Ms. Rakhee Nagpal is the Founder and Managing Director of Dynamic Vertical Solutions (DVS) Rakhee’s vision for DVS, stems from her understanding about the ubiquitous reach of international best practices that are furthering the adoption of scalable business solutions in booming industries of retail and hospitality in India and abroad.
In her capacity as the Managing Director of DVS, Rakhee is focused on providing the strategy and vision that allows DVS to attain its goal of gaining leadership in providing comprehensive business solutions for organizations of all sizes in the retail and hospitality sectors. Under her able leadership, DVS has been able to reach its target of 1000+ stores within the first year of its establishment and has also begun treading the path of growth, by expanding to the Middle East and US.
Rakhee holds a Degree in Bachelors in Economics & Business Finance and a Masters Degree in Marketing from London University and her hobbies include reading and travelling.
Q: How IT contributes to the retail sector?
A: In any Industry, there are a number of set processes and fundamental criteria which a business needs to map through IT to ensure it upholds streamlined processes and growth within its operations. Such functions would include your Financials, Sales and Receivables, Inventory and Supply Chain Management etc, which are generic requirements for businesses in any Industry as a whole. These requirements are taken care of through the use of an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system, such as Microsoft Dynamics NAV/AX. Then, in addition to these horizontal requirements, each industry will have specific, vertical processes that need to be catered to. In organised retail, store replenishment systems, budgeting and merchandising tools, loyalty schemes and inter-store transfers, will for example also need to be mapped at each store and Head Office. The right technology will integrate these vertical specific requirements with your horizontal platform, so that a retailer is running their business on a single, seamless, end-to-end, integrated business application. Technology must also be user friendly for management and staff given the current attrition rates in the retail market. The international and local players are competing very well and the current projected growth of the retail sector is being put anywhere between 30-40%. This means that retailers need to ensure that every area of their business, from instant business intelligence reporting/analysis, to flexible promotional offerings, to first class Customer Relationship Management, are functions successfully being driven through technology. The right technology will be the backbone of a retailers business.
Q: Why entrepreneurship? What were the major IT challenges you faced while setting up DVS?
A: As an entrepreneur, I have been blessed with the opportunity to release my true potential. Freeing yourself from set processes and rigidity which stifle your growth rather than enhance it, is a truly liberating and fulfilling step. When I took it, it allowed me to utilise my strength, capacity and vision to create something in the Indian, and then International Market, where I saw a genuine market need. It was the right decision for me at that time and the right decision for me now.
As far as the IT challenges are concerned, when setting up DVS in 2006, because I understood what my business requirements were and how I wanted those to be mapped, technology formed an integral part of my business operations from the outset. Rather than facing any IT challenges, the early adoption of technology within my business allowed me to streamline processes, increase efficiency and transparency, replicate the success at HO in India to DVS branch offices in the Middle East & US, thus scaling up business from one country to across three continents, all the while being supported at every step through the use of technology.
Q: How retailers can benefit by using IT solutions in this time of economic slowdown?
A: Technology facilitates a decision maker’s analysis capacity in terms of which investment/cost will generate the greatest ROI for the business as a whole. Within retail for example, you must understand customer buying behaviour and taste patterns with such specificity that it enables management to create promotions at the right time and the right place for the right people. Right, simple, integrated IT can facilitate in making an organisation so efficient that they can focus on the business of retail as opposed to obstacles that they may face with complex IT systems.
Q: What are the major R&D activities you are working on? Can you discuss your plans on this?
A: DVS is a group of companies spanning across three continents. Our Head Office is based out of Gurgaon India, through which we cater to the Asian market. Our office in Dubai caters to MEA and our office in the USA, caters to the Americas. We are a company of 60 people across the globe and have been building our business over the last 4 years in terms of empowering individuals and organisations from the perspective of technology, tools and trainings. During our first couple of years, the business focused on the business applications space - providing integrated business solutions in specific industries. Retail and Hospitality have been key focus industries for us, and we have built our business through a 100 percent partner channel model.
Today DVS is the exclusive distributor for a portfolio of integrated products for the retail and hospitality industries, including all niche verticals within retail, for example, Fashion & Apparel, Food & Grocery, Electronics, Opticals, Jewellery, Speciality Retail and so forth. Our hospitality products also cater to niche verticals within the F&B industry, including Fine Dining, QSR, Take Away, Call Centre and Delivery etc as well as the Hotel and Spa Industries. Our provision is a set of integrated business applications based on Microsoft Technologies, integrating all business facets on one single platform.
In addition we provide and support our partners, who take our products forward. As the exclusive distributor of 8-9 products from a technology perspective, we offer value driven consulting and training to the industries we tap. Till date we have over 120 customers including large groups. We have also integrated our solutions with other complex ERPs over and above the Microsoft stack.
We are a business that supports the empowerment of individuals and organisations through technology, tools and training. Our R&D is focused on each of these facets at a macro level going right down to specific details within each of the parts. We are focusing our R&D predominantly on understanding what the market needs are in each of these spheres, and giving innovative technologies and creating tools applicable for people to release their true potential, hence releasing the full potential of their organisation.
Q: Where is the industry headed in time of financial crisis? What is DVS's role in transforming the way business functions for its clients?
A: Every crisis gives rise to a number of opportunities for companies and it is those companies that are agile and open enough, with the right values and principles that will make the most out of these opportunities. Dynamic Vertical Solutions plays a pivotal role in streamlining its clients business and processes through providing integrated user friendly products, services, consulting, training and support mechanisms that are all built on achieving the goals and objectives of the client with which we are working with. These objectives are unique for every organisation and as we are agile enough we are able to provide and support that uniqueness through the variety of products and services that we offer.
Q: What are the new solutions you are bringing in for your customers? Can you elaborate on your plans for FY 2009-10?
A: During this financial year, we will continue our focus within the niche verticals of Retail and Hospitality. We will be going to market for a new line of Training that focuses on empowering the individual, as collectively empowered individuals make an empowered organisation. We will be taking a holistic view to empowering an organisation.
The new solutions we are bringing in for our customers consist of a Property Management Solution for Mall, Housing Association and Business Centre Management. We are also in the process of putting a plan together for our Single Store Solution. All of our existing and upcoming solutions are integrated with one another providing our customers with a unique, end-to-end total business application on a single platform.
Q: Anything you would like to add further...
A: If you are a new entrepreneur starting a new business, my advice to you would be to believe in yourself. Ensure you have the right support around you. Do your homework for whatever it is you are deciding to venture into. Take your time and don’t rush things for the sake of doing something. Everything will happen at the right time and place. Passion speaks for itself.