Profiles: Profit Center

DQI Bureau
New Update

What makes her slightly different from most of her peers is the technical

expertise Ritu Madbhavi brought to the enterprise. She started her career in the

software industry at TCS, worked for four years, took a break for three years to

move with her husband, a software professional, to Switzerland and then came

back to India in 1996 to join Datamatics in Pune. The move to FCB Ulka happened

a year later. Says Madbhavi, “I wanted to continue in a technical role, but

did not want to stay in software as the dynamics of the industry did not suit me

at that point in time.” She had the responsibility of her small son and could

not stay away from home on projects as software professionals are often required

to do.


FCB Ulka was a blessing in disguise and worked out to be the perfect

transition for Madbhavi. Says the lady who moved into the advertising agency as

a systems manager nine years back, “Advertising is less protocol and hierarchy

driven unlike most traditional enterprises and there is no resistance to

technology.” It was after she joined that software development started

in-house at the agency.





In the last nine years, Madbhavi has not just spearheaded key technology

implementations at Ulka but has pioneered deployments like 'digital

archival' in the industry. Before digital archival happened, there was major

chaos at the creative end. Creative used to work with huge file sizes and it was

not possible to use these files as part of the standard backup system. Even the

hard disc was a lot more expensive nine years back. So the IT team developed

software to archive every single layout and artwork. Today, every artwork is

available with the user segment on a 24x7 basis.


In 1999, the mail solution was changed from MS Exchange to Linux-based

Sendmail. In 2004, administration difficulties such as the tedious process of

adding and deleting new users, lack of simple interface for basic functions

necessitated a change. Says Madbhavi, “The move to transfer our mail server on

Linux was taken after a lot of evaluation and cost-benefit analysis, and we paid


Today IT has been transformed from a cost center to a profit center at Ulka.

Madbhavi personally heads Interface Interactive, an arm of Interactive

Communications that integrates traditional direct marketing and the Internet to

provide clients with a seamless, single minded solution across the two media.

The team today comprises of database specialists, web technology people, account

planners, and dedicated creative and servicing people.

Madbhavi has seen herself evolve from a technologist to a strategic business

leader in the enterprise. “The key question I'm trying to answer all the

time today is how I can leverage technology to improve business efficiency and

improve the core business,” says Madbhavi who has struck this perfect balance

of keeping some of the key development activities in-house and outsourcing

operations like facilities management. FCB Ulka is part of her system today. And

the only time she is not handling technology is when she's cooking

non-traditional food-which she loves to do.