Hyper-converging digital businesses in the era of AI

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Hyper-converging digital businesses in the era of AI

Businesses today utilize a range of SaaS tools that are integrated to surface insights around customers, products, and people. However, in the process, the data required to surface these insights do not flow freely between the systems. The result is broken processes with siloed data, derailing productivity and impacting decision-making.

While the past few years led to this age of digital transformation, organizations are quickly recognizing the need for AI transformation, raising crucial questions such as:

The Effortless ’24 conference in Mumbai covered all this and more. Missed the conference? You can catch all the speaker sessions here. Here’s a recap of each session:

A SaaSsy India

Speaker: Dheeraj Pandey, CEO and Founder, DevRev

Panelists: Rashid Khan, co-founder of, Neelkanth Mishra, member of PM’s economic council, and Ramesh Lakshminarayanan, CIO at HDFC.

Dheeraj's keynote went deep into what SaaS penetration in India would look like. He busted the common myths about SaaS that will drive India from a $4 trillion to a $10 trillion economy, unveiled SaaS 2.0, and, along the way, uncovered some truths.

Myth #1: Going from 4 trillion to 10 trillion is a straight-line path

Transitioning from a service-oriented to a product-focused nation isn't a linear path. It starts with saying "No". Although we are culturally tuned to say "Yes" to a lot of things, we need to embrace essentialism. We need to pick the most essential items that would propel us and go deep into executing them.

Myth #2: SaaS is not affordable

SaaS pricing in the past decades has been majorly tuned to the West. It has now evolved to what we call SaaS 2.0, focusing on freemium customers to drive PLG (product-led growth) while keeping enterprises in mind. Because of the way it is built using micro-tenants, hosting SaaS 2.0 becomes more affordable, significantly reducing the cost compared to SaaS 1.0.

Myth #3: They’re not in my region

Geographical limitations are no longer a barrier with SaaS 2.0's cloud-native architecture. By aligning with hyperscalers, we don't need to wait for $100 million worth of business first to roll out a data center; we can swiftly establish and expand to new regions within weeks.

Myth #4: The sunk cost of existing workflows

With advancements in AI and GPT, transitioning from high-code to low-code and no-code workflows is a reality. You can now use GPT to move your legacy code to a new platform, and workflow builders and specialists have already started using natural language to build workflows in a truly no code fashion.

Rasheed Khan, Co-founder of, shared his view on how businesses should change the way software is built, keeping in mind that the customers’ feedback and inputs should drive the product roadmap.

Myth #5: People are less expensive than low-code, no-code platforms

Hiring good talent is getting as expensive as it is in the West. Embracing automation and productivity through cloud-native thinking and code generation can significantly reduce costs, making low-code/no-code platforms a more cost-effective solution than bespoke development.

Myth #6: CRM requires on-prem proprietary hardware for analytics, or big cloud DWs

Unlike SaaS 1.0, which left analytics and data warehousing to the customers, SaaS 2.0 offers pipelining, analytics, dashboards, and visualization out of the box. This would reduce the dependence on dedicated data teams.

Data teams no longer have to build manual dashboards and reports constantly. With AI integration, democratizing data access allows managers to gain instant insights using natural language. SaaS 2.0 aims to revolutionize workflows by placing AI-driven data democratization at its core.

Myth #7: Slack is for digital natives

Effective collaboration has to go beyond communication between internal teams to include customers. While semantic search and LLM-powered chatbots can automate the 100 repeatedly asked questions, B2B customer interactions are more complex than that. When you have to collaborate on feature requests, bug fixes, and solutions, interactions become way more complicated and profound than "Where is my order?"

Myth #8: Developers should focus on code, not customers

The notion of keeping developers isolated from customers is an old-school thinking that stifles product management and design thinking, creating silos. Instead, when you encourage collaboration between the three functions, you get a powerful trifecta: three legs of the same stool. We call it EPD - Engineering, Product, and Design. When these teams work together with customers, it builds understanding, efficient problem-solving, and customer-centricity. More importantly, they surface critical questions, such as 'Why are we building features after features when nobody uses them.'

Myth #9: I don’t need Jira, my SI partner does

Businesses should embrace SI partners and developers as an integral part of their company. At the end of the day, their handoffs and deliverables are as much your problem as it is the SI partner’s.

With a product CRM like DevRev, we have brought PMs and developers together on one platform. This unites developer work, PM planning, and designer inputs, along with real-time planning and work coordination. It replaces disjointed spreadsheet planning and outdated tools, fostering team collaboration and efficiency.

Now for some truths

Myth Truth #1: SaaS renewals have become akin to Oracle renewals

SaaS renewals are becoming as predatory as old software contracts, forcing users into costly subscriptions even if they don't fully utilize the service. This called for a shift from SaaS 1.0 to SaaS 2.0, emphasizing on user engagement, smooth onboarding, customer delight, and product-led growth. SaaS 2.0 focuses on end-user satisfaction, leveraging native AI, analytics, and collaboration, and aims to reduce the reliance on costly professional services such as a 9-month-long migration.

Myth Truth #2: AI engineering will require very expensive developers and GPUs

AI engineering demands expensive developers and GPU resources, which are in short supply. However, SaaS 2.0 integrates essential AI components like semantic search, data pipelines, and AI middleware into its stack, avoiding costly bolt-on solutions. By offering AI engineering as a recurring service, SaaS 2.0 aims to ensure ongoing support and innovation, addressing pain points like vendor switches and community knowledge gaps.

Myth Truth #3: India will become a $10 trillion economy by 2034

In an engaging fireside chat with Neelkanth Mishra, a member of PM's economic council, and Ramesh Lakshminarayanan, CIO at HDFC, Dheeraj discussed what it takes for India's hyper-growth over the next decade.

Neelkanth was optimistic about achieving this goal, laid down the math for it, and focused on three crucial pillars:

  • A sustained productivity growth and how well we utilize our capital and labor to attain non-inflation growth
  • Being in the Anglosphere and building trust with global firms
  • Standardization streamlines processes, enabling rapid innovation and global value chain integration

Ramesh touched upon how

  • Customer acquisition on digital platforms is a challenge for businesses, and the need for PMs to think beyond product to provide good customer experience
  • Akin to the computer revolution, humankind will soon upskill themselves to use AI as a copilot to boost productivity and drive innovation

Humans & machines

Speaker: Manoj Agarwal, Co-founder of DevRev

Product demo by DevRevelers: Michael Machado, Vimlesh Gautham, Prithvi Sharma, Saloni Dhawan

Manoj walked us through how every business function–Product management, support, sales, etc. – has a similar process, start and end. While the terminologies used in these functions vary, they all revolve around either the product, the customer, or both. However, to get from start to finish, all these functions use numerous tools and systems. At the end of the day, the data is scattered, teams are siloed, and businesses are fractured, unable to get those critical insights needed to innovate.

Manoj and his team demonstrated how to centralize business infrastructure, focusing on customers and products as the core of your AI & digital strategy:

  • Knowledge graphs: Prithvi Sharma, product manager at DevRev, showcased how a comprehensive knowledge graph encompasses product features, customer insights, team contributions, and more, acting as a centralized resource for both humans and LLMs.
  • Observability: Vimlesh Gautham, the head of observability, shares how DevRev can provide a complete 360° view of a customer's behavior, their product usage, and the experience insights through session replays, journey dropout, exception metrics, and more.
  • DevRev platform: Michael Machado, head of product at DevRev, talked about the one CRM platform and how we put this all together to give you the SaaS 2.0 infrastructure. He went in-depth about how DevRev gives you modern AI-first software that brings together a
    • Ticketing system can help you run your support operations
    • Customer engagement platform so you can engage with your customers across any channel
    • Self-service powered by AI
    • Observability to understand your users to reduce the churn rate and boost CLTV.
  • Internal collaboration: DevRev platform also brings your internal teams together to
    • Collaborate across functions without throwing things over the wall to another system and waiting for updates
    • Enable support agents to become support engineers with user 360 and root-cause analysis. So they'll have more context on the product and can engage in relevant conversations with the engineering teams.
    • Empower engineers to be more customer-driven and product manage rather than project-manage
    • Leverage the right analytics and data to optimize for skill-based routing, resource management, etc.
  • Spacebar: Saloni Dhawan demonstrates how teams across the organization—sales, support, product, design, engineering, etc—can leverage AI built into DevRev to query anything across the system and get answers.

AI enterprise panel: Will AI enterprise suffer the same fate as mobile?

Moderator: Aditi Mishra

Panelists: Harnath Babu, CIO of KPMG, Ratan Kesh, COO of Bandhan Bank, and Munish Blaggan, head of digital transformation at ICICI.

An engaging fireside chat moderated by Aditi Mishra highlighted the key factors contributing to enterprise businesses adopting and adapting to AI.

  1. AI as a copilot: Ratan Kesh, COO of Bandhan Bank, emphasized that AI goes beyond engineering and coding, highlighting its potential to enhance productivity and efficiency. The more you fear Al, the more you will resist adaptation. While AI will impact certain professions, we are still in a transitional phase where upskilling and adaptation will create new job opportunities.
  2. AI as the fundamental layer of businesses: Harnath Babu, CIO of KPMG, advised reevaluating business processes holistically rather than adopting AI tools in isolation. This ensures you don't end up with siloed teams using various AI tools. Instead, you should consider how AI can bring teams and data together to make it the fundamental layer that powers your business.
  3. AI as the power engine for front and back offices: Munish Blaggan, head of digital transformation at ICICI, highlighted how both front and back office teams leverage AI differently. Front-end teams utilize AI to enhance customer experience, while back-end teams use it to augment data for faster decision-making. While AI can surface information and share predictions, the onus of judgment would be on human intelligence to make the right decisions based on the insights from AI.

Unlocking India’s potential

Moderator: Chandra Nath

Panelists: Karan Mehta, Founder & CTO of Ring and Kissht, and Dhruv Agrawal, Co-Founder & COO of Shipsy

Chandra Nath had a panel discussion with Karan Mehta, Founder & CTO of Ring and Kissht, and Dhruv Agrawal, Co-Founder & COO of Shipsy on India’s growth and progress in the SaaS industry, and goes deep into how Indian startups should look at nurturing home-grown talent.

  • Trusting and developing young talent: Karan mentioned that, despite his natural curiosity about every function as the Founder, trusting team members' curiosity to manage their domains and solve problems yields superior results compared to micromanagement. Businesses should move away from the traditional top-down approach and look at inexperience as a boon, since the younger generation can come up with fresh ideas that would work for the target audience.
  • Empowering SMBs for global competition: Dhruv shed light on how the Indian government recognizes the need to export SaaS to the world. He took shipping and logistics as an example with the supply chain industry reducing logistics costs through key infrastructure developments, process simplification, and technology adoption, enabling both enterprises and SMBs to compete globally.

Game set match: Mukesh Bansal and Saina Nehwal

Speakers: Mukesh Bansal, Curefit & Ex-Myntra, Saina Nehwal, Indian professional badminton player

In an engaging conversation with Mukesh Bansal, Saina Nehwal walked the audience through her introduction and journey in badminton, highlighting how growth in sports mirrors economic advancements, and the role of AI in sports analysis and training.

Although there was a time when the Indian sports industry didn't fully grasp the potential of technology, it is now pivotal for tracking recovery time, sleep quality, and heart rate during training. Advanced tech allows players to analyze strokes and improve strategy to optimize stamina. With AI, players can gain key insights from previous matches to better prepare for upcoming ones.

In essence, the conversations, discussions, and demos in Effortless 24 in Mumbai were a testament to the advancements in AI and the much-needed shift to SaaS 2.0. It demonstrated DevRev's commitment to fostering innovation, promoting collaboration, and driving the future of technology forward. It wasn't just an event; it was a snapshot of where technology stands today and a glimpse into the boundless possibilities of tomorrow.

Nivedita Bharathi
Nivedita BharathiMember of Marketing Staff

Nivedita is a developer-turned-marketer and a SaaS enthusiast. She loves all things content and writes about customer support, CX, and CRM.