Salesforce Live India: 'Transformation of any kind is not new to Tata Steel'

In the virtual session, Tata Steel's Sarajit Jha and Vikash Srivastava shared how the brand is accelerating its data culture journey

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Sep 11, 2020 2:19 PM
Tata Steel Salesforce

This year, Salesforce Live was an online experience, full of innovative ideas and new ways of working and engaging with customers. In the event that took place on September 10, there were an array of sessions on building business resilience and transformative stories from visionary leaders, technology trailblazers and Salesforce experts.

One such session was on the topic ‘How Tata Steel is Using Visual Analytics to Build a Data-driven Organisation’ by Sarajit Jha, Chief Digital Transformation Officer, Tata Steel and Vikash Srivastava, Head, IT, Business Intelligence & Data Visualisation, Tata Steel. The moderator for this session was Katerina Hanna, Director, Customer Success, Tableau.

 Building a data-driven organisation requires more than technology. It requires changing mindsets, attitudes and habits. This is how Tata Steel has been building data culture across the company. The organisation understands the need for scale and efficiency that concepts like the Citizen Data Scientist enable when aligned with a platform like Tableau. This session touched upon how Tata Steel has been building and nurturing a data culture, tackling challenges, measuring and tracking their journey, and continually innovating with data.

Tata Steels armour against the COVID-19 crisis

Srivastava shared, “Tata steel puts a lot of emphasis on workforce safety. When this pandemic hit us, our leadership was looking for digital interventions for them to understand the impact of this pandemic and how they can plan changes very swiftly. Despite the constraints, we were able to deliver what was asked for because of the fact that we have such an agile environment and Tata Steel has invested in the right set of technology to support our need for a strong data and analytic strategy.”

Tata Steel built an application to improve workplace safety. Srivastava shared a demo and workings of the ‘COVID-19 Safety Digital Initiatives’ platform. He said, “This application has a set of 13 different digital tracks. Each track is meant to improve workplace safety. The tracking system leverages a lot of our existing technologies as you can see their our tracks around face mask detection, the detection of social distancing violations (due to AI systems across the TATA steel plant). Another critical technology that we are leveraging here in this application is the real-time tracking of our workforce where the workers carry an IOT device, which is how we can do proximity analysis and more. The Contact Tracing helps us with data on the high risk and low-risk cases depending on the number of interactions they may have had with that COVID-19 patient. Our department uses these platforms on a daily basis to see the smooth functioning of the operations.”

The importance of Citizen Data Scientist Capabilities

Jha remarked, “When we started off this digital journey we said that analytics really needs to run at scale and we started off with a program called MARVEL (Making Analytics Real, Valuable, Efficient and Logical. The citizen data scientist really emulates from our need to make this journey efficient because we realized that if you have the data exploring you will need an even more exponential number of data scientists in order to find them. What will happen is you’ll go back to the days of data being everywhere but not a drop of information to drink. We made sure that at least the questions around: What happened and a bit of why it happened is best sorted by those people who are going to make the decisions.”

“Through the journey, we also learned that it was easy to train a person who knows physics and chemistry into using visualization and a little bit of probing tools. Rather than teaching data scientist physics and chemistry”, remarked Jha.

Challenges Tata Steel faced with this digital transformation

Jha shared, “Transformation of any kind is not new to TATA Steel. We like to believe that ourselves to be a 110-year-old startup. This is a second pandemic that we are facing and there is a lot of literature that exists from the last pandemic. Any change is in similar nature, First, you need to create a belief system by bringing in powerful visualization and link to the story to show what’s in it for the employers. Secondly, You need to show them some early success. Thirdly, You need to ensure that the early champions that come in they are made into change agents and you put the spotlight on them and you share those success stories. Over a period of time, you persevere you get to a point where we have over 600- 1200 data scientists or people at the cusp of being citizen data scientists.”

Tata Steel’s initiatives for the future

Jha commented, “Before the pandemic, we were in the process of building an ecosystem, we are still committed to it but how and what form and shape it takes is taken a bit of a change. We are running a strategy called ‘PICK’ (Platformitization In-House Competency and KPI’s). The key initiatives at this point of time, however, is, of course, the COVID-19 safety apps that we have launched. We are building up an integrated margin monitor which will help us to do end- to- end optimization of cash, inventory as well as the reliability of the entire system. On the marketing side, we have built up a couple of platforms, one of them is called ‘Aashiyana’ and we are in line to hit about 500 crore sales this year in spite of everything. It is a vertical market that excites us. We are particularly looking at scaling the journey on visualization and ensure that the citizen data scientist journey is accelerated or not.”

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