Over 150 product management professionals, aspirants and students attend first Software Product Management Summit at IIMB


Bangalore: Software Product Management is culturally contextual and there is a need to build a strong ecosystem and community in order to realize its potential, especially in the Indian context, said industry experts at the first Software Product Management Summit hosted by the Centre for Software and IT Management and the International Software Product Management Professionals Association (ISPMA) at IIMB on February 14 and 15, 2019.

The two-day event covered a range of Software Product Management (SPM) topics through key note addresses, panel sessions by CEOs, venture partners, product and talent heads, a fireside chat involving eminent industry leaders, student showcases, deep dive workshops and an awards ceremony.

The SPM Excellence Awards from ISPMA were declared after several rounds of evaluation, interviews and final presentations by the finalists. The jury comprised Hans-Bernd Kittlaus, Chairman, ISPMA, Prof. Rahul De, Chair of CSITM at IIMB and faculty from the Information Systems area, and Prof. Guenther Ruhe, from the University of Calgary.

The winners are:

BillionLoans in the Startup category
SunTec Open Banking in the New Product in Matured Company category
Customer XPs – Clari5 in the Established Product in Matured Company category

The ISPMA board has extended an invitation and free tickets to the winners to the SPM Summit in Frankfurt, Germany, in April 2019. The importance of partner centricity, platformization, benefits of SaaS (Software as a Service) model were the key takeaways from the success stories presented by the finalists.

The summit began, on February 14, with the lamp lighting by Prof. K. Kumar, Dean Alumni Relations & Development at IIMB. The welcome address was delivered by Prof. Haragopal Mangipudi, Distinguished Alumnus of IIMB and Member of the Board of ISPMA.

The key message of the conference was about how Software Product Management is culturally contextual, hence the need to build a strong ecosystem in order to realize its potential, especially in the Indian context. The fireside chat between industry veteran and Chairman of Surya Soft and Edgeverve D.N. Prahlad and Hans-Bernd Kittlaus, Chairman of ISPMA, underscored this observation.

In his address, IIMB Director Prof. G. Raghuram observed that the Indian software industry has come a long way from having to thrive on cost arbitrage. He encouraged product managers and students to take Indian product management expertise to the global level and lead the world in this capability.

The sessions, by Rumen Colov, Co-founder and VP – Product Management at Applied Qubit, a start-up developing software for quantum computers, on ‘My Journey into Software Product Management’, Zornitsa Nikolova, Co-founder and Managing Partner of Leanify, a company focused on Lean and Agile training, on ‘Product Discovery with Design Thinking’, and Scott Miller, Director of Software Pricing and Monetization, CGI, on ‘Best Practices in Pricing SaaS’, were aimed at giving an all-round view of Product Management to aspiring product managers.

Eminent Professor Michael A. Cusumano, in his key note address, dwelt on the concept of hybrid companies, the steps to building a platform and markets that are eligible to be platformized.

Two panel discussions were held on the second day of the conference. The first one, ‘Nurturing Software Product Management – Enabling Careers of Success’, featured Abdul Jaleel, Vice President, Employee Experience in Adobe India, Somshubhro Pal Choudhury, Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund, and Sudeep Ralhan, Head of Human Resources, Walmart Labs India. It was moderated by Somnath Baishya, Head of People charter for Intuit. The discussions sparked questions from audience on basic principles of product management. The second panel, ‘Global Best Practices and India’s Leadership in Software Products’, was moderated by Prof. Rishikesha T. Krishnan, from the Strategy area at IIMB, and featured Sanjai K, VP and Head of product management for SAP ERP, Sundar Balasubramanian, Director of Product Management for QuickBooks, and Som Pal Choudhury, Partner, Bharat Innovation Fund. They established the fact the India is very well placed in the product market as it has both the talent to build and manage products and a large local demand. Strengthening the ecosystem is the key to success, they said.

The student show cases was a testimony to how formal education on Product Management offered in IIMB makes them eligible to present knowledge and achievements in a summit like this.

In his session on ‘The Art of Product Management in the World of Internet of Everything’, Hans-Bernd Kittlaus quoted with conviction a remark by the Volkswagen CEO, “A car is to a large degree turning into a software product”. This, he said, made it clear that top players in other industries have started to adopt the IT approach.

The multiple tracks of workshops conducted by Hans-Bernd Kittlaus and Haragopal Mangipudi were considered to be of high value and were attended by a large number of professionals and students.

Hans-Bernd remarked that with software becoming the number one value driver for most industries, Software Product Management is becoming a key leadership skill. ISPMA, he said, was excited to focus on India in building this community of professionals and fostering excellence in software product management in India.

This thought was echoed by Haragopal Mangipudi who added that India Software Product Management 2019, in collaboration with IIMB, is a step in that direction. ISPMA is committed to support IIMB’s CSITM’s initiatives to promote research and education in software product management.