CPG and Retail – Fuelling Business Transformation with Technology






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Digital transformation, in its very essence, is about customer delight and experiences. Tapping the customer data available in different silos across the organisation and converting it into meaningful insights and actionable outcomes can lead organisations to the next phase of the business transformation cycle. We live in a connected world where data is the commodity in demand, the internet is the supply chain and the cloud is the storehouse of information. Through the CNBCTV18.com Industry Knowledge Exchange Conclave powered by SAP, the role of technology in creating customer-centric organisations is being put to focus. It also sheds light on the changing role of the CFOs and CIOs as they move away from independent silos and focus on holistically driving business transformation. 

The first forum centred around the CPG and Retail Industry was held on 22nd October’21, where Mr. Gunjan Shah, CEO, Bata India Ltd gave the inaugural keynote highlighting the trends and predictability of the CPG and Retail Sector. He brought to sharp focus, the impact of digital transformation on the Retail Industry as enterprises strive to maintain an omnichannel presence and seamlessly create better customer experiences with the use of Artificial Intelligence. 

This was followed by the first panel discussion on the role of New Age CFOs- Catalysts of Business Transformation. Moderated by Ruchiraa Sharma, the panel had distinguished guests that included Rohit Bhagade CFO India Subcontinent at SAP, Saranyan Rajagopalan EVP Finance and CFO at TTK Prestige, Manoj Ahuja Group CFO at ABIS India Exports Ltd, IB Group, Snehal Shah CFO at Century Textiles and Industries Ltd, and Jayashree Satagopan EVP and CFO at Coromandel.  

The panellists were unanimous that digital adoption has accelerated after COVID-19 as enterprises were forced to adapt to the new normal. Adopting digital data tools from the shop floor to the marketplace has helped enterprises to get access to a lot of real-time insights that help in better decision making. 

Cloud technology has been a key enabler when it comes to the implementation of digital transformation. The pay-as-you-go model offers businesses the scope to test out their models in the cloud, get it right and then scale it up without a heavy cost impact. Like the SAP S/4HANA Cloud, which is a complete enterprise resource planning (ERP) system. It offers enterprises the flexibility to focus on sustainable business practices using the powers of built-in technologies such as AImachine learning, and advanced analytics. Companies can benefit from the system to adapt to new business models, manage business change at speed, orchestrate internal and external resources, and also harness the predictive power of AI.  

There is an urgent need to embrace new-age technology to reap the benefits of real-time insights that bring enterprises closer to all their stakeholders. As Mr Saranyan Rajagopalan puts it,” There is a need to improve control, compliance and collaboration through digitisation.” Driving sustainable and profitable growth, enhancing customer experience and doing more with less will be the obvious results of digitisation that will usher in a brighter future for businesses. 

The CFO of today has a larger role to play as they have moved beyond financial stewardship to becoming a corporate strategist and change agent for their organisation. The onus is on the CFO to manage the disruption and to identify and invest in new business avenues that will lead to sustainable, profitable growth.  

The second panel discussion focused on Technology Imperatives for a future-ready organisation was was moderated by Ruchiraa Sharma and included IT stalwarts from the industry like Ananth Narayan, head of it Himalaya Wellness Co, Mr Ekhlaque Bari CIO Jubilant Foodworks, Deepak Bhosale GM IT Asian paints Mr Gulrez Alam Director and CIO ABIS Exports, IB Group and Ritu Ranade Vp Consumer Products and Lifesciences SAP.  

This discussion focused on the evolving role of the CIO in overseeing the digital transformation at enterprises, the challenges thrown by the COVID pandemic and the user-centric solutions that were worked out. CIOs are equal partners in business and in collaboration with CXOs can create great customer experiences. The need of the hour is to create scalable, agile and flexible architecture that can quickly adapt to evolving customer needs. Working through the pandemic has helped to accelerate the process of digital transformation as businesses in CPG and Retail found new ways to provide contactless experience to their clients. 

The panellists were of the opinion that keeping the customer delight at the centre and using advanced data analytics to fulfil their needs is the best way forward for any business. Creating cross-functional teams at the time of implementing new technology helps to bring in a common perspective while ironing out differences and helps the business to achieve its central goal.  

Today’s new-age technologies are ready to help businesses to deliver disruptive outcomes in a dynamic business landscape where customer needs are constantly changing. One way to achieve this is by preempting customer needs and demands and gauging gainful insights from data. Like using the SAP Integrated Business Planning for Supply Chain, a cloud-based technology powered by SAP HANA in-memory technology that can combine sales and operations planning, forecasting and demand, response and supply, demand-driven replenishment, and inventory planning.  

In the current pandemic, it is new-age technology that helped businesses to plan and manage logistics in a fractured supply chain.  The availability of real-time data has helped to save thousands of productive manhours that could be gainfully utilised elsewhere.

The retail industry has always been leveraging technology to build customer experiences and digitisation is helping businesses to know their customers even better and design tailored solutions for them. The challenges of working remotely and collaborating with the entire supply chain have enriched the experience of enterprises and helped them to streamline their processes to iron out the glitches.  

Digital Transformation is being in a state of perpetual agility with the flexibility to evolve dynamically based on the customer’s next expectation. The process of digital transformation should allow employees to work in hybrid environments, ensure that business functions, as usual, deliver superlative customer experiences, adopt cloud and the new age technologies and achieve superior business outcomes. 

To watch the entire event, click here. 

Discover SAP’s intelligent business solutions for your CPG & Retail enterprise. To know more read this Whitepaper – “Delivering Superior Consumer Outcomes in Moments of Opportunity 

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