The setting of November 30, 2013 could not have been more apt. Whitefield is a century-old suburb, now home to several hundred software services exporters and a showpiece of Bangalore's cosmopolitan culture, where the vibrant lifestyle of a youthful workforce meets old world charm.
Among the early birds were Happiest Minds Technologies chairman Ashok Soota and Mindtree chairman Subroto Bagchi, soon to be followed by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) chairman Nandan Nilekani and Karnataka home minister KJ George, the chief guest on the occasion.
The Express IT Awards kicked off with an address by the Express Group's editor-in-chief Shekhar Gupta, after an introduction to the awards by FE's managing editor Sunil Jain.
To call this the IT industry seems a little quaint these days, given how much the industry is a part of our lives and touches so many aspects of it. Thats why we decided to institute these awards and we also thought that we will do it exactly the way our other awards are done. Awards instituted by the Express Group are now seen as the gold standard in every respective industry, said Gupta.
IT has flourished and will always flourish because it is one industry where the power of the individual can trump that of the organisation, where an idea gets money even before it is tested.
At the event, as many as 18 awards were presented to an assortment of companies big, small, and start-ups cutting across a wide variety of sectors, besides two prestigious individual awards.
Standing head and shoulders above all was NR Narayana Murthy, the doyen of the digital industry, who showed once again why he is the role model he is.
Murthy made a quick dash to the venue straight from the airport, 50 km away, after a hectic work week.
His words, as he accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award 2013 to a standing ovation, reflected that outlook: Such motivation, created by people like you will help me to continue to work hard and, hopefully, smart in the remaining active years of my life.
N Chandrasekaran, chief executive officer and managing director of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), who received the Newsmaker of the Year Award for his efforts in driving TCS industry-leading growth, addressed the gathering through a video-recorded message.
There were plenty of light moments as well. A quick-thinking Ashok Soota, whose firm Happiest Minds won gold in the IT.Biz Awards 2013 category, quoted Aristotle to answer a question on the choice of name for his company. The purpose in name of all human existence is happiness. I think we tend to forget it so our companys aim is to be happiness evangelists for our people, our customers and the society at large, and occasions like these of course make us the happiest also.
Explaining the methodology for screening candidates for the awards, Satyavati Berera, executive director and leader consulting, PwC India, the knowledge partner for the awards, noted that the quality of entries were highly impressive with start-ups deserving a special mention.
Karnataka home minister KJ George, the chief guest for the evening, said the state government was committed to extending complete support to the IT sector and promised to improve the infrastructure in Bangalore.
In his leadership talk on the need for platforms to drive innovation on a large scale, Nandan Nilekani led the audience through the opportunity for developing applications for the government's Aadhaar programme.
He mentioned the World Wide Web and Global Positionin System (GPS), both of which had roots in government-funded programmes and which have spawned many billion-dollar corporations.
We have to enable it by allowing thousands of entrepreneurs and companies to build innovative products, but to make that happen at scale it is also the role of government to create platforms which allow the people to use these technologies to create all kinds of innovative applications, Nilekani said.
Shombit Sengupta, founder & creative strategist, Shining Consulting, engaged the audience with anecdotes of innovative branding for some of the leading corporates in the country and abroad.
The guest also included such luminaries like Lalitesh Katragadda, country head (products), Google India, Mohandas Pai, chairman, Manipal Global Education, Harish Hande, the famed Ramon Magsaysay award winner and social entrepreneur, Yahoo India R&D head Hari Vasudev, Microsoft Ventures director Mukund Mohan, K R Lakshminarayana, chief endowment officer, Azim Premji Foundation.
Winners who turned up included another set of hotshots such as Infosys board member Srinath Batni and Infosys' HR head Srikantan Murthy, Anirban Dey, managing director, SAP Labs India and Ramandeep Singh Virdi, vice-president (group IT) of InterGlobe, which runs budget carrier IndiGo.
Amit Sethi, chief information officer of Axis Bank, and Nagaraj Ijari, VP and global head (HiTech business unit), TCS, were also there to receive the awards along with Rajesh Aggarwal, Maharashtra IT secretary, George Mundassery, senior VP (IT delivery), Tech Mahindra and Meru Cabs managing director Neeraj Gupta.
The evening then moved closer to the bar stools as the IT glitterati gathered around some nicely laid out cocktails and wines, to network and socialise, making the event a truly memorable one.
Maninder Singh Juneja
Senior general manager, ICICI Bank
(IT Innovation Award Gold - Large Enterprises)
This is a very important achievement for ICICI Bank and we want to serve the customers in better ways. And technology is the better way. Indian Express, one of the most reputed
media houses, has given this award and
we are proud to be the winners of this
award in its first edition.
Sr VP - Business Systems and Technology,
HDFC Standard Life Insurance Company
(IT Innovation Award Silver - Large Enterprises)
We are grateful that HDFC Life has been recognised and we hope the Express Group
has a long innings in supporting innovation in both IT and non-IT sectors.
CMD, Eram Group, (IT Innovation Award Gold - MSME)
Thanks to the jury for selecting us for this award. This is a recognition to the whole technology sector in India.
CFO, IBS Software Services
(IT Innovation Award Silver - MSME)
It is great to receive this award. This is a true testimony to all the people in IBS who do a wonderful job every day to help customers succeed and transform the industry.
Director & Chief Operating Officer,
(IT Solution of the Year Silver -
It is our privilege to partner with HDFC Life, who has been our customer of wonderful standing and we have delivered innovative solutions with their sponsorship.
Chief Information Officer, Axis Bank
(IT Biz Award Gold - Large Enterprises)
At Axis Bank, we believe that innovation for the sake of innovation is not what we should do. We have to do impactful innovation and that is the precise reason why we are standing here.
Ramandeep Singh Virdi
VP - Group IT, Inter Globe Aviation (IndiGo)
(IT Biz Award Silver - Large Enterprises)
Being an airline and having a department
which is a support function, it is a significant achievement for our small IT team.
Chairman, Happiest Minds, (IT Biz Award Gold - MSME)
We are probably the youngest company to win this award being two years old. The award makes us happiest and I would like to dedicate this to our team, which made this happen.
Managing Director, Meru Cab Company
(IT Biz Award Silver - MSME)
Six years back when we thought of starting this service, we wanted to run a fleet of 10,000 to 20,000 taxis. And we are talking of controlling so many moving cars. I think the only thing that could bind them together was technology. And in last six years we have made real progress, this award is proof of that.
Secretary, IT, Maharashtra Government
(Green IT Award Gold)
Maharashtra government is taking lot of steps to make administration citizen-friendly, to simplify rules, procedures and going paperless is a big part of this entire effort. I am happy that media and industry is also appreciating this, and it will make us double our efforts.
Innovation Evangelist, Corporate Technology Office, TCS (Green IT Award Silver)
It has been an essential part of TCS to get our feet into the Green IT area and I have been part of this section from Day One, getting to know how to make us more energy efficient and
how to make business sustainable.
MD, SAP Labs India, (HR in IT Award Gold)
I am honoured to be recognised here for best HR practices in IT. As far as SAP Labs is concerned, the most important part is that we also build software. But the thing we are most happy about is celebrating culture, diversity and people, our biggest asset.
Senior VP and Group Head (HRD), Infosys
(HR in IT Award Silver)
We are delighted to win this award in its first edition. This is for a programme we call as HALE. It is called health assessment and lifestyle enrichment. This is a programme for our employees to de-stress, get their health checked and create an environment that makes it happy for them to come to Infosys.
Senior Vice President-IT Delivery, Tech Mahindra, (CSR in IT Award Gold)
We have been spending a lot of time and effort in terms of developing applications for various CSR initiatives. One of them has been Fight Back, a woman safety app. A second one is the EMRI initiative, which is the 108 services that most of us see. We are happy that the effort we put has got recognised.
member of board, Infosys,
(CSR in IT Award Silver)
We are very proud to receive this award on behalf of 1,50,000 employees of Infosys. Through the foundation we created nearly 15 years back, we have been able to create a socially conscious workforce of such a huge number and we are happy about this.
Director, Strategic Marketing, Microsoft Corporation India, (CSR in IT Award Silver)
Thank you very much for this very special recognition. Project Jyoti, for which we have got this award, continues to inspire us and millions across the world. And this is all about women empowerment, driving the work we do to change our lives in under-served societies.
VP and Global Head - HiTech Business Unit, TCS
(on behalf of N Chandrasekaran who won the Newsmaker of the Year Award)
It is a great honour for us. This award is for all the 2,80,000 associates of TCS. Thank you.
co-founder and CEO, QuickCilver Solutions
(Award for IT Startups Gold)
This is really an excellent initiative by the Express Group, especially for startups like us. We believe that this is a great motivation for us to aspire for more and more things.
Krishna Gopal Depura
Co-founder and CEO, MindTickle
(Award for IT Startups, Silver)
The award validates MindTickles purpose of making enterprise a very engaging and effective learning process. This will encourage us to work harder and take our startup to the next level.