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How ITC leverages technology

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By Rameesh Kailasam & Rajesh Mehta

Traditional companies must constantly innovate and advance, no matter how good their products are. At the same time, record-breaking growth often triggers retrospective analysis. Consider the case of ITC, which hit his 52-week high of Rs 273 earlier this year. Experts used their expertise to justify the stock price spike. Something similar happened when the company’s share price settled well above his Rs 300. Why is ITC stock rising despite so-called unfavorable market conditions and inflationary pressures?

It’s also important to understand what’s being cooked technically internally, as it’s easy to miss certain ground-based and real-world factors that really led to ITC’s recent growth and stock price surge. A key factor is the continued strategic focus on innovation, technology adoption and digitalisation, led by Chairman Sanjiv Puri, coupled with the intersection of digital and sustainability, strong synergies and robust manufacturing and supply chains. and investment.

Over the years, the company has been committed to building future technology companies with smart ecosystems connected across all nodes of the value chain, including digital marketing, digital commerce, digital products, and digital operations. ITC’s work in this area has made it a pioneer in embracing digital technologies across strategic impact areas spanning consumer experience, business model transformation, smart operations, and intelligent new-age insights that reimagine employee experience. It is

Puri-led initiatives such as the “Young Digital Innovators Lab” and “DigiNext” have established a data-driven, digital-first culture across the organization, and the composition of the company’s Industry 4.0 Center of Excellence is focused on cutting-edge technology and innovation. The company’s vision to drive industry-wide growth by leveraging Let’s examine some of the landmark steps he has taken in this direction by the ITC.

advanced agriculture

Over the last few years, the company has worked to strengthen its value-added agriculture portfolio by expanding its regenerative agriculture initiatives through climate-friendly programs and accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies. Recently, ITC launched his super app called MAARS. It is a crop-agnostic, integrated phygital ecosystem that incorporates a full-stack agritech platform with FPO as its pivot. ITC MAARS provides farmers with personalized, hyper-local crop advice based on information about crop type, geography, soil health and climate. It works dynamically, changing notifications if the weather or other conditions suddenly change.

Super App provides a full range of agricultural solutions and its microservice structure allows plugging in with different agricultural technology solutions. With the help of MAARS, ITC plans to generate new revenue streams, enhance sourcing efficiencies and empower several leading brands while benefiting farmers. So far, the app has been used in seven states, facilitating 200 FPOs benefiting over 20,000 farmers. Over the next few years, ITC will support his 4,000 FPOs, benefiting 10 million Indian farmers. These interventions helped the company record strong export growth in wheat, rice, spices and tobacco, boosting segment earnings by nearly 29% in FY2022.

PSPD powered by technology

ITC’s Paperboard and Specialty Papers Division (PSPD) leverages digital technologies such as IoT, advanced analytics and image analytics to strengthen its position in the global pulp, paper and paperboard sector. These multi-dimensional digital interventions, conceived and executed under Puri’s leadership, include Industrial IoT for Smart Operations, Integrated Data Infrastructure/Platform, AI/ML Algorithms for “Golden Batch” in Process, AI/ML-based image analysis, and IoT-based crop monitoring and advisory.

The division also actively collaborates with startup ecosystem and solution provider partners to build custom-fit solutions for business requirements. To date, over 50 use cases have been developed and implemented across different areas of the business, enabling PSPD to grow its profits by 230 basis points over the past two years.

Mobile-first solution for hotels

In its hotel business, ITC will continue to leverage digital investments to drive customer acquisition, improve guest experience, enable smart revenue management, and improve operational efficiency through a mobile-first approach with its full-stack ITC Hotels app. increase the To accelerate growth in this segment, the company has adopted an “asset-light” strategy and is pushing harder on management contracts through its revamped new brand. ITC launched nine hotels last year and has a healthy pipeline of new hotels due to open in the next few quarters. Thanks to these interventions, the segment has demonstrated exemplary agility in the past few years to cultivate alternative customer cohorts and capture new revenue streams. According to ITC, segment revenue doubled for him in his 22nd year and PBIT turned positive in the second half of the fiscal year.

Future-ready FMCG brand

ITC’s future-ready portfolio of FMCG brands reflects the strength of purposeful, agile innovation built into the Life Sciences & Technology Center’s market-tailored R&D platform. The company fosters innovation in high-impact areas such as nutrition, wellness, hygiene, convenience food, agriculture and sustainability. With the help of these innovations and partnerships with 30 start-ups, ITC has built a portfolio of 25 leading brands in a short period of time and is rapidly building and bringing new products to market. The company’s FMCG business will earn annual consumer spending of over SEK 24,000 in fiscal year 2022 and now plans to launch “world-class” products into overseas markets.

All in all, this is a classic case study of how an innovative, technology-driven, yet balanced, future-oriented approach can slow even traditional companies into an era of slow moving and growth.

(The authors are the CEO of and a public policy consultant, respectively. Views are personal.)