Organizations with a culture of innovation fuelling business resilience and economic recovery in India: Microsoft-IDC study

A screenshot explaining the important pillars of culture of innovation
  • 77% of Indian organizations have found innovation to be critical or important to their performance and resilience 
  • 78% of organizations in India are accelerating the pace of digitalization in response to the crisis  
  • 64% of respondents say innovation in products and services has become easier in the post-COVID-19 era, as compared to 32.5% prior to the pandemic  
  • reimagines the loan application and disbursal process during the pandemic with Paisabazaar Stack, leveraging Microsoft Azure and Azure AI

New Delhi, November 24, 2020 – As organizations across the world and India continue to deal with disruptions resulting from the pandemic, 77% of businesses in India consider that innovation is now a ‘must’ for them to respond quickly to market challenges and opportunities, and ensure business resilience, said a recent Microsoft and IDC report. Released today, the India findings of the study ‘Culture of Innovation: Foundation for business resilience and economic recovery in Asia Pacific’ highlighted that a large majority of business decision makers agree that innovation is a necessity to staying resilient in a crisis. The findings were released by Rajiv Sodhi, Chief Operating Officer, Microsoft India and Vasant Rao, Managing Director – India and South Asia, IDC, in the presence of Mukesh Sharma, Chief Technology Officer, and Gaurav Aggarwal, Director and Head of Unsecured Loans,

The study found that in a short span of six months, organizations in India have increased their ability to innovate by 4% by maturing their Culture of Innovation. The study also showed that close to 78% of India organizations are speeding up digitalization in a variety of ways to adapt to the new reality. This included launching digital products and introducing digital payments to embracing ecommerce and automation. As a result, Indian companies are aiming at increasing their revenue from digital products and services to 50% in the next 3 years from 36% at present. According to the survey, 64% of respondents acknowledged that innovation has become easier in the post-COVID-19 era. Prior to the pandemic, only 32.5% of Indian business found innovation in their products and services easy.

The study introduced the culture of innovation framework, which spans the dimensions of people, process, data, and technology, to assess organizations’ approach to innovation. It surveyed 439 business decision makers and 438 workers in India within a 6-month period, before and since COVID-19. The India study was part of a broader survey among 3,312 business decision makers and 3,495 workers across 15 markets in Asia Pacific region. Through the research, organizations’ maturity was mapped and as a result, organizations were grouped in four stages – traditionalist (stage 1), novice (stage 2), adaptor (stage 3) and leaders (stage 4). Leaders comprise of organizations that are the most mature in building a culture of innovation1.

“Innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity. We have seen how the recent crisis has spurred the need for transformation; for organizations to adapt and innovate in order to emerge stronger,” said Rajiv Sodhi, COO, Microsoft India. “We commissioned this research to gain better understanding of the relationship between having a culture of innovation and an organization’s growth. But now, more than achieving growth, we see that having a mature culture of innovation translates to resilience, and strength to withstand economic crises to recover,” he added.

“We see amongst leaders a constant appetite for growth and evolution. During COVID-19, 31% of firms in India said they think their business model will lose competitiveness in five years’ time. This desire and urgency for continuous improvement through agility and adaptation to change will determine the success of businesses in this new normal,” said Vasant Rao, Managing Director – India and South Asia, IDC.

Focus on technology and skilling 
When asked about their priorities for the next 12 months ahead, organizations in India (45%) indicated that they will focus on Technology as most essential for business resilience and recovery. According to the report, some best practices will include developing a culture that promotes investing in disruptive technologies and leveraging data to differentiate and enhance products and services.

The other area of focus is People. In the coming year, 18.5% businesses in India plan to focus on embracing risks and driving innovation through ongoing learning, and the right talent and skills. Supported by technological transformation, organization also need to focus on encouraging new and breakthrough ideas among its employees as well as hiring a diverse workforce.

“Organizations in India understand that they need to improve across all dimensions of culture of innovation, especially technology. It is encouraging to see business leaders recognize this, and plan to focus on technology to drive sustained innovation and realize their digital transformation ambition. Achieving success in digital transformation requires both the adoption of tools and technologies as well as enhancing own people’s capabilities – what we term as tech intensity – a critical component of the culture of innovation. Our goal is to realize an inclusive future where all organizations in India are dynamic and resilient – to recover well and thrive despite the crisis. At Microsoft, we are committed to working with organizations in India to make this happen, together,” said Sodhi.

Showcasing a new technology feature that deploys Microsoft Azure and Azure AI to enable extensive digital solutions for loans & credit cards, Mukesh Sharma, Chief Technology Officer,, said, “Most large lenders and Fintechs were unprepared due to the lack of digital processes and infrastructure. We all had to wake up to a new reality and adapt to it. Everybody was impacted and our focus was to ensure that consumers could have access to the loans they needed, through completely paper less and presence less processes. We recognised the potential of AI and Cognitive Services to make end-to-end digital loan disbursals a reality with our Digital Stack.  As the market leader with partnerships with most large banks and new-age lenders – and a culture of innovation since inception – we are well placed to accelerate this critical shift towards the much-needed digitization of the entire ecosystem.”, India’s largest digital marketplace for lending products, is driving technology innovation in their offerings. Paisabazaar Stack uses Microsoft Azure AI capabilities to make loan disbursals and credit card issuance completely digital. Under the Digitization Stack, the fintech has built completely digital solutions for KYC verification, income and employment validation, repayment set-up and consent on loan agreement. With this, a large section of customers will now be able to access credit much quicker from the comfort of their homes through a presence-less and contactless process as each erstwhile physical step in the lending process has now been built digitally. The Digital Stack has made it possible to provide unsecured loans within 3-5 hours from an earlier disbursal time of three to seven days. Their ‘Chance of Approval’ feature enables Paisabazaar to provide customized lending solutions to customers using a predictive algorithm model. also provides ‘pre-qualified offers’ from partner banks and NBFCs.

Microsoft is utilizing its platforms and services to enable a culture of innovation among Indian enterprises – across retail, IT/ITeS, and healthcare, among other sectors. This is helping organizations adapt, innovate and reimagine their business in the COVID-19 era.

About Microsoft India: 
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. Microsoft set up its India operations in 1990. Today, Microsoft entities in India have over 11,000 employees, engaged in sales and marketing, research, development and customer services and support, across 11 Indian cities – Ahmedabad, Bangalore, Chennai, New Delhi, Gurugram, Noida, Hyderabad, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Microsoft offers its global cloud services from local data centers to accelerate digital transformation across Indian start-ups, businesses, and government organizations.

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