Salesforce Live India: There will be more focus on our digital products: Sidharth Yadav

HT Media's VP of technology Sidharth Yadav spoke to Nikhil Shroff, Regional Lead, Platform Solutions, Salesforce, about the publication digitally transforming its circulation using Salesforce

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 8:55 AM
Salesforce HT

Saleforce's virtual event titled 'Salesforce Live: India' featured eminent thought leaders from across the industries, discussing innovative ideas for new ways of working and engaging sessions with customers across industries. One such thought leader to speak at the virtual event was Sidharth Yadav, VP, Technology, HT Digital Streams.

In a conversation with Nikhil Shroff, Regional Lead, Platform Solutions, Salesforce, Yadav discussed how HT Media digitally transformed its circulation.

Shroff began with a quick overview about the Salesforce platform. He spoke, “The shift to digital is more relevant today than ever. Our customers, our employees, and our communities are operating in this digital world.”  He added, “At the core of this digital transformation is the Salesforce customer 360 platform."

He then spoke about the key components of Salesforce. He said, “Salesforce Lightning platform is where admins can build applications and automate workflows declaratively. You could scale your programmatic developers by empowering them with proper tools and letting them focus on high value initiatives. The second key component is Heroku. For those organizations that have developer teams who aspire to build bespoke custom applications, at global scale, Heroku is the platform of choice. With Heroku, you could build consumer experiences that are seamlessly connected to your CRM”. 

Shroff added, “Utilizing these key component offerings of Salesforce platform, one can build really engaging personalized consumer experiences across channels of engagement.” 

To discuss more about the key components of Salesforce, Shroff invited Sidharth Yadav to share insights about HT’s digital transformation. Shroff asked Yadav to speak about the different brands under the HT Media umbrella, and on the industry trends that are seen in today’s scenario.

Yadav began with an overview of the publication: “HT media has its beginnings in 1924 with the publication of its flagship newspaper. Since then, it has ventured into multiple other spaces like the video, learning, online job portals, etc. and it has become one of India's largest media companies.”

Talking about its print portfolio, Yadav informed that HT has three flagship brands: Hindustan Times English; Hindustan Times Hindi; and Mint, which is National Business newspaper. All the three newspapers enjoy a strong brand recognition among its readers as well as advertisers, in terms of market positioning and response times which is close to a million readers.

“It is already a leading publication in several cities like Delhi NCR and Mumbai. We have close to 50 million readers. Our digital news portals have 238 million unique users and over a billion page views are witnessed on a monthly basis in our system,” informed Yadav.

Talking about trends, Yadav said, “There has been a gradual but a definite shift towards increased consumption of the digital news, OTT and social media”.

Taking the conversation forward, Shroff asked to take the audience through HT’s vision of digital transformation.

Yadav dived deeper into the circulation landscape and the complexities involved to explain the digital transformation. He said, “There are multiple stakeholders that are there in the system like the vendors, external agencies, the PTO and the back office teams and the customer who is that the focal point of everything we do. Now, apart from that, there are several key business processes that we have to deal with as they are very fundamental to the print space”.

Explaining further, he informed the audience about different processes involved in physical subscriptions of the print newspapers. “Managing all these processes physically was difficult task. So, we decided to do it digitally”, added Yadav. 

“For our readers, we are committed to rolling out cross channel solutions and touchpoints that are not available in the system before. And as we do it, we are also going to be very concentrated about the fact that our reader base is very diverse, and not all of them would be at the same level of digital literacy, or for that matter, even willing to adopt digital technologies. As a result, a key part of our strategy is going to be that we provide readers with the multiplicity of options, like the available payments that we have in the system or the book One preference is that he might want to opt for even access to platforms like the self-service portal, like via email or SMS channels. So overall, we intend to transform and disrupt the simulation landscape, through process simplification, by making business more efficient and providing our reader with access to tools and solutions that he did not have access to before”, enlightened Yadav.

“How has Salesforce technology helped you achieve this goal? Throw some light on tech innovations and the impact," asked Shroff. 

Responding to the question, Yadav said, “We started working on an announced sales app in 2018. The first step towards purpose was to capture the unsold numbers. But later on, we added the functionality to create lead as well as looking from within the app.” He further spoke on the increased productivity of the sales teams. He added, “Our sales numbers increased by around 20%.”

 “While that was a significant achievement and a step in the right direction, but the certification process as a whole was yet to be fully digitized”, said the VP, Technology. Adding further, “We decided to build a hybrid system where the CRM would be at the core for all the process and workflow related automation and the platform will allow us to build external applications and still integrate with the CRM. In parallel, we also were working on the migration of our existing sales app on to Heroku platform.”

“Our next focus was on the standardization and automation of the processes of both management and de-duplication. De-duplication is quite a cumbersome process and typically takes two to three days to do. So, to get a subscription, we automated it in Salesforce. We are also very glad to have Salesforce as our partners in success because the platform really enabled us to achieve all the goals of our distribution and that tool in a very timely manner, despite the aggressive timelines that we have,” informed Yadav.

Moving towards the conclusion, Shroff asked about the next step in the digital transformation journey of HT Media.

Yadav spoke on focusing around three key elements. “First, our valued customer, for whom we are committed to rolling up solutions like the self-service portal, a world-class 280 program and innovative products like the digital coupons. Secondly, DMS or the Distributor Management System and third is related to the strategy and decision making.”

 “We are going to make more and more use of data in all our decision-making process. In addition, we are also going to work on reprioritizing and reorganizing our product roadmap, keeping in view the realities of the possible with hold in mind. There definitely is going to be an increased focus on our digital products", concluded Yadav.

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