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COVENARK® NOVA at CeBIT 2014, Bengaluru, India

CeBIT 2014

Date: 12th to 14th November, 2014
Venue: BIEC, Bengaluru, India

The world’s leading Business IT and ICT trade event, CeBIT was held for the first time in India on 12th to 14th November, 2014 in Bengaluru, India. mPOWER participated for this event and for the very first time showcased “COVENARK® NOVA a meticulously researched and patented Business Intelligence Solution, imbibed with a powerful scorecarding framework, exclusively designed to monitor business performance and execute strategy, both at the Operational as well as the Individual level.

The CeBIT event was attended by industry experts and leading technologists from across the subcontinent to harvest in new business opportunities, networking and partnerships and knowledge transfer. The event had large scale exhibition with many top keynotes like ‘Software and the Future of the Services Industry’ by Dr. Vishal Sikka, CEO, Infosys; ‘Telecoms: A key Growth Driver for a connected India’, Mr. Marten Pieters, CEO, Vodafone India; ‘Seize the moment’ Ms. Vanitha Naraynan, MD-IBM India Pvt. Ltd. on the first day of the event, this was also followed on the 2nd and 3rd day of the event. 

There were other thought provoking panels, new discussions like ‘Cloud Computing for MSMEs (In partnership with IBM); Big DATA panel: ‘Building a data strategy to stay competitive (in partnership with IBM); Digital India in a digital world/BFSI.

We at mPOWER understand that there is no easy way to consolidate & analyze past data to draw meaningful inferences, we believe that since we are already on The Cloud that provides near-Real-time Analytics on the field & at the same time the availability of Big DATA to handle unstructured data, creating elastic, horizontally scalable data warehouses. In addition, the Smart Interactive Visualization will enable operational staff to draw quick conclusion and take action. ‘COVENARK® NOVA’ provides a consolidated performance view and addresses the concerns of the organisations who are struggling with the unstructured data.

The need for the information is now at the Finger Tips, On Mobile, on the Cloud using Big DATA. CeBIT India gave the platform to showcase mPOWER’s portfolio of solutions providing Business Intelligence Solutions for Strategy Execution, Performance Monitoring, Performance Appraisal, Analytics & Dashboards to empower and propel organizations into the next phase of growth.


Hotelier India BEAMS 2014 - Experts from across the country shared their insights and vision

Sudhir Nagpal, joint MD, PIEM Hotels, makes a point during the CEO panel discussion on best practices.

Date: 27th September, 2014
Venue:  Sahara Star Hotel, Mumbai

Hotelier India, a leading business publication for the Indian hospitality industry, organised and hosted BEAMS 2014 (Building, Electricals, Air-conditioning, Maintenance and Safety) in association with AWESOME (Academics with Excellence, Spectrum of Maintenance Engineers) and presented by UTC.

The event brought together CEOs, directors of engineering (DOEs), project heads, purchase heads and consultants, and provided a platform for discussion and debate, drawing participation from across the country.

Mr. Nagpal was invited as a guest speaker to share his expertise and the event was expertly moderated by him as Jt. MD, PIEM Hotels Ltd., along with PR Srinivas, director, hospitality, at Cushman & Wakefield, the first panel for this discussion comprised PK Mohankumar, MD & CEO, Roots Cor-poration, Satyen Jain, CEO, Pride Hotels, Sanjay Sethi, MD & CEO, Berggruen Hotels, PN Basu, COO, Aspa Watermelon and Gaurang Pandya, MD, Carrier India.

Sethi said especially mid-market hotels need to ensure they are built efficiently not just from a capex but also from an operational viewpoint. Citing an example, Jain added the industry should take a relook at basic design. “Sometimes, if we look at if a room has to be renovated in four-five years, why do we put so much into it when we are going to scrap it shortly? Trends will change and people will redo again. So why should we overspend? If we look at things like bathrooms, for instance, which it’s not possible to renovate in five years, it makes sense to spend money there and make it last longer. So that kind of reallocation of budget is required and that will increase the guest satisfaction,” Jain pointed out.

In conclusion, Pandya said most buildings (95% of the time) do not operate as per their design. “That’s not because the engineers are not good, but because the building is a moving, breathing entity. You have differing occupancies, off-periods and peak-periods, and you’ve got to understand this is where information technology has to come in. If I don’t know how much energy I am spending in the facility, I cannot control it.” Nagpal concurred, saying while a piece of IT equipment would last for 15 years, “what will change is the information part of it. What we are getting from the machine and how we can use that to improve and make our functions better will be important.”


10th Hotel Investment Conference – South Asia (HICSA), 2014

Date: 2 & 3 April, 2014
Venue: Grand Hyatt, Mumbai

The 10th Hotel Investment Conference - South Asia (HICSA) conceived by HVS India was held to discuss several facets and matters related to the hospitality industry. mPOWER was the Gold sponsor at the event. The pre-event session in the morning consisted of all renowned hotel owners where our Managing Director and Joint Managing Director of PIEM Hotels, Mr. Sudhir Nagpal was also present. The hot topic of discussion included 'Focus on Management Contract'.
Moderator, 'Manav Thadani' - MRICS, Chairman – Asia Pacific, HVS, spoke on various aspects and facts of the Hospitality industry like 'Focus on Sustainability' - which is a key issue in today's scenario; 'Professional skill development' - where the focus has to be providing adequate training to the staffs at all levels, because on one side of the coin there is increase in the room counts whereas on the other side the industry is loosing out on skilled labour. 'Food and Beverage boom' - today big and local brands are coming up with competitive ranges. Also, in today's scenario a large count of population has the tendency to spend. As per the survey, an average Indian eats out 7 times in a month. 'Emphasis on Social Media' – today Facebook, Twitter, Youtube has become the fastest way of communication. 'Focus on Domestic Tourism By' – Improve connectivity, ease of license, talk about domestic tourism, single window policy and take the advantage of Railway network. 'Build Vs Buy' – which option is better in today's scenario. 'How to bring down UPA' - which means Under Performance Assets?

Another interesting discussion was on '10 Years Later – Then and Now' moderated by Manav Thadani –The panel included Raymond Bickson, Managing Director and CEO, Taj Group, Gaurav Bhushan, Chief Development Officer, APAC, Accor; Navjit Ahluwalia, Sr. Vice President Hotel Development – India and SubContinent, Marriott International who discussed that the domestic brands have become alert in the business today. In global industry the utility of 'social media' has increased which is resulting in growth and profitability. They also were of the views that market has opened up and it's the right time for investment in the product. Their outlook for the next 10 years: Population, Domestic Tourism, More Travellers and More Investment.

The next panel of discussion on the topic, 'Global Leaders – CEO Panel' moderator was Nakul Anand Executive Director, ITC Limited and Chairman, FAITH and the panellists were Gerald Lawless, President and Group CEO, Jumeriah Group; Richard Solomons, Chief Executive, InterContinental Hotels Group; Sebastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, Accor who shared their views on the global challenges of the Hospitality sector.
Another interesting topic shared, 'The Story Behind the Numbers' by speaker Achin Khanna, Managing Director Consulting and Valuation – SA, HVS emphasised the newspaper influence on the Hospitality industry. He also shared that though today the inventory counts have increased from 18000 to 27000 but still the news like Pokran Tests, Kargil War, and SARS epidemic which hit Asia and China have an impact on the human mind as well on the business growth.
Next media topic shared was, 'Role of Social media and Technology-Based Innovations' spoken by Rohit Verma, Ph.D., Professor Service Operations Management, School of Hotel Administration, Cornell University. He highlighted that in today's scenario social media is helping the hospitality industry in getting higher ratings. In terms of measuring technology readiness various positive aspects was highlighted like Optimism, Innovativeness but the negative aspects were Insecurity and Discomfort in the industry. The session ended with a note that, 'The more things change the more the things remain the same".

The session on "Key Challenges in Financing the Hospitality Sector" speaker Punit Malik, Group President Realty, Healthcare, Hospitality, Education and Infrastructure Corporate Finance, YES Bank, gave few tips and inputs on the financial aspect like continuously monitor debt and equity interest rates, Capital structure, Operations to be outsourced and re-financing for projects, as per RBI guidelines

Another panel of discussion on the topic 'Brands and Owners: Managing Expectations!' moderated by Kapil Chopar, President, The Oberoi Group. The panel included Dhruva Rathore, Vice President Development – SA, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Paul Logan, Sr. Vice President Development – Africa and Middle East Asia, InterContinental Hotels Group; Ranjit Batra, President, Panchshil Realty, Rasesh B Kanakia, Chairman, Kanakia Spaces; Sumit Guha, Deputy Managing Director, Tata Realty and Infrastructure who spoke regarding the new era hotels opening up and the variations in the customer segments. Sumit Guha highlighted that gestation period in the hospitality industry depends upon the market conditions, demographic and the geography.

For the first time HICSA 'Lifetime Achievement Award' - 2014 was endowed to KB Kachru, Chairman – South Asia, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group.

HICSA Hotels of the Year Awards – 2014 and HICSA Hotels of the Decade Awards were endowed to respective hotels. Finally the session ended with Cocktails hosted by Grand Hyatt Mumbai.

On 3rd April 2014 the session started with an interesting topic, 'Global Leaders Check-In' moderated by Achin Khanna. The panellists were Abid Butt, Chief Executive Officer, Banayan Tree Hotels and Resorts; Peter Meyer, Managing Director – APAC, Host Hotels and Resorts; Rajiv Kaul, President, The Leela Palaces, Hotels and Resorts; Simon Wan, Chief Executive Officer and MD, Staywell Hospitality Group who expressed that historically the focus was owned property but now in the current scenario the focus is on management contract. He also mentioned that India has lot of potential but there are few hiccups like construction getting delayed, unskilled staff etc. which is creating roadblocks in the development of hospitality sector in India. Rajiv Kaul also highlighted that the land costs have gone high from 20-30% of project cost to 50%. The Indian market attracts more of middle class community and foreign travellers. Peter Meyer also shared that coming elections would also decide the growth of the hospitality industry. The session ended with a very good note that; 'When you are walking through hell, keep Walking'.

Several other interesting topics were discussed like: 'Big Data: The Next Frontier for Innovation, Competition and Productivity'; 'How to Solve Development Woes!'; 'Management Contracts – The Eternal Debate (Group Discussion)'; 'Asian Space'; 'Is This the Best Time to Buy? Or is it Bye Bye?'; 'Debt: Equity – Where is the Money?'; 'Business of Leisure, Wellness and Luxury'; 'More Than a One night Stand (Extended Stay)'; 'Budget/ Economy - Formula for Success'; 'Hotels Owners 2.0'; 'Introducing New Brands in the Region'; 'Hot Seat for Owners'; 'Conversions – The next Wave' where Ashish Jakhanwala, Managing Director and CEO, SAMHI quoted that, Conversions is all about Adaptability.


World HRD Congress

Date: 15, 16 & 17 February, 2014
Venue: Taj Land's End, Mumbai

The World HRD Congress was held on 15th, 16th and 17th February 2014 at Taj Lands End, Mumbai. The main motive was 'Mining Human Potential for Creating Great Organizations'. Interesting sessions were conducted for creating awareness on various aspects of today's business.

Nancy explained that one of the strengths of the balanced scorecard methodology is its ability to act as a communication tool to explain the critical objectives of the organization and show the employees how their work relates to the strategy, with effective communication strategies

"Performing With Strategy: How To Get Your Scorecard To Deliver Results?"
Avinash stated that there are many well-written strategy documents, business plans and scorecards that have been either delivered by the consultants working with ones organization, or uploaded on the company's internal portal (intranet) or in the form of some document or PowerPoint presentations. However, the challenge with them is that they hardly get to see the light of implementation. Blaming it on the inability of the consultants to understand ones business and arguing about the contents or quality of the presentations should be avoided.

"Creating Corporate Sustainability Through People"
David shared his expertise on:

  • How to build a successful talent management framework unique to ones company
  • What makes a behavioral competency model work and why most do not work
  • What separates a company's external brand from its employee brand
  • Cautionary words on benchmarking, best practices and other misconceptions commonly associated with talent management
  • What makes India unique and why western 'best practices' may not be the right fix for India

"Creating Great Organizations: Employer Branding Best Practices"
Stephen in his presentation explained on how to build and maintain a strong and clear employer brand by utilizing the proper framework.
Alignment of strategy with employer branding is crucial for the way your organization is represented. Development of a clear employer branding strategy can help define what the organization wants to be associated with as an employer, what differentiates them from other employers, and how to deliver on promises as a company.

"Coaching In Everyday Conversations"
Julie believes that coaching is a much-needed response to many of the questions organizations face right now, like 'how do we truly engage people?' Or 'how do we encourage openness or empowerment?' As a style of influence it's now a key tool of leadership. As a way of raising individual's awareness and sense of responsibility, it's essential for the challenges ahead. Julie wrapped up her session by saying "Coaching is a quiet revolution and a revolution just the same'.

"Big Data Busts The Top Three Myths Of Employee Engagement & Leadership"
Shakun ideated that a lot of models for employee engagement have failed. The top most driver of employee engagement is recognition and the last is management. He concluded his speech by saying that engagement should be looked as a holistic effort.

"Employee Engagement – Key Success to Talent Management"
Transformation is a pivotal skill that is needed by many leaders and managers today to make a bigger impact on their organizations. Enlisting the workforce to embrace and foster forward progress is the desired outcome that should drive all employee engagement efforts. True transformation doesn't come from a one-time push, however. This type of change will only be sustained by creating a culture of transformation to achieve employee excellence and engagement for higher business productivity and profitability as an ongoing concern.
A brief synopsis of Henry's presentation:

  • Difference between Job Engagement versus Job Satisfaction
  • Why engagement is critical to performance success
  • Cost of employee disengagement
  • Total rewards approach to employee engagement


Mr. Sudhir Nagpal, Managing Director of  mPOWER Information Systems Pvt. Ltd.  & Joint Managing Director, PIEM Hotels acclaimed among the top 100 Hoteliers in India

Date: September 2013
Source: The Hotelier India, Volume 5, Issue 9

A pioneer in strategy planning and innovation, Sudhir Nagpal's profile as the joint managing director extends beyond PIEM, as he works closely with the Taj Group MD and Managing Committee to assist the company achieve its strategic direction. He is responsible for spearheading the Strategy Execution Program across the Taj group of hotels, to implement the Balanced Scorecards and Performance Management Systems using COVENARK®, through his company mPOWER Information Systems Pvt. Ltd.

Nagpal began his professional journey with an MBA in Information Systems from the Indiana University of Pennsylvania, USA, where he had simultaneously pursued an MS in Computer Science. Subsequently, in a career that has spanned more than two and a half decades as a dynamic hotelier, he has evolved into a unique visionary and pioneer in Strategy Execution Performance Management Systems, Balanced Scorecards and Business Intelligence.


India Strategy Forum 2013

Date: 24 & 25 September, 2013
Venue: The Grand, New Delhi

The forum in its 4th year was held at The Grand, New Delhi on the 24th and 25th of September 2013.The India Strategy Forum had speakers from the Industry, Government, think tank, International Organizations and academia to deliberate on various strategic issues in relation to the Indian context. mPOWER was proud to be associated as Silver partner for this high profile event to showcase their automated solutions for Strategy execution and Performance monitoring.

The Forum kicked off with an introduction by Dr. Rajesh Pilania and the first session on the practice of strategy consulting in India – Opportunities and Challenges moderated by Dr. Srini Srinivasan (MD) Arthur D. Little India Pvt. Ltd. and comprising Mr. Deepak Agrawal (Director General) Consultancy Development Center and Mr. Akhil Bansal (COO) KPMG India threw up some interesting figures in terms of growth of Strategy Consulting @22% laying emphasis on Pricing, Client expectation and sector specialization. It is a $300 million dollar market. Mr. Deepak gave his perspective from the Government angle where consultants have to manage with less pay but high expectations. They were unanimous in their view that strategic consultants not only have to deliver but implement their ideas that lead to revenue generation for their clients.

The session after lunch on competitive strategy was well moderated by Mr. Hitendra Chaturvedi (MD) Reverse Logistics Corporation comprising of speakers Mr. Anshul Jain (CEO) DTZ India, Mr. Harvinder Singh (Country manager) United Airlines, India, and Mr. Sandeep Soni (President) Hero BPO. They were all of the firm belief that to maintain their upper hand amongst their competitor's one must always be one step ahead in terms of providing the same things to their clients differently to maintain interest and continuity.

Other sessions were held on Entrepreneurship strategy moderated by Mr. Rahul Bajaj (Partner) Roland Berger Strategy Consultants India and alongside were Mr. Rudra Dalmia (MD) Saxobank A/s and Mr. Pawan Rajkumar (Owner) Continental India. The day ended with the session on opportunities and challenges faced by Chief Strategy Officers in organizations. It was moderated by Mr. Ambarish Dasgupta (Managing Partner) KPMG consulting and supporting the discussions were Mr. Gopi Billa (Partner) Monitor Deloitte Consulting and Mr. Atul Mehrotra (CSO) Tenon.

The 2nd day sessions kicked off with a session on Innovation Strategy moderated by Mr. Nikolai Dobberstein (Partner) A.T.Kearney. Other speakers on the dais were Dr. Chandan Chowdhury (MD) Dassault Systems India, Mr. Vinod Sood (MD) Hughes Systique and Mr. Inderjit Sehrawat MD-India and SAARC. DVTel Inc. Each gave examples from the industries they head and the summation of the discussion was it is uncertain and risky, helps to build an ecosystem for new products, sustainability of enthusiasm and leads to great talent and deep domain and business knowledge. To top it all it is a $100 billion industry.

The session on Corporate Social Responsibility discussed the challenges of sustainability of a social enterprise and as a result it fizzles out over a period of time. Hence, it is important to be paid for providing services under CSR by those who would like to continue using the same. The session was moderated by Mr. Parul Soni (Partner) development advisory services, E&Y and alongside him were Mr. Yatinder Suri (Country head) Outokumpu India Pvt.Ltd. and Mr. Mandeep Singh (CEO). The main challenges are of forging the right partnerships. One should then have the will, scalability, sustainability and the ability of measuring the impact of such an initiative.

The other sessions were on HR and Marketing strategy conducted by eminent individuals and stressing on its importance in relation to the current scenario where online and digital media is fast overtaking conventional methodologies.

Overall keeping in mind the major pain area which most of the speakers enunciated, which was mainly to do with monitoring, strengthening processes, lean management we at mPOWER believe that our COVENARK® Suite of products will surely add value and the requisite momentum for the Management across all levels to take critical decisions based on the structured information thrown up through our automated solutions that have the scalability and simplicity to fit into any scenario along with customization wherever required.


TAJ CORPORATE BSC TEAM wins award for business excellence - tabe for bsc automation

The TAJ Corporate and Business Excellence team wins the TABE award 2013 – Taj Awards for Business Excellence – for outstanding contribution in the Automation of The Balanced Scorecard powered by mPOWER's COVENARK®

The TAJ Award for Business Excellence is awarded to the Organization that showcases all around capabilities in achieving distinction across a cross functional diaspora following a set of stringent Quality processes that are a hallmark the hallowed TAJ Group that is known worldwide for its Hospitality and Business ethics. The year 2013 saw the Corporate and the Business Excellence Team of the TAJ Hotels lift this coveted award for the first time. TAJ Spans 58 locations in 12 countries 5 continents with 120 hotels. It is truly a herculean effort to select these admirable examples of Quality and Excellence that represent the best of the best from within the TAJ Group where the largest cross functional teams from different departments like MDs office, Business Excellence, Corporate IT, Finance and Sales & Marketing where working on it to make this happen.

This was made possible by mPOWER's unstinted support in implementing COVENARK® to execute the Strategy and monitor performance which has been appreciated by all the decision makers and the Business Excellence team at the TAJ.

Raymond Bickson - Managing Director of Taj Group of Hotels at the center flanked by, Ajoy Jauhar, Vida D'souza, Jessica Rebello, Rajesh Gangakhedkar and Sukriti Murarka, of the Corporate office at TAJ Group


Hospitality Development Summit 2013

Date: 4th & 5th July 2013
Venue: ITC Maratha

The pre-event of HDS started with the registration session followed by an open exhibition.

mPOWER made its presence felt at the event as a key sponsor. The attendees for the summit were CEO's Managing Directors, Heads of Planning and Strategy, Procurement, Head of Infrastructure and Development from the Hospitality Sector, Hotels, Hotel Operators, Ministries of Travel and Tourism, Associations, Real Estate and Finance to analyze and discuss the issues and possibilities of overcoming the challenges in the development and expansion on the Indian Hospitality and Leisure Sector

Some of the key areas of discussion shared by Mr. Uttam Dave – President and CEO – Interglobe Hotels were "Defining the Lack and Inadequacy of Infrastructural Development in the Country and the Effects on the Indian Hospitality Sector – India's stand in the global hospitality industry. The major highlights of this discussion were, Analyzing the requirement for better growth strategies to improve planning and development strategies, Identifying the critical factors required to enable change and improve factors involving time management and cost management, the challenges faced due to lack of infrastructure the entire team agreed towards a common aspect of identifying the best way forward to utilize and optimize the existing resources in the organization.

The main areas covered by Mr. Lalit Bhasin – Advocate, Supreme Court and Chairman SEPC Hon. Legal Advisor to FHRAI and NRAI, during this session was, How do the existing regulatory aspects affect the hospitality, are there any viable solutions to these and why have they not been implemented?, why is there lack of funding or financial support for the industry if on a yearly basis the Hotel and leisure industry contributes over 8% to the Indian GDP? How can this be overcome, what steps need to be taken and who needs to take them?

Presentations were shared by Mr. Arttu Salmenhaara – Director, New Equipment Business & Major Projects, Asia Pacific & MENA – KONE. 'New trends in Hospitality Covering New Technologies for Energy Efficient Design spoken by Mr. Prem Nath – Principal Architect – Prem Nath & Associates. The burning issue faced in terms of Management contract for Hotel Owners – The Owners point of view was shared by Mr. Anand Desai – Managing Partner – DSK legal.

There was panel of discussion on the topic "Creating and Improving Opportunities for MICE in India.
The panelist Mr. Ajay Bakaya – Sarovar Hotels, Mr. Vikram Kamat ED, Kamat Hotels, and Mr. Partha Chatterjee – Keys Hotels discussed the features of hotel chains, operators and executives of MICE to discuss the following:
  • India's Potential to cater to the Global MICE Industries, The Drawbacks and the Challenges
  • Identifying the areas of improvement and implementing the best know how and methodology to overcome the lack of MICE opportunities in India.
  • Analyzing the criteria and integrating better strategies to allow for faster and evolving trends in MICE
  • Overcoming challenges with marketing and optimizing better facilitation for MICE in India

The Case Study shared by Mr. Ajoy K Bakaya ED, Sarovar, in Optimizing Operational Efficiency Solutions highlighted improved cost and energy management', thus creating a sustainable development plan for consistent high quality delivery.

Mr. Bruno Loosli, CEO, Mars World highlighted critical elements of, Managing manpower costs and decreasing project costs to form an efficient and sustainable cost management model or strategy. He highlighted implementing the right technology to increase and optimize energy efficiency, minimize revenue leakage through better design and sustainable architecture and planning. Analyze the best way forward to convert fixed costs to variable and to monitor cost flow through more efficient procurement processes. Investing in efficient and highly trained manpower to maintain quality and minimize additional revenue flow.

The Panel discussion on 'Implementing Effective Procurement Strategies – Achieving operational Synergies – Centralized, Decentralized, Partly Centralized? – The Pros and the Cons' by the panelists Mr. Kaushik Jhingan AVP. Procurement & Materials of The Oberoi, Mr. Lalit Kapoor – MD, HDMB, Mr. Nitin Nagrale – Director Procurement – Sofitel Hotels, Mansingh Rathore – Chief Procurement Officer – Berggruen Group was an eye opener related to the relation to financial, cost reduction logistics requirement, individual regions and customer demography.

Day 2 also had interesting topics which began with a panel discussion on ‘Development of Hospitality in Tier II cities – untapped Opportunity Vs Challenges. The focus of this session was to discuss the untapped opportunities in Tier II and III cities across India. The session covered various aspects like Infrastructural requirements for better development for the industry, the opportunities that have not been tapped, how to overcome these above issues, how to find a synergy to tap into these markets successfully, what is result of the implementation? The Panelist includes Mr. Rajesh Punjabi, Mr. Uttam Dave, Mr. Raju Shahani – Langham Hotels and Mr. Beni Agrawal – Keys Hotels.

Mr. Rishi Kapoor – SVP International Development – MGM Hospitality, Mr. Zia Sheikh CMD – Svenska Design, Mr.  Shobith Khattri - Director Development – IHG threw light on the Capitalization of Multi location expansion and how optimal results could be achieved through cost management & efficient resource allocation.

Mr. Zia Sheikh – Chairman and Managing Director – Svensha Design Hotels on the topic ‘Overcoming Branding and Marketing Challenges in Reaching Out to the Consumer’ gave an insight on building a consumer brand in India today, Positioning and differentiation strategies, selecting and managing marketing channels, Challenges & opportunities with social media and strategies for traditional media marketing.



Date: 3rd & 4th April, 2013
Venue : Grand Hyatt, Mumbai

The HICSA 2013 started with a pre-event session in the morning consisting of a panel of 70 hotel owners, where our Managing Director and Joint Managing Director of PIEM Hotels, Mr. Sudhir Nagpal was also present with Mr. Sunder Advani, Chairman & MD – Advani Hotels & Resorts; Mr. Vineet Verma, Executive Director – Brigade Hospitality Services; Mr. Rattan Keswani, Co-Promoter & Managing Director – Carnation Hotels; Mr. Ramesh Valecha, Executive Director – Chalet Hotels; Mr. Param Kannampilly, Chairman & MD – Concept Hospitality; Mr. Aditya Dawan, Mr. Dinesh Khanna, Mr. Jagdish Khanna, Executive Director’s – Eastern International Hotels;  Mr. L N Sharma, Director & CEO – Golden Jubliee Hotels; Mr. Himanshu Singh, MD – Hotel Commerce; Mr. Arvind Singh Mewar, Chairman & MD – HRH Group of Hotels; and other luminaries started the initial discussion regarding challenges faced by the ownership community in four broad areas – Human Resources, Funding/Financing, Regulatory/Legal and Brand/Operator.

The key objective of the discussion was to get a better view from the hotel owner’s seat on what the industry should focus upon now.

The Panel discussion resulted in the hotel owners agreeing on the following aspects that need attention.
Human Capital
International brands to open hotel schools & provide Career development opportunity within company.
Capital (Debt/PE) –
Ego-driven spend on building hotels is a problem.
Repayment tenure not long enough. Innovative ways of structuring capital requirement
Hotel Development - Approvals/Licenses, Costs etc.
Uniform Licenses System (nationwide) required
Reduce Gross Areas/Room. Add revenue generating space.
Infrastructure Status push required.
Owners in attendance shall share best practices going forward.
Operator Related
Performance Test Clause is a must.
Performance Clause should kick-in much sooner. Year 1, not Year 4 or 5
Push for Asset Management so that owners are more informed and involved.
West treated to different standards in terms of contracting terms compared to India.

The Hotel Investment Conference- South Asia (HICSA) conceived by HVS India is an annual forum held to discuss several aspects and issues related to the hospitality industry. mPOWER made its presence felt at the event as a first time sponsor.
Also, for the very first time the Global CEO Panel were on a common dais. The four CEO’s of leading global hospitality brands; Arne M. Sorenson, President & CEO, Marriott International; Christopher J. Nassetta, President & CEO, Hilton Worldwide; Frits van Paasschen, President & CEO, Starwood Hotels & Resorts, and Mark S Hoplamazian, President & CEO , Hyatt Hotels Corporation. 

Some of the key areas of discussion were Sustainability, Reduce Operating Cost, Benchmarking, Human Resources, Brand Standards. They addressed that in order to have market sustainability, focus and diligence are the key aspects which should be examined. Also, prioritise investment; mitigate risks per average room of one’s hotel vs. other hotels. The panelists also discussed the challenges faced in the global hospitality sector like Non – Alignment, High Cost Risks, Cost Capital, Length Approval Process and Human Resources. Nassetta spoke about the challenges of high cost of land and financing. It was also addressed that currently only domestic brands are investing in the Hotel management schools. The outcome of the discussion was to re-look on the Compensation structure, Talent development, to keep up the Brand Standards, Hotel Development, Investment in S&M infrastructure, Development Costs. “Entrusting the right partner is a critical aspect, as they should have the capital and the ability to survive in a volatile market” said Sorenson. Water and energy resource constraints have become areas of serious concern for the future. This was highlighted by Hoplamazian.

Another interesting discussion was the session on Women in Hospitality; the Challenges ahead moderated by Dilip Puri MD & India & RVP-SA Starwood Hotels. The panel included Trudy Rautio CEO, The Carlson group, who was of the opinion that women have many opportunities to move up the ladder, but have to be flexible in their approach and the work they do, has to come to the attention of the right people. Priya Paul, Chairwoman Apeejay Surrendra Park Hotels was of the view that gender diversity was essential for the team to grow and that women should be given due credit, and not just be looked at as eye candy. Madhu Nair, Dir. Interior Design & Ops, The Leela Palace mentioned that women need to believe in themselves above anything else. Jennifer Fox, President Fairmont Hotels & Resorts added that women should be wise in choosing a husband who provides the much needed support. Camelia Panjabi, Group Director, Masala World (UK) Restaurants was of the view that women in Sales & Marketing positions do a better job than their male counterparts. Today, women’s make up to 60% of hospitality industry. The session ended with a very good note that, ‘it is better to light candle than to curse the darkness’.

There was a panel discussion on “Are Owners Making Money” where leading players like Arun Saraf MD Jupiter Hotels, Atul Chordia Chairman & CEO Pancshil Realty, Neel Raheja Group President, K Raheja Group, Ashish Jakhanwala MD & CEO Samhi and SP Jain MD, The Pride Hotel shared their views on how to increase profitability & double income. It was moderated by Uttam Dave, President & CEO, Interglobe Hotels.

Also, there was a session that pitted top leaders of Global and Home grown brands represented by veterans from ITC, Taj and Lemon Tree against those of IHG, Hyatt & Marriott.

A keynote address was delivered by Shriji Arvind Singh Mewar, Chairman & MD, HRH group of Hotels on LGBT business.

There were further round table discussions on the 4th of April 2013 spread across various Board rooms. Varied topics were discussed during these interactions. They are listed below:-

India: Who's the David and who’s the Goliath? Where Dipak Haksar, Chief Operating Officer, Hotels Division, ITC Limited, Jan Smits, Chief Executive Officer-AMEA, Intercontinental Hotels Group; Michael Issenberg, Chairman & COO - APAC, Accor; Patu Keswani, Chairman and MD, The Lemon Tree Hotel Company; Peter Fulton, EVP & Group President-EAME & SW Asia, Hyatt Hotels Corporation; Raymond Bickson, Managing Director and CEO, Taj Group gave their inputs on the Domestic and International challenges in the Hospitality industry. The key aspects focused were Strong supervision, Focused RND, In-house Schooling, Increase in Management Contracts, Loyalty Programs, and invest domestically or internationally. Some key concerns on domestic market were addressed which had to be resolved: Labour workforce/Education, Transparency, Infrastructure, Ease of Process, Debt, Land and Reforms. The panelists opined that 2013 would be good but challenging period for the hospitality sector.

Another session ‘Creating a New Brand’ the panelists Arjun Baljee, Founder and MD, Peppermint Hotels, James Stuart, Managing Partner, The Brand Company, Rattan Keswani, Co-Promoter and MD, Carnation Hotels spoke on balance between Global & Local Brands. One key aspect spoken about was focus on hiring right people with right attitude.

Budget Hotels - Profit without Frills: It was an animated discussion moderated by Sanjay Sethi (MD & CEO of Berggruen Hotels). Others on the panel were Anil Madhok (MD Sarovar Hotels & Resorts). PR Bansal (MD Lords Inn Hotels & Resorts), Sudhir Sinha  (President & Coo India, Best Western), Philip Logan (VP Formula-1 Hotels, India Accor), Rummy Anand (Sr. Director Development-SA, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group). It bought out how no frills hotels with innovative amenities could still drive the markets to improve their bottom-line.

Similarly there were other topics like ‘Brands Entering India’; ‘Brand Standards: Adapting to India’; ‘Hot Seat - General Managers: Pressure of Making Money in Challenging Markets’ ; ‘Leader's Panel - Brands on the Move’; ‘Loan Coming to You: Hold Them or Fold Them’; ‘Lifestyle Hotels: Passion or Profit?’; ‘Services Spotlight, Hotels vs. Other Real Estate’; ‘Design and Architecture: Looks or Books?’; ‘Is Your Money Making Money?’ on which panelists highlighted the aspects on how to manage the market pressure, compete the challenges, focus on innovation and become a benchmark in the hospitality industry.

On final note the Conference ended with cocktails and dinner arranged at BKC.


India Strategy Forum 2012

Date: 30th & 31st October, 2012
Venue: The Hotel Grand, New Delhi

The India Strategy Forum 2012 began with a high level panel comprising Mr. Bala Krishnan CEO Anglo American Plc India and Mr. Sudhir Nagpal MD mPOWER and was moderated by the Chairman of the forum Dr. Rajesh Pillania with the topic, Strategy in India: Opportunities & Challenges. While Mr.Bala gave his views from the perspective of an MNC, Mr.Nagpal shared his views with experiences relating to Indian business houses. Dr.Rajesh shared his findings of the focus areas of the top 100 companies both in India & Abroad on a few select parameters which made interesting observation.

Dr. Rajesh showed the cultural differences and priorities of MNC's operating in India, Public Sector Organisations, and Private Organisations on parameters like Growth, Strategic Inclination, Customer Focus and People.

The second session was a discussion on Infrastructure Strategy with a panel comprising Dr. Narindra K. Bachlaus CEO Exxon Mobil India, Mr. Dinesh Pillai CEO Mahindra Special Services Group, Mr. Rajeev Gupta MD resource Development International India Pvt. Ltd. and Mr. Inderjit Sehrawat MD Dv Tel India who also moderated the panel, deliberating now on the key challenges and issues facing the Infrastructure Industry in India and how to develop Strategies to take of the same.
The table highlighted the importance of Planning and Resource Optimisation in Infrastructure Projects. Financial Controls and Compliances are the cornerstone of successful Infrastructure Strategy.
Dr. Narindra K. Bachlaus spoke on the impact and perils of mismanagement in an Infrastructure Project and how we can avoid the same.
The table also dwelt at length on the large no of licenses and approval mandated by statutory bodies that delay the execution process. It was discussed to approach the governing bodies to suggest a "Single Window Clearance" and a usher in a more open comprehensive license regime. The session on Entrepreneurship Strategy was both thought provoking as well strategically informative for SME's & entrepreneurs which has been a focus area by the Govt. of India. It was moderated by Mr. Rajiv Bajaj Partner Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, India. The panel comprised of Mr.N.K.Maini MD SIDBI, Mr.Pramod Arora Group President PVR Ltd & Mr. Pawan Kumar Owner Continental India.
The deliberations on Corporate Social responsibility took on the challenges & development of strategies for the successful implementation of CSR in an Organization. Dr.Narindra K.Bachlaus CEO, Exxon Mobil India along with Mr.Mandeep Singh MD.Asia(New verticals),d.light Design Inc. gave their insights & were moderated by Mr.Yatinder Suri Country Head Outukumpu India Pvt. Ltd.

The deliberations on the Outsourcing Strategy session focused on the challenges as well as the strategies for outsourcing. Lucid insight on the topic was provided by the panel of eminent speakers comprising of the moderator Mr. Pavan Bhalla MD, Aon Hewitt India, Mr. Rajesh Sharma, CEO & DG, SEPC, India & Mr. Sandeep Soni, President Hero BPO.
The emergence of India as a Global Knowledge and Business Process hub was hailed and it was discussed that there was an urgent need to further build on this strength.
It called for Indian Organisations to think Global and make forays into the Global Market and focus on the Outsourcing needs of the developing countries too apart from the developed countries.
The team also discussed the need to update themselves with the latest technologies so as to have a wider market coverage.
Mr. Pavan Bhalla mentioned that the developed countries have no other option than to outsource their requirements to India as we have the unique advantage of advanced IT, Ability to think and develop solutions, and knowledge of the English language.
The day concluded with a discussion on issues facing competitive strategy & steps to alleviate the same. It was moderated by Mr.Nitin Bahl, country manager-India, Natuzzi S.p.A. The panel comprised Mr. Eric Yu, President Huawei Enterprise, India and Mr.Arun Kumar NT.,MD(Group Ops)-Global head of Outsourcing & Off shoring , UBS.

The day began with an interaction on the challenges and issues facing Innovation strategy and the steps to counter them. The panel comprised of Mr.Neeraj Gulati MD. Monotype Imaging & Advisor, Innovation Council, Mr. Parmeswaran Venkataraman, Head Innovation labs, IMRB International who was also the moderator and Mr.Piyush Mathur President, The Nielsen Company India.
The Session on Human Resource Strategy bought out the passion of the speakers on the subject and the vast knowledge that they could share because of their experiences in various large Indian as well as multinational organizations. It was a lively discussion ably moderated by Mr.R.S.Dabas, Senior VP & Head HR and CSR, JSDL. The panel comprised Mr.Sumit Banerjee Vice Chairman Reliance Cement & Mr. Varadarajan Srinivasan, Executive President HR, Tata Telecommunications.
The deliberations on Financial Strategy threw up interesting challenges on how to develop & implement successful financial strategies in India due to its diversity. Mr. Kapil Arora partner Ernst & Young moderated the session comprising of the Panel Members Mr. Kiran Shetty, MD Western Union Services India (P) Ltd and Mr. Manasije Mishra CEO, Max Bupa India.
Sessions on Operations Strategy & Marketing Strategy bought forth some startling facts by the speakers like Mr. Kamal Verma CEO SREI mainly in operations and Mr.Sanjay Kumar CEO & MD, Altran India and Mr. Vineet Kanaujia President Safexpress Private Ltd.
Mr. Rajesh Pillania, Chairman Institute of Strategy made an impassioned plea to develop a Strategy for the future encompassing all aspects that were deliberated earlier during the two day event. He was of the firm view that Strategies have to evolve with the changing times and not remain stagnant.


29th Skotch Summit on Refuelling Growth

Date: 8th June, 2012
Venue: Hotel Hyatt Regency, Sahar Airport Road, Mumbai

Partnership with Microsoft – mPOWER

As first step, mPOWER exhibited and showcased its capability as a partner of Microsoft during the 29th Skotch Summit held in June, 2012.mPOWER has partnered with Microsoft to promote the proliferation of Performance Monitoring and Strategy Execution using COVENARK® in implementing Strategic, Enterprise, Operational and individual scorecards.

The response to mPOWER's offerings was very well received by a good number of PSUs and Consultants, who work with government of India, being a first time where special attention was given to the importance of monitoring performance aligned to a business strategy to encourage innovation and inclusive growth.

The Skotch summit held in Mumbai was organized by the Skotch Group based out of Gurgaon. It laid focus on how India should realize its growth potential which is a prerequisite for generating surpluses for inclusive growth.

The session kicked off in right earnest with Dr. Deepak Phatak opening the discussion of the plenary session comprising of members Mr. U. K. Sinha, Chairman SEBI, Dr. K. C. Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor RBI, Mr. Joseph Massey, MD & CEO, MCX Stock Exchange, Ms. Manjula Prasher, Secretary (Posts) & Chairman P. S. Board, Department of Posts, Mr. Ravi Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Govt. of Gujarat & Dr. Ashima Goyal, Professor, IGIDR by providing them with the platform to "Collect important thoughts from important leaders" so that valuable inputs can be provided to policy makers."

Mr. U. K. Sinha, one of the architects of the pension sector reforms said that there was overall a feeling of dejection and anger among the investors due to the economic scenario in the country and it was not possible for India to take shelter under global economic problems. He urgently advocated speeding up the reforms & resolving major issues related to their implementation.
Economic reform
Dr. K. C. Chakrabarty, Deputy Governor of RBI who spoke at length on the economic reforms and policy processes and implementation challenges the country is facing. He reeled out numbers to buttress his answers as to how Financial Inclusion was on the increase due to the spurt in opening up banks in the rural sector where the population was 2000 or more.

Financial Inclusion
On the topic of financial inclusion, Mr. B. Rajkumar of Indian Bank spoke about their Pondicherry experience where they worked in Managalam village as a pilot project for financial inclusion. However, stress was also laid on financial literacy which would be the driver for banking by other speakers.

Self employment and MSME Sector
On the panel discussion on rediscovering MSME's and self employment Mr. Ajai Kumar, CMD of Corporation Bank spoke as to how this sector is neglected in comparison to the Retail & Corporate Sectors. He also mentioned as to how they were the only bank that fulfilled their targets in the MSME sector by showing a 20% growth, 60% credit disbursements to new entrepreneurs & 100% growth in numbers.


Book Release
The session finally concluded with a book written by Mr. Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairman Planning Commission on Policy Making – for Indian Planning being released by the Chief Minister Mr. Prithviraj Chavan who along with other members of the panel comprising Mr. Montek Singh, Mr. Ashok Jha, Chairman MCX Stock Exchange, Mr. Uday Kotak, EVC & MD Kotak Mahindra Bank, Mr. Rajiv B. Lall, VC & MD IDFC & Dr. Ashima Goyal, Professor IGIDR also discussed the issues and the expected path ahead in policy making for Indian Planning.

Other Inclusion thought leadership roundtables were conducted simultaneously at the venue on the following topics:

  • Building Business for India Post
  • Community participation for growth
  • Financial Literacy – Financial Inclusion
  • Technology & Application trends

Eminent luminaries from various Govt. organizations (both Central & State), Banks, NGOs, Financial Organizations, Insurance, large MNC's with a PAN India presence and Economists attended these panel discussions as speakers.

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