Driving on the Information Technology Highway

Jagdish Belwal, Chief Information Officer at Tata Motors, feels that there is ample scope for using Information Technology to enable Tata Motors to become a faster, more agile and more innovative company. He spoke to Abhishek Raval on the importance of developing extensive capabilities in the areas of cloud, analytics and IoT

What is your technology roadmap for 2016?
Today mobility has become very important for bringing efficiency to the business processes. In 2016, we will be bringing out more mobile apps for our stakeholders. From a technology transformation point of view, we are now moving from UNIX to Linux—this is actually a three year programme, which we will be completing in 2016. This transformation will give us complete interoperability in the cloud. We are doing extensive work on IoT and this will give us the ability to have a better monitoring mechanism for our large manufacturing plants.

How do you see technology being used to create the winning strategy for Tata Motors in 2016?
From the viewpoint of various business functions in the organisation, we need to work in some of the areas. For instance, enablement of talent management is a priority area for us. Also, my view is that by next year GST will pass the parliamentary hurdle. For the smooth management of GST, we will have to make some technology changes and we are focussing on doing that. In 2016, we are planning to bring many more supplier processes on the digital platforms. As we are very focussed on quality, we will be developing new technology solutions for enhancing the quality monitoring. We will continue to strengthen our Global Delivery Centre, which continues to be the nerve centre for delivering various services to our stakeholders.

Please tell us about the work that you are doing in the area of IoT?
Currently we are doing some experiments to find out how IoT can help us in improving the maintenance of our plants. The technology vertical is working jointly with the manufacturing teams to identify all the opportunities where further efficiency can be brought by making the processes simpler through the use of new solutions
from IoT.

You have been using analytics to ensure that engineers can quickly respond to vehicle breakdowns. Give us an overview of the process?
We are using CRM for making this happen. We have developed a system through which we can leverage the capabilities of our partners, who are on our CRM system, and use their field breakdown management capabilities. Essentially we are marrying the breakdown management capability of our partner with our system and call centre. By this process we are able to provide a 24/7 breakdown management service to our customers. Our promise is that we will reach you within 30 minutes and generally we are able to reach the breakdown site in less than 30 minutes. The physical process in this facility has been outsourced, but the call centre and the IT system is owned and managed by us.

In the area of analytics, what kind of work has Tata Motors done in the last few years?
In the last few years, we have invested in advanced analytics capabilities. We have created a high-speed data warehouse for analysing primarily the customer related data. In this area, the scale is quite significant for us. We are also doing data modeling with predictive mechanisms, which means—forecasting, propensity modeling, and basically identifying the customers who are most likely to buy the new products launched by Tata Motors and also the customers who are more likely to avail the exchange programme. We are identifying the churn propensity—the customers who are likely to leave our products. Such information is useful for us in finding new customers, and for running promotions and schemes that will help us retain our existing customers.

What are the enterprise efficiency initiatives that are being undertaken in Tata Motors?
Earlier when we used to talk about enterprise efficiency, it was just about deploying a SAP Platform. Now, the need is to build efficiencies in the entire eco-system and not just the enterprise. Now we expect to have efficiency in terms of our interactions with suppliers, dealers. During the last couple of years, we have run a major programme called Star++, which basically digitises our component development work with the suppliers. When we develop a vehicle, a good amount of it happens outside the enterprise, in the partner eco-system. So in this area we have accomplished a lot of digitisation. We are digitising our collaborative product development with the suppliers. Built on SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) platform, it includes the drawings sent to the auto ancillaries, the quotation process and much more. There are many other collaboration workflows that we have built with the suppliers. All this brings transparency, speed and traceability to the entire process of developing new vehicle concepts. We expect that this will help us control our product development programs more closely.

What technology initiatives is Tata Motors taking to improve customer experience?
There are two aspects to customer experience. One is managing customer interactions, where we see a good amount of role for digital technologies like mobility. It means empowering dealers to handle customers more efficiently. To make this happen, we have provided our salesforce in both the business units with mobile applications. Hence it virtually eliminates the need to write something on paper and then feed it somewhere. The customer information can be recorded on the go. It also helps us in getting clean data.

On the service side also, in both the business units, we are working on mobile job cards, which has details of the work done on the vehicle—repairs done, parts changed, etc. Earlier the job card used to be made on paper, but now it can be created on a tablet. The customer even signs the job card on the tablet. The earlier practice was the service centre employee will maintain a paper based pad. Digitising of this process has cut down the job card preparation time and has surely improved the customer experience.

Are you creating some more products and options for the customer?
Of course, creation of better products and options is always on the agenda. But how do we create more products and options for the customer? This is where the business model of Tata Motors stands out—the customer offerings that we provide are top of the class and are executed on a very large-scale. For instance, we have given extended warranty to our customers. IT has to be used for every new customer offering to ensure that it is smoothly implemented. In the commercial vehicles segment, we even have a loyalty programme supported by and run on our CRM.

CIOCRMIOTJagdish Belwaltata motors
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