Advertisment

LG ELECTRONICS INDIA -“We have opted for different partners for different services”

author-image
VoicenData Bureau
Updated On
New Update

Arindam Bose, head-IT, LG Electronics India is different. First, he comes

from product management and not from traditional IT background. Second, he

considers IT a strategic proposition. He started his career in the US with

Bellsouth. Later he returned to India and joined Philips India as regional

manager (marketing) and then LG in product management. Bose spoke to

VOICE&DATA on various aspects like outsourcing, SLA, wireless, and

e-business. Excerpts:

Advertisment

LG believes in partnership and that's the reason it has grown more than

the industry average every year. What model is LG is practicing for connectivity

services?



We believe in partnership and that's the way we have grown. We have opted

for different partners for different services, e.g., for national long distance

we have partnered with Bharti and BSNL, for VSAT we have chosen Tata Indicom and

Bharti, VPN is through HCL Infinet, and IPLC has been subscribed through MCI and

Equant.

With networks becoming cumbersome and difficult to manage, do you feel

outsourcing is the need of the hour?



Initially, we had a big team but later we moved to outsourcing and it was a

great learning experience. It is around five years since we have been

outsourcing our services and different services are being looked at by different

companies, e.g., ERP software is maintained by LG Soft (a part of LG CNS

Global); e-mail is managed by Softcell; e-business support is through Path

Infotech; LAN administration by HCL Comnet (which also takes care of security,

reporting, and network management); systems administration is taken care of by

Wipro Infotech; and user support is through CCS Computech.

key mantra

Initially, we had a big team but later we moved to outsourcing and it was a great learning experience. It is around five years since we have been outsourcing our services and different services are being looked at by different companies.



Presently the focus is more on planning and monitoring the weakness of the current system. Care has also been taken to see that there is faster adoption to new technologies thereby adding value

Arindam Bose

Advertisment

Presently the focus is more on planning and monitoring the weaknesses of the

current system. Care has also been taken to see that there is faster adoption of

new technologies thereby adding value. This year, the focus is on Oracle ERP and

business intelligence package.

Are you satisfied with QoS on the bandwidth front (local, domestic, and

international)?



Initially, we had problems with SLAs but we have corrected it. We monitor

SLAs on a quarterly basis and in case of downtime it gets accumulated over the

next cycle. We have different SLAs for different services, e.g., 99.5 percent

for VSAT; 98 percent for VPN; and 98 percent for NLD. SLAs are valid from eight

in the morning till midnight, excluding Sundays.

The major challenge is not in the backbone but in last mile. In the last mile

we opt for incumbent as well as private operators but in most places it is not

possible to opt for private operator as connectivity is not available for remote

branches.

Advertisment

With mobility gaining ground, service providers are focusing on

mobilitybased solutions and applications. Is LG planning to opt for

mobility-based applications and solutions in the days to come?



This year, we are looking at wireless deployment in the last mile and we

plan to bypass last mile as there is a major bottleneck. We have signed letter

of intent (LoI) with service provider for WiMax deployment and the proof of

concept is presently being tested at Coimbatore.

LG has been leveraging a lot on e-business. What is your present and

future strategy on the e-biz front?



We have been early adapters of e-biz in India. The dealer network is around

4,000 of which a majority are being connected to lgdealernet.com, a B2B site for

all LG dealers. The site helps in easy monthly reconciliation of accounts and

provides an interactive platform for sharing information with all the dealers.

Presently, around 75 percent of LG's turnover is through this channel. The

channel is also useful in imparting education so that dealers can increase

productivity and reduce on staff cost.

On the supply side we have lgesource.com for domestic vendors and

lgimports.com for overseas vendors for maintaining inventory status. On the B2C

side, lgezbuy.com is for establishing strong customer relationship, besides

creating an additional revenue channel. Even for customer service, LG has

created lgcsnet.com where service is outsourced to service franchisee (around

800). An SMS interface with lgcsnet.com application has been developed where

calls are mapped to zip code and service franchisee gets alerts for different

request that LG receives from the customer.

Advertisment

What are the new technologies that LG is presently testing?



LG is about speed and empowerment and its infrastructure is backed up with the
best so that sales decision can be taken on the fly. We are evaluating

Blackberry mainly for e-mail applications.

We are designing an SMS-based query system whereby a service franchisee knows

whether the component is in the regional godown, so that he can give a realistic

estimate of correcting a faulty system.

LG has been expanding its offices in remote locations. Do you get proper

connectivity in remote areas? Are you satisfied with the quality of the network?



For setting up offices in remote areas LG has devised a different strategy,

the selection is not on the basis of business but on telecom connectivity in

that particular city. The office is selected first by the IT department to see

if there is proper connectivity. Lack of infrastructure forced us to focus on

Asansol rather than Durgapur, where LG was planning to open its office.

Advertisment

What is the IT/telecom budget for FY 2004—05 and what is your projected

expenditure on IT/telecom in FY 2005—06?



The total IT as well as communications cost is at around 0.3 percent of the

total investment.

What is the process that LG has laid down for choosing the technol-ogies.

Do you opt for a pilot before full-scale deployment of any technology?



We adapt to the latest technology by doing a small pilot, seeing how the

technology can help us. Once we feel that it is up to the mark we deploy it in a

big way.

How do you keep your internal as well as external customers (like

customers, dealers, service franchisee) happy?



We are a listening department and we always feel that internal as well as

external customers are right. We see what the problems are and then look for

solutions. We have meetings every quarter with the team to sort out or thrash

any problems that come regularly.

Pravin Prashant

Advertisment