With an aim to help retailers in the Footwear and Apparel business to be more efficient and effective, ITC Infotech is helping in their new product development processes by innovative use of technologies such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Business Analytics. ITPV speaks with Rajnish Kumar, Global Head – Softlines, ITC Infotech to understand the organisation’s views on technology and road ahead.
What is your primary role at ITC InfoTech today?
As the Global Practice Leader, my primary role at ITC Infotech is to help retailers in the Footwear and Apparel business to be more efficient and effective in their new product development processes by innovative use of technologies such as Product Lifecycle Management (PLM) and Business Analytics.
What kind of innovations are you as a company promoting today?
As a company we are promoting innovations in the area of New Product development, Customer Experience Management, Supply Chain Optimization and Visibility, Sustainability and Enterprise Performance Management.
The idea is to map the entire landscape of Retail operations from the customers as well as from the organizations point of view. If an organization can design and produce products and bring it in front of the customer on time at the lowest possible cost of service, it can certainly improve its profitability. Our solutions aim at providing IT and business expertise in the above areas for organizations to succeed in their goals and become future ready.
How is Style Performance Analytics going to help your customers?
Style Performance Analytics (SPA) technology uses historical data to predict future trends in fashion using a crafty combination of product attribute information, transactional Sales data and business intelligence to understand what styles and attributes are most popular with customers, thus allowing designers to focus on what would be best suited for their customers.
SPA is based on the idea that a style is made up of a collection of attributes: colour, fabric, fit, trim, embellishments etc, and the customers buying decision is driven by one or more of these. SPA breaks down the style into its individual design attributes and ranks them according to their sales value. The question why a certain style did well and why another one did not, gets answered with precision for the first time.
Visual dashboards enable designers and merchandisers to collate and understand how the attributes affect the popularity of styles, aiding them in their decision-making process.
How do you look at technologies such as cloud or virtualization today? Are there any activities that you have planned on these technologies?
We certainly believe that technologies like cloud computing / virtualization are technologies of the future as they have been identified as emerging trends in the IT industry enabling enterprise wide technology adoption at lower costs. We have been working on these technologies and have developed niche capabilities in some of these areas. For instance, we have developed a prototype on mobility which appeals to busy executives on the move with user friendly features. We have configured mobile apps which help employees keep track of product development outside their system and also capture their responses and approvals. We also host PLM solutions on the cloud, which we currently offer as a service in conjunction with partners and we have plans to incorporate it into the product soon. This re-affirms our philosophy of coming up with solutions to make our clients – future ready.
How do you make sure that productivity is always translated towards efficiency for the organization? How can IT help here?
Productivity of employees is key to any Retail organization due to the scope of operations and their resource heavy requirement. Monitoring front and back end operations, linking it to task management shows the vision of an organization in being goal oriented. We have cognized this to address design and development requirements for RFA organizations and make it more systematic and process driven. In the New Product Development process, there is a fair bit of creativity involved, hence it is very important to share information to help collaborate and monitor productivity to help designers come up with the best designs. We have workflows specially built into the PLM solution to let designers gather inputs across locations and keep the development on track to achieve their milestones. Helping RFA organization get their merchandise reach their stores in time is one step to achieving their profitability objective and our expertise in supply chain optimization solutions and HRMS solutions (ERP) help the organizations get there.