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Amid a not-so-good quarter, owing to increasing expenses and reduced client spending in a challenging macroeconomic environment when the companies’ profits dropped by 62% from Q2 of previous year, Tech Mahindra seems rather cheerful.
The company, in its latest earnings call, emphasised on the need for innovation and diversification, and shifted its focus towards sports, chess and cricket.
In collaboration with BCCI, Tech Mahindra set up an innovation lab to enhance fan experience at the Ahmedabad stadium. The innovation centre was launched during the IPL finals, this year.
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The Joint Innovation Center is set up at the Narendra Modi Stadium, and Gurnani confirmed that a similar innovation lab will come up at two more stadiums — Dharamshala and Wankhede, Mumbai.
Interestingly, the Narendra Modi Stadium in Ahmedabad, which is the largest cricket stadium in the world, where the IPL finals for 2022 and 2023 were held, witnessed over 1 lakh spectators. This is also where the World Cup Finals for this year will be held, thereby, proving to be the right place for Tech Mahindra’s fan centre.
The company’s foray into cricket vertical is not a new development. In 2020, during the pandemic, Tech Mahindra, partnered with IPL team Kings XI Punjab to enhance the fan experience and reach a wide audience. It launched an engagement app on Android and iOS for fans to connect with the team, and were also working on introducing holographic virtual fans in the stadium.
Furthermore, the company also collaborated with another IPL team in 2021. Team Rajasthan Royals partnered with the company to enhance fan loyalty and monetisation. The collab looked to triple the value of the team’s fan base by using Tech Mahindra’s digital platform, and also find ways to create revenue streams for the team. Digital campaigns via social media, email and other avenues were part of the plan.
Moving beyond cricket, Tech Mahindra’s sports vertical has invested and partnered with diverse sports companies and universities too. In the earnings call, Gurnani confirmed that they are working with NFL (National Football League) and ‘Mahindra Racing’ that competes in electric FIA Formula E Championship (a motor racing team competing with an Indian racing licence), and have branded the platform as Fan NXT.NOW.
In 2021, Tech Mahindra partnered with Loughborough University in England, whose expertise lies in exceptional athletes, world-class facilities, top-tier coaching, research capabilities, and active collaborations with sports entities. The partnership focussed to combine both their prowess by jointly advancing sports innovation and exploring options around 5G, AR, VR and further research on shaping the future of sports consumption.
A few years ago, Tech Mahindra partnered with Fanisko, a fan-engagement platform that enhances mobile fan retention and digital engagement. The collaboration was aimed to leverage cutting-edge technologies to improve fan engagement and introduce innovative monetisation models for sports organisations globally.
Tech Mahindra is also synonymous with chess. The company is preparing to grow the league by introducing four additional teams in response to interest from both international and Indian businesses looking to invest in the franchise-based competition – Global Chess League. In June 2022, Tech Mahindra was the first corporate organisation to back the FIDE Chess Olympiad.
Towards Diversification and Innovation
“We, as a company, will continue to invest in innovation; we’ll continue to invest in new verticals; and we’ll continue to diversify,” said the CEO and MD of Tech Mahindra, CP Gurnani, during the company’s earnings call.
Tech Mahindra’s focus on generative AI has been rampant this year, with the company seeing it as means for talent utilisation and innovative work. The company announced its plans to train 8,000 employees to cater to the demand of generative AI and quantum computing.
This year, the company announced a number of initiatives such as Generative AI Studio, to drive customer excellence, and have even announced the Indus Project, which is working towards building an Indic language model, an effort towards making an indigenous language model for Indian context.