The jury, more fastidious than ever before, scrutinised every one of the short-listed entries painstakingly. In the innovation category they were looking for solutions which are home-grown and cater for problems which are India-specific. Indeed, if there was a solution that could solve simple problems and do it across a large landscape, it was a winner.
Picking winners in a field that is as vibrant as technology is never easy; there’s innovation by dozens of firms — big and small — and it’s hard to tell how many will live up to the initial promise. But the Express IT Awards jury proved it was more than up to the task. On a cool winter afternoon in Bengaluru, former Infosys CFO TV Mohandas Pai, technology consultant and investor Sid Pai, iSPIRT co-founder Sharad Sharma, Gopichand Katragadda, former CTO of the Tata Group and head of GE’s India research before that; and Professor S Sadagopan, head of IIIT and among the foremost teachers in the tech industry, put their heads together and pored over the entries. Five hours and several cups of coffee later the winners for the seventh edition of the awards had been chosen.
The jury, more fastidious than ever before, scrutinised every one of the short-listed entries painstakingly. In the innovation category they were looking for solutions which are home-grown and cater for problems which are India-specific. Indeed, if there was a solution that could solve simple problems and do it across a large landscape, it was a winner. It turned out smaller firms —MSMEs — were doing good work in areas such as cyber security, coming up with relatively inexpensive cutting edge technology that could be used even by smaller businesses. The Fintech category threw up some interesting solutions: The jury assessed these carefully looking for a solution that could be applied for B2B, B2C services or even both. They were impressed with how Fintechs are disrupting the market whether it’s lending or insurance. NPCI’s Bhim, a winner in the past, had clearly revolutionised the payments space dominated by foreign credit card firms.
The ability to scale up was a key criterion for all the members across all categories. In 2018, the jury had awarded the software product of the year to Dawinbox Solutions because of the solution’s universal appeal. This time too, the jury felt, a digital solution should be flexible and scalable across sectors. Did the solution address a need which the market hadn’t found? In most categories, including the analytics space, members were looking for a solution that has made a key difference in delivering insights to client which can be acted upon. Too often, the solutions were simply analysing past behaviour and didn’t have predictive capabilities. The e-governance category saw solutions that were not just new and had been implemented but which were helping make a big difference at the grassroots level. These solutions were assisting among others, forest departments, farmers and travellers. Again, typically, in the past, entries for the cloud solutions came in from companies who were “lift and shift’ players helping migration for legacy applications. This time jury wanted a solution that created value beyond this, essentially a solution that both hosted and created solutions on cloud.