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Balasubramanian Thiagarajan

Vice President - Industry sectors , Capgemini
Balasubramanian Thiagarajan(Bala) #302, Block IV, Jain Prakrithi apts, KR Road, Jayanagar VII block, Bangalore - 560070, mobile:+918861586681 21 years of experience in the IT software industry. Currently consulting with clients in the Consumer products, Retail and Distribution (CPRD) space, bringing IT live to the business. Worked as Head of Engineering, Service and Technology in the retailing world of Tesco responsible for standardizing service operating processes across various divisions of Tesco and covering development, testing, service delivery, implementation, release management, vendor management and country stakeholder management along with the management of the technical services agreement with Joint Venture partners across diverse geographies. MY STRENGTHS • Ability to interact with the senior leadership team to influence the choice of software solutions and an enterprise-wide strategy including ERP • Analyzing digital readiness of the portfolio of services offered, both functional and technical and recommending the correct tools for a digital journey • Setting up of service delivery team, processes, services views and stakeholder management resulting in zero incidents. Day to Day service delivery to retail stores • A part of the senior leadership team setting up support and development excellence centers for the TESCO captive • Excellent program and account management skills in handling enterprise applications and collaborating delivery between development, testing, quality assessment teams, support and implementation teams to achieve program objectives. • Engagement at all levels of global stakeholders to gain commitment and to influence decisions. • Setting up and executing Technical service agreements with third party buyers • Service introduction of new parcels of work and existing parcels of work from the regions to India • Consistent and mature process capabilities coupled with fair people management practices. Experienced in handling geographically distributed teams. Handled team sizes of up to 300 • Passionate outlook to work and every task undertaken. Avid learner, impactful presenter PROGRAM & PROJECT EXPERIENCE Senior Director at Capgemini, Bangalore June 2015 – Present o Part of the AM initiatives team o Heading the research wing for Retail/CPG o Responsible for business value proposition mapping into retail/CPG customers o Working with multiple ERP platforms to define best practices o Analyzing impact of each version on recurrent problems seen and consulting on the go-no go board for version upgrades o Consulting on the best ERP platform for the business need o Bringing best of breed interfacing platforms for multiple ERP solutions o Leading the Digital offering facing off to retail/CPG customers o In detail analysis of the functional and technical readiness of the digital offering facing off to the industry o Recommendations and follow-up of actions recommended to ease journey into the digital domain, especially in the areas of Omni channel and pricing o Supporting proposal requests and client orals/visits with solution consulting Head of Engineering and Technology at Tesco HSC, Bangalore Nov 2011 – May 2015, o Created the technical services agreement with the US and with China and executing the agreements since the beginning of this year. o Handling a distributed service delivery team providing service to Tesco group countries o Managing all aspects of service delivery to stores across countries o End to End Engagement management for the US and for China. Managing an annual budget of 3 Million dollars. o Standardizing the entire integration layer catering to multi-versions of the software into a single tool (TIBCO platform), harnessing year-on-year savings to the tune of GBP 1 Million. o Standardizing deployments into multiple countries using a continuous integration mechanism (remote deployments using Microsoft TFS). Cutting the deployment cost by half. o Standardized the entire portfolio of services delivered out of the India delivery center. Realizing a savings of GBP 1.5 Million across the portfolio o Regularly planning, budgeting and controlling all project and deployment initiatives for the regions o Developed and Delivered a standardized supply-chain/marketing/point-of-sale system across of Tesco businesses (in Asia, the US and Central and Eastern Europe) by integrating Oracle into people soft (older versions) and into other ERP applications Senior Engagement Manager at Accenture India Development Center, Bangalore Dec 2006 till Nov 2011 o Worked with the senior leadership of a major global retailer and helped them with the choice of a solution for their global supply chain o Led the retail vertical for the Europe region (direct reports 300 and a distributed team (matrix) of close to 750) o Held Delivery accountability for the entire retail portfolio delivered out of the India delivery center, a portfolio with revenue generation of $125 Million o Managed all aspects of account including account growth o Delivered transformational program for the supply chain system o Delivered major Oracle retail implementations across of Europe and North America o Managed CIO-level relationships o Held service management responsibility for the entire Oracle retail portfolio. Was instrumental in setting up a shared service center for UK/Ireland Oracle retail implementations. A revenue generation engine to the tune of $7.5 Million year-on-year. Also opened Accenture services to mid and small segment retailers. Manager at Tesco HSC, Bangalore Jul 2005 to Dec 2006 o Led the global rollout of Oracle Financial and retail solutions to the international markets o Setup the shared services center for the international business taking care of the Oracle Financial and Oracle retail rollouts Principal consultant at Oracle North America India consulting Dec 2003 to Jul 2005 o Responsible for Portfolio growth and Client Executive Relationships at a global Oracle top 5 client. o Established and ran the Oracle lease management consulting service for the US region for the leasing Industry in 2004-2005. Principal consultant at Johnson Controls Inc, Milwaukee, USA Jan 2000 to Dec 2003 o Implemented Products from the Oracle application Suite o Setup and led the support team for Oracle Financial applications o Completed the feasibility study for expansion of suite to Europe o Conceived and developed a solution for automatic purchase order matching Senior Consultant at The Knowledge group, Chicago, USA Aug 1999 to Jan 2000 o Implemented Oracle General ledger at GE Medical systems o Implemented Oracle Accounts Receivable at a Chicago firm o Created a global purchasing solution for GE Medical systems o Supported the General Ledger and the purchasing solution implementation Consultant with Ralston Purina, St. Louis, USA May 1998 to Jul 1999 o Implemented and support Oracle Receivables and Oracle General Ledger Senior Engineer with IT solutions (now NTT data systems), Bangalore Jul 1997 to Apr 1998 o Did Year 2000 work using Powerbuilder at Citibank London Engineer at Ashok Leyland Information systems (now defunct) May 1995 to Aug 1997 o Worked on Oracle tools and built two banking solutions EDUCATION AND PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT Master of Business Administration (M.B.A) Depaul School of Business, Chicago, The USA. 2001 to 2003 (graduated BETA GAMMA SIGMA and PHI KAPPA PHI, active member of BETA GAMMA SIGMA) Master of Computer Applications (MCA), Bharathiar University, Department of Computer Science, Coimbatore, 1992 – 1995 Bachelor of Science (B.Sc), Govt. Arts college, Ooty, 1989-1992 Post Graduate Diploma in Retail management, IMT, Ghazhiabad, 2006-2007 Diploma in Business Finance, ICFAI, 1992 - 1995 CERTIFICATIONS  Certified PMP  Certified Silver at the retail program conducted by Tesco  Certified delivery head by Accenture  Certified ITIL foundation  Certified Agile practitioner AWARDS  Award for Night on the Town, awarded by GE Medical systems for developing the global purchasing system  Chairman’s award for excellence for the purchase order matching system , awarded by Johnson Controls  University fifth, awarded by Bharathiar University for excellence in academics  Membership by invitation for academic excellence in PhiKappaPhi and BetaGammaSigma PURSUING INTERESTS  Spiritualism  Developing a keen interest in painting. Have visited almost all of the leading art museums of the world  Travel bug. Have visited almost all of the countries in Europe, all cities in North America and almost all countries in South-east Asia
  • Posted on: 06/24/2019

    How well did Target handle its no good, very bad weekend?

    The lasting impact, in my opinion, will not be on the customers but rather on the Target (and probably other retailers') non-tech team. They had to scramble (and they did an admirable job) to ensure that the "pain" was kept to a minimum. I 'm afraid this might make selling technology innovations to retail businesses all the more difficult (as though it already is not).
  • Posted on: 06/21/2019

    Will autonomous vans help Walmart win the middle mile logistics race?

    Considering that the cost of logistics as a whole, not just the middle mile, is a significant (almost 30%) of the cost of goods sold, it is not surprising that the Walmarts of the world are experimenting with innovative methods to reduce cost per mile (or cost per kg shipped). If we read this along with an another article on RetailWire -- Kroger's 30-min delivery promise -- we can see where retailers are headed. If the route is charted and the truck is completely driven by AI, then it becomes possible to predict time of delivery accurate to a few minutes. I see delivery promises, like the one from Kroger, being made on back of driverless logistics.
  • Posted on: 06/21/2019

    Should retailers welcome Facebook’s virtual currency?

    From a developing market (read India) perspective, acceptance of crytpocurrency is a question of when rather than if. The latest statement from the new government is a proposal to "tax" monthly cash withdrawals beyond a certain amount (this is a bid to move away from a paper to a digital economy). I see customers preferring to shop where crytpocurrencies are accepted and I see this becoming a competitive advantage to the retailers
  • Posted on: 06/04/2019

    Experience is overrated, hire talent

    Does it not depend on the position that is being hired for? For example, you do want a person who has been there, done that as a manager, don't you? In situations where a quick decision is needed, I would always want a person who has "experience" making the decision, rather than one who has all the talent but has no experience (there is risk of choking). I agree talent is critical, but I do not think experience should be overlooked. Is experience overrated? Absolutely. But is it a necessary criteria, along with talent and the aptitude and attitude to do the work? I believe so.
  • Posted on: 06/04/2019

    What if unwanted online purchases didn’t have to be returned?

    I agree. This is not going to end well. It is very difficult to identify and prevent malintent if the policy is publicly stated. I agree it is more expensive to process a return, but if the "keep the goods, we shall refund the money" is overused, the retailers are going to lose more. I lean more toward the "show me some proof that you have either thrown the product away or have donated it to someone." I know this has its own limitations, but if what is needed to be shown is not a proper receipt then we would not have to drive to town to collect the same. Definitely not straight forward, needs some work
  • Posted on: 06/04/2019

    Abercrombie & Fitch CEO says ‘stores matter’ – particularly the smaller ones

    Does A&F really need to close their flagships? Look at what Hudson's Bay did with their 5th avenue store (Saks Fifth Avenue), they have made it into a destination with Christmas parties, mood lighting and just brilliant brand promotion. If sales account for only 1% and the cost of running the flagship is steep, why not look at retaining a small portion of the said flagship (and build it into a destination) and "rent" out the rest of the space? Mall concepts might be on the decline, but there is still some value for real estate.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    Are Apple’s classes getting in the way?

    Maybe have dedicated hours for the classes and make sure these hours are advertised? It is a good problem to have, but personally I would be very distracted if I get caught in a situation where there is jostling for space between people who want to purchase and people who are there to learn.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2019

    What’s the secret to driving emotional connections with customers?

    True, as long as the merchant does not "show off." I would rather the merchant waits for me to tell him/her what I need before (s)he suggests what I should go for. I believe retail analytics is going to play a huge role and, in some cases it is already happening. The merchant is going to come address you already knowing what you are in the store for.
  • Posted on: 05/31/2019

    Can department stores shake themselves out of the doldrums?

    It can be argued that Target is a department store. Looking at the amazing progress that Target is making in reinventing itself, I think it might be a little premature to write the obituary of the department store. I agree with Mark Ryski, Target and Walmart are success stories because of how they have made the shopping experience so seamless.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Will an online deal with Fanatics prove to be a big win for Kohl’s?

    It would be interesting to see how Fanatics will handle its own "store" in the marketplace going forward.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Growing demand for local products leads to out-of-stocks

    Cannot agree more. Walmart and P&G were pioneers in this space, on-shelf availability of Gillete blades is a case in point. I think this makes the case for a "smart shelf" that directly communicates sales to the supplier who can then plan deliveries to ensure minimal out-of-stock situations
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Are retail HQs and stores suffering a communication breakdown?

    Am I wrong in thinking that as much as possible, HQ should not directly be speaking with the shop floor? I believe we have a chain of command in place to ensure that communication gets dispersed to the right audience at the right level, right time and at the right place. While company wide announcements should be made on a regular basis, running of the store should be left to the in-store leadership team which should be the only group talking to HQ directly. I 'm all for providing wearable devices to store managers to enable them to be constantly in touch and in tune with HQ. This will also enable HQ to get real-time feedback from the stores and if planned right, could go a long way in making allocation decisions better, faster and more effective.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Questions abound about the value of net promoter scores

    NPS conducted with a binary question (yes or no answers) definitely scores high on simplicity and as mentioned by the others, is one of the metrics that can be treated as a call to action. However, most of the NPS surveys that I have come across have a rating scale for the answer (how likely are you to recommend our product/service to a customer, rate on a scale of 1 to 10, 10 being most likely and 1 being least likely). Here is where it becomes subjective, if a person has answered 7 (and there are varying interpretations, 8, 9, and 10 are promoters, 6 and 7 are neutrals and anything below 6 indicates a detractor) would she or would she not promote my product? In my opinion, a simple yes/no question on the NPS survey followed by an open-ended why question suits the best.
  • Posted on: 05/28/2019

    Do the benefits of using facial recognition in retail outweigh the risks?

    Some form of "facial recognition" is already used in retail to prevent retail loss, as mentioned in the article. The question is, can this technology be extended to improving customer experience in the store. I 'm hard pressed to understand how a store manager walking to a customer, who is already, according to the algorithm, "sad," address the customer. "It appears you are sad, how can I can help you?" How creepy is that? Gauging the shopper's mood is definitely the next frontier in retail, but I do not believe reading moods using facial (or mood) recognition algorithm is the right way to go about it.
  • Posted on: 05/03/2019

    Are smartphones making sales associates obsolete?

    In his latest book "Origin," Dan Brown talks about a virtual guide taking the protagonist on a tour of the museum. Though this might seem far fetched, I do not believe this is science fiction. With the developments in the field of AI, the day is not far off when we would start to have virtual store assistants. But as most of the experts here have pointed out, this would be true and acceptable only in certain categories. I do not see this taking off in high street retail for example
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