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Tech icon of the week: Vijay Varshney, Smollan India Technology Pvt Ltd.

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IndiaRetailing brings you a series on India’s key retail tech icons. Featuring Vijay Varshney, head of technology Middle East & South Asia, Smollan India Technology Pvt Ltd., this week

New Delhi: Today’s CIO must know how to leverage technology to create value for the business. No longer are CIOs department heads of a support function, they are in the driver’s seat and need to be more than just subject-matter experts. According to International Data Group (IDG)’s “State of the CIO Study 2022,” 58% of workers outside of IT describe their company’s CIO as a “strategic advisor who proactively identifies business opportunities and makes recommendations.”

In this special feature, IndiaRetailing showcases the torchbearers of retail technology. This week, the spotlight is on….

Vijay Varshney
Vijay Varshney has rich experience spanning over 26+ years in FMCG and retail technology, which has helped him across his retail journey from officer trainee to a leadership role. He has worked on multiple digital transformation projects across multiple locations (manufacturing units, branches, head office, Central ISD) within HUL & now at Smollan. Skilled in designing, developing & leading teams for executing digital transformation projects covering end-to-end echo systems of an organization. Currently, includes various routes to market mobility & data-driven insights projects of FMCG, retail, consumer goods & feet on street management.

Role & Responsibilities
– As a member of the Global Data & Tech EXCO, contribute to developing strategy for technology, e-commerce &data, with where to play and how to win
– Managing P&L for SITPL & deliver profit targets for the global mobility business
– Collaborate with Clients and internal stakeholders by understanding their needs & suggesting the right technology solution – off the shelf, customised, or internally developed
– Lead the development & deployment of mobility solutions & associated echo systems through the Global Development Centre (100+ Technical Resources) across 50 countries for managing a large field force of 90,000.
– Lead Technology Innovations for AI, Data Led Business Objectives such as Image Recognition, Fridge IoT, Smart Shelves, and Data Alerts
– Responsible for people capability development, career progression, and engagement for retaining & attracting technology talent
– Manage the multicultural team members based out of different countries
– Participate & contribute to other leadership team members in designing policies, governance rules, data privacy & achieving business targets.

Career History & Experience
– Smollan
Head of Technology: MESA
Dec 2017 –present
– General Manager Technology
Jan 2015 – Nov 2017
– Hindustan Field Services Pvt Ltd
(Smollan Group SA)
Head IT
Apr 2010 – Dec 2014
– Hindustan Unilever Field Services Pvt Ltd
Systems Manager
Jan 2008 – Mar 2010
– Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
Sr. Systems Executive
Mar 2005 – Dec 2007

– Post Graduate in International Business & Finance from IIFT, Delhi,
– Post Graduate in Operational Research from Hindu College, Delhi University
– Global Leadership Program IEDC-Bled School of Management, Slovenia
– Mini MBA at WPP Maestro &Executive Program from IIM Ahmedabad

– Perseverance, to drive business outcomes/results.
– Passion, for problem-solving
– Collaboration, with business & team

– Hard to please, as I look out for perfection in everything.

Aspirations to Fulfill
Build a global powerhouse of retail technology solutions for Smollan

Game-changing retail technologies
– Data Driven Sales & Execution – for dynamic resourcing & product availability by use of the right machine learning models for both Modern Trade & General Trade.
– Image Recognition –Makes current Visibility process in Retail more impactful and more efficient, reduces time to serve through an integrated SMART Mobility solution
– IoT – with Proximity & Smart Sensors with augmented technologies, one can improve user experience in the Retail sector to benefit customers and retailers to a great extent.

Beyond the technical knowledge, active listening & understanding the business needs have helped me to develop & deploy pragmatic solutions by keeping the end user in mind first.

Lessons and Learnings
– Technology is ever evolving, be the pioneer in what you
– Green, you grow & ripe you rot
– An idea is only as good as its execution

Future of industry
Blockchain, as it increases transparency, auditability, and confidence in a range of business processes, offering a way to build trust between retailers, payment gateways, and customers.

Role Model in the Industry
Steve Jobs

Tech mantra for life
Feedback is the breakfast of Champions

This article first appeared in the November 2022 edition of Images Retail.

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