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Perspectives of Project Management in the Data Only Generation

Panelists (from left) D.K. Mishra, Deb Kumar Majumder, Suman Bhowmik, K. Rangarajan, and Vikram Rai Medhi

Moderator: Suman Bhowmik, Secretary, Sparsh Foundation

Dr. D. K. Mishra, director, Department of Laboratory Sciences, Tata Medical Centre
Deb Kumar Majumder, Director, IBM India
Dr. K. Rangarajan, Head, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade, Kolkata
Vikram Rai Medhi, CEO, North East Institute of Fashion Technology, Assam

Mr. Bhowmik: How has IT revolutionized different sectors? What data do we need to use?

Dr. Mishra: Tata Medical Centre in Kolkata is completely paperless and we are in the process of starting to record communication between doctors and patients through audiovisual technology. This will ensure informed consent, which is a pillar of medical ethics. But the challenge is how do you manage that volume of data? Then there are legal implications of digital data. We have to know where to draw the line with data online. We must remember data is complementary to human effort. Now we have apps to diagnose a condition, but you need a trained person to explain the implications.

Mr. Majumder: 80 percent of the data generated cannot be tracked; telecom companies are having problems in monetizing data. Although communication service providers have relied on large volumes of data for years now, they must know how to sieve through it smartly to develop a competitive edge. The key is to build cognition around that data.

Mr. Rangarajan: The important question to ask is, can human resources shape up to the challenges of the future presented by big data? We have to move beyond the hype surrounding big data. In foreign trade, for example, big data ties in with the logistics sector. With real-time information (through big data), export and import cargo pick-up and deliveries can become smoother.

Mr. Bhowmik: How does recession affect the fashion industry and northeast India? Is there a role for data analytics in fashion? Can big data help the fashion industry overcome recession?

Mr. Medhi: In India, Bollywood and weddings drive demand in the fashion industry. The industry is not mature enough to play a global role yet. Developing databases for research and development can check misinterpretation of indigenous designs. Motifs and designs indigenous to northeast Indian tribes are often misinterpreted by fashion designers from other parts of the country.

Importance of Project Management in Social Change Through Community Planning, Development and Welfare

Panelists (from left) Geeta Venkadakrishnan, Chittapriyo Sadhu, Sanjoy Majumder, Suman Bhowmik, Debasish Roy, and Aniruddha Dey

Moderator: Suman Bhowmik, Secretary, Sparsh Foundation

Geeta Venkadakrishnan, Director, Hope Foundation, Kolkata
Chittapriyo Sadhu, General Manager, Save The Children, West Bengal & Assam
Sanjoy Majumder, Sales Head - East, SRL Diagnostics
Dr. Debasish Roy, Indian Police Service, additional Director General and Inspector General of Police - Enforcement Branch, West Bengal
Dr. Aniruddha Dey, Director, Professional Institute for Development & Socio Environmental Management

Mr. Bhowmik: I urge each of you to share your experiences in and insights into the use of project management in your sector.

Ms. Venkadakrishnan: We must involve all the stakeholders from the beginning of a project to bring about social change. The community has to be involved right from the planning stage. Communication is essential to gain the trust of the locals, who are direct project beneficiaries.

Mr. Sadhu: Project management in the social sector is about understanding constraints, and one of the hurdles to implementing projects for child protection and welfare is accessibility to remote areas of Northeast India.

Mr. Majumder: SRL partnered with state governments to set up labs in states like Sikkim. The main challenges are bureaucratic delays in getting lab resources and reagents to remote pockets.

Mr. Roy: One of the major problems we face is sustaining a project once it has started, because of funding agencies withdrawing at a later stage. So it is an open challenge for participants here to help us continue the sports-based Kolkata Goalz project for underprivileged children. It has been operational since 2011, but is likely to stop next year, as 50 per cent of funds have been withdrawn.

Mr. Dey: Most of us have a productoriented approach and not a processoriented approach. The point is that in community development projects, when you are dealing with people, day in and day out, the first step is acceptance by them. Without that you cannot expect the project to be sustainable. We have to listen to people, not talk.

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