IT has a pervasive view of business systems

Retail industry is always looked upon as a sector that offers ample business
opportunities and massive growth. However, the biggest challenge for the
industry is synchronizing every part of the businesses with seamlessness as
per market conditions. Today the industry is looking at IT to handle this

Marsha Blakeslee, general manager of UST Globals Industry Practices, talks
about the companys green initiatives and ITs role in retail sector. Excerpts

Whats your take on the presence of UST Global in lists like top fifty
green outsourcing suppliers?

A green company finds itself among the top fifty green outsourcing suppliers
by taking steps to encourage environmental participation throughout the company.

Marsha Blakeslee, general manager, industry
practices, UST Global

We plant trees to help re-build forests; we encourage saving energy by
turning off laptops and printers at close of business each day and on weekends;
weve replaced standard light switches with those that respond to room movement;
and are replacing paper coffee cups with standard mugs. And thats just the

How are new technologies like RFID integration, mobile syncs, etc,
evolving in retail solutions?
The RFID technology is proven but its high cost of implementation is acting
as a hurdle for retailers. Business intelligence is also a clearly recognized
value, again with a high cost of entry. But it promises big returns as retailers
get more sophisticated in its use.

Mobile commerce, in contrast, has a relatively low cost of entry and can
provide immediate value in both customer communication and logistics support.
Certainly, we conduct an in-depth analysis of each new technology before making
any client recommendation.

How big a role is IT playing in revenue optimization for retail
enterprises in the present times?
IT is a business enabler, and capable of assisting with specific solutions
to enhance business performance. IT executives can move to a trusted advisor
role in the business by developing IT staffs subject matter expertise in
combination with analytical skills. Particularly, since IT has a pervasive view
of business systems across the organization by virtue of its role in the

What solutions would be available for the non-organized format of Indian
retail industry, and by when?
Thats a difficult question to answer. The biggest discussion in the market
right now is on the need for a pay-as-you-go option, which appears not to have
emerged from the vendor community yet. Cloud computing is an available
infrastructure for this, but the market will have a difficult time taking
advantage of any solution until it gets organized from both a process and
standards perspective. The time frame for developing such a service could be
accelerated if the Indian retail community could sponsor some collaborative
definition of their IT requirements.

How does India work for UST Global on the retail domain?
UST Global has many retail clients around the world. For each client there
is a dedicated account team working on IT business solutions, knowledgeable in
the clients specific market strategies, and aligned with client goals. We also
have people dedicated to staying in touch with the overall trends and emerging
solutions for the retail domain. With a strong understanding of each client, our
teams in India provide thought leadership, in addition to a wealth of IT talent.

How demanding is the retail industry for the ITeS solution in India as
compared to global markets?
Each retail market has its own unique challenges and opportunities. The ITeS
solutions required in India are as challenging as solutions required in other
areas of the globe. We certainly see the emergence of Open Source, SaaS and the
growing number of integrated solution suites changing the retail systems
landscapenot for any one region, but globally. UST Global works on all types of
engagements in direct response to the IT strategies of its clients.

Pankaj Maru/CIOL

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