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“Business intelligence is a must for smarter decisions”

Sanjay Chowdhry, CIO, Hamdard Laboratories India, and CIO Power List 2017 winner, talks about the growing need for BI and analytics in this age of big data. By Satyaki Sarkar

Sanjay Chowdhry has spent the last 22 years working in some of India’s top manufacturing companies, helping them harness the power of IT to create a robust infrastructure and drive business. In the last one year, as the CIO at Hamdard Laboratories India, he has undertaken a number of IT projects including ERP, Retail Software, Wellness Software, and portals. His earlier stints with Kwality Foods, Crompton Greaves, Jindal Poly Films, Delta Energy Systems, and General Cable provided valuable experience in managing the entire life cycle implementation of different ERPs, including ERP Functional Consultancy, Business Process Re-engineering, Application Customisation, and Post-implementation Support. As an IT leader he was involved in identifying and implementing key IT policies, strategies, and processes that ensured better ROI for the companies. For his contributions, Sanjay was recently awarded as a Healthcare and Pharma Icon at CIO Power List 2017. Here, he talks to us about the power of analytics to boost business growth.

Analytical tool is a must for any organisation
“A CIO must have an business intelligence (BI) or analytical facility. There are a number of ways you can develop it either in-house or a third party tool. I used just Microsoft Excel to create the database. Once that blank database is created, it can be distributed to the sales force team. They can be made to enter the data on a daily basis; be it about the number of leads generated, the kind of deals undertaken, etc. This helps in retaining the data that otherwise would have gone if the concerned sales person left the company. Various dashboard updation is done on real time basis. Using this method I have developed a in-house software that is like the basic version of a CRM or BI analytical tool. It was built completely in-house without any extra cost involved.”

Benefits of an in-house CRM tool
“CRM tools are usually quite costly, so the software we developed became an efficient and cost-effective option. The tool helps in monitoring and analysing everything taking place in the sales end of the business, besides recording information about employees visiting retailers or distributers in the market. Even a new employee can easily track every kind of event, including all leads, their contact information, the sales that can be obtained, expected sales, etc. The tool can generate detailed surveys, various dashboards, analysis reports, and help figure out ways to increase the company’s production.”

Or opt for third party BI tool and integrate it with ERP
Various third party BI tools that can be integrated with your existing ERP to get the desired reports, analysis, graphs and trends are available. However, this will be an expensive way to have analytics for your organisation. Licenses are very costly and moreover it will be an opex that will hit big on your IT budget year on year.”

Or opt for analytics built into ERP
“However, if you don’t want BI to be integrated with ERP you can upgrade to the latest versions of ERP to get the desired analytics and analysis, and utilise that to take business decisions. For example, SAP, Navision, and all major ERPs have actually modified their latest versions to have in-built dashboard and analytics tool. Because of this you no longer need to explore any other third party software and on top of it these are nowadays moving deeper and deeper into BI and analytics, and have come up with several really fantastic dashboards for CIOs, CFOs, managerial heads, etc.”

Time to harness the power of your data
“Analytical tools are booming right now, as they are one of the major pillars of the industry. And being a completely internalised process, there is very little risk in utilising analytics, making it one of the best business processes to focus on. While I cannot take anything away from the importance of cloud, social media, or other forms of analysis, the truth is that they are still at a very preliminary stage and have not matured enough to create the kind of impact that analysis can have on a company’s success. The problem that most companies are facing nowadays is that most of them have huge stockpiles of data, but do not know what to do with it, how to properly utilise it to drive growth and success, or know the kinds of tools they should be using to do so. This, I suspect will change soon, as analytics is an integral part of any kind of manufacturing or product and service-based company. And with the conscious shift towards data-centric processes that we’re seeing, it won’t be long before analytics is used to streamline each and every aspect of production and sales to maximise revenue.” 

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