One of the most popular problems plaguing Indian CIOs revolves around managing disparate systems and bringing them onto a single platform. Sify Technologies, a managed enterprise and consumer Internet services company, was also facing this issue. Sify offers end-to-end solutions along with a comprehensive range of products delivered over a common telecom data network infrastructure reaching over 500 cities and towns in India. When Sify Technologies started its operations, the company was not aware of the mammoth like problem of disparate applications, which was waiting in the pipeline. The dilemma grew parallel to the growth of the business.
The major problem, which Sify faced, was the lack of an end-to-end integrated enterprise-wide system to leverage cross-functional synergies for accelerating business growth. While Financials was running on Oracle e-Business Suite, the SCM and CRM applications were running on multiple systems and were integrated with the Oracle e-Business suite at various levels. Lack of a standard system for Procurement and Inventory resulted in disparate data sources and data reconciliation challenges. The billing process had become very cumbersome because of varying billing schedules and manual spreadsheet-based contract renewal tracking. Another predicament was the absence of real time and comprehensive analytics for the top management as the data was dispersed across systems.
Oracle fits the bill
Bhaskar S, CTO, Sify Technologies, says, "We were using Oracle for sometime. For the rest of the applications, we had a point system built over time. It worked fine when the business was more contained and it was smaller. However, as we grew we realised that the solution, which we had built earlier, was not scaling up appropriately. We had to move to an enterprise-class application infrastructure. Given the fact that we were already using Oracle, all we tried to do was extend the Oracle footprint by deploying Oracle Purchasing, Oracle Inventory and Oracle auto-management etc."
For Sify, though Oracle fit the bill very well, it did consider other vendors. However, different systems would require more time and effort on the integration front. So it made sense functionally to stick to Oracle. Oracle met the company’s requirements on most fronts; however, there were certain gaps. Sify had to figure out how to address them and whether Oracle’s functionality would allow it to fill them. For example, there is lot of recurring billing among Sify’s various businesses. For this, they had to integrate another module of Oracle i.e. Oracle Service Contract. So originally they might not have started with that in mind but later on they added it to the equation to make the solution more holistic.
The main benefit, which Sify incurred from the implementation, was integration of the core business processes on a single transaction backbone by extending the solution footprint to Oracle SCM and CRM modules. They also streamlined data entry, transfer and reconciliation by implementing Oracle Purchase and Inventory modules for all divisions and integrating them with the Financial module. There was a clear link achieved between orders booked, items dispatched and service contracts created by implementing Oracle Order Management and Service Contracts, thus, eliminating the effort of multiple data entry.
High-end integration between customer sales orders and vendor purchase order enabled Sify with an enhanced supply chain management system. An effective base was created for CRM through Oracle Install Base in conjunction with Order Management and Service Contracts ensuring automatic update of data on equipment and services at customer premises and clear transaction tracking. Decision making also became more effective for top management as decisions were taken on the basis of real time reports, which could now be generated.
Roadmap for Future
Sify is planning to implement the complete solution footprint (end-to-end) of Oracle e-Business Suite over a period of the next one to two years. This includes implementation of advanced modules of Oracle e-Business such as Balance Scorecard.
Offering some thought points for organisations, who are looking at deploying Oracle e-Business, Bhaskar says, "It is very important to understand the form and functions. One needs to eliminate as many surprises as possible much in advance. One may want to do smaller proof-of-concepts with regards to one’s respective business models and how they fit into the solution. Business process clarity helps, as sometimes organisations end up spending a lot of time in defining business processes."
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Updated Date: Nov 25, 2008 17:01:45 IST