10 Corporate Buzzwords That Will Dominate 2013

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Economic Times reported that policy paralysis, spectrum auctions, coal blocks, cloud computing and cdr (corporate debt restructuring) were some of the catchphrases that dominated business discourse in 2012. what will it be in 2013? Here’s a list of 10 you will hear a lot about in the coming year.

1. Money

man-holding-indian-money-thumb1684098Contrasting imperatives will bring about many unions between those in need of funds and those with a surplus, via mergers and acquisitions, and public and private issues. Many cash-starved Indian companies will hawk assets to cut debt, while the better ones will raise capital to grow. Companies with heavy debt will restructure to sharpen focus on core business, while foreign companies from the US and Japan will hunt for Indian assets to expand.

2. Women’s Safety

The outpouring of anguish following the recent gang rape of a young woman in a Delhi bus and her tragic death is wending its way to India Inc. It is putting pressure on companies, especially those in 24×7 sectors, to not treat safety of women at the workplace and beyond as a blind spot, and instead fortify internal processes, take initiatives and sensitise male co-workers. The urgency to do so has never been more.

3. CSR

With a new law likely to make it mandatory for companies above certain thresholds to spend 2% of their net profi t on corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, this aspect could acquire greater focus and structure among the well-intentioned. Most companies are currently below the 2% mark. To scale up and to make their CSR spend count, CEOs will have more professionals on board, choose and structure initiatives thoughtfully, and make auditing and reporting of it more stringent.

4. New Banks

After eight years of dithering, new banks are a possibility. There are high hopes, and fears about business houses returning to own banks after four decades. Many groups such as the Birlas are keen, but will the conditionalities be so tough that it makes banking an unviable proposition? It will a discussion topic, more so if many big ones don’t make it.

5. Accelerators

After eight years of dithering, new banks are a possibility. There are high hopes, and fears about business houses returning to own banks after four decades. Many groups such as the Birlas are keen, but will the conditionalities be so tough that it makes banking an unviable proposition? It will a discussion topic, more so if many big ones don’t make it.

6. Corporate Governance

The new Companies Bill, if passed, could change the way India Inc looks at governance. From greater shareholders rights (class-action suits) to scrutiny of related-party disclosures (board now has to justify them), from rotation of auditors (maximum tenure of fi ve years for an auditor) to stringent penal provisions (fraud is defi ned for fi rst time and imprisonment now introduced in many cases)…companies will have to make themselves more accountable.

7. SMAC

SMAC (social, mobility, analytics and cloud) is the most beloved acronym now in the jargon-fi lled enterprise software world. The promise is that this set of technologies will give more power to employees and customers, turn data into insights and deliver software in an on-demand form. Eventually, SMAC may mean that enterprises need be concerned with outcomes alone, and not what goes into the plumbing.

8. Gender Diversity

Gender diversity in India is still a notion practised in pockets. Having said that, there is a greater consciousness that more women in the workforce — across levels and functions — is a good thing.

It’s not acceptable that women occupy just 5.3% of the total board seats of the BSE-100 companies or have only a 20% presence in engineering institutes. Many companies and organisations are proactively trying to correct this imbalance — for example, by promoting and nurturing women, by offering fl exihours and by setting up corporate creches…This will continue in 2013.

9. Solar Power

From Rs 18 per unit three years ago, the cost of producing solar power is now about Rs 11, making it a viable alternative to, say, gensets. As of November, according to PricewaterhouseCoopers India, the country had an installed solar capacity of 1,047 MW; this is projected to increase to 1,650 MW in 2013. More states are following Gujarat to incentivise investments. Big groups like Reliance ADAG and Birla are coming in. Gigawatt scale (Above 1,000 MW) installations per year, as expected from 2013 onwards, will attract global component makers (glass, cells, batteries, panels) to set up units here, further lowering costs.

10. Digital Marketing

Just when marketers thought they had nailed what digital marketing stands for, it has gone and changed again. It has variously stood for creating websites, search engine optimisation, marketing on social media and engagement, and maybe even sales via mobile platforms. In 2013, it will stand for all of the above, and more — swot up on buzzwords like SoLoMo (social, local, mobile) and gamifi cation (think of the point system in games like Farmville applied to mundane tasks to make them more engaging).

(First Published in Economic Times)

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