“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.”– C.S. Lewis
An ever-changing business environment is the order of the day. To maximize profit and survive in the competitive environment, businesses sometimes overlook business ethics and integrity. From employees holding multiple jobs simultaneously, one vendor monopoly in the market, unethical marketing techniques to the Artificial Intelligence bias, there is a vast gray area regarding which practices are right or wrong. With the aim of understanding the revolutionizing trends shaping the future of the business environment and how they are changing business practices, the Guest Lecture committee organized the 7th Edition of The Integrity & Ethics Conclave with speakers among the likes of – Mr. Aseem Tamboli, Mr. Sandeep Suryavanshi, Mr. Saransh Agarwal, Mr. Vijay Chandola and Mr. Anuj Ranka.
These industry leaders, professionals, and students came together to throw some light on and emphasize on integrity, ethics, and organizational sincerity.
The Main Theme of the Conclave, “Tatva Udbhav – Integrity and Ethics in the Corporate Environment”
“Tatva Udbhav” reflects the need for the generation of new elements in nowadays constantly changing corporate environment and business practices. Big Corporations are more focused on profits, ignoring businesses’ ethical environment and integrity. Integrity is the main requirement of the hour for businesses, and ethics are essential for a company to survive and be in business for a long time. “Business Integrity” means incorporating ethical behaviors throughout your organization. Now the question arises: Why is it essential for a company? The answer is that integrity in business improves your reputation, which can help you acquire and keep clients, inspire staff loyalty, and position yourself as a more attractive investment opportunity. So, every organization in today’s environment needs to focus on Business Integrity because if you have this, your business will automatically grow and achieve heights along with good profit margins. The theme focuses on changing the regular business practices of focusing on process improvements and profit-making by introducing business integrity and ethical practices to the new ” Tattvas” business environment. So, the question arises: How to achieve business Integrity? To understand this, it is helpful to start by defining what integrity is not to accomplish. Doing the right thing only because it makes you look good or because you are under public scrutiny is not what integrity is about. In business, acting honorably regardless of whether your actions are visible to others and keeping your word are the definitions of integrity. Having an ethical culture that penetrates every aspect of your organization is essential.
The Sub Themes of The Conclave
E-commerce is globalization’s shot at equality The E-commerce industry has been directly impacting micro, small & medium enterprises (MSME) in India by providing financing, technology, and training and has a favorable cascading effect on other industries. The Indian E-commerce industry has been on an upward growth trajectory and is expected to surpass the US to become the second-largest E-commerce market in the world by 2034. Technology-enabled innovations like digital payments, hyper-local logistics, analytics-driven customer engagement, and digital advertisements will likely support the growth in the sector. India is also planning to introduce Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC). ONDC will enable e-commerce platforms to synchronize search results on all the e-commerce platforms and display products and services from every platform. This will further boost business for MSMEs and help fuel India’s e-commerce growth. The growth in the sector will further encourage employment, increase revenues from export, increase tax collection by exchequers, and provide better products and services to customers in the long term. According to Bain & Company report, India’s social commerce gross merchandise value (GMV) stood at ~US$ 2 billion in 2020. By 2025, it is expected to reach US$ 20 billion, with a potentially monumental jump to US$ 70 billion by 2030, owing to high mobile usage. Government Pushes Equality in E-Commerce Open Network for Digital Commerce (ONDC) is a network based on open protocol and will enable local commerce across segments, such as mobility, grocery, food order, and delivery, hotel booking, and travel, among others, to be discovered and engaged by any network-enabled application. The platform aims to create new opportunities, curb digital monopolies and by supporting micro, small and medium enterprises, and small traders and help them get on online platforms. It is an initiative of the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
For a business to develop, being found in search results is essential. However, there are proper and improper ways to optimize search engines. The incorrect method is black hat SEO. Black hat SEO aims to manipulate search engine algorithms rather than provide a user-friendly solution. Black hat SEO employs dubious methods to help you rank highly on search engine results pages rather than by earning the right to do so. Utilizing unethical SEO methods is more likely to hurt than help your online presence. A typical definition of black hat SEO is a dishonest technique that could raise a page’s placement on a search engine result page (SERP). These actions violate the terms of service of the search engine and may result in the site’s exclusion from the search engine and its associated sites. Several black hat SEO techniques and methods are unacceptable on Google’s and Bing’s Webmaster Guidelines.
Business culture is about shared values and beliefs, and it is about the work ethics that a company promotes and about how its employees and management interact with each other. Over the years, business culture has undergone massive changes. This mercurial nature has been mainly influenced by any crises that a business faces at that point in time. The latest pandemic has brought numerous subtle changes to businesses like unprecedented layoffs, great resignation, quite quitting, and most controversial of all, Moonlighting. Moonlighting refers to working a second job while working primarily in another organization. Both public and private organizations have rules regarding moonlighting; while some companies have no issues with their employees taking up additional assignments, some strictly prohibit them from doing so. The practice of moonlighting is not something new, but it has garnered a lot of attention in recent times due to delays or reductions in variable payouts. People are looking for additional sources of income, and with the culture of working from home increasing, they want to convert that extra time into money. Previously, moonlighting was usually done by people strapped for cash and who needed to work multiple jobs to supplement their income, but that is no longer the case. People are taking up extra work to upskill themselves, and it also bolsters their freedom as they are not shackled to just one company. But no matter the circumstances in which people decide to take up another job, the question of whether moonlighting is ethical or not remains. The IT sector is divided when it comes to moonlighting, some view it as a mark of disloyalty, take Wipro chairman Rishad Premji for example, who tweeted “There is a lot of chatter about people moonlighting in the tech industry. This is cheating – plain and simple. “While some think moonlighting is the future of the workplace. The MD of Tech Mahindra CP Gurnani has stated that his organization might consider a policy for making it possible for employees to work multiple jobs as long as they are open about it.
The globe may soon have more voice assistants than humans, which is another sign of how quickly and widely artificial intelligence (AI) is being incorporated into many industries. The Fourth Industrial Revolution’s primary technology is artificial intelligence (AI). It alludes to the technological advancements quickly transforming our environment, including biotechnology, artificial intelligence (AI), and big data. The fact that AI systems frequently exhibit bias, particularly along racial and gender lines, is becoming more widely accepted. The way AI bots and voice assistants perpetuate unjust gender stereotypes is one area that needs further focus. Several customer-facing service robots have gendered names, voices, or looks, including automated hotel personnel, waiters, bartenders, security guards, and daycare providers. With a combined market share of around 92.4% for smartphone assistants in the US, Siri, Alexa, Cortana, and Google Assistant have historically had female-sounding voices. The ways that AI products embed gender stereotypes into their core designs, however, are less well acknowledged.
Dr. Dhanya Pramod, Director of SCIT, inaugurated the event auspiciously by lighting the lamp along with the keynote speaker Mr. Aseem Tamboli and welcomed everyone to kickstart the event on a propitious note. She highlighted the importance of Integrity and Ethics and congratulated the Guest Lecture committee for organizing the event. She also shared a wonderful lawn tennis story about ethics in sports and business alike. She spoke about sportsman spirit which is a must-have trait in anyone along with integrity, this way, one can inspire others to be true and ethical towards their work and life. She also touched upon how SCIT has always encouraged ethical behavior and remains integral to its principles. She emphasized on the importance of moral values and how each of us may face dilemmas in our lives where we might have to choose between right and wrong, it is moments like these where one must stick to integrity and be empathetic towards the environment and the people around.
The video-media introduction was then shown which was the launch video of the conclave. It consisted of know-about about the themes involved in the event and the online and offline events/ competitions that were to take place for students to participate in.
The event further proceeded with speeches of all the esteemed speakers.
Mr. Aseem Tamboli
The keynote speaker, Mr. Aseem Tamboli, GM – Head Cloud Practice and ISV Alliance at Savex Technologies, then shared his views on the topic – “Are we really prepared for disruptions in business models?” He emphasized the growth of new business models in the industry and whether they are sustainable. He talked about three major buzzwords in the industry today that are,
- Data Analytics/BI
He talked about how these buzzwords are heavily contributing to the disruption in the business markets and the importance of hybrid workspaces. He also threw light on the cycle of visual analytics where he spoke about the ‘task-get data-find structure-data view-develop insight-act’ cycle. He ended by talking about how to be prepared for the disruptions in the marketplace due to the advent of technology and evolving business scenarios. His presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
SCIT’s dance committee delivered an energetic performance narrating and thereby highlighting the concept of moonlighting.
Mr. Anuj Ranka, who is the Digital Marketing Head at FITTR and was awarded the Most Influential Digital Marketer for the year 2022, then talked about Black Hat SEO.
A very insightful suggestion to “Always UNDERPROMISE but OVERDELIVER” was shared by Mr. Ranka along with some concepts of SEO like “search camping”, “increasing CTR with decreasing bounce rate” and the creation of “noise” in the system due to “click baiting”.
He also gave a beautiful example of squats linked to life where he elaborated that as one does squats, he/she goes up and down. Going down is easy because there are forces acting in favor of it but to go back up, one needs strength because he/she needs to apply force against the forces pulling him/her down. Despite this, one manages to undergo this process multiple times just like we do in our lives. His presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
Mr. Sandeep Suryavanshi is the CEO of Aide Expert Advisory, Virtual CTO, Ex Global CIO, Startup Advisor & Investor, and an AI Ethics Researcher.
He specifically gave insights into the concepts of Super A.I. technology and discussed its core principles.
Mr. Suryavanshi talked about the upcoming concepts of “Artificial Narrow Intelligence”, “Artificial General Intelligence” and “Ethical A.I”. Some light was also shed upon the 8 guiding principles to guide A.I development and how A.I Ethics are an urgent concern for all major tech companies. It was also brought to the attention of the audience that globally most governments are developing Ethical A.I regulations and that AI Ethics is a multidisciplinary field with lots of research challenges. He spoke about how A.I. is non-static and keeps changing. He also said that accountability according to business situations is extremely important. His presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
SCIT’s “Mavericks of Theatre” brought to us an exquisite performance where they demonstrated the after-effects of moonlighting and false marketing.
Mr. Vijay Chandola is the senior product leader, digital banking, and transformation owner at Axis Bank. He is also a mentor for Think Sage. He spoke about mercurial culture and the divergent views that industry professionals have on it. He discussed moonlighting where he brought up topics like plain vanilla charting that investigates productivity issues and perspectives. He stated facts and statistics about moonlighting and was inclined towards it being a boon rather than a bane. In the end, he spoke about the three crucial aspects of anyone’s professional growth. Those were
- Career growth
- Learning and development
- Financial ability
Here, he talked about workplace flexibility and how people are more than willing to trade and pay for it. Employees these days are looking for and shifting towards the following because there has been a change in their needs and priorities after the advent of Covid-19,
- Adequate compensation
- Meaningful work
- Healthcare support
- Change in priorities and requirements from roles in the future,
- Textbook knowledge is the pipeline, there is a shift towards simulation knowledge because it is a platform i.e. it shows agility.
He advised students to choose to work with firms that provide flexibility so that they can cater to the betterment of their personal lives as well. His presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
Mr. Saransh Agarwal
Mr. Saransh Agarwal is the CEO of Open Network For Digital Commerce (ONDC). He spoke about the reason E-commerce is having a tough time being accepted by local vendors in spite of their acceptance of it in demand, supply, and digitization. He spoke in detail about the work of ONDC where they use unbundling and interoperability to solve the above issue(s). He said ONDC, much so like a mediator, helps more platforms to network with respect to e-commerce to be able to transact with each other. He spoke about the necessity of a firm and its focus on social impact. He also discussed the tradeoff between making money and following ethics and integrating and upscaling all these factors with the introduction of technology into the ecosystem. He talked about the importance of getting Indian vendors to be a part of the e-commerce ecosystem in order to further advance toward retail and services digitization. His presentation was followed by an interactive Q&A session with the audience.
SCIT’s music committee gave a phenomenal singing performance where they performed medleys comprising of old-age and modern songs. The audience was left energized after their vivacious showcasing of musical talent.
VOTE OF THANKS
Dr. Shaji Joseph of SCIT closed the ceremony by giving a vote of thanks to all the illustrious guests and speakers for enlightening the students, the guest lecture committee members of ITBM for their relentless hard work to make the event a huge success, and all the attendees for their undue attention and interest towards the main theme of the event.
OFFLINE EVENTS – Debate and Drawing Competition.
Debate topics were related to integrity and ethics, perfectly in line with the theme of the conclave.
The drawing competition’s objective was in sync with the world and the importance of sustainability, resourcefulness, and protecting the environment.
SOCIAL IMPACT AND SUPPORT
The guest lecture committee had organized for certain NGOs to set up stalls on the campus. These artisans were underprivileged and were at SCIT to sell their products and handicrafts. They had varieties of hand-made chocolates, divine scented candles and diyas, beautiful clothing items, and many more products. It was a small gesture by the committee to provide support to these artisans.