ISA CEO Conference: Thomas Cook's Abraham Alapatt on business models being challenged

Alapatt spoke to exchange4media about the upcoming ISA CEO Conference, challenges, and his advice to young aspiring leaders

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Mar 7, 2019 8:18 AM Updated: Mar 7, 2019 8:18 AM
Abraham Alapatt

Technology that is driving businesses is also posing a challenge to the entire ecosystem and leaders are facing what is now being called the ‘Connectedness Paradox.’ The ISA CEO Conference organised by exchange4media will seek to find approaches to address this paradox. 

Abraham Alapatt, Group President, Head - Marketing, Service Quality & Innovation, Thomas Cook, who will be moderating a panel discussion on ‘Winning the Consumer in the Connected World’ at the conference, elaborated on the challenges saying: “Business models are being challenged – not just businesses. Thinking is being challenged – not just individuals. Communication is being challenged – not just data systems.” 

Alapatt spoke to exchange4media about the upcoming event, challenges, and his advice to young aspiring leaders. Edited Excerpts: 

What will be the prime focus of the ISA CEO Conference?

The focus of this ISA CEO Conference will be the new and emerging challenges and opportunities posed to leaders and businesses as a result of an increasingly interconnected business ecosystem of customers, employees, suppliers etc. Some of the best brains in the country will be sharing and comparing notes on how they deal and plan to manage these and the new paradigm they have created.

What can delegates expect to learn and gain from this day long conference?

A whole new perspective with use cases across leadership, strategy, growth and trust, the evolving media and retail environment, the growing power of platform models and communities and big data/insights and analytics from some of the most respected leaders in the country.

The theme of this year's conference is "The Connectedness Paradox." What are the challenges of being a CEO in this interconnected yet paradoxically disconnected world?

Traditional business models were premised on and built around traditional pyramidal structures of power and information control – top to down.

The new ecosystem that we are increasingly operating in, pose a completely different set of challenges and opportunities with physical and virtual connections crisscrossing across levels dispersing data and consequently power across the organization and requiring very different mind and skill sets of leaders and other elements in the business ecosystem.

Business models are being challenged – not just businesses. Thinking is being challenged – not just individuals. Communication is being challenged – not just data systems. OTT and new media platforms are growing rapidly and changing the mediascape permanently.

At the centre of it, the customer is now more in control – power has shifted more definitively to him than ever before.

At the same time, what opportunities does this new paradigm present to CEOs and leaders?

The new interconnected paradox that we are discussing also presents incredible opportunities for sharp business leaders – creating opportunities for challengers, far greater access and reach across global markets, faster and lower cost of access to customers, a brave new frontier of marketing that no longer relies as much on size, scale and traditional media muscle as much as it does on insights, razor sharp business and revenue models, top notch product/service delivery, data, analytics, learning algorithms to deliver personalisation and flexibility. Finally, the cool quotient that breaks the clutter for millenials and gen Z customers and stays relevant and evolutionary all the time – keeping pace with the customer and market.

What is your biggest fear as an industry leader and veteran?

That organisations and leaders are not as open and quick to change as they ought to be - given the pace of change and what is to come.

How do you overcome your fear?

Pushing my team and partners to try to anticipate and plan for the future so we are ready and also to be faster and more responsive about the things we did not anticipate.

What is your advice to budding leaders and executives who want to be CXOs someday?

Be humble. Listen more and learn more from everyone and every situation. Learning makes us better and being better, is what leadership is finally about.

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