News

Staying power of the new workplace

September 30, 2015

Vidya Laxman, Director-Technology at Tesco HSC, talks shop and tells how Tesco’s technology, which is solely handled from Bangalore, is integral in the changing face of the retail industry

The face of retailing has changed over the years. Gone are the days when we used to buy groceries from the stores. Everybody wants to shop in the luxury of their homes, and this is true not only in developed countries but also across the globe. To enable this luxury for the customers, technology has to take the driver’s seat. The task may be daunting, especially when you are Tesco, which has more than 7,500 stores across two continents in 12 countries. Tesco HSC, Bengaluru, is the only technology and retail operations centre that caters to Tesco’s growth and presence globally.

Vidya Laxman, Director-Technology at Tesco HSC, said, “Without infrastructure or technology, the change wouldn’t have happened as fast as it has.”

Laxman said that technology has always been a part of Tesco’s growth even when it employed the brick-and-mortar model. However, in this day and age, where customers are walking with “the most powerful device in their hands,” leveraging technology and sustaining the existing systems to fulfil the requirements is imperative.

Solely handling technology operations for one of the world’s leading grocery stores is a Herculean task. Laxman said sustenance of systems as well as constant innovation are among the major challenges. However, with more than 7,000 employees, she said that, similar to other organizations, attrition is also a major challenge in the organization.

“Because we give a lot importance to domain expertise, building the knowledge base and retaining good talent is challenging,” she said. When they come on board, “cascading down the knowledge base is also a challenge,” she added.

One cannot understand the technological needs of the customer if one is coding from thousands of miles away. She said that employees are sent to the store locations and experience the job at hand, which gives them “a better understanding of what they really need to do to give customers a seamless experience.”

“We have a lot of responsibility because Tesco has been there for over a period of time. We have a huge market share. If you were to go to the UK, Tesco is more like a community. Somebody or the other has worked or would work in Tesco,” she said.

IoT and Big Data setting up shop

The Internet of Things and Big Data are being employed almost in every industry vertical—the retail industry is not spared. Laxman said that with the advent of these two phenomena, a reduction in wastage across distribution centres and increase in operational efficiency are achieved.

Tesco has distribution centres which are large, with almost half of the area filled with perishables. With this vast amount of content, the retail giant has to join hands with technology to reduce wastage. “For example, we have sensors that send alerts when a refrigerator’s temperature is falling. Immediately and remotely, we can take care of such problems,” she said.

When you collect such enormous data, analyzing it is the next plausible thing to do. Laxman, who also heads the analytics team at Tesco HSC, said data has helped them in consumer analytics, in-store analytics, social media analytics as well as competitive analytics.

In an online retail industry, one of the major challenges is ensuring customer loyalty. Tesco uses data as one of the levers and provides recommendations to customers to give an easier shopping experience, among many other loyalty programs.

“We do not want to have too many marketing plans; we do not want to confuse our customer, we want to keep our marketing strategy simple and see to it that we give them what they want,” she added.

Laxman said that even though the stores in the UK are the major contributors, they do not differentiate when they provide technological solutions to their customers in other countries. “We try to create a model that is similar to the one in the UK, such as the same supply chain system, retail merchandising systems, and pricing systems. We do not differentiate on the basis of where our customer is located,” she said.

‘There hasn’t been a drastic change for women in technology’

In addition to being a leader in the information technology sector, Laxman boasts another feather on her cap—as an advocate for women in technology. Laxman, a core member and former chairperson of the Anita Borg Institute, a social enterprise which grew out of the digital community for women, said that over the decades, there hasn’t been a drastic change for women in technology.

She feels that diversity in workforce was never given so much importance. “When I started 20 years ago, I was the only woman among 20 developers. Now, this number might be 2 women to 20 men,” she said.

Laxman said that even though men have become more responsible and understanding, she still feels that women have to bear most of the familial responsibilities, which is a reason why women drop out of the tech industry early on in their careers.

Another reason that Laxman feels is causing an early exit for women is the work culture. “There are some managers who say that you have to come here at this time… Because of this, women colleagues many times don’t make use of the benefits provided and don’t ask for things,” she said.

To retain women employees, organizations have to understand the needs of women. “Within Tesco we recognize the importance of women and diversity. We don’t believe that flexibility of hours is a benefit, but we truly believe that it is our culture.”

She says that the leaders and management should be on the same page as women. “When thought leaders make statements and work toward it, women can give a greater contribution to technology,” she signs off.

You May also like...

Great Customer Offer – The Economic Times

Big Data Analytics -Taking a Deeper Dive, Financial Express

“Is internal comms about to get interesting?”, PR Moments

Training Gen-Y employees to be leaders by Nick Williams, Human Capital

Madhu Menon – CFO, Tesco HSC Participates In Bloomberg India CFO Summit 2014

We are investing more in tech as digital property is the way forward: Tesco CIO, the Economic Times

Company Encourages Employees to Go Green, The New Indian Express

Business Women Get More Opportunity, DNA

In Pursuit Of Happiness_The Hindu Business Line

The Future of Big Data in Retail, Images Retail

Garden away those corporate woes – Bangalore Mirror

Hackathons Morph Into Recruiting Vehicle, The Hindu

Tesco HSC Steps to Clean Karunashraya Lake, Bangalore | CSR Vision

Is Diversity Your Company’s Most Resounding Mantra? by Anju Sethi, Head, Learning and Development, Tesco HSC | CXOtoday.com

Oh Baby! Why women can’t break the IT ceiling | Bangalore Mirror

Decade-old Tesco captive still strong, Business Standard

Glen Attewell Interviewed On NASSCOM Website’s Face 2 Face Column

IndiaCSR: Tesco HSC Launches Sustainability Initiatives For Greener Future

OUR AIM TO PLANT TREES

Plan to protect dwindling wetlands of Bengaluru

NEW LIFE TO PLANTS IN PARK: Eenadu

In Retail, Domain-specific Skills Must For Effective Customer Servicing – TimesJobs.Com

Cos Now Hire Storytellers to Mentor Staff – The Economic Times

Training The Managers, The Tesco Way – HR Katha

Every Bit Counts – Human Capital

Lay The Foundation of IT With Agile Technology – CIO Review

For Children Of Migrant Worker – Bangalore Mirror

When change is the only constant – Times Ascent

Staying power of the new workplace

From Nottingham To Whitefield, Metro Life – Deccan Herald, October 5, 2015

Tesco HSC Announces Corporate Name Change to Tesco Bengaluru

From Seeing The Dawn Of Windows To Being The Director Of Technology For Tesco, Bengaluru, Vidya Laxman’s Journey – YourStory.com

Expat’s Diary: For Tesco Bengaluru’s HR-Head, ‘Passion’ And ‘Relationship’ Hold The Key To Indian Work Culture: HR Katha

Boss’s Day: Be a leader, not a ‘boss’ – Timesjobs.com

Gender Diversity’s Good, But Where Is It? – CXO Today

5 Ways To Appreciate An Employee – The Economic Times

Technology Consulting – What Does the Future Hold? – Consultants Review

Tesco Bengaluru Partners With Lithium Urban Technologies to offer a pioneering and emission-free transportation experience for its employees

Tesco Bengaluru Partners with Lithium Urban Technologies to offer emission-free transportation employees: India CSR

Eco-friendly Cars: Samyuktha Karnataka

Emission-free Transportation : Eenadu

Tesco, Lithium Urban Joins Hands: Deccan Herald

Tesco Bengaluru opts for green transportation with Lithium: The Times of India

Need to Reassess Traditional Approaches: People Matters

Marathon Mania: The Economic Times

Women techies log on to trendy, soft wear – Bangalore Mirror

How Retail Giant Tesco Handled The e-comm Onslaught – The Hindu BusinessLine

Investment In People Makes Good Sense: CXOToday

Deck the halls – Deccan Herald

Seminar on M-commerce Held – The New Indian Express

Staying power of the new workplace

Looking inside contemporary application architecture – Silicon India

Employee Volunteering is a key element in Tesco’s CSR efforts

Press Release: Tesco Bengaluru Wins Best Practice in Data Analysis Strategy Award

Tesco keen to work with Indian start-up ecosystem – Business Standard

TechGig: Women Achievers: It is important for women in technology to be seen, heard and leave an impact, says Tesco Bengaluru tech director Vidya Laxman

New Indian Express: Women Had a Blast

Bangalore Mirror: City Team Feeding UK’s Hungry

Economic Times: Whitefield Builds a Kingdom of Its Own

Hindustan Times: Want the job? Here’s why you should ditch the professionally-written CV

IndiaCSR: Tesco Bengaluru celebrates World Environment Day

Silicon India: Making Your Organization the Best Workplace

Company CSR: Tesco Bengaluru Supports Sankara Eye Hospital To Enable 430 Free Eye Surgeries

CSR India: Tesco Bengaluru supports Sankara Eye Hospital to enable 430 free eye surgeries

Tesco Bengaluru Plants 6500 Saplings Together with Local Communities to Increase City’s Green Cover

Prajavani: Tesco’s Tree Plantation Drive

TimesJobs.com: A Fresher’s Guide to The Technology Industry

Press Release: Tesco Bengaluru hosts Technology Day – Ignite 2016

Tesco Bengaluru bets on agile market push

Tesco Bengaluru installs e-toilets in Whitefield

Tesco Bengaluru Extends Maternity Leave to 22 Weeks

Forbes: Big Data At Tesco: Real Time Analytics At The UK Grocery Retail Giant

Human Capital: Technology At The Very Helm!

CSR Mart: Eco-friendly Transportation for Colleagues

Mint: Lithium Urban Tech paves the way for EV revolution in India’s cab market

ETRetail: Dev-ops adoption in retail in India

Human Capital: Creation of Measurable Goals

Press Release: Tesco Bengaluru renews its commitment to serving Tesco shoppers and colleagues at dedicated shared service centre

Outlook Business: Ride to rejuvenate

Be Grateful, Positive And Strong Urges Deepa Malik at 2017 IWD Event

ET CIO: Tesco Labs has up to 50 projects on the go at any one time: Tesco Bengaluru’s Priyadarsanie Ramasubramanian

Deccan Herald: Keeping a close watch

Deccan Chronicle: Corporate sector leads way in implementing new maternity bill

The Statesman: Path of progress

YourStory: Tesco’s Glen Attewell: ‘My father was a weaver, mother worked in textiles, they pushed me to succeed’

Press Release: Tesco Bengaluru appoints Sumit Mitra as CEO

ET Retail: Retail supply chain planning and optimization

Financial Express: Maternity Benefit Bill, 2016: From Anand Mahindra to TeamLease and Paypal: Will this hurt employment of more women? Here’s what they said!

World HR Dairy: Maternity Benefit (Amendment) Bill, 2016 increases paid Maternity Leave to 26 weeks in India | Major Highlights and Industry Reaction

TheDrum: Apple, Google, Lego, Tesco and BMW top UK’s most loved brands on social media

Economic Times: Bye-bye corner office: It’s one team, one space

Press Release: Tesco Bengaluru reinforces commitment to sustainable practices through World Environment Day activities

Business World: We Go Beyond The Mandated 2% For CSR: Aniisu Verghese, Tesco

Economic Times: Here is how companies are learning from millennials’ mistakes

Deccan Herald: Rise of AI redefining retail

Financial Express: Tesco Bengaluru CEO Sumit Mitra: We believe in driving a culture of innovation

Economic Times: 5 ways to delegate decision making

The Economic Times: To bridge gender gap, companies going big on innovation

Dr. Sumit Mitra wins ‘CEO of the Year’ at the Future Leaders Summit and Award 2018

Tesco in Bengaluru collaborates with Indian Institute of Science for a technology fellowship programme

Tesco Leaders at NASSCOM Product Conclave 2018

Securing mobile apps – Preventing MiM attack

Bengaluru goes from technology capital to talent hub as e-tailers hunt for IT skills

Tesco establishes a Business Services Centre in Budapest to serve its Central European operations

How to make an organisation an awesome place to work

We are a Great Place To Work® certified organisation.

Applied data scientists – A natural evolution for software engineers?

Tesco Business Services – UK Receives Process Improvement Award at the Engage 19

Tesco establishes a Business Services Centre in Budapest to serve its Central European operations

Tesco collaborates with NASSCOM Foundation to set up its first Nook in Bengaluru

Tesco, Nasscom to improve employability

My First Job: Sumit Mitra,CEO, Tesco Global Business Services

Read interview of Sumit Mitra; he is CEO of TESCO Global Business Services

Shiva Chinnasamy of Tesco on the evolving role of a technology leader

Top 5 Key Skills A Good Data Scientist Should Have

Bengaluru is central to how we run Tesco, says CEO Dave Lewis

Dr. Sumit Mitra – CEO, Tesco Business Services & Tesco Bengaluru is now on Confederation of British Industry (CBI) advisory board for India

NASSCOM Leader Talk: Interview with Dr. Sumit Mitra, CEO – Tesco Business Services & Tesco Bengaluru

Business Today: Tesco Bengaluru Helps Over 320 Underprivileged Youth Stand Tall Through Life Skills and Vocational Training and Job Placements.

TimesJobs.com: Leader’s talk: Sumit Mitra, CEO, Tesco Business Services

Economic Times: Develop The Habit of Collaboration

Entrepreneur India: Make Your Employees Feel Like the Founder

Tesco announces launch of community-based clean water programme in rural Bengaluru

Entrepreneur.com: Why Innovation in Hiring Has Become the Need of the Hour

Dr. Sumit Mitra wins ‘CEO of the Year’ at the Future Leaders Summit and Award 2018

Tesco Bengaluru appoints Sumit Mitra as CEO

Tesco Bengaluru reinforces commitment to sustainable practices through World Environment Day activities

Tesco Bengaluru renews its commitment to serving Tesco shoppers and colleagues at dedicated shared service centre

Tesco Bengaluru hosts Technology Day – Ignite 2016

Tesco Bengaluru Wins Best Practice in Data Analysis Strategy Award

Tesco HSC Announces Corporate Name Change to Tesco Bengaluru

Economic Times: Companies go liberal in giving time off to new dads

Analytics India: How Tesco Bengaluru Is Working On Using AI, VR And 3D Modelling In Retail Industry

Tesco Bengaluru Participates in Women – Only Hackathon

Dr. Sumit Mitra wins ‘CEO of the Year’ at the Future Leaders Summit and Award 2018

Tesco Bengaluru inaugurates first community career development Centre in partnerhsip with NASSCOM Foundation

Delivering The Most Compelling Offer For Customers

Tesco Business Services is recognised as one of the top 20 Most Admired Shared Services Organisations in the World by SSON

Waste food to Plant Wealth: Tesco helps farmers with compost

Sustainability Practices at Tesco

Business services of the future: More digital, more intelligent

How Bengaluru kept UK’s Tesco retail ops going during Covid-19

Vidya Laxman, Director, Tesco Technology: A bag full of opportunities will soon overflow with AI

Refuelling India’s Tech Economy

Top skills companies will look for in the post COVID era

How Analytics Is Shaping The Retail Industry In India

BCP PlayBook: Tesco put people at the heart of its COVID-19 resilience plan

Staying power of the new workplace

Tesco Business Services receives four awards at the ‘Impact Annual Awards Asia 2020’ organized by Shared Services & Outsourcing Network (SSON)

Tesco Bengaluru appoints Ramamoorthy Rajagopal as Finance Director

Tesco Bengaluru Appoints Nimmi Sebastian as Head of Communication & CSR