Maximizing business application software usage at Lowe Lintas

How can business application software investments be leveraged to the hilt? Pravin Savant, the CTO of Lowe Lintas India is working on such an initiative.

Accruing maximum benefits of existing IT infrastructure and application investments has always been a challenge for CIOs. An associated challenge has been the maximal utilization of an application's features. To address this challenge, Pravin Savant, the CTO of Lowe Lintas, recently conducted training sessions for optimum utilization of Microsoft applications.

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Apart from working on the strategic capital intensive projects like an ERP implementation, Savant and his team at Lowe Lintas decided to also maximize the use of existing Microsoft Office applications like Word, PowerPoint, Outlook and Excel. "What I have observed is that many a time, CIOs tend to focus on the big ticket items. In the process, CIOs tend to neglect huge opportunities by working on some of the basic substance within their organizations," says Savant.

Lowe Lintas' project has been driven by the fact that most Microsoft Office users tend to use these applications on a daily basis without basic training. Global analysis shows that although Microsoft Office has in excess of 6000 features, organizations across the globe use less than 5% of these features. Since the user uses only 5% of the available features, returns on these investments are only in the range of 5%. "I saw an opportunity for optimization in this area, and decided to work towards it. The objective was to have training sessions that employees across the organization can easily relate to, and be comfortable."

Savant expects immediate returns from this initiative, since people will save time while working on their documents. An hour long activity can be reduced to minutes.
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To this end, Lowe Lintas called in Dr Nitin Paranjape, the CEO of Max Office Services, and one of the few Microsoft valued professionals to conduct these training sessions. These briefings covered almost all departments of Lowe Lintas. According to Savant, the initiative received great support from employees, as well as the top management. Since the CEO also underwent a training session, it provided a greater boost for the initiative. "Our CEO personally sent out a very positive communication to everyone urging them to attend this session," informs Savant.

Savant expects immediate returns from this initiative, since people will save time while working on their documents. An hour long activity can be reduced to minutes. Even if the training session saves 15 minutes for an employee, significant amounts of time will be saved across the organization.

The entire project took about six weeks — from conceptualization to approval. "If you talk about change management, it is a good tool in terms of reaching out to people and addressing their basic day-to-day problems. So when we take more complex initiatives, there will be a sense of comfort," says Savant.

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