Excerpts from the Speech of Mr Sam Pitroda

…….. I know what it takes to build a product for the international market. In India we have built the software industry mainly based on software services. To design a product is a very complex process. I have spent almost 40-years of my life in telecom designing products…. Mainly destructive products that change the paradigm. When I realized that this is one of those destructive products, initiated by a small team in India, I thought it would be a good idea to give them support. To design a product is a lot of risk, sometimes after lots of delays, may get some rewards, and especially when it is a leading technology, you find out after a while that it is really bleeding effort. It normally takes 3-times the amount of money you had estimated, 5-times the amount of time that you thought it will take, and lots and lots of frustrations. But that’s what requires a lot of courage. This is indeed a destructive product. It will change the dynamics of how tendering is being done today. We need more and more products coming out of India, because then only we will add value going up the value chain.

Today, everybody is looking to add more and more value to what we do in software … and product design is the best way to add more value to what we do in software. But it is a risky way to add value. Not many people know how to design good products. It is a discipline you have to learn over a period of time. Pioneers always have arrows in the back. There are no text books which teach you how to design good products. The ecosystem of designing a good product requires understanding of specifications, design, testing, evaluation, more testing, more evaluation, re-examination, documentation, user-interface. The list goes on and on. And to get all the designers on line, moving in the same direction, developing one product through 50-designers, is again not very easy. Because if the designer is very good, he thinks he has all the answers… and he does not need discipline. And you need a leader who really keeps everybody on track, motivates, and at the same time controls,….. innovates and at the same time doesn’t allow others to innovate. It is a very complex discipline. Its hard to describe. You really have to be in it, .. to appreciate. And I’m sure Jitendra Kohli has gone through some of it.

Tendering is an important area. It is part of e-Governance. We are looking at lots and lots of tools like this. At the National Knowledge Commission, we plan to focus on e-Governance as one of the 5-key areas besides Education, Access, Science & Technology, and Applications in – Agriculture, Health and Industries. We had a meeting couple of days ago with Administrative Reforms Commission to discuss Process Re-engineering before launching e-Governance. This is an example of how you re-engineer processes. We need more and more of these kinds of products in the country, and I hope this effort today would encourage others to undertake similar projects.

Next step is implementation., execution and scaling…. Which requires different kind of discipline.

Benefits are clear. You saw in the Presentation. To me Transparency and Trail are the key benefits of Electronic implementation anywhere. Every transaction can be logged, and for the next 200 years you can probably find the trail, if you needed to. …..

The real world to virtual world transition. Real world is pieces of paper and documents that we talked about … to virtual world which is Electronic Tendering. The user experience has to be seamless .. and that is what he has tried to accomplish here. ……….

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