CORPORATE GOVERNANCE

Tata Digital Updates Group Board On Strategy, Super App

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Management of Tata Digital made a presentation on its strategy and plan ahead to Tata Sons directors at a special board meeting of the holding company on Monday, people aware of the development told ET.

The board is understood to have sought an update on the speed of execution and strategy post acquisition of online grocer BigBasket and online pharmacy 1mg over the last two months.

“The meeting was essentially to get a sense on the speed of Tata Digital’s SuperApp plans,” an official close to the development said. “The team at Digital apprised Tata Sons directors on the progress of the integration of acquired businesses and strategy going ahead.”

Tata Digital board comprising its chief executive Pratik Pal, president Mukesh Bansal, group chairman N Chandrasekaran, and company board directors Suprakash Mukhopadhyay, Modan Saha and Aarthi Subramanian made the presentation, sources said.

This was the second such board meeting within a month.

There is a sense of urgency within Tata Group to get its digital plan off the ground quickly as competitors such as Reliance, Amazon and Walmart gain customers and strengthen their backend in the country.

The proposed super app will allow customers to access everything different consumer-facing Tata Group companies offer, from buying groceries and electronics to booking hotel rooms and flight tickets, on the same platform.

The group chairman is keen to launch the SuperApp as soon as possible, sources said. The plan has been delayed as the group tries to tie up several loose ends and look at a post-September launch, they said.

Tata Sons did not comment.

While competition has moved ahead in the space, the might of Tatas can be formidable if the plan is executed well, group watchers said.

The group has a huge physical customer base data that can be datamined besides a large online customer base through acquisitions, a group director said. “TCS’s capabilities on retail is class leading and the group’s physical presence in retail is also huge,” the person told ET. “There is huge consumer trust in the brand and the tieup with Airtel for 5G will give it a lot of heft.”

The frequency of board meets held by Tata Sons has gone up since the start of the pandemic, officials close to the development said.

In May, the board of Tata Sons had approved some major initiatives of Tata Digital including integration of some group digital businesses, acquisition of BigBasket and 1mg, and proposed technology tie-ups.

The board has been apprised of possible funding requirements for the growth initiatives in digital, medical, electronics and technology sectors and plans for further acquisitions.

Other consumer-facing units such as ecommerce site Tata Cliq, Tata ClassEdge, which provides educational services, and ready-to-eat business app Tata Q are being integrated into Tata Digital.

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