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Technology Enabled: Videocon relies on a two-tier network to drive sales

March 23, 2015
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Videocon Mobile Phones was set up in 2010 and today offers a wide range of products including multimedia feature phones, and Android-based smartphones and tablets. Its product portfolio is backed by a two-tier sales and distribution network comprising nearly 1,250 distributors and over 150,000 retailers. In addition, Videocon Mobile Phones reaches out to customers through more than 500 branded company stores and multibrand stores. Besides selling handsets, these stores sell telecom services-led products under the brand name Videocon Telecom. Videocon Mobile Phones is also backed by its own mobile services company, Videocon Telecom, to cater to its customer needs.

tele.net takes a look at the company’s telecom-related initiatives…

Existing infrastructure

Talking about the company’s communi-cation set-up, S. Krishnan, group chief technology officer, Videocon Telecommunications, says, “Currently, the company is using an intranet-based communication set-up. Intranet is connected to an active directory system on Microsoft Exchange, which serves as a centralised database system for the company. A mail server is also hosted through the intranet.”

Depending on the location and the load of information, the company’s bandwidth requirement varies from STM 1 and STM 4 to STM 16. According to Krishnan, data centres are one of the key components of the company’s telecom infrastructure. The company has two data centres, one each in Chennai and Mohali. The data centre in Chennai is the primary one and houses the infrastructure and equipment that support various call centre technologies and functions. The data centre in Mohali supports all recharge services. Both the data centres are designed to meet the requirements of the north and south regions independently while serving as a stand-by option for each other in case of failure of operations at one data centre.

The key functions of the company, including sales and distribution, are supported by the intranet network. An exclusive portal for the sales and distribution division helps the company in report generation, which is based on various parameters such as network performance, customer relationship management and campaign management. In addition, the organisation uses a workforce management system called Mirror to monitor the performance and activities of its sales force. The workforce management system is a platform that links the entire value chain comprising company employees, distributors and retailers. Mirror helps the sales team to collect data from each stakeholder in the value chain, analyse it and subsequently come up with relevant products for customers. The workforce management system is easily accessible to the entire sales team through desktops and laptops. It also runs as an application on the sales personnel’s mobile phones.

The company uses an in-house dealer management system to receive payments from dealers. Further, the e-recharge system, which is integrated with the dealer management system, helps the sales manager track electronic payment recharges carried out by retailers and make allowances for the money required by retailers for different product offerings. Further, it helps the management maintain the inventory for mobile phones, SIM cards, top-up vouchers, etc.

For securing its network, the company banks on firewalls and intrusion detection systems sourced from Cisco and Juniper. In addition, the IT team has put in place secure protocols for ensuring network security at various levels. In fact, security is a key concern for the company, which provides a detailed security report for the annual security audit carried out by the Department of Telecommunications.

Benefits and the way forward

Prior to the adoption of the dealer management system, the workforce had to manually check and interpret the data provided by distributors. The process was complicated and error prone as sales personnel had to double-check data to detect and eliminate discrepancies. The adoption of this system has helped the company bring in efficiency in its sales and distribution functions. It has also enabled online tracking of inventory and the timely replenishment of stocks at the distributor and retailer end.

Going forward, the company plans to make significant investments in two key technologies – cloud and big data. Over the next few months, it plans to shift a few of its key systems and applications to the private cloud and gradually to the public cloud. In addition, Krishnan sees huge potential in big data helping the company build a stronger customer data management

system. He says, “Earlier companies segmented the market on the basis of demography, age and income. However, today a lot of unstructured data is being generated through social media, making every individual a segment. Big data will help the company determine user activities within the network and gauge customer preferences in order to draw up an effective marketing and distribution strategy.”

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