Increasing demand for self-service machines and automated devices is driving pure play IT peripheral companies to catch up with this growing trend. Mumbai-based Lipi Data Systems that claims to be at the forefront of this trend has transitioned from legacy products like dot matrix printers to advanced solutions like self-service terminals. In the process, the company has moved to cloud technologies to improve its overall operational efficiencies and accelerate innovation. Speaking to CXOToday.com, Vineet Dixit, Head – IT at Lipi Data Systems Limited, explains how the company has made its shift to cloud to drive faster growth. He also explains Lipi’s digital innovation roadmap and how it is growing in the current business scenario.
Transitioning from legacy printers to self-service terminals
With its manufacturing facility in Udaipur with its service network spread across 200 locations in India, Lipi has dominated the market in the areas of line matrix and high speed dot matrix printer categories. Started in 1986, the company has shifted its focus to advanced solutions like self service terminals and digital signage solutions along with offering custom software development services to a range of industries including BFSI, retail, logistics and manufacturing.
Explaining the company’s recent deployments in this area, Dixit says, “We are seeing good growth, especially for cheque scanners being deployed widely in the BFSI space. In the logistics, manufacturing and e-commerce verticals, we’re seeing an uptake for mobile printers and automated identification and data capture (AIDC) products. The adoption of thermal printing technology by Railways and Metro rails in a number of cities for ticketing applications is a big growth driver for IT peripheral manufacturers like us.”
He believes, the latest government directive for mandatory e-invoicing with effect from January 2021 would help replace old line printers with the new series of high density line matrix printers. These new printers come with capabilities to print PDF formats and readable QR codes/barcodes.
Dixit throws light on the company’s growth trajectory. “We started with self-service kiosks 12 years back. In fact, Lipi was the first Indian company to manufacture ATMs. In over a decade, Lipi has morphed into an IT peripheral solutions company, from a pure-play peripheral product firm, providing self-service kiosk solutions. Besides banking, we’ve expanded into different industry verticals like mass transportation (aviation, metro), e-Governance, smart cities, retail, defense, postal and last mile delivery.”
Today, Lipi’s vast service network of 700 service engineers are responsible for maintenance and smooth functioning of over 1 lakh IT peripherals and close to 50,000 self-servicing kiosks across the country, positioning us as a leader in the self-service IT peripherals market.
The shift to cloud technologies
However with growth come challenges and a number of business-related challenges forced the company to zero in on cloud deployment, as Dixit explained, “With rapid business growth and rising complexity of our operations, the IT requirements – spanning hardware and software – have exponentially increased over the last decade. With increasing data volume and computing demand, it was getting difficult to keep pace using a traditional IT setup. Scaling our on-premises IT setup, managing security and optimizing IT resources at regular intervals became more difficult due to 24X7 working environments and stringent downtime windows. Further, we were keen to gain better scalability, greater security, improved manageability and superior cost savings.”
The company understood the criticality of shifting to cloud technology for current business growth and future business resilience and decided to move its data and applications to Oracle’s second generation cloud infrastructure.
“Traditionally, our business data involved a mix of Oracle as well as products from other vendors. When designing our cloud strategy, we chose to go with the enterprise-grade OCI. In fact, we strategically decided to bring all our data into the Oracle fold and then moved to OCI. With this move, our users are enjoying 3X application performance improvement, and our developers and DBAs are able to work more efficiently,” informs Dixit, adding that post the cloud deployment the company achieved 40% more cost savings.
“By virtue of data consolidation on OCI, we’ve also acquired the capability to better use Oracle’s analytics and business intelligence cloud services, in a much more comprehensive manner to unlock more value for the business,” he said.
Business resilience in the face of Covid-19
Unlike many other sectors and businesses, Lipi wasn’t affected much by the pandemic and focused more on getting cloud-ready and strategic to support remote workers. Dixit reasons that Lipi was part of what was deemed ‘essential services’ category, as it supports close to 30,000 self-servicing machines. He however points out certain pockets of challenge faced in running the call center, organizing site visits for engineers for service and breakdown calls, and keeping the manufacturing unit up and running.
“Our most important focus was to ensure our customers didn’t have to witness disruption to business, and our service engineers can remotely access our applications uninterruptedly and solve customer issues if any. Our applications were already on OCI and hence users were easily able to switch to the work from home model. Our developers and DBAs were able to easily manage our IT engine on OCI from home, ensuring our business resilience,” he explains.
While the Oracle cloud technologies has certainly given Lipi a competitive edge, the company boasts of its continuous exploration of modern technologies. Dixit says, “In the last five years, we have been able to transform all our processes – which have been integrated from the factory to the last person in the field. This has given us a huge advantage over some of our competitors in ensuring our service deliverables. We intend to continually improve on our internal processes to drive better customer satisfaction.”
According to him, the company is focusing on a number of initiatives at present to improve its process efficiency in the warehouses, service centres and the factory. “We have already transformed our applications to support mobility. Currently we are focusing on using analytics to further automate our processes through AI/ML,” dixit informs.