Glen Attewell Interviewed On NASSCOM Website’s Face 2 Face Column
Q: What is the role that Tesco HSC has played in driving the growth of the parent company Tesco? Will GICs (Global In-house Centers) continue to be a strategic arm for organizations going forward?
A:Tesco HSC, established in 2004, plays a key role in centralizing and standardizing processes for technology, back office systems, property, payroll, finance and the in-store operations. Tesco HSC is unique to Tesco in terms of our commercial and supply chain support as well as the property operations. Our presence in Bengaluru brings us access to quality skills, a competitive cost base and colleagues with strong English language capabilities.
Q: How has the India business evolved since 2004? What have been its key milestones and achievements?
A: Tesco HSC is committed to driving innovation and building convenient shopping platforms for our customers. We started with the simple work–basic back office processes for all of the UK. We then began the technology journey and today have close to 70 percent of our technology team based at Tesco HSC. Currently, the HSC team is involved with diverse functions and geographies from Central Europe to Korea and Thailand in Asia, creating and executing strategic initiatives for the business.
Q: What in your view does Tesco have to work on in order to improve its innovation culture? What are the steps you, in particular, are initiating to make Tesco HSC an innovation hub for the global group?
A: Tesco is committed to developing innovative shopping platforms and experiences for its over 60 million customers.
Tesco HSC leverages the strengths of its team for their:
- Technical skills; both in new systems and languages
- Process management skills, which is well respected in India
- Collaboration with colleagues in other geographies
I believe innovation isn’t done by individuals but delivered by teams working together. Our multi-disciplinary team of researchers, designers and developers identifies needs in retail and creates practical solutions that add value to the experience of our customers.
Q: What is Tesco doing to improve its multichannel strategy?
A:With the world becoming intelligent and interconnected through the Internet and technological advancements, Tesco understands the need to connect with customers at their convenience. The business is an integrated umbrella wherein services are offered through in store and online platforms.
Tesco has been active in many channels for some time and we have pioneered multi-format operations—hyper stores, super stores, express stores and convenience stores. We have also pioneered the home shopping application, rolling it out to all the countries we operate in. We use a number of channels to reach our customers and provide them with the services and products they need. Click & Collect, Grocery Home Shopping and the store finder apparel are just three of the many shopping applications we provide our customers. We are very flexible and open to adopt new trends in the market. We are also always guided by what our customers expect from us.
Q: What has been your experience of working in the Indian environment, and your views on issues such as ease-of-doing-business, the regulatory climate, etc.?
A:I love working in India and the key factor is the quality of my team. It is technically strong and understands how to contribute within the GIC set-up. The collaborative nature of the industry is also a plus for me. Finally, I can see very clearly the opportunity to add more value to Tesco and I am enjoying working with my India team to achieve that end.
Q: What are the opportunities you see in using India as a tech base and how is this different from where you have worked earlier? How does working in India compare with other places?
A:If your language of business is English and you have sufficient scale and ambition, I don’t think there are alternatives to India other than a local solution. Bengaluru has the depth and breadth of skills and that makes it relatively easier to do business here. I have worked across large parts of Central Europe and Asia so I have got a variety of experiences to compare against. Everywhere is different and delivers highs and lows in different ways. Where India stands out is its depth of technical knowledge. The managers I work with have a very international outlook. Indian business culture compares well with that practiced elsewhere.