Getting digital means getting more productive: Manish Amin, Co-founder and CIO, Yatra.com

In today’s hyper-competitive economy, going digital is the only option left for enterprises, opines Manish Amin, Co-founder and CIO, Yatra.com. In an exclusive interaction, he talks about Yatra’s digital odyssey, strategies, and how far they have come in terms of digitization. Excerpts

The digital revolution has impacted enterprises globally and companies are reworking their business strategies to grab the opportunity. So, what does a digital enterprise mean to you and your business?
Digital in a travel environment is more to do with content. At first, all the content—either user-generated or other needs to be digitized. Second is to digitize the dashboards for all lines of business. In today’s hyper-competitive economy, going digital is the only option left for enterprises. Talking about us particularly, getting digital means getting more productive.
Technologies like social, mobile, analytics, and cloud (SMAC) are really disruptive. Social media is helping us reach and interact with our customers. A lot of promotion activities and customer engagement is happening through social media, and consequently a lot of conversion is happening through social platforms.
Mobile is another game changer and we are investing heavily on it. But the challenge with mobile is stickiness and how many apps a customer would download at the end of the day. In most of the cases, the consumer downloads the app, books the ticket, and then removes it.
In analytics, every touchpoint is data. And the data is not just for the customer, in fact, its biggest use is for internal operations. It’s making a huge difference in terms of our internal operations but also about whom to target, when to target, etc.
Cloud is something we have tried internally for the development
but in our case it is pretty risky as a lot of data flows. Earlier, we had shifted some part of our business on cloud but recently we got it back.

Unlike the traditional enterprise set-up, the eCommerce industry has been at the forefront of technology adoption from the time it started. How far have you come in terms of digitizing the company?
Almost everything we do is digitized. Everything is online and one can get instant information. There’s only a certain part of the international travel, specifically, the transaction part, which is manual, while rest all is digital.
On the scale of 10, if you have to rate the company in terms of digitization, how much would you give to yourself?
From starting to now, I would rate myself an 8.
What all strategies or initiatives were taken to embark upon the journey of digital enterprise?
Firstly, we analyzed and understood the common things to be used by different departments. For instance, destination information, images, etc. Images are used by different departments but the size differs. So we created a central repository in which high resolution images were
stored. The different departments can now take the images from that repository and resize them as per their needs. Secondly, we have created a common payment gateway for all lines of businesses.
As a CIO, what was the biggest technology challenge you faced?
Everything we try and implement is a challenge. But the biggest challenge I had was getting the PCI DSS in place. Nothing is more important than keeping the customer’s payment card data secure. It is mandatory for all players who accept credit cards, online or offline. The regulatory authority has very robust and comprehensive standards to
follow and we are happy that we comply with all of them.
What challenges do you see in the eCommerce industry in India and what piece of advice would you like to give to the fellow CIOs?
Speed is a major issue in India and the eCommerce industry floats on it. The customer wants everything in micro-seconds. Other challenges are stability and security.
The CIOs need to identify their needs, the information that needs to be digitized. They need to understand their line of business, the information that is needed in real-time.

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