Business Processes Simplified With IT

by Prosenjit Sengupta - CIO, Volkswagen

Business processes can be defined both across sales and after sales areas. Use of IT solutions like SAP, CRM systems, lead management systems, or dealer management systems ensures that employees or dealerships are all complying with the processes and that all the measures are taken care of under compliance. It is also for the ease-of-use, such as dealing with a very high volume business that is regulated in terms of numbers and brand use. Further, IT is important from the audit perspective as well as to oversee that all the processes are uniformly established and followed by managements across the country, thus guaranteeing a superior customer experience in terms of features, and functionalities in showrooms or during an employees’ visit to customers.

Current and Future IT Trends

Traditionally, automotive companies always reached out to customers through dealers. As customer requirements should be met with seamless access on information across all channels, this may, however, turn out to be the biggest problem, as most automobile manufacturers don’t know how to make all the dots connected. Thus, at Volkswagen, we prefer a direct interaction with the customers to build customer satisfaction, which can be achieved through digitization.

Secondly, due to the increasing cloud based technologies, IT companies are hosting infrastructures of cloud banks, data banks, server banks, connectives, broadband networks and so on at a fast pace and very low cost, which has given rise to the word ‘as-a-service’. Thus when we talk of applications and systems, we come across topics of Platform-as-a-Service, Infrastructure-as-a-Service, and Hosting-Solutions-as-as-Service.

The third trend that can be seen is bringing agility in workforce. The waterfall methodology which was earlier used for projects is now replaced by the scrum methodology. With this methodology, large projects are broken into bits and all stakeholders are engaged on various bits to produce deliverables in a short period of time. These results are then tested and any changes that might be needed can be incorporated at the time, ensuring fast and error proof delivery. 

Innovation to Achieve Higher Agility, Speed and Efficiency

With the advent of digitization, a lot of information can be found on the social media, also known as big data. The challenge is how to accumulate all the information, process all the information and have a meaningful analysis along with it. Thus at Volkswagen, we are working on information management.

Apart from that, we are focused on making our entire workforce agile. For this we have been working on a bi-model structure. In this program, one half of the team works on long term areas such as the operations and data centers which needs to be managed in a slow and diligent manner. The other half may be compared to the sprinters who have to chase and run and orient the consults driving demand of the customer and business teams. So, we need to focus on how to divide the teams, how to make the pool with different ideologies work in the same team, to be patient, diligent, think in a long term and work in a deliberated manner and on the other side to be agile, listen to the customer, listen to the changing environment and deliver fast.

Similarly, to deal with all the internal systems like finance and HR, we employ SAP systems. As for the dealer workforce, we employ CRM and DMS, backed by a couple of other SAP systems. In order to be fast and swift in catering to customer requirements, we have also taken up open source software.

Message for the IT Fraternity

Since the customers are our enterprising seeds, there is no way that we can portray bureaucratic organizations that we used to be. We have to be diplomatic. We have to find ways and means of how to make ourselves fragile and keep ourselves updated as the customers no longer give anybody a second chance.

As industrialists, we no longer have the luxury to see that changes would come in future as all the changes are already happening today and as an organization, it is our responsibility to cope with the changing environment very fast. It is no longer an option but a necessity.