In this Research NXT Interview, Devang Mehta, CIO at Blue Star Diamonds, talks about his journey in the organization and how businesses in the diamonds industry have progressed with their technology adoption initiatives. He also shares his experience of using the cloud technologies in the last seven years at Blue Star Diamonds and how they have been able to effortlessly scale server usage in the cloud during heavy website traffic hours on their auction, tender, and sales event days.
Key takeaways from this Research NXT interview:
Here are some extracts from the insightful conversation we had with Devang.
We will start the discussion with your journey as a senior IT leader and your role at Blue Star Diamonds?
Devang: I started my journey in the Diamond Sector 15years back. The entire industry, including most big players, was working traditionally and lagging far behind in technologies compared to other industries. They just started realizing the same and looking forward to adopting the technologies suited for their business by implementing the standard products available in the market. Soon, people failed to implement standard products because Diamond Industry processes and functional needs were totally different, and no standard systems supported this. They realized that customized ERP is the way out. People got diverted in creating the customized ERP for their companies. Today majority of the big players have customized ERP in place for their companies. In such a journey almost a decade ago, I started my career with Blue Star Diamonds as a Senior Consultant. This very soon got converted to the position of CIO.
We noticed that Blue Star Diamonds using an integrated advanced-ERP system and an online shopping app -A-Star Alliance for servicing your customers globally. How are you leveraging cloud services for these and other applications?
Devang: We have moved to the cloud in 2014 with a Sales portal and found the cloud extremely useful and valuable for money. Today all our customer-facing applications, websites, and MIS are on the cloud. We have used the cloud effectively across years to scale up systems to higher servers at run-time when some auction or tender or sales event is organized for sales promotion, where we expect a huge crowd on the website. Cloud gave us the freedom to conduct such extremely business-friendly activities without actually worrying about the IT infrastructure.
Data related to procurement, order, production and customers are very critical in the diamonds sector. How do you think a business like yours should safeguard such information in the exploding digital markets? Is cloud adoption the right choice for the sector?
Devang: This is very tricky; since the cloud is accessible from anywhere, all businesses moving on the cloud has this fear which is but obvious. But honestly speaking, data security was a question even when the cloud was not there. One has to find ways, and there are always ways to safeguard data which is very much possible on the cloud as well.
With the Indian and global consumers opening up to the online purchase of precious products like the Diamond, do you think cloud technology with its advanced security and compute power could create a permanent and transparent purchasing experience overhaul in this sector?
Devang: Yes, there is a big opportunity in this sector. B2B is already taking full advantage of this, and now there are few platforms on which Consumer (B2C) has also started experiencing the same. Cloud is the only way forward.
What, according to you, are the most common cloud-based technology deployment challenges that the manufacturing sector in India faces today? Also, how do you foresee cloud being leveraged by the Diamond sector to achieve faster go-to-market?
Devang: Manufacturing locations could be in remote locations, and access to consistent Internet at a few locations could be challenging. In the current scenario, till tier 2 and tier 3 cities, these services are not affected. But in really remote areas, this is still a challenge. Because of this deploying a Cloud-based solution becomes challenging in manufacturing units at times. A hybrid system that combines local and batch processing on the cloud is ideal for the manufacturing sector.
In the diamond sector, companies that have budgets and cloud-ready systems can surely move on the cloud. Others should plan and migrate their old systems and solutions to the cloud because that will allow them to become more ready with the future market, which will be cloud-based.