Canon Automates Sales With Customized Domino

by Amit Tripathi    Jul 23, 2004

In a bid to take office and business automation to the next level, Canon India Pvt. Ltd. (a 100% subsidiary of Canon Singapore Pvt. Ltd) has automated its sales force by using a customized solution called ’ican’, developed by FCS Software Ltd on Lotus Notes Domino.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Rajesh Kumar, assistant director, special projects, Canon India Ltd, said, “Prior to automation, it was very difficult for us to get various sales related information like the number of cases a salesman is working on, the number of customers approached, the status of negotiation, the proposals committed, the order details, the quantity of the orders etc. We thus studied the sales process and automated it through customizing it according to our needs.”

Says Kumar, “We evaluated 8 other packages for the same purpose, but most of them were management oriented and not something that a salesperson could call as his system. Therefore we decided to go for customization.” In addition, this was a part of the office automation process, says Kumar.

Thus the sales people will no longer have to go to the office on a daily basis. They would straightway go to the customers, equipped with either a laptop or a PC at home (which has been facilitated by Canon). They would now send the necessary information directly through the expressly developed sales package ican, to the database from where the management can view desired sales status figures. Canon India has around 15-20 sales people in its 7 branches across India.

The sales package ican, (so named to motivate sales managers by making them feel that the solution has been developed exclusively for them), so that they can dedicate more time to sales rather than meeting their bosses, on just strategizing. ican will cater to the sales, hr, and quality and will interact with the Oracle Financials suite that is used for finance and inventory.

Kumar informed, “We are almost at the stage of completion of our database upgrade to Oracle 11i which is being handled by the Oracle team.” The company has taken 70 user licenses from Oracle for its 7 branches in the country. Depending on the traffic that a branch sees, the leased line uses a certain bandwidth mostly in the kbps range.

The results have also started coming in after around nine months of the ican drive. Says Kumar, “After using the package for nine months, it has helped us accrue a 20% increase in productivity. Also our market share has shot up to 30%.” Not just that, Kumar says that his sales people can now provide the management with competitors’ information from the market as well.

Was this a departure from the practice of automating and integrating all the business processes together? Vineet Narang, vice president, strategic planning, FCS Software Ltd, said, “Around 80-85% of small and medium enterprises in India, who do not have fully defined processes, adopt this strategy of automating only that part of the business process which is urgent and important for them. But for big enterprises like Canon too, this holds good, as it proves to be cost effective, and helps in effective decision making.”

Canon India Pvt Ltd, headquartered in Delhi, employs over 450 people. It also has a software development centre in Delhi which was set up with an initial investment of US $2 million.

Tags: Canon, Lotus