The Manyata Tech Park in Bangalore is home to Avery Dennison's newest Digital Acceleration Center (DXC). The Fortune 500 firm, a pioneer in material research and manufacturing, is setting the way for the digitalization of the garment sector by fusing the real and virtual worlds.
We spoke to Sanjay Agarwal, IT VP, Avery Dennison RBIS, how India will drive innovation using digital center.
Sanjay is a native of the small Gujarati area of Malkapur, where he formerly worked at a modest shop to pay for his own education. Today, he serves as the company's vice president of IT.
Sanjay was hired for this position in August 2019, is developing and implementing an enterprise-wide technology strategy. He has over 20 years of expertise in business and digital transformation, and he has held top leadership positions in companies in the life sciences and technology-driven manufacturing sectors. This chemical engineer has worked all around the world and has developed a vision to lead technology as an enabling partner, generating company revenues and fostering product innovation and integrations.
According to Sanjay, “Global transformation is going to happen in multiple geography transformation but India is our core focus with one of the best IT talent and value. Also cost competitiveness as compared to the Western world which we get in India.”
Excerpts from an interview:
DQ: Why did you choose Bengaluru to open the digital center?
Sanjay: I'm originally from India and, Bangalore is the Silicon Valley of India. Definitely from some talent matters perspective Bangalore is more expensive, but the best and we would like to apply the talent and as well as we have the physical location of our factories within Bangalore premises. Our aim is to connect the physical with the digital together, for us there is no brainer that these is no better place than Bangalore and the Bangalore is not for driving just India digital transformation.
This is the more about our global transformation of business model, what we are versus what we are going to be and this is the one of our strategic position from a technology perspective. We have the technology experts around the world but Bangalore is definitely makes us in a different position by having the best talent driving and supporting the entire world.
DQ: What kind of challenges you think going to the center is going to overcome?
Sanjay: I think more is the culture and communication culture, and those are the general challenge, there isn't any more challenges learning about our business understanding and collaboration around the different geography because post pandemic people are working remotely, the whole world is becoming very small that helped the whole world, how we can communicate, how we can work together, but change management from the business is the key challenge for any digital transformation. India used to be putting more leadership role, when it comes to the in the especially in the technology function perspective. Normally, traditionally, someone from western region was the leader and Bangalore or any India center used to support but now the change of shift is happening and we give the world value to all our center.
DQ: What exactly the center is going to do and what operations will be running?
Sanjay: In our technology spreadsheet, there are four level of technology strategy. Level one is building the core foundation, like one ERP, one master data, one cloud platform in the cloud that was not there two years back and now we are we are adopting the Cloud Platform.
Second layer is on based on this foundation; the experience, customer experience, product experience, manufacturing experience, 4.0 experience or factory experience, and employee experience.
Level three, putting the data factories in one and driving value from the data. Especially impacting e bit by how we have tons of the data across the company, how we can take the data and turn it into the meaningful application internally, and that can drive the efficiency within an organization.
Level four is the strategy, and that's where we are looking for our digital center to try this as well as helping end consumer experience helping the factory experience to grow the business and improve overall business efficiency.
DQ: What is your Post-COVID IT strategy? Is there something different from the earlier one and what are the specific emerging technologies you will be focusing on?
Sanjay: COVID has changed the world, the demand for the digital has changed, like every corner of our business is looking forward to becoming more digital and data driven. We are providing more flexibility to our employees rather than pulling back into the work location, even though we have the digital center in all these locations.
Ultimately, we are more outcome focus, earlier, we were having more work focus now we are more outcome focused, have we delivered this? what is the timeline? we all agreed upon that, if not how we can expedite and what can be done.
That is a big shift has happened in our working thinking and providing a freedom and freedom to our employers, and definitely the demand for the digital projects has become double.
We now focus on what's the outcome, we are going to drive, our business based on that we are doing the prioritization. So that's that is a big shift in the entire thinking of the organization.
And about emerging technologies respect you may hear everyone use the AI, ML, Blockchain, Big data, but let me give you a little bit different colors to the specific.
When you look at the level one of our ERP we are now moving towards the cloud based SaaS based ERP, we are earlier people used to do the customization based on their need, that basically is a roadblock for the common business processes across the organization. Now we are going SaaS based application no more is doing tons of custom developments. Across the business we are driving as a one master data.
In the cloud journey, our backend cloud is the Oracle, frontend cloud is Microsoft. Within Microsoft Azure we have created multiple concept of how to democratize that development, how we can open the development for the our entire community where we we can promote multiple startup within a business if some business wants to do some startup.We are promoting multiple innovation by using this Microsoft Cloud technology but more specifically we are also investing Robotics Process Automation RPA, where we are automating all the order intake process, especially in India, we have done from customer experience perspective how to improve customer experience.
DQ: Do you have the skill set ready? Are you going to hire people in in this center?
Sanjay: Nowadays technology talent is very tough to attract. Attrition is going to be a challenge not only in India but also across the world. Our model is always hybrid where we are continuing to hire the talent to ensure that design, architecture, management and leadership lies within every area but on the same time we are going to use the our partners who's going to co-invent along with our employees at our DC, and we're as well as their locations in India.
Right now all this entire four level digital journey we have around three hundred contractors working with our employees also. Our strategy is that to have the knowledge base management internally, architecture designed internally, use the partner and then assess that what is the need of our employees as we go through this journey. And as we see more and worse, as we go more and more towards the journey and we have sustainable process that we are we don't want to hire the employee just to run the project for four years and then let them go, that's not the right strategy. When we hire someone, it's a plan to hire them for next 10 to 20 years.
We just don't need just the developers just to do the development we will promote college freshers, graduates and train them so that they become a future leaders, we will hire the architects top notch talents, who can basically dry this and promote this new diverse talent. Another big piece for us is adding the diversity into our total talent pool like two years back our diversity was less than 20% in it, because it was very difficult around the world to find a female getting into the IT world especially at the senior level. But we adopted all this different journey where we are promoting the female freshers, graduates, training them. so we are we are basically retaining them, we are giving them the big vision, and hooking them with a top notch leaders in it and as soon as they're driving the partner and that's where we are building those talents in the for the future.