Sarath Shyam

We thought 2021 would be a year of transition. In the first few months, individuals, businesses, and society had started to look forward rather than just grinding through the present. Then came the second wave. With an unprecedented rise in COVID-19 cases, the state governments had to bring back localised lockdowns, dampening the pace of recovery for the Indian corporate sector. However, many believe that the overall impact will be weaker in comparison to last year’s wreckage. In fact, the corona catastrophe has taught us how to innovate during tough times.

During the COVID-19 crisis, digitisation has seen incredible growth, which means everything from online customer service to remote working to supply-chain reinvention to the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to improve operations. The transformation was visible in the healthcare sector as well, with telehealth and biopharma coming into their own. However, for the economies to recover, consumer confidence needs to return. McKinsey’s most recent consumer survey, published in late October 2020, found that countries with older demographics, such as France, Italy, and Japan, are less optimistic than are those with younger populations, such as India and Indonesia. It clearly states that the spending will
only recover as fast as the rate at which people feel confident about becoming mobile again—and those attitudes differ markedly by country.

In this special issue of CXO Outlook, we bring expert opinions on the market trends that we expect in the post-pandemic world of business. As always, we have managed to collate perspectives from different industries to help our readers understand the pulse of a country that is striving to recover. On the cover, we feature Dr Mahesh Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, Kent RO Systems Ltd. The story of Dr Gupta started in 1985, from a small room in his house, with nothing but dreams and self-belief. This first-generation entrepreneur now has the distinct credit to shape up India’s unorganised Water Purifier market to a fastest-growing Rs. 3500 crore industry.

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