The second day of CFO Strategies India, organised by Dubai-based Naseba, started on a high note with a presentation on challenges of being a global company by M D Ranganath, CRO & VP, Infosys Technologies, who discussed the strategies of winning in a flat world by sharing with the CFOs Infosys's experiences of dealing in a global economy. During his presentation, Ranganath discussed the different dimesions of the challenges including global workforce, global market penetration, and global compliance.
The challenge confronting today's organisation in relation to data explosion was presented by Mukesh Jain, senior general manager and head of global Business solutions from ICICI Bank, who said, "Today the timely delivery of business, critical for data analysis purposes, is a critical factor for success. We need to fuel analytic applications with comprehensive, timely data in order to drive revenue growth, identify risks, and trends and improve products and services, grow market share and enhance customer loyalty."
Citing the example of ICICI, Jain explained how ICICI is taming data explosion with the help of Sybase solutions. Taking the discussion further Sunil Jose, managing director, Sybase India and sub-continent said, "Organisations need to grow by seeking the unfamiliar. More than a decade into internet era, we work in an increasingly unwired enterprise and in an increasingly mobile economy. Enterprises need to focus on solutions to extend enterprise systems to remote wireless device - the forerunner to today's unwired strategy.
Moving from technology to strategic management, the session also had an interesting panel discussion discussing the value CFO can add to the integration or acquisition process. One of the panelists, Saumen Chakraborty, president, CFO and global chief of IT / business process excellence at Dr Reddy's Laboratories said that after an acquisition, the CFO has to analyse the financial and cultural fit of the organisation. "The most critical part is to appoint managers in each vertical to bridge the gap between the work culture of both the organisations.
Going further Essel Group president and group CFO Sanjay Jain added that managers in marketing, operating and financial teams have to be appointed immediately to deliver results in the merged or acquired entity.
The afternoon session started with a presentation from Saumen Chakraborty, president, CFO and global chief of IT / business process excellence, highlighted the role of the CFO in integrating people, process and information. He added that while a CFO works towards driving value creation, it has to keep into consideration the value creation for shareholders, employees, its market it operates in, its suppliers and the society it operates in.
That integrates and aligns operations, product development and marketing and sales to create a decisive competitive advantage. He said that implemention and execution were equally crucial in ensuring an overall organic growth. "Research on performance ethics indicates that companies having mediocre strategy with excellent execution performed better than those having mediocre execution of excellent strategy." He supported his concepts with the execution excellence model adopted by Dr Reddys' Laboratories.
Discussing the relevance of expat CFOs in India in a panel discussion led by Harry Andersson, CFO, Novartis India and Giri Girdhar, CFO, Aditya Birla Retail, Anderson, who has been working in India for the past two years mentioned that it was a revelation to him when he noticed the extent of localisation of the management in India as compared to that in China other countries.
Gridhar said that the fact that India has a fewer number of expats than other markets highlights the fact that Indian companies are able to harness local talent and gain the trust of global headquarters. He further went on to say, "However an expat CFO definitely brings in a broader perspective to the table along with cross-cultural advantages."
On the challenges an expat faces, Anderson talked about cultural issues that expats face when they come to India, especially the hard-working culture and the ethical challenges. While Harry highlighted the advantages and challenges of an expat CFO, he also mentioned, "To be an effective CFO in India, one would have to have worked in India for several years to understand the system."
The forum also featured an interesting presentation from S K Venkatraman, CFO, Apollo Hospitals on a rather unconventional topic entitled "Black swans of finance" alerting the CFOs to be prepared for a low-probability high-impact event wherein one mistake can mark an impeccable reputation of a lifetime and suggested on how even in the financial domain one needs to take a non-linear view of the situation rather than the usual algorithmic perspective.
Working in partnership with BT India, Pike Electronic and PricewaterhouseCoopers as platinum sponsors and Credit analysis and research ltd, Sybase, Greater Zurich Area AG and Mercer as keynote sponsors, The two-day Naseba event hosted the leading CFOs from different industry vertical attending educational workshops, keynote presentations and interactive panel discussions.