This move from the leader might well set the trend. Yet again. With substantial investments and over a decade of digital-learning’s, Times Group, on 5th April, initiated RESPNET 2.0. Times believes this will take ''media species ages ahead.'' Only if the counterpart- ad agencies are willing to.
RESPNET 2.0, a customized implementation of SAP and PPI (a leading European production technology company) software is primarily positioned as an Ad Booking system with an integrated Production module also. It allows an agency to log in (thru passwords) to the Times system, access information related to ad inventory -the availability, the positioning, the ad package etc., and then issue RO. Instantly. Online. "This highly advanced yet people-friendly system, in fact can ensure Integrated Booking, Ad Handling, Credit Management, Sales Support and Customer based Contracts, " says an excited R Sundar, Director, Times Group.
RESPNET indeed offers a lot of scope! Sundar is quick to point that the current implementation is actually a culmination of efforts initiated over a decade back. "We, realizing the importance of customer focus, initiated an internal MIS programme way back in 1988. Colour coded sheets of paper used to reach head office indicating the origin of account and other details. A few years later, actually in 1992, we started digitalizing the entire process." Over the next 5 years, this system was upgraded several times. In fact, a few years back, the group made a not-so-successful attempt to extend this largely an internal network to some advertising agencies.
So why did the group opt for SAP implementation and more importantly, how will it benefit agencies? "In the last few years, we realized that technology was evolving at a very rapid pace. The RESPNET 2.0, first of its kind in the Asia-Pacific zone, has brought the most reliable technology closer to our customers. This system also links up better with the other departments. The result is a faster and a more educated response to our client needs," explains Sundar.
While this implementation would help Times Group, the gains for agencies, at least in short term, will be determined by their own inventiveness. Often, bogged down by day-to-day issues, agencies find little time to adopt and experiment. However Sundar guarantees a ''bonanza'' in the offing. "We will become even more responsive in our ad sales. Digitalization of process, like ad material, will improve turn around time and save costs," says Sundar. And then he utters the unexpected. "To harness the technology better, we may even look at creating Auctions. This way, we might pull in the fence sitters too who wait till the last, for opportunities!"
Are the agencies ready to bet?