ITC Chairman Mr. Sanjiv Puri constitutes a Young Digital Natives’ Innovators Lab to drive the next paradigm of digital transformation

New Delhi: With the objective of strengthening its competitive vitality, ITC is further scaling up its digital interventions across Businesses and Value-chains. Led by the Chairman Mr. Sanjiv Puri’s Vision to shape a new digital paradigm for ITC, the company embarked on a digitalisation journey in recent years by building digital capacity at scale, by adopting cutting-edge digital technologies to drive growth and by effectively leveraging digital platforms to support wide-spread social transformation. To move to the next phase of transformation, Chairman Mr. Puri has recently announced the setting up of a ‘Young Digital Innovators Lab’ comprising of digital natives drawn from across ITC’s Businesses to crowdsource transformative digital strategies. In order to provide even greater trust to ITC’s digital agenda, Mr. Puri has also announced to ITC employees the formation of a dedicated Digital Council of senior ITC managers – the ‘DigiNext’, which will ideate and sponsor high impact digital interventions and harness the synergies of cross-fertilization of ideas.

Digitalisation – Integral to ITC’s Future-Ready Strategy

Today, accelerated digital transformation is integral to ITC’s future-ready strategy. Digital innovations are increasingly being harnessed to enhance competitive advantage in business efficiencies, consumer engagements and logistics. New technologies such as Industry 4.0, Smart Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Big Data, Industrial Internet of Things (IoT) and Machine Learning are being deployed by all Businesses, including ITC’s supply chain and distribution ecosystem to enhance operational effectiveness. Substantial investments have been made in the creation of a digital eco-system to drive smart manufacturing, product quality, traceability and supply chain agility, amongst others. This accelerated digital journey has begun to demonstrate appreciable outcomes.

ITC’s recent Digital Success Stories

ITC has already spearheaded several digital initiatives that have contributed significantly to business outcomes. These include ITC’s Marketing Command Centre – ‘Sixth Sense’ and the Customer Data Hub that leverage cloud-technology, cutting-edge social-media engagement tools and a digital marketing & analytics platform to drive contextual communication and rapid product development with key marketing insights. Based on the insights gained, several digital campaigns have been rolled out and product variants developed. For example, social media trends like Dalgona coffee were leveraged to deepen consumer engagement for ITC’s Sunbean Beaten Caffe and introduce a new variant in a long shelf life ambient format. Moment Marketing has been an intrinsic part of Sixth Sense. The in-house content planning & creative team have till date delivered more than 5000 content pieces, resulting in unique campaigns.

With consumers’ shopping behaviour evolving constantly, ITC has leveraged e-commerce as a distribution channel extensively with the segment growing by over 100% since the beginning of the pandemic. Taking its digital interventions further, ITC is today increasingly leveraging innovative e-commerce platforms including its in-house with an array of ITC’s FMCG offerings and for customised notebooks. Other digital initiatives by the Company included a B2B online ordering system for retailers – the ‘Unnati’ App to address the surge in demand during the pandemic, Agri Business Division’s smart sourcing solution ‘Project Astra’ that leverages advanced technologies for procurement, ‘Zen Desk’ omni-channel platform for customer care, deployment of chatbots, and so on.

ITC’s wholly-owned subsidiary, ITC Infotech has developed appreciable domain-led expertise in emerging areas of digital and automation solutions and is ITC’s strategic partner in its journey of digital transformation.

ITC’s Digital Interventions in Agriculture

The latest version of ITC’s celebrated e-Choupal model, the ITC e-Choupal 4.0 focuses on leveraging a digital ecosystem for farmers by strengthening agricultural entrepreneurship and agri-tech start-ups through agri services aggregator models. The aim is to empower the farmers in multi-dimensional ways with modern technology and knowhow, crop advisory, assessment of crop stress, weather forecasts and so on, which is being translated into higher incomes for farmers.

ITC also recently partnered with NITI Ayog under the Hon’ble Prime Minister’s Aspirational District initiative, to reach out to 4700 village level groups covering 3.7 lakh farmers through various digital platforms, demonstrating the power of digital technologies to train farmers and build capacity at scale.

New Paradigm of ITC’s Digitalisation Journey – New Initiatives

The pandemic further reinforced the efficacy of digitalisation that was already moving at high velocity. The effectiveness of all investments in creating a robust digital eco-system were amplified during the pandemic, enabling superior responsiveness and agility in ITC’s engagement with customers, various stakeholders and in the management of the Company’s supply chains.

As digitalisation penetrates deeper, it is expected to become a source of significant disruption creating new profit pools and revenue streams, offering novel ways of interacting with consumers and reconfiguring value chains, with the power to bring transformative changes in industries.

In this context, ITC’s Chairman Mr. Sanjiv Puri recently announced a slew of new digital ‘fountainhead’ initiatives to team ITC, boosting their innovative capacities.

ITC Young Digital Innovators Lab – Creating an ecosystem of ‘digital natives’

One of the key initiatives announced is the constitution of the ‘Young Digital Innovators Lab’, which aims to enable young managers and ‘contribute more holistically to ITC’s digital transformation with their creativity, imagination and youthful intellect. The Young Digital Innovators Lab will comprise of digital natives drawn from across ITC’s Businesses. The empowered team of innovators, free to set their agenda and seek the necessary resources, will access ITC’s digital assets, evaluate the digital initiatives, identify best-in-class digital technologies and spot opportunities across value-chains.

The Young Digital Innovators’ Lab will also benchmark ITC’s initiatives against industry-best digital assets and platforms. It will also evaluate how ITC can leverage emerging opportunities and enhance operational effectiveness across businesses through digitization.

ITC Digital Council – DigiNext

DigiNext, along with ITC’s Businesses will in turn reach out to the Young Digital Innovators Lab for crowdsourcing ideas and provide valuable inputs on contemporary practices in the digital arena.

Both these forms in combination are expected to serve as a melting pot for ideation, exploration and impactful outcomes leading to the next level of digital excellence.

Thus, while ITC has been making new strides in reimagining its digital journey and has scaled up its digital investments exponentially, the Company is now entering a new phase of digital transformation by triggering pioneering initiatives across the organisation. The idea is to reimagine the horizons of digital transformation and make it a foundational capability driving competitive advantage across businesses.

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