kinds of irrelevant questions.

We are flabbergasted and what makes us sad is that these kind of misdemeanours are being increasingly attributed to people who are in the top layer of the Indian government, ironically whose primary work is to assist the citizens & to serve the civilians of this country. And what further angered us was that the lady was enroute Seoul in South Korea to attend a global women conference. We can’t even fathom the horror of it all for the lady and the trauma she was suffering at the time of questioning. I mean, why the hell she has to prove her Indianess to any ignorant person let alone an immigration officer who can’t spot the difference between different races. His job entails him to be aware. That’s what he’s paid for.

A racial problem that’s rooted way too deep...

This is not the first time these things are happening in our country, now and then we hear news of racial behavior, racial slurs even racial attacks by all the bigots towards their Indian counterparts. The irony is if we face any kind of apartheid like situation in foreign countries where our people are targeted just because of their race, their accent &/or their appearance, we make a terrible hue and cry about it. Apart from social media backlash have we as a nation done anything about this deep rooted malaise? 

That official has slapped our “unity in diversity” claims, which has been our mantra for the longest time. This will surely be very harmful for our country and it will further alienate the northeast people. They who have to prove their patriotism just because of their slightly different physical features than mainland Indians will someday display their angst, and we don’t want that ever. These stereotypes need to go soon.

I believe India is big not just by its geography but because of its tolerant attitude towards every community irrespective of race, caste, creed and religion.

Let’s not malign its glory ever.

Prateek Bhatt
Student, INLEAD
INBM, April 2016

Monday, August 1, 2016

Mystery of Bermuda Triangle

The Bermuda Triangle, also known as the Devil's Triangle, is a loosely defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean, where a number of aircraft and ships are said to have disappeared under mysterious circumstances. According to the US Navy, the triangle does not exist, and the name is not recognized by the US Board on Geographic Names. Popular culture has attributed various disappearances to the paranormal or activity by extraterrestrial beings. Documented evidence indicates that a significant percentage of the incidents were spurious, inaccurately reported, or embellished by later authors.

10 shocking facts about Bermuda triangle

Fact No. 1- The Bermuda Triangle is not small. In fact, it is quite large and covers an area of 440,000 miles of sea. This is larger than the combined area of Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh & Maharashtra.

Fact No. 2- The triangle is certainly not fixed and its effect can be experienced outside of the triangle too.

Fact No. 3- The disappearances are ascribed to UFO's and alien activity, city of Atlantis lost under the triangle, and various other technical, natural and geographical reasons.

Fact No. 4- Whenever any plane or ship disappears in the Triangle, its debris cannot be found. The reason behind this is that Gulf Stream runs near the triangle, which quickly gets rid of the debris.

Fact No. 5- At least 1000 lives have been lost within the last 100 years. On average, 4 aircraft and 20 yachts go missing every year.

Fact No. 6- Inside the Bermuda Triangle, US Government has AUTEC (for Atlantic Undersea Test and Evaluation Center), which is located on the Andros Island of Bahamas. Here US Navy tests their submarines, sonar and other weapons. However many are of the view that it is more than just the testing center.

Fact No. 7- People have experienced electronic fog in the triangle, which can be a Time Travel Tunnel too. Pilot Bruce Gernon claims he lost 28 minutes after flying through a time-warping cloud tunnel. The plane went missing from radars, only to re-emerge in Miami Beach. (Source: The Fog by Bruce Gernon.)

Fact No. 8- One of the biggest and famous losses of US Military occurred in 1945. Five US Navy Avenger torpedo bombers flew from Fort Lauderdale, Florida for a sortie to the island of Bimini. The mission had 14 men. After about 90 minutes, the radio operators received a signal that the compass was not working. After that the communication was lost. The bombers were never found. The three planes that went for their rescue also disappeared.

Fact No. 9- The first person to report about Bermuda Triangle was Christopher Columbus. He wrote in his journals that inside the triangle, the ship's compass stopped working and he also saw a fireball in the sky.

Fact No. 10- Bermuda Triangle is one of the rare places on earth where the compass does not point towards Magnetic North. Instead of that, it point towards true north, which creates confusion and that's why so many ships and planes lost its course in the triangle

- Mr. Mohit Hooda
  Student, INLEAD
  INBM, Jan 2016

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