I was in Mumbai last Sunday to attend SBI's 'Technology concert'. It was intended to celebrate SBI's achievement in core banking- some 9000 branches connected, said to be the largest in the country, and accomplished with the collaboration of TCS and Cisco.
The event itself was a technological achievement. It was held at Brabourne stadium, with around 600 invitees. Even in the dark, I could spot several bigwigs of business and finance. The show was conducted against a screen that ran for several hundred feet, the largest screen ever put up in Asia, I was told. The screen as well as the rest of the area were packed with hardware. The event was heralded with spell-binding fusion music, followed by various luminaries and SBI officials coming on screen tell us what it took to get the core banking job done.
SBI chairman O PBhatt himself anchored the event. There followed a panel discussion figuring Mukesh Ambani, Sunil Mittal, Mohandas Pai, S Ramadorai, Jeffrey Sachs and the India head of Cisco. Pranab Mukerjee delivered the chief guest's address.
Next, the stage and sky alike were lit up by a laser dance. This was followed by an electrifying Kathak dance performance by Shovana Narayan and her troupe. The execution was immaculate throughout and the effects terrific- great acoustics, fantastic colours lighting up the screen and huge flames popping up all over the stadium.
It was the sort of thing one associates with Filmfare awards nite or the Oscar awards. Certainly not something one would associate with the public sector. If the intention was to demonstrate SBI's technological prowess, the message could not have been better conveyed.