Using IT to build relations
Ashank Desai, Chairman of Mastek, talks about how
IT helps build relationships, not just with customers but also with employees,
and explains how IT can drive business and help tap unseen opportunities
One needs to use IT before one can tell others to use it. That is why we use
IT from top to bottomright from customers and shareholders to our own
Mastek believes in transparency for everybody. For this, we use IT as the backbone
and the Web as the tool. We have successfully applied technology for day-to-day
processes like travel approvals, leave applications, and payrolls, which are
all available on the web. At Mastek, we use IT in the following ways.
The Mastek Model
The first, most important part is to increase efficiency in our processes. We
have built many applications in that area.
We have built systems to capture the outputs of various projects. This helps
us measure efficiency, outputs, and results. These are then brought to the MIS
level so that we can manage projects more efficiently. In the large projects
which Mastek handles, information systems play a key role in the whole process.
This is why implementation of those processes including services needs to be
The second part is to provide information to our customers. This gives us transparency
and helps improve our relationships. It helps us have better control, smoother
relations and high levels of customer satisfaction, which helps us achieve better
The next aspect concerns the top management. This deals with our financial data
and the latest data related to the weeks progress, revenues, and cost.
These are available on our website.
To Reach Out
A service-centric company like Mastek needs to look at all the facets of business
and give importance to customers, employees, and shareholders. IT plays a crucial
role in this endeavour. IT is like the backbone for providing all the services,
which we try to achieve through two tools, i.e.Mastek.com and Masteknet.com.
Mastek.com is our website for everyone who wants to check Masteks results.
In this site, we keep updates of the different results of our projects. Through
this, we inform our shareholders and customers of various company updates and
the results of internal meetings. For our customers we have customer websites
with dedicated pages for the information related to them. Providing all this
information on such a regular basis would not have been possible without IT.
Masteknet.com is our internal website which helps us maintain relations with
our employees. For example, we have monthly meetings and annual meetings where
all Mastekeers meet and are updated about the company. The new employees
perform group activities like skits and at the end of the day, there is an online
poll to get views about the day. We also conduct employee satisfaction surveys
through the web. This helps us evaluate the moods of our employees on a continuous
We also have a unique concept called Aaj ka Mastekeer
in which an employee is selected each day and asked about his likes, dislikes
and his views on Mastek. I read these and respond to them, which is all
possible because of the Web. Therefore, we extensively use IT for relationship-building
with both customers and employees
We also have a unique concept called Aaj ka Mastekeer in which
an employee is selected each day and asked about his likes, dislikes and his
views on Mastek. I read these and respond to them, which is all possible because
of the Web. Therefore, we extensively use IT for relationship building with
both customers and employees, which helps us increase productivity in all areas.
To Identify Opportunities
The internal IT systems function plays an important role in developing new solutions
in the following ways.
First, the IT function helps build key capabilityto understand business
processes and reengineer them to improve process efficiency and effectiveness.
This capability is first honed on our internal systems and then leveraged to
propose and build new solutions for customers.
Secondly, we have developed a global portal architecture for Mastek, which can
be extended to build similar portals for global customers that have operations
distributed across many countries. The portal provides features for communication
and collaboration from anywhere in the world.
We also work closely with partners like Microsoft and Oracle for adoption of
their latest tools and technologies within Mastek first. The lessons from these
exercises are useful to reduce technological risks when designing and building
solutions based on new technology for customers.
Mastek needs to comply with regulations not just in India, but also wherever
it operates globally. IT enables compliance through system features like providing
robust security and access control mechanisms for separation of authority. It
helps build audit trails at the key steps in transaction processing, rule based
alerts, exception reporting, tracking of agreed service levels, and so on.
Most of our customers are from the western world where privacy and data protection
are of paramount importance. For example, the IT infrastructure supports information
security and is compliant with the strict BS 7799 standard.
To Learn From Experience
One of the major areas where IT has contributed in increasing productivity is
reuse of components and frameworks. The components and common functions developed
by IT are shared with project teams for their use.
This not only avoids reinventing the wheel but also improves quality since the
team will use a pre-tested code. Another area where IT makes a difference is
to increase personal productivity of the employees.
A programme is underway that will boost office productivity
by introducing standard templates, smart documents that pre-fill certain
information, making available multiple channels of communication such
as e-mail, chat, discussion forums and sharing of application screens
Currently a programme is underway that will boost office productivity
by introducing standard templates, smart documents that pre-fill
certain information, making available multiple channels of communication and
collaboration such as email, chat, discussion forums and sharing of application
This will be done in an integrated manner to share knowledge across the organisation.
We expect significant gains from these initiatives in the next two quarters.
In our offshore service delivery model, we use methods like scorecards and dashboards
to track the teams progress. It helps both the project team and customers
share this one view of the projects status ensuring complete
transparency. This has been the most significant enabler for the success of
our offshore service delivery model.
As told to Sneha Khanna