While data has been around forever, analyzing it to derive meaningful insights should be the key. When these are accompanied by smart technologies that ensure the customer gets a seamless Omni channel experience, a brand can be termed successful.

Finally, in retail, the customer is the only and most critical objective, says Tamal Chakravorty, Group Head of Information Technology, (Hospitality division)  Landmark Group.

How are you leveraging Data analytics in transforming the way your enterprise plans for business growth?

Data analytics is not a new concept and has been around for ages. The only difference between now and then is that earlier it used a lot of excel mapping, while now it is more organized with tools and warehousing. Data analytics helps us target customers and promotions to reach out. It tells us what is most hot selling and where. It helps us to smoothen the cyclical nature of the business enabling us to cut losses in time. To be honest, it is not about data or analytics. Finally, you can have any amount of analytics since data will always throw up a story. What is more pertinent is, how this story is meaningful and gives the right directions. This is where the trick is I guess. Therefore, a constant learning platform that can reuse all these data and support it with meaningful analytics is key.

Retail is fast becoming Omnichannel. What are your focus areas for delivering best customer experiences across channels?

Customer experience has to be standard across platforms and channels. Of course, there will be nuances to attract customers in a certain way, some customers like to be guided, and some customers want to be on their own.

So, offline or online and any other way, they always need to get the same experience. Hence, it is extremely important to follow customer choices and their pattern of selection. For example, if he is in a store we need to follow them and find out his method to choose products. If he likes to visit a certain section straightaway and does not buy but chooses to leave the store, then there must be some traces that he would leave behind that can determine what his likely choice was.  There are heat mapping sensors and applications that can trace where the customer spends most of his time in a store. Maybe based on that he/she can be a targeted user by giving incentives or perhaps guiding them to the various sections. For a large store, it may make a lot of sense if the customer gets a beacon-based experience that helps them choose. Maybe chatbots could be another idea. You see, they will anyway get all of these in an online store with guidance on what others also bought, suggestions on what he should buy; his preferences are remembered and therefore shown.

What is the new El Dorado for transformation?

Transformation should be centered on customers, as the markets become tighter. Anything that we transform should have an impact on the customers. IoT sensors, Machine Learning, algorithms or anything that we may embark upon, should keep the customer in mind. If we keep this focus, even if we go wrong, it will still have an impact, leaving learning and make it better for the future.

How did you enable your security strategy to keep up with this transformation?

If there are tests that are been run to keep up with the transformation ideas then it should be run as a test factory outside the normal day-to-day life. Once we have tested and run successfully we should then start bringing the innovation inside the organization under a protection wrap, which will secure our environment.

But if our transformation is customer-centric then we need to be very clear that customer security is prime, and then comes the organizational security, which is followed by employee security.

If you were to identify the single most crucial technology for your digital transformation, which tech would you name?

I would like a mix of IoT sensing, ubiquity systems and Machine Learning in the long run. In the short run, I would like to cleanse data and structures of customer and sales data that can then be used to morph a virtual customer experience through IoT, ubiquity, to name a few.

As CIO in diverse industries over the last two decades, Tamal has successfully leveraged technology to meet and exceed business objectives. He has a proven record of controlling budgets and exceeding business expectations by expert planning of IT roadmaps, insightful restructuring, consolidating business process re-engineering. His focus is on maximizing performance, high scalability, and stability of IT infrastructure, networking, and InfoSec in multi-site operation.