Past Events

GCC Conference: Thriving in the Future: Responsible AI, Innovation and Evolving Workforce

AMCHAM organized a GCC Conference themed ‘Thriving in the Future: Responsible AI, Innovation and Evolving Workforce’ on May 14th, 2024 at ITC Grand Chola, Chennai. Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM welcomed participants and spoke about the evolution of GCCs from back offices to global R&D centres. She talked about the thriving ecosystem and policy support in Tamil Nadu and the factors contributing to the success of GCCs in the state. Dr. Ravi M. Bhatkal, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM and Managing Director, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions India Private Limited, set the tone for the conference reiterating the emergence of Tamil Nadu as a significant GCC hub. Government incentives and support combined with the availability of a highly qualified and diversified workforce have aided in the GCC growth story. The keynote address was given by Mr. S. Krishnan, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India. He spoke about the critical nature of the subject and how the digital economy is taking a large share in India. He said that the system presently lacks proper measurement to assess its impact but GCCs in their own way highlight what a digital economy does. While speaking about the state, Mr. Krishnan mentioned that Tamil Nadu has always been at the forefront of transformation and innovation. He mentioned how the younger population is accepting new age technologies and how technology will help in creating more jobs. He expressed the government’s intent to work with industry and academia in areas of replicating use cases of AI, healthcare, education and agriculture. He asked the state to focus on green technology and reiterated the importance of research in the success of GCCs. He also touched upon the emergence of risks in a more connected economy and emphasized the importance to protect data and enhance cyber security systems. Mr. Christopher W. Hodges, Consul General, U.S. Consulate General, Chennai, in his special address spoke about the U.S.–India Initiative on Critical and Emerging Technology (iCET), growth of GCCs, the state of Tamil Nadu and how all the elements can work together successfully. While speaking about the importance of inter-connections and success of GCCs, he stressed on including every possible resource to realize the full potential, including diversity and inclusion. He lauded the transformation of Tamil Nadu from a manufacturing hub to now focusing on the green economy. Mr. V. Vishnu, IAS, MD & CEO, Guidance Tamil Nadu, Industries, Investment Promotion & Commerce Department, Government of Tamil Nadu, in his special address spoke about the potential of Tamil Nadu as a GCC hub. He shared the incentives and policy support provided by the government including the recently introduced payroll subsidy. Manufacturing has been at the center of Tamil Nadu’s growth and now the scope is expanding to sectors like logistics, technology, R&D, innovation, green economy, etc. Ms. Ranjana Khanna, Director General CEO, AMCHAM gave the vote of thanks.

Session 1: Industry Focus of GCCs in Chennai featured Mr. Sreejith Janardhanan, Vice President – Finance and Company Secretary & Director (South Asia), Kemin Industries, Mr. Balasubramanian (Bala) Sankaranarayanan, President and CEO, Thryve Digital and Mr. Bibhu Choudhary, Head – Engineering, Trimble India. It was moderated by Ms. Sunitha Natarajan, Partner – Technology Consulting, EY India. The panel focussed on growth in GCCs, business transformation, talent acquisition and retention, Gen AI and its use cases.

Session 2: Journey of Chennai as an Innovation Hub was a fireside chat with Ms. Sahana Danasekaran, AVP, Guidance Tamil Nadu, Industries, Investment Promotion & Commerce Department, Government of Tamil Nadu and Mr. Ankur Aggarwal, MD & Lead – GCCs, Growth & Strategic Client Relationships, Accenture in India. The chat covered why Chennai is considered a GCC hub and the infrastructural developments that support GCC growth in Tamil Nadu. They also discussed the state’s focus on developing tier two cities like Coimbatore and fostering growth in tier three cities such as Madurai, Villupuram and Thanjavur to create a balanced ecosystem for GCCs. The speakers noted the role of work labs, industry-academia collaboration and rise of women in the workforce.

Session 3: Future of Manufacturing: Embracing Automation and Industry 4.0 featured Dr. Ravi M. Bhatkal, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM and Managing Director, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions India Private Limited, Ms. Shaveta Wadhera, Managing Director – Industrial & Mobility, Accenture in India, Mr. Anandanatarajan Venkataraman, Director – Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering, International Markets Group & South America, Ford and Mr. Mohammed Faraz Khan, Partner, Zinnov, as the moderator. The panel talked about the need to adopt technology in manufacturing in the current environment, biggest challenges faced by MNCs in technology adoption, digital twin use cases, rapid prototyping, impactful use cases that have been led by Indian GCCs around the globe, examples of how GenAI/AI has been leveraged in organizations, reskilling, potential risks (e.g. data security, ethics, etc.) associated with implementing AI in manufacturing and mitigation techniques.

Session 4: Future of Work and Rise of AI had Ms. Carey Arun, Commercial Officer, U.S. Consulate General Chennai, Dr. Kiranmai Dutt Pendyala, Chairperson – HR Committee, AMCHAM and Corporate Vice President, Human Resources, UPS Global Technology Center, India, Mr. V.S. Sridhar, Managing Director, Cushman & Wakefield, Chennai, Mr. Chandrasekaran Sundaresan, VP and Center Head – Chennai, Coimbatore & Delhi, UST and Mr. Jaikumar Subramanian, Partner, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu India LLP as the moderator. Highlights of the panel included — overcoming the ‘fear of psychosis’ regarding job loss due to technological advancements, importance of sharing AI innovations across industries to benefit from collective experience, AI’s long-standing presence and limitations, need to change mindsets and overcome mental blocks regarding technology adoption, economic impact of GCCs and role of AI as an empowering tool.

In the last session, Securing the Future: Navigating Digital Transformation and Cyber Security, Mr. Kewyn Walter George, India Centre Head, Expeditors, Mr. Arun Divakaran, Senior Client Partner, IBM Consulting, Mr. Shravan Prabhu, Managing Director, Protiviti and Mr. Ram Subramaniam, Vice President & GCC Lead, Qualcomm were the panelists with moderator Mr. Karthikeyan Dhayalan, Partner, KPMG LLP, India. The panel discussed cyber security challenges during digital transformation, ways to strike balance between innovation and security, strategies to adopt to mitigate the risks of cyber-attacks, lessons learnt about cyber security resilience in the face of unprecedented disruptions, how organizations can promote a culture of cyber security awareness and accountability among remote employees, how organizations strike a balance between efficiency and resilience in their supply chain cyber security strategies and security of cloud-based assets.

Dr. Ravi M. Bhatkal, Chairman – Tamil Nadu Chapter, AMCHAM and Managing Director, MacDermid Alpha Electronics Solutions India Private Limited gave the concluding remarks. Over 75 members participated in the conference which was supported by Accenture, Kemin Industries, MacDermid Alpha, Modine and Trimble.