May 15, 2014
Tesco, the world’s third largest retailer, announced its India plans early this year with an intention to open 12 stores. The company is banking on its technology initiatives from the Tesco Hindustan Service Centre (HSC) based in Bangalore. Bhavya Misra of ET spoke to Vinod Bidarkoppa, group director & chief information officer of the centre, on the importance of technology and the company’s focus on India.
Philip Clarke, the CEO of Tesco, while mentioning about Tesco’s increased focus on technology and investment towards online retailing had mentioned that online grocery stores will be rolled out across Asia market. Where does India figure in the online grocery route map of Tesco?
After successfully running as the UK’s top e-commerce site and the most profitable grocery home shopping site in the world for more than 10 years, Tesco decided to take the next step to offer grocery home shopping in other countries its operates in. Tesco launched its online grocery shopping service for customers in Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia in Eastern Europe, Thailand and Malaysia. The new service offers over 20,000 lines of fresh and frozen food and groceries, as well as non-food items such as toys, stationery and accessories. The launch follows a successful trial with customers and staff in November and is part of Tesco group strategy to be an outstanding international retailer in-store and online. The Dotcom team from Tesco HSC was instrumental in evolving the architecture and implementing a new platform to enable launch of IGHS in multiple countries.
Please elaborate on Tesco’s retail IT infrastructure.
Broadly, technology is a key enabler of Tesco’s global business. We have a strong technology presence across all of our businesses in the UK and in India. About 70%-75% of our technology business for Tesco is based out of Bangalore, and the rest is distributed between the UK and in the markets that we operate in.
What kind of backend work is on at the technology front for the supermarket business of Tesco in India?
We have an operating model in Tesco where we have standardized business processes in the countries that Tesco operates in and on back of that we have a technology operating model across the pie. As regards India we still have to look at it end-to-end and once the business starts and the plans are made then we will look at what specific technologies will be adopted.
What are the latest trends in technology that can be adopted by the retail industry?
Today, we look at some of the leading technology trends which will help our customers to increase the loyalty of the shoppers, to increase sales as well as making our businesses efficient internally, and these span anywhere from using some of the mobile engineering technologies, analytics, using social media for customer feedback and improving algorithms to make our supply chain more efficient. Internet of Things is used to understand how we connect all the devices in a large store — bring the information back and process it to drive down the costs of running some of the stores. RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) is another great technology. That said, we continue to explore upcoming technologies such as adoption of robotics at the stores, and wearable technologies like the Google Glass.
Technology is capital intensive for a low-margin supermarket business. How does Tesco bridge this divide?
If you see what our CEO Philip Clarke has said, historically, Tesco invested a lot in starting news stores, but as the consumer behavior and trends shift towards digital and seeing various multi-channel behaviors, Tesco is accordingly making a shift towards capital allocation. We are investing more in technology, as it is the digital property for us going forward.
What is the capital allocation that Tesco has made towards technology initiatives worldwide?
We look at what makes good business sense for us in terms of how much we should invest and this is an ongoing assessment, we continue to make the right investments that would bring value to our customers. The last quoted investment by our CEO Philip Clarke was US$ 750 million for Tesco worldwide.
Some retailers are refraining from going multichannel for various reasons such as loss of brand identity, discounting etc. What’s your take on this?
The consumer trends have changed for good – just look at our last Christmas. We had in excess of 200% like-for-like sales in Blink Box which us our media business. We had in excess of 10% in our grocery online business, 20% in excess for the general merchandise online business. It’s a clear shift in the way people are choosing to buy. And how we adopt internally to allow the customers to engage and shop with us is critically important. So, anywhere, anyhow, anytime is the mantra going forward. But I think to adopt that strategy it requires retailers to really re-imagine their business, re-imagine their technology landscape and make the necessary changes both from a business model perspective and from the standpoint of the enterprise as also to have an appetite for investment perspective. That’s what Tesco is doing and will do.
Which is more sustainable according to you, having own web stores or selling via multi-brand online retailers?
I think this is an ongoing play and each business has to make its own decision – the fact that there are thousands of customers on a marketplace whether it’s Amazon marketplace or anybody else’s marketplace; other retailers see value in it otherwise they wouldn’t be there. I don’t think the industry has reached a conclusion on this yet. I think we have to let this play out a bit and that’s where India and rest of the world are.
That being said, if they can come up with their own multichannel strategy at some point in time, I think they’d make appropriate business decisions.
Do you see the cost of IT coming down over the next five years?
Purely from a technology perspective, I think its Moore’s law that is applicable here. You can do more of technology with less capital as the years go by. I think the problem is not technology; the problem is the business model. What you see is just 10% of what appears at the tip of an iceberg. The complexities are below it. How do you start shaping the model, in marrying the digital with the offline model, is where the challenge lies for the retailers.
Supply chain management is very poor in India. How would you at Tesco tackle that?
I think we’ll have the same challenge as anybody else. But what we have is some of the best supply chain practices from our experience of operating in other emerging countries like Malaysia, China and Eastern Europe. We’ll dig deep to find out what these best practices are – work with our partners here which is the Tata’s and come up with a plan.
How strong a role is the Tata’s playing in helping Tesco set up stores in India?
I think it’s a very strong partnership and it’s a JV so we will work together with our local partner which is Tata Group.
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
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 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
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
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
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
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