We have deployed several SaaS based solutions to transform and support our core processes: Kalyan Pachigolla, VP-IT, Emaar India

Emaar India, a leading real estate developer, been able to move on to a single instance across multiple countries, standardise and streamline its procurement and internal operations to a great extent and having all relevant data in one place, by using Oracle’s cloud solutions, says Kalyan Pachigolla, Vice President Information Technology, Emaar India, in an interview with Express Computer

Some edited excerpts:

How do you perceive digital transformation taking over the real estate sector and the role of modern technologies in supporting real estate companies evolve in this space?

The pandemic and has pushed not just the industries (across all sectors), but also the administrative and legislative wings, that have heavily relied on physical experience for the longest. We have lawyers attending court proceedings digitally now. It’s the “new normal” and no longer a choice. You have to adopt or get left behind.

Successful business leaders are not waiting for the “new normal” but are building and defining it. They are no more talking about technologies that are emerging but are going after those that are built for the future and these new avenues are limitless for every industry. A significant chunk of Real estate sector in India is comprised of small and medium players and traditionally has been unorganized, with limited appetite for technology. However, the larger players in the real estate space have gone beyond using technology for core functions to embrace newer technologies across departments in their digital transformation journey. This change has been progressive and significant but still happening.

The digitalization wave in the real estate sector has unlocked unforeseen possibilities and is playing a greater role in how enterprises operate. Keeping the customer as the centre of focus for the business has an entirely new dimension with the prevalence of Smart phones, social media, internet based service aggregators/agents. Application of technologies such as 3D Mapping, Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality craft a whole new experience for customers. They can take virtual tours of projects, make customization decisions and pick furniture by visualising the space with their choices, all with just a few clicks and from the comfort of their home. Use of Internet of Things (IoT) for smarter homes and office space takes it a step further in bundling technology as part of the real estate offering to the customer.

The recent adoption of modern technologies such as edge computing, analytics, AI & ML has made the maintenance of internal processes automated while delivering impeccable service to distant areas for the end customers. Tech players are playing a bigger role as partners in the real estate industry and have provided much-needed upthrust for the industry to raise the bar on all fronts. We see real estate companies taking the best advantage of modern technologies and contributing towards the growth and evolution of the sector.

What kind of business challenges did Emmar Group face on the operational front?

Emaar carries a global legacy with a formidable portfolio of remarkable residential and commercial spaces in the countries it operates. We always thought of developing world-class properties in India and delivering the best to our customers with a luxurious experience. With the wide-scale operations and expansion in India the need for to expand the technology footprint to improve operational efficiencies, collaboration and customer experience.

There was a need move to a unified platform and a standard system landscape across countries to standardize and manage our internal business processes, bringing in controls, providing a direct view into performance metrics, financial data and other business intelligence, engage with global customer base all while leveraging scale and optimizing costs.

During Emaar’s initial journey in India, it had to part ways with it’s partner that was present at inception. On the technology front this meant moving away from the difficult to maintain legacy systems inherited to a more modern and reliable systems. Having different and disparate systems across the group was leading to higher costs of support and maintenance. From a solution perspective the systems didn’t necessarily talk to each other. High level of decentralized customization solutions made managing changes a difficult and slow process. Besides having scaling issues, there was a lack of effective support for the dated technologies.

The ask was for a solution set that can fulfill the current business requirements and develop the future vision. Technology wise, we wanted to move towards a sustainable SaaS Model wherever possible, integrate systems and more to a standard landscape/solution set across countries. We required support in enabling this transformation.

Do you think data and technology are helping you solve business challenges and how?

Considering traditional offices are undergoing rapid advancements and market disruption prospects at an all-time high, real estate is one of the major industries that is at the cusp of rapid transformation. Though not unique to real estate, RPA, AI & ML being used to take over repetitive processes with fair amount of standardization, increasing processing speed accuracy all while reducing the dependency on and size of workforce deployed. Digitization of processes to reduce the paperwork and manual processes involved have become more of a hygiene now.

More specific to real estate sector, devices with edge computing capabilities, already play huge role in building networks. There’s use of technology with something as standard as a Building Management System that controls the Lighting, ventilation & air conditioning or advance monitoring of machine and equipment for operational efficiency. The industry is becoming more aligned and structured lately capturing the ongoing metric of usage of energy, tenant occupancy, water consumption, maintenance needs etc using cloud embedded applications. Geo tagged designs and augmented reality have vital use cases in large scale real estate project which go a long way in construction and maintenance especially for things that are concealed such as trenches & pipes beneath pavement/roads, wiring & plumbing inside the concreate/block work. Engaging with the customer on digital platforms using mobile apps and chat bots help in addressing both sales and customer service queries, provide intuitive self-service options and easy access to information. Leading to a hyper personalized experience, reduce the lag in interactions and provide for a more effective interaction.

On the data front analytics is moving beyond just the basic quantitative Data analytics for operational efficiencies, decision making, diagnostics & predictive analysis to Qualitative Analytics & Visual Analytics with deep learning being applied for customer behaviour analysis. There is an overload of unstructured descriptive data from various digital channels such as social media and websites to gauging customer sentiment. Visual analytics is being applied to how people move during various activities to monitor crowd activity and behaviour monitoring to alert of injuries, identifying and preventing potential security threats in commercial spaces. The new-age SaaS-based applications are supporting the organisations in making informed business decisions through real-time data insights across multiple departments. The kind of flexibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness it provides is phenomenal and can actually help in overcoming several business-related challenges.

How has particularly SaaS-based applications model helped Emmar Group in streamlining its procurement and internal operations?

SaaS-based application model lets the technology department focus on adding value through technology rather than working hard to keep the lights on. It brings in the agility from removes most of your infrastructure worries. From worrying about maintaining a Data Centre, network and server engineers, spending on disaster recovery and dedicated connectivity to support working from multiple offices across regions, you get to focus entirely on how technology help can solve business problems. At present we are working with Oracle using their Cloud -based SaaS solutions. With its implementation we have been able to move on to a single instance across multiple countries, standardize and streamline our procurement and internal operations to a great extent and having all relevant Data in one place.

At Emaar Group, we were able to deploy several SaaS based solutions around to transform and support our core processes. There is extensive digitization of the processes and looking forward to reaping the benefits of AI & ML in areas such as Automated Invoice Processing, collaboration using staff and vendors through the various self-service portals making for an seamless processing and faster turnaround time, reducing the administrative burden on employees. Though we are yet to bank the benefits we are already seeing benefits of scale and support. Upgrading to new feature set that’s in tune industry and conformance to changing regulatory requirements should be a breeze in a SaaS model.

Can you talk about your Cloud journey and how Oracle as a cloud provider has been supportive to you in this journey?

We had opted for it’s a diverse pool of SaaS based applications from Oracle to maximum digitization for bringing the business transformation within the finance, procurement, accounts payable, fixed assets, project costing and risk management. We wanted a global technology partner that could support our parallel implementation across the countries we operate in, a proven track record of successful large scale implementations and strong consulting and product knowledge. Oracle has assisted us throughout with its SaaS-based solutions and supported us closely with the implementation process.

With Oracle Cloud solutions, we were successful in integrating our operations and leverage our strength to simplify, streamline and automate core processes, leverage its advance features and gain efficiency. We were able to have a truly single global instance supporting all the group companies across geographies, a single data source for several key metrics and a unified view of the entire organization, setting a strong foundation to leverage cross company synergies.

What type of solution have you implemented at Emmar India so far to modernize your core processes at the organization? Request you to elaborate

Implementing a suite of Oracle Cloud applications has been one of the major transformations to cloud this year. A key component of Oracle Fusion Cloud Procurement, Oracle Purchasing helps in streamlining and automating the procure-to-pay process while enforcing negotiated pricing and terms and ensuring policy compliance. It also provided with insights such as buying professionals information that can be used to setup exceptions, status, and make actionable plans. Apart from this, we have also implemented solutions including Oracle Fusion Self Service Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion Sourcing Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion Supplier Portal Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion Supplier Qualification Cloud Service, Oracle Fusion Procurement Contract Cloud Service and Oracle Fusion Inventory Cloud Service among many others. These solutions as part of Oracle Enterprise Resource Planning supported us in aligning financial work, project cost management, supplier management, inventory management and provided transactional business intelligence.

CloudEmaar IndiaOracle
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