Pantaloon Goes Shopping For ERP, B2B & BI

by Julia Fernandes    Sep 15, 2004

In line with its exponential growth plans, Pantaloon Retail (India) Ltd., one of the country’s major players in the retailing segment, is all set to enter into a major IT deployment drive by revamping its existing back-end operations.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Chinar Deshpande, who has recently taken the position of CIO at Pantaloon Retail, said, “Initially, during the early days of Pantaloon, most of the solutions were developed in-house. Over the years, with the changing dynamics of the retail business, IT has now emerged at the forefront of the business environment.”

To meet its growing technology needs, the retail major is shortly planning to deploy a high-end retail ERP solution. Says Deshpande, “Apart from players like SAP, JDA and Oracle, we will also look at other solution providers. We are also scouting for solutions for other support functions such as HR, Marketing, etc., which could be part of the core ERP.”

Apparently, the vendor evaluation process is expected to commence within the next two to three weeks.

Plans are also afoot to put in place a B2B portal, which will bring about transparency in the value chain. Explaining his viewpoint with an example, Deshpande reiterated, “With the B2B portal, information such as purchase orders, stock levels and even financial data will be online. Even suppliers would be able to view the status of their deliverables.” The company is currently evaluating BroadVision’s B2B and Oracle B2B.

Also in the pipeline is the hunt for a Business Intelligence (BI) solution. According to Deshpande, the solution should be able to address key concerns, such as deftly handling complexities in the retail business, in addition to handling customer intelligence, which also encompasses studying customer-buying patterns.

“Apart from performing key retail computing tasks such as Open to Buy (OTB), the solution should also be able to execute functions such as demand forecasting. The vendors being considered for the BI solution are Cognos and SAS,” disclosed Deshpande.

Detailing the existing IT infrastructure, Deshpande noted, “Currently, Retail Enterprise Management (REM)- a distributed POS based solution developed in-house has been deployed at every store. With the expansion in business, the software has been modified, enhanced, and stretched to accommodate the changing retail dynamics.”

The company uses MIS- a back office transaction application with reporting module, while Adaytum- a planning tool takes care of its planning needs. Meanwhile, the company has implemented Oracle Financials 11i on Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3.0.

According to Deshpande, the company has already implemented Balanced Scorecard (also developed in-house) for the organizational performance management and plans to migrate it to a high-end solution.

The retail major currently operates multiple format stores like Pantaloons - The Family Store, Big Bazaar, The Discount Hypermarket & Food Bazaar, Food & Grocery Super
Market. The company recently launched in Bangalore, Central — India’s first seamless mall chain, spread across 1.5 lakh square feet. In the next three weeks, Central will be launched in Hyderabad, while Pune will witness a December launch.

Pantaloon has today evolved as a leading manufacturer-retailer in the country with 13 Pantaloon stores and 9 hypermarkets, 13 Food Bazaars and 1 Central store, all operational across the country.

Tags: ERP, B2B, BI