Not many CIOs enjoy the luxury that Rajat Sharma does. As president-IT of the Rs 2,000 crore Atul, Sharma has the fortune of dedicating 15 percent of his IT budget to new projects.
Despite that, when it was time to implement an internal data warehousing solution he turned to open source. “We decided to circumvent the challenges of costs, AMC, and customization with our own ideas. We also had a previous success story to fall back on.”
That success story—in 2011—came in the form of deploying an in-house built, open source-based vendor portal on top of the company’s core ERP Oracle platform. At that time, Sharma didn’t know he was starting a legacy of testing the unknown at remarkably frugal costs.
Piggybacking on that success, this time around, the 2,700-strong company decided to have a data warehousing solution completely built on open source with a dash of BI. The company split the business data into two clearly distinct segments of live transactional data and business reporting data. “The project aimed to reduce the TCO of IT infrastructure as well as application costs while giving business users a positive computing experience.”
But at what cost? “We invested only in the procurement of BI licensing,” he says. Sharma pulled off a complete BI system replete with dashboards for management reporting across domains.
We decided to circumvent the challenges of costs, AMC, and customization with our own ideas.
What the system set out to do was to generate and trigger pre-defined alerts, notifications, and reports in accordance with the parameter definitions provided by the business domain users. Most of the routine transactional reports (like sales report, payment receipt register, production variance reports, bank statements etcetera) are now being generated at the pre-defined timings through auto-run scheduled requests and published for usage and consumption by the authorized business users, as approved in the workflow. Most of these reports are communicated through e-mail, thereby saving the time of business users for fetching their reports and information from the ERP, data warehouse or BI solutions.
The benefits of this project have been many. For starters, there has been a three-year TCO savings of around Rs 16.2 crore. The deployment time was a phenomenal 68 percent more efficient against the Oracle benchmark of a roll-out period of 11 months as suggested by Oracle and Forrester.
The company’s raw material procurement price index has reduced by 1.6 percent on a year-to-month comparison after the procurement process started getting monitored.
Besides, a reduction in engineering inventory by 21.5 percent, all thanks to the consolidated monitoring of common on-hand inventory and procurement on a daily basis. The company also noted that off-specification batches on the production floor reduced by 66 percent on a year-to-month basis due to transparent monitoring of production floor performance through dashboards.It doesn’t end here.
The collection efficiency has also improved phenomenally due to sales and collections overdue dashboards and the e-mail alerts which directly impacted working capital requirements. “The collection efficiency improved by 6.8 days (43.2 percent reduction),” says Sharma. And all that at a negligible cost.
The company was able to achieve a reduction in engineering inventory by 21.5 percent, thanks to the consolidated monitoring of common on-hand inventory and procurement on a daily basis.