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Biztech Aug 17, 2012

Relevance Of Reverse Innovation In IT Is Gaining Pace

By Robin Chatterjee

Sarv Saravanan, Senior Vice President & Managing Director, EMC Centers of Excellence – India and Egypt, in an interaction with, maintains that while the concept of ‘reverse innovation’ is nothing new, it is now that its relevance in IT is gaining pace. He further delves on what kind of innovative approaches can help address the challenges in the Indian government sector, and can be applied by other countries as well.

How relevant is ‘reverse innovation’ in the Indian context?

Traditionally, MNCs used to initiate innovation in developed nations and then make the product available for developing countries. The reason was primarily the talent pool the developed countries possessed. Also, by the time the product was made available to the developing countries, it would be much cheaper.

Lately, innovations have started flowing in the opposite direction. Now, innovative initiatives are being nurtured in developing nations for global use. There is also a rise in MNCs investing in R&D in nations like India and China.

The term ‘reverse innovation’ is not new. It is now that its relevance in IT is gaining pace. In the Indian context, enterprises have started recognising un-addressed market challenges in the entire sub-continent and achieving innovative solutions. Overall, whether it is innovation or reverse innovation, the driver should be market challenges and demands.

Which is that vertical which needs these kind of innovative approaches to outdo tedious traditional methods in technology?

Our government offices have to handle a lot of paper work and workflows, making it a cumbersome process for government organisations. Only digitisation and computerisation in government sector won’t work as the pressure to become efficient is gaining momentum from within government peers.
Many government organisations are now insisting upon solutions which not only control deficit, but also to have better financial planning. With a more efficient way of functioning, anyone who depends on government, be it a business entity or an individual, will eventually benefit.

What are the challenges in the government sector in terms of technology adoption?

The first challenge is that information sources in government departments are diverse, as data comes in different formats, from different locations, and is often unstructured. Secondly, most of the government processes have chances of being paper-intensive, approval-dependent, error-prone and time-bound.

The need is for a solution which can aid all the required processes in an accelerated fashion. The solution should be easily configurable, user friendly and easy to deploy. In government sector, one cannot change the overall process but automating certain parts of it with best efficiency will be fruitful.

How can these challenges be best addressed?

We received a lot of extensive feedback from members of Indian government agencies, who described the government workflow and their needs for a better solution for case management. The result after compiling all that feedback indicated the need for a solution with a simple workflow that automates case management and file tracking, reducing process time and accelerating workflow.

Also, the same solution should enable secure authentication, provide users the ability to initiate, review and approve any case from anywhere. Audit logs that track all parts of case file movements should be kept, which ensures transparency. Again, the system should allow adherence to information governance best practices to ensure compliance and enforce retention policies.

Can you describe ‘Saksham’, and how it is apt for all these requirements?

Engineers from EMC’s India Center of Excellence designed a workflow solution from the ground-up called ‘Saksham’, specifically designed to address the needs of government departments and agencies in India. With ‘Saksham’, we are aiming to reduce time and paper-based filing issues in government offices.

The traditional government case workflow process is called ‘Whitehall’. It was instituted during the British rule but is followed even today. Herein, flags are added to denote sections in the file that need to be reviewed by others in the workflow. These flags are then commented upon on the note sheets which are then sent on to the next reviewer. This particular process issue has also been addressed under ‘Saksham’. This solution can also be leveraged by Commonwealth countries as, which use similar workflow processes in their systems.

by Robin Chatterjee

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