Coming in the backdrop of a pandemic situation, businesses the world over have had to take a fresh look at the way they do business. With social distancing norms, remote working, frequent lockdowns, behaviour patterns of end-consumers are undergoing a change of sorts. Digital transactions are the new normal.
Big and small businesses have undergone massive changes and are adapting to the new normal where more or less everything is going digital and even basic things such as groceries can be ordered online.
W.Media spoke to Rajgopal Nayak, CTO, Metro Brands Ltd and he has outlined certain key areas according to which digital selling, embedded analytics, and cloud adoption will be the most important areas of focus in the year 2022.
Metro Brands, previously known as Metro Shoes, is a multi-brand footwear retail chain in India. Metro Shoes operates from a network of 598 Metro showrooms in 136 cities in India.
E-commerce has transformed the way business is done in India. The Indian E-commerce market is expected to grow to US$ 111.40 billion by 2025 from US$ 46.2 billion as of 2020. By 2030, it is expected to reach US$ 350 billion, according to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation.
The report further added that by 2021, total e-commerce sales are expected to reach US$ 67-84 billion from the US$ 52.57 billion recorded in 2020.
India’s e-commerce market is expected to reach US$ 111 billion by 2024 and US$ 200 billion by 2026.
Much of the growth for the industry has been triggered by an increase in internet and smartphone penetration.
As of July 2021, the number of internet connections in India significantly increased to 784.59 million, driven by the ‘Digital India’ programme. Out of the total internet connections, 61 per cent connections were in urban areas, of which 97 per cent connections were wireless.
Focus areas in 2022
As online and device mindshare of consumers increases, it is important that brands also move to the digital platforms to ensure that there is mindshare of the consumer and continue to be relevant to the customer.
Secondly technology is now available as a service, not just software as a service but also results as a service.
“Cloud adoption, digital selling in all its forms be it marketing, e-commerce and others and embedded analytics continue to be areas of focus for the retail industry,” said Rajgopal Nayak, Chief Technology Officer, Metro Brands Ltd.
He further explained that technology these days is available as a service not only as SaaS but there is a large ecosystem that is providing technology in the area of Results as a Service where you pay only for the results. Therefore managing the technology ecosystem becomes important.
The pandemic has accelerated digital transformation for organisations and the retail industry has seen an increase in contribution from online sales as compared to offline sales.
“While hopefully the pandemic has now subsided, certain traits will continue in the long run. Namely, technology adoption to make processes more resilient and less human dependent. Because one thing that the pandemic has taught us was that people in the future will necessarily have to work in the hybrid form. Which means that having a person physically being present with you will not happen at all times. Organisations that were able to leverage AI and other technologies for decision making and driving insights were able to do well,” added Nayak.
He further explained that the company had consolidated their Ecom Stack to a more efficient one and had adopted a digital channel for increasing the engagement with customers.
“During the pandemic we took the opportunity to consolidate our e-commerce stack. we had a fragmented e-commerce stack and we have not only driven efficiency through it but we are now able to handle much larger volumes of traffic,” said Nayak.
New budgets or spending from cost savings?
Nayak explained that in Metro Brands there would be new budgets and spending from cost savings. Well managed IT spends always relook at the ROI of spends on an ongoing basis.
He further added that as technology changes and evolves, there is always an opportunity to shift to a more efficient and relevant technology, platform or software as a service that provides more bang for the buck. It is imperative that these opportunities be leveraged and the money saved by making a shift should be plowed back for either growth or transformation projects of the organisations.
As businesses are rapidly moving towards digital transformation, 59 percent of CIOs have said that IT budgets would remain constant after COVID-19 crisis.
A report by Dun & Bradstreet, a leading global provider of B2B data, insights, and AI-driven platforms released a survey-based report titled ‘Smart Digital Transformation: How CIOs are leading their organisation’s data strategy, recorded the responses of 250 CIOs representing their respective business with about INR 5 billion across 10 sectors and six major cities in India.
The survey represents that business leaders have now accepted that COVID-19 is more than a short-term hurdle.
The CIOs are prioritising and planning for enhancements for technology, data quality and automation capabilities in order to help them manage any disruption caused in the future due to the pandemic.