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Implementation 5 stories 3

  1. 1. Every industry presents unique challenges where the CIO must marshal more than the usual chunk of resources to solve extreme headaches. By Balaji narasimhan, gunjan trivedi & rahul neel mani Lessons Learned From the Verticals (From left to right) Vikram Chopra, GM (passenger services application) Centre for Railways Information Systems Sunil Rawlani, head-information systems & technology HDFC Standard Life Insurance Unni Krishnan T.M., group CTO (retail business), Shopper's Stop Jay Menon, director (innovation) & group CIO, Bharti Airtel Pradeep Saha, head-IT, Max Healthcare
  2. 2. Cover Story | Implementation Cover Story | Implementation “Either you’re part of the problem or part of the solution — or you’re just part of the landscape.” The automobile industry, for instance, hardly has customers interacting directly with enterprise technologies, apart from a Shopper’s Stop was also the first in India’s organized retail space to use, a leader in delivering on-demand Uttered by Robert de Niro in a 1998 heist film, the writer of this memorable line is still a mystery few dealer applications needed to help customers visualize the CRM solutions via the Internet as software-as-a-service, to in filmdom. It doesn’t matter because the words ring true, most of all in business today. When P HOTO By S R I VATSA SHA nDI LyA car they plan to buy, says Krishnan. automate its sales team. The application was customized and CIO’s reporters explored the IT organizations of five business sectors — retail, healthcare, BFSI, telecom But, retail creates a large number of customer-technology implemented in-house and christened IB-Force (Institutional and services — their stories revealed how Indian majors are thriving on innovation to solve their touch-points, with its self-checkouts, barcode scanners, price- Business). “IB-Force helps us to monitor a large percentage of organizations’ problems. Most interestingly, each vertical puts forth a series of learnings that are not checking solutions and anti-theft devices. And the number our gift voucher sales, which is about 10 percent (about Rs 65 of customers interacting with such technologies (like at the crore) of Shopper's Stop's sales,” says Krishnan. unique to itself, helping you derive insights into their approaches to address your own IT challenges. checkout counter) can easily increase from a few hundred to The solutions are now out in the landscape. Find out, across the next five stories. millions in a short period. Scale Up or Get Out “At HyperCITY, we've had over a million footfalls in the first The TGV, even running at just 60 percent of its top speed of I creating IMAGInG By BInES H S R EEDHA RAn three months,” says Krishnan. “At an average of two customer- 515 kmph, requires over eight kilometers to brake. Retailers technology contact points per customer and that’s about don’t have that luxury. IT's inability to scale up to mammoth RETAIL two million probable interactions between customers and volume transactions while ensuring the constant availability technology in three months. Add to that the large number of of merchandize can bring a retailer to a grinding halt. items a customer buys per visit. (An average receipt has 30-50 Krishnan says they’re the first to have rolled out among the items at a hypermarket.) Hypothetically, consider a 30 percent most advanced replenishment applications for hypermarkets. a shopper’s Paradise sales-conversion of two million footfalls — that translates to Called E3, this sophisticated mathematical software helps anywhere between 9 to 15 [times customers trigger a play of HyperCITY analyze inventory trends, helping the enterprise technology] in three months from a single store.” It goes without saying that technology deployed in a retail environment needs to be robust. But not robust like a tractor — there is no place for the unsophisticated in a shopping mall. Retail technology needs to be intuitive, user-friendly and has Every month, one of Shopper’s Stop 50 outlets clocks seven million instances of to offer a consistent experience. This requires identifying customers using technology. Encouraged, the group is now building on its technology cutting-edge technologies and putting them to innovative uses. “There is a generation gap between us and other retailers in capability to stay ahead in the volumes game. the country, as far as technology adoption is concerned. We’ve brought new-age technologies to the Indian retail market, some By gunjan trivedi which others haven’t introduced,” says Krishnan. Shopper’s Stop has one of the largest installed bases of R AutoCAD software, says Krishnan, because the chain uses etail is similar to the world’s fastest train, the always understood the criticality of scale, availability and CAD technologies to craft, draw and plan its multiple stores TGV. Its speed, availability and extraordinary experience, and has been an eager adopter of advanced, cutting- as they roll them out. At last count, the group had over 20 experience set it apart and has made it among the edge technology. “We deployed JDA-MMS and JDA-WinDSS, Shopper’s Shop stores and 30 Crosswords outlets. most preferred modes of transport in France. The core merchandizing, store PoS application and ERP in 1998, The enterprise is also at an early stage of deploying a solution same fundamentals separate the retail amateurs from the men. much before the other players,” says Unni Krishnan T.M., the to optimization store-to-floor space ratio. Called Intactix, it’s A retail organization’s group CTO of Shopper’s Stop retail business that includes going to help the store managers visualize how to stock shelves ability to scale up Shopper’s Stop, HyperCITY, Crossword, Mothercare, Desi using optimal sales and margin expectations. The application swiftly on demand, keep Café, Brio and Home Stop. And Shopper’s Stop has continued also helps analyze how much specific shelves are generating. merchandize available, to pump energy in this area. Today, says B.S.Nagesh, MD, “And it can even do a what-if analysis by removing certain and create a consistently and vice chairman of Shopper’s Stop, it has implemented merchandize off shelves and watching its impact on revenue g r e at c u st o m e r pioneering technologies — like a self-checkout at HyperCITY, and margins,” adds Krishnan. Greatest experience in the face a first in both the retail brotherhood in India and globally. The group was also the first to deploy an IBM i550 Challenges of surging volumes and performance server in the retail sector. This helps the mushrooming customer The Number Crunchers organization consolidate all of its business units on a single Keepingpacewithvolumes numbers will dictate its The business and technological challenges that the retail box while running multiple applications, making it easier Guaranteeingavailability success. This is where sector face are similar to those in other sectors. What sets retail to administer and lowering the cost of ownership. “Today, ofmerchandize technology assumes a apart is the sheer volume of transactions it works with. It’s we run four different enterprise applications (primarily Creatingcustomerdelight pivotal role. this volume that’s responsible for the high-use of technology merchandizing and loyalty applications) catering to six andensuringconsistency Among the big in retail organizations. “Other sectors focus largely on ERP different retail formats on the single box, and we can still take — Unni Krishnan T.M., players in the organized and CRM type of applications. We need those and much more many more. Soon we will be the first to use the i570 series of group CTo (retail business), retail space in India, because the number of touch points between technology and servers running on the Power5+ chipsets, which will boost our Shopper's Stop Shopper’s Stop has the consumer is a great deal larger in retail,” says Krishnan. disaster recovery capabilities,” says Krishnan. 38 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01 VOL /2 | ISSUE/01 REAL CIO WORLD | n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 39
  3. 3. Cover Story | Implementation refill its shelves faster at lower costs, forecast better, and platform — and create a consolidated view of its businesses address the critical element of product availability. “In a and one view of the consumer. hypermarket, consumables like bread and juices fly off the Each retail set-up within Shopper’s Stop drives its own shelves,” Krishnan explains. “Replenishing them every business, but shareholders, management and the board two days means we’re filling them about 180 times a year. want to have one view of the business. Five to six years ago, Managing different products that need replenishment at Shopper’s Stop’s strategy was to grow quickly in different different rates is tricky: should we buy 100 units of a product retail formats even if it meant sacrificing a single view of its or 500? One hundred units means fresher products but also businesses. Later, it became hard to see growth from multiple more frequent replenishment. Five hundred units allows for verticals, business relationships and franchises. “Instead of higher discounts, but pose a storage problem. E3 helps having a 20,000-foot view of all our businesses, us find the right balance at the right time.” what we had a view from a hill. And as we HyperCITY is also home to one of grew, we were forced to jump from the group’s most innovative use of one business’ hill to another. Two technology. Called iScan, this years ago, we decided to get a consolidated view of all our SALE businesses, while it was With its price-checking still early enough to create SA commonality across LE solutions, barcode platforms,” says Nagesh. He associates three scanners and anti-theft objectives with this move. devices, retail creates a One is transparency to LE view all his businesses. large number of customer- technology touch-points. S A Another is that it provides a benchmark in managing technology as a part of the business. Third is the eventual strength in acquiring a single handheld barcode scanning device view of the consumer across all its lets customers scan their merchandize as businesses. “We want to have a common they take them off shelves. When they're ready view of one customer across our retail formats, for checkout, customers don’t need to stand in a queue as whether he’s buying coriander leaves at HyperCITY, The their merchandize is scanned and billed — saving time and Afghan at Crossword, a shirt at Shopper’s Stop, a set of baby improving customer experience. diapers at Mothercare or a cappuccino at Brio,” says Nagesh. The iScan represents a classic case where a piece of Shopper’s Stop is always trying to balance between common hardware is put to multiple use by bundling it with different platforms and creative technological solutions. “Wherever it is apps. The same hardware doubles as stock-taking solution for feasible, we try to create common applications across our retail inventory. It is also used — without the shopping cart — as a formats. We recently moved Crossword from legacy apps to receiving solution at warehouses and helps managers within JDA-MMS and JDA-WinDSS. As a result, we have achieved a a store do price-checks on merchandize. common merchandizing and store application platform almost Known as a platform concept, Shopper’s Stop borrowed across all our group companies,” says Krishnan. Crossword is the multiple-use approach from the auto industry and using four enterprise applications, down from 12. experimented with it in retail for the first time in India, says However, when differentiation is required, specific solutions Krishnan. “Car models like Tata Indica and Indigo share the are created unhesitatingly. HyperCITY's speed checkout same [architectural] platform. When you create a platform, it’s solution using iScan is an example. easier to build more models off it by incorporating tweaks. We This approach and the daring to take on new technologies surprised our application provider by applying hardware and is a characteristic feature of the group. And it’s being applied IL LUSTRAT IO nS By PC A nO OP applications in new environments,” says Krishnan. to getting a single view of the business. “I firmly believe that investing in technology should be kept at par with investments One View in real estate, senior management, and building capacities. Shopper’s Stop primary objective as an early-mover technology Never hesitate in investing in technology,” says Nagesh. adaptor is not only to empower its businesses with the agility to scale up and the power to ensure availability of merchandize, but also to eventually bring all its retail formats on a common Senior correspondent Gunjan Trivedi can be reached at 40 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  4. 4. Dial i.t. TELECOM for integration Nothing is more frustrating than trying to get people to alter the way they do things. New research reveals why it’s so hard and suggests strategies to make it easier. How Bharti Airtel meets the challenges of integrating businesses and staying in line with growth fuelled by MAs. By rahul neel mani F or a company that began with one mobile Braving the Integration Blues service license in 1995, the Rs 8,156-crore Bharti There was a dire need to integrate all the services that Airtel has taken rapid strides to become the Bharti Airtel provided as one brand. There was yet another bellwether in the Indian telecom industry today. need to integrate the systems and processes across circles, Its country-wide presence and market capitalization and initiate the swift migration of all heterogeneous of Rs 101.9 crore reflect a fast-growing company at one processes to one platform across the 23 circles. level. At another level, such expansion signals a huge In 2002, when the carrier embarked on the integration challenge, especially for a company whose growth has process, it had few circles to operate and was running come inorganically, through mergers and acquisitions legacy billing systems. Menon recalls the days when (MAs), as part of the industry consolidation. Ask Bharti the company bought its first off the shelf, high-end, Airtel’s IT organization. commercial billing system called Keanan in 2002. With each acquisition, the challenges grow by leaps and “The migration of just two circles from legacy to this bounds. Bharti Airtel has sought to consolidate disparate platform was extremely painful. Several business rules IT systems of different entities and standardize platforms and processes needed to be aligned with the IT systems. across the company. Says Jai Menon, director (innovation) Everything was missing. It took us several months to and group CIO of Bharti Airtel, set it right. Imagine the task of “In 2002, while on an S-curve repeating the similar exercise of growth, we were just on time. after every acquisition,” It has reflected well in the way says Menon. we adopted technology and the There was a strong belief way customers experienced within that technology wasn’t our offerings.” Greatest the problem. It was integration, The journey, which started Challenges and its alignment with business then with basic integrations thereafter, which was essential internally, will culminate by 2010 Integrationinthecontextof to keep growth steady on the as One Airtel — a complete intra inorganicgrowth S-curve. The non-integrated and inter-SBU integration across Gettingridoflegacysystems entities were also lying too Bharti Airtel’s divisions. The Minimizingmigrationtime low on the capability front journey has posed three major because of the over-customization challenges: scaling up (vertically of information systems and and horizontally), capability commercial software at different enhancement and integration. entities within the company. 42 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  5. 5. Cover Story | Implementation “In the absence of consolidation and integration, we in 2002, we went completely wrong. It took us nearly were only running at 10-20 percent of total capacity,” seven months to correct this. But subsequently, after recalls Menon. every MA, the time kept reducing. Now, we are able to Yet another challenge lay in getting rid of legacy systems do it in a few hours.” It was also imminent to survive the P HOTO By yATI nDA R kU M A R and hardware to the pave way for new and efficient decline of revenue in the voice market and cut costs by hardware. “Legacy has to be a setting sun in the cases of consolidating whole universe of applications and data to bigger alignments and MAs. Otherwise, the situation streamline processes that were fragmented at the circle remains the same,” asserts Menon. In its integration or business unit level. quest, Bharti Airtel practiced the one data model and one Based on the experience of multiple integration business process. Data residing at multiple locations on exercises, the company has since created a blue book — a multiple heterogeneous storage systems and subsystems Center of Excellence. “It took time to create the first set of IIMAGInG By BInES H S R EEDHA RAn had to be migrated to the new data model, which would be common standards, but once this was achieved, it was just central and accessible to all in a uniform fashion. an act of replication,” says Menon. In doing so, another challenge arose when the business In the IT model at Bharti Airtel, the base infrastructure logic, encoded in the legacy data models, had to be layer primarily consists of WAN, LAN, network operating changed, migrated, mapped and then integrated to the center and security layer. And so, another daunting new data model and new business logic. Says Menon: integration task was knocking at the doors of the company: “There were fundamental challenges posed in migrating the outer physical layer of the network — the WAN. Every to this business data modeling. The first time around, circle was operating on a separate WAN. Integrating the WANs onto one common protocol became necessary. Still, a heterogeneous WAN network wouldn’t have allowed diverse traffic types to travel effectively on the common infrastructure. “It wasn’t possible for us to support ‘any-to-any’ traffic patterns cost-effectively. We were not able to ensure that individual applications got the network performance they required,” says Menon. Towards this end, it became important to enable traffic engineering, where carriers direct traffic along predetermined paths. It was to make it easier to manage network build-outs and support customers. “This capability only comes through multi-protocol label switching (MPLS). Our next biggest challenge was to build a unified MPLS network connecting the core across all circles,” says Menon. With or without the mega-mergers, consolidation of WAN was the mandate for the company for reasons more than just a unified network. Non-stop Integration As a result of the efforts to integrate, the first phase saw intra- strategic business unit (SBU) integration. Within all three divisions — mobility, fixed line and broadband businesses — the internal information systems were migrated onto one platform. “It took us a few years to complete the intra SBU migration, but Bharti Airtel became the first telecom service provider in India to be working on a single, standardized platform internally, including HR, financials, knowledge management, learning management,” claims Menon. On the business side (customer facing application and IT systems), the company is slowly inching towards totally integrated and standardized platforms. The — Jay Menon,, thrust is to first achieve integration of systems, business Director (innovation) group CIo, Bharti Airtel intelligence systems, data warehousing, so that there is one national picture to view. At the time this story was reported, Bharti Airtel was in its penultimate stage 44 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  6. 6. Cover Story | Implementation of bringing billing onto a common engine known as outsourcing partner, with some others. All partners work convergent billing platform. on a revenue sharing basis, so that there is no immediate “We have also progressed sufficiently on the common capital expenditure; ROI doesn’t come into play. “With CRM platform across all 23 SBUs. This is a tremendous this kind of integration, I, as a CIO, have been able to success in inter-SBU integration. It has not only brought make capital expenditures, maintenance contracts and business-IT alignment into play, but the capabilities of other such micro things redundant.” IT systems have grown nearly 10 times between 2002 All these functions are now offloaded to partners and 2006. On the customer side of because of the ‘utility computing’ model driven by the IT, many areas like sales, order premise that integration not only brings operational management, billing, revenue efficiencies, but also gives cost efficiencies. In the case recognition, customer of Bharti, the utility computing model has worked very care and business well. The company made sure from day one that this intelligence have had model is directly related to business outcome because to be migrated from internally, in the company, most of the IT is related to revenue, which is the business outcome. “As the revenue goes The thrust is to first higher, the percentage of spent on IT comes down,” notes Menon. achieve integration The Ultimate of systems, business Objective intelligence systems, data Most of the intra-SBU and some of the inter-SBU IT systems have warehousing, so that there is already been stitched with one thread — and are working well. one national picture to view. Some of the most ambitious projects like integrated CRM, integrated self care and order management their current platforms to one standard convergent billing are in advanced stages of completion. platform — to be 100 percent more agile,” say Menon. “We are targeting that by 2008, Bharti Airtel — mobility, The entire IT infrastructure of Bharti Airtel now runs fixed line and broadband — will have one content gateway, on multi-protocol label switching WAN, which helps the one messaging gateway and one application gateway company support a host of applications, including the across all platforms, that is, PC, mobile and TV. That will ones that are leading-edge. Migrating to MPLS-based make us a 100 percent integrated telecom carrier. We'll services also cut costs for the company depending on be the first telecom company in the world to achieve this,” the degree of converged traffic that Bharti Airtel was claims Menon. running on it. Says Menon: “Using MPLS for all three Overall, the process has stemmed from the company’s layers — data, voice and video — saved us as much as 25 quest for integration, which started early on in 2002. percent on the network expenditure. CIOs might wonder The company gathered the right ecosystem, got the right how difficult it is to make the transition. Surprisingly, it’s architecture in place, and did the migration and integration less painful than anybody thinks. Technically, MPLS isn’t upfront. It has resulted in cost-effectiveness and the ability a service offering, but underlying infrastructure.” to recognize customers better. “On the S-curve of growth, Through this exercise, Bharti Airtel has created an we started very early. We wanted this whole strategy to IT ecosystem which now uses one piece of middleware ultimately translate into ‘rich customer experience’. And for 16 of its major application systems running on 1,500 it’s nothing but a result of integration and capability odd servers. As a result of this massive integration drive, enhancement in the IT systems,” asserts Menon. Bharti Airtel executed three large utility computing models between 2004-2006 after factoring in both capital and operational expenditures. For business and internal IT, IBM became the key outsourcing partner with 15 more providers lined up behind it. For all contact center technology, Bharti Airtel picked Nortel and seven of its associated partners. On the infrastructure front, IBM was again the strategic Bureau head-north Rahul neel mani can be reached at 46 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  7. 7. insuring BFSI against Paper-Pushing HDFC Standard Life Insurance has made a successful bid to get its people away from the clutches of paper files and back to the business of insurance. By gunjan trivedi W hat does it take to follow a paper trail? of paper racing around if a company handles about ten Ask an insurance company. Take an thousand policy files everyday. Now, imagine the impact insurance organization anywhere in on the organization’s turnaround time. Electronic the world and it will look at paper as a content management and digitization of workflow was necessary evil. That’s because with so many entwined imperative,” points out Rawlani. In 2003, HDFCSL business processes with cascading results, variables and embarked on a mission to cut out the paper chase and overlapping needs, insurers need to ensure well-defined embrace Business Process Management (BPM). workflows, which for unprepared companies means an The Mumbai-headquartered HDFCSL, a joint-venture avalanche snowballing of paper — and plenty of it. between UK’s mutual life assurance company Standard At one time, it got so bad that many insurers in the US Life and HDFC, was started in 2000 to tap the evolving — housed in multiple-storey buildings — used conveyor life insurance market in India. As one of the first private belts to carry files across hundreds of desks through life insurance companies in India, HDFCSL’s operations multiple departments. The mechanical solution, though were characterized by manual processes that were added it successfully reduced the time it took to move paper files incrementally to keep up with business requirements. around, didn’t address the problem. Sunil Rawlani, head- In order to differentiate itself and tap the market information systems and technology of HDFC Standard more progressively, it adopted the customer-centric Life Insurance Company (HDFCSL), was certain he wasn’t approach and offered service as it's USP. As HDFCSL saw going to put his money into a conveyor belt. unprecedented growth, their manual processes, layered Rawlani was determined unsystematically over time, started to drain away all the paper to crack under the pressure. that was clogging business The number of Excel efficiency. He decided to worksheets, used to track introduce digitized content, Greatest policies, mushroomed. automated workflow and agile, re-engineered processes. Challenges Increased communication for new requirements began to “Insurance is a conventional, Eliminatingtheproblemsof choke the organization. Multiple paper-based business with apaper-intensiveworkflow systems to handle status 90-page files packed with withelectroniccontent queries or communicating new supporting documents hopping managementandBPM management decisions rendered across work-desks. These GivingbusinessbackitsUSP process control inconsistent obese files then travel in and byfocusingonserviceand and inefficient, which hit the out of file cabinets, to agents, to notpaperchasing. organization’s ability to measure junior underwriters, to medical performance. All the while, the institutes, to senior underwriters volume of paper exploded making and so on. Imagine the volumes document-filing and handling 48 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  8. 8. Cover Story | Implementation But these changes came with a rider: it cost a lot of sweat. The changes required some of the hardest IT activities: designing an accurate business process, mapping process to defined algorithms and incorporating people, management and systems to the change. HDFCSL’s IT department did a lot of the spade work. The initial process of identifying key business processes (such as new business, claims, grievances and policy management), defining workflow rules and algorithms and weeding out non-critical processes took three months. “The core BPM team identified key business processes using statistical sampling. The process design was divided into three functions: defining, documenting and re-engineering. We prioritized mapping business processes to the BPM platform using a simple concept: address the most painful areas first,” says Rawlani. The process of mapping and designing is an on- going process although Rawlani’s team tried to do it on the first occasion because un-ironed glitches would have cascading effects. “We called the system WONDERS: Workflow On Demand Enterprise Retrieval System. There were many lessons learnt and unlearnt. We were among the first Indian insurance companies to incorporate BPM at this scale and had to come up with innovative and creative solutions,” recalls Rawlani. It began with the creation of a core BPM team, whose job it was to identify key drivers and enablers, and design processes accordingly. The core team included people — Sunil Rawlani, from business, HDFCSL’s in-house IT team and the head-information security technology vendor. Top of its list was to automate documents and HDFC Standard Life Insurance workflow — Rawlani wanted paper out of the way. Documents were identified, scanned, indexed and committed to an imaging system. The system includes the most sensitive scanners available, since underwriters, extremely tedious, and created a storage nightmare. who assess the authenticity of documents, need to Manually distributing work and summarizing data from determine things like whether the same pen was used proposal forms also impacted the processing time. The throughout the form or whether data’s been overwritten inability of business managers to balance workloads and and manipulated. Underwriters man the gates of a lack of insight into productivity created a vicious cycle an insurance company and based on their findings, P HOTO By kAPIL SHROF F that sucked business down. subsequent queries are generated. Only once images are The disorder spread as misplaced documents affected policy committed and crossed-check by underwriters is a case turnaround time and created a ripple effect among interlinked released into the organization’s workflow. files. In a firefighting attempt to stave off confusion, staff at the His early-mover status didn’t leave Rawlani with too branch levels began duplicating documents and entered data many references to draw on. His solution was to take in two places. This increased the cost of operations and worse a team of people from operations, the underwriting IIMAGIn G By BIn ESH SREEDHARAn affected HDFCSL’s USP: service. department and IT on a tour of insurance companies After several months of deliberations, HDFCSL in various South-east Asian countries, who had used deployed a BPM solution from Staffware (later acquired similar BPM and digitized workflow technologies. “This by Tibco) and an Enterprise Content Management helped a lot, but there was still one major problem that solution from FileNet. “This exercise replaced paper the tour didn’t solve,” says Rawlani. with digital files, streamlined and re-engineered The roadblock lay with the underwriters. In the manual workflow, and created a more scalable, synergetic and setup, documents were verified on paper (a portrait agile business,” says Rawlani. view), but scanned images of documents on computer 50 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  9. 9. Cover Story | Implementation screens were viewed in “At first, we addressed landscape-mode, making the business processes in the underwriters’ jobs breadth, to automate key very tedious. “We tried front-end features. Then using larger monitors, we started to scale the but that didn’t work. BANK depth of the process. This As for portrait-oriented incremental approach monitors, they were helps us to address issues available only in the cropping up without US at that time and disrupting the entire were astronomically process, and easily secure expensive,” he recalls. management buy-in by With true CIO- being able to show benefits resourcefulness, Rawlani early on,” says Rawlani. found a solution that The au t o m a t e d kept everyone happy: workflow has benefited he deployed graphics the organization. Apart cards that supported multiple monitors. Each The advanced capabilities from the measurable benefits of a 300 underwriter workstation was connected to two of the BPM platform are percent improvement on policy turn-around 15-inch monitors. One also used to break down and time. For instance, the monitor displayed the document up-straight monitor an automated process average time to issue a new policy today is 1.5- and the other displayed the scanned policy in into steps as they are rolled out. 2.5 days, down from 5-6 days. The organization portrait-mode. is also able to offer But, the document imaging solution isn’t only a set improved customer service with consistent experience, of clever ideas. Its benefits, like proper indexing, access and enjoys improved efficiency in terms of immediate control, the ability to include annotations, secure storage, access to documents, tracking policies online, a new ease fast retrieval and better disaster recovery are far-reaching. of administration, much better process manageability It’s also ensured better human resources allocation — and and control, better compliance, and overall reduction in that paper is eliminated from the workflow. the cost of ownership. The advanced capabilities of the BPM platform are also There has also been a 40 percent reduction in the time used to break down and monitor an automated process underwriters spend handling queries. This translates into steps as they are rolled out. Each step within a into substantial ROI, especially since the number of process is monitored and inefficiencies identified. Each policies issued in a year run in hundreds of thousands. step’s time is noted and monitored against the duration (HDFCSL issued over just under 4 lakh policies in 2005- of the entire process. Irregularities are immediately 06, covering more than 5.8 lakh lives.) identified using key performance indicators built into Moving ahead, Rawlani wants to bring all business the platform. processes that are not yet fully automated — such as Business procedural algorithms or rules are kept claims — under BPM. He is working full time to bring in loosely-coupled with the BPM using a separate business more third-party integration between the workflows of rules engine, ensuring that in the wake of changing HDFCSL and external entities such as medical institutes business needs, the entire process is not altered. Tweaking or re-insurers. “I am also figuring out how to further only the rules helps create a more agile process, which equip our sales-force and agents with sophisticated can effectively adapt to changes. Insurance companies, mobile devices, which can integrate seamlessly with our for example, allocate policies to either junior or senior workflow and further reduce our turnaround time as we underwriters, depending on the body weight of the deliver policies to the customers, right at their doorsteps,” applicant. If, at some stage in the future, these parameters he says. change or say an applicant wants to customize his policy, the entire process doesn’t need to undergo an alteration. The required changes are merely incorporated within the business rule engine. Senior correspondent Gunjan Trivedi can be reached at 52 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  10. 10. On the right SERVICES track How the Indian Railways overcame a logistical nightmare in a mission to change the customer experience of nearly 14 million people who travel with unreserved tickets everyday. By Balaji narasimhan A s the second largest rail network in the world UTS as a pilot project at 23 stations around Delhi was taken and the largest in Asia, statistics concerning in January 2002, and the inauguration of the same was done Indian Railways are bound to impress. It boasts on August 15, 2002.” Today, this project is showing a lot of of coverage that exceeds 60,000 kilometers, benefits, and has been extended to 588 stations as of March has 300 railway yards and 700 repair shops. It runs more 31, 2006. Further, the Indian Railways plans to cover 943 than 11,000 trains on a daily basis, and directly or indirectly more stations in 2006-07, and ensure that a total of 6,000 touches the life of almost every person in India. stations have UTS as of March 31, 2009. However, not all figures concerning the Indian Railways While UTS is delivering excellent payback, the road taken are as impressive. For instance, almost 14 million of the 15 was thorny. “As a first step towards computerizing ticketing, million people whom the Railways transports every day the Indian Railways introduced Self Printing Ticketing travel on unreserved tickets. Handling them has been a Machines (SPTMs),” points out Chopra, adding that, “These huge problem. As union railway minister Lalu Prasad were standalone microprocessor-based ticket machines. Yadav said in his maiden Railway Budget speech at the While they contributed towards reducing ticket inventory Lok Sabha in 2004-05, “About 92 percent of railway and provided automated accounting at the station level, they passengers travel without reservation in unreserved had several limitations.” The limitations included: coaches in trains in the country.” The system was a logistical nightmare because fare This revelation is not something new, and the Indian changes had to be made on each and every machine. Railways had realized the need for an Unreserved Ticketing Since these machines were standalone systems, tickets System (UTS) a long time ago. In fact, Nitish Kumar, in could only be booked from the station of origin of his Railway Budget journey. Cancellation could also be only done at the in 2002-03, had same counter where the ticket was booked. announced the pilot Since there was no network, there was no real-time of the Unreserved generation of revenue. Additionally, these machines Greatest Ticketing System, were prone to tampering. Challenges at a time when the Indian Railways was In order to overcome these limitations, CRIS designed the UTS. “The project was given to CRIS on a turn key basis, Designingthesystemfrom celebrating its 150th and the work involved designing the system, freezing theground-up year of operations. of hardware and software requirements, procuring the Freezingontheright As Vikram Chopra, hardware, development of software and testing it, and hardware/software group general finally, installation,” recalls Chopra. combination manager (passenger While implementing such a large system tends to be a Creatinganextensible services applications), complex undertaking, CRIS’ core competency in handling system Centre for Railway such installations helped. Set up in 1986 to manage all Information Systems the computer activities of the Indian Railways, CRIS (CRIS), points out, “The had implemented large projects before, like the Freight decision to introduce Operations Information Systems (FOIS) and Passenger 54 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  11. 11. Cover Story | Implementation Reservation System (PRS). But, while the PRS has been all these things didn’t fit into the 144 MB ROM, and so widely hailed by e-governance experts as one of the most measures had to be taken to trim the RDBMS and the OS. successful e-governance projects, not only in India but across Once this task was accomplished, CRIS faced another the world because of the number of citizens it has impacted, problem: it was using proprietary terminal servers to it handles only around 0.8 to 1 million reservations per day. connect dumb terminals with the backend server. This, The unreserved ticketing system, on the other hand, had to apart from being expensive, was also capable of tying the handle several million reservations a day, and be capable of Indian Railways to outdated legacy methods. In order to scaling way beyond 10 million reservations in the future. combat this problem, the UTS team at CRIS started work on The most important thing about the unreserved ticket a TCP/IP terminal server, which had the advantage of being system was that, since it impacted so many people, it has extensible. Because security was an important consideration to be available on a 24x7x365 basis — and this applied for the Indian Railways, CRIS developed special tools to to all aspects of the system. “The system has therefore centralize the management of these dumb terminals. As a been implemented in the high availability mode from all result of these tools, the security administrator can manage — hardware, software and telecommunication — angles,” the ports from a central location, and even define the says Chopra. Therefore, CRIS decided to use diskless PCs transmission speeds for data flow. But the finest aspect of equipped with 144 MB flash ROMs. The ROM was to be the terminal is that it is highly fault-tolerant. While it works loaded with three components: Red Hat Linux, Adaptive off the network, it can also function as a standalone system Server Anywhere Sybase RDBMS, and the ticketing if the backend server or the telecommunications link breaks application itself. The problem that CRIS faced was that down. Once the server or the network failure is rectified, the client reconnects to the backend server and automatically synchronizes the data. Another added bonus of these efforts was that the TCP/ IP terminal server cost just one-fifth of the proprietary terminal server that was in vogue earlier. Since TCP/IP is the lingua franca of the Internet, CRIS was also able to make the UTS easily accessible over the Web. As Chopra points out, “The booking of unreserved season tickets can now be done through the Internet with the physical ticket being delivered to the passenger’s address.” The usage of the Internet apart, the overall reach of the UTS has been staggering, to say the least. “Today the UTS network covers 682 stations with 2,152 users connected to eight data centers located in New Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Mumbai, Secunderabad, Patna and Gorakhpur. The system issues tickets to around 5 million passengers every day, generating revenues of over Rs 14 crore,” avers Chopra. While numbers are always striking, the other benefits — both to Indian Railways and to the common man — are even more stirring. Now, travelers can buy tickets from any station and need not be restricted to the boarding station. The new UTS system also allows the purchase of an unreserved ticket three days prior to the date of journey, as the facility for booking unreserved return tickets exists. The Indian Railways has also seen benefits from the UTS. Since the burden on the ticket-issuing personnel was reduced, the same staff could be used for additional ticketing counters. The productivity of the booking clerks was also enhanced. The Indian Railways enjoyed other benefits, such as: Fares and business rules could be changed more — Vikram Chopra, easily, and this protected railway revenues and Gm (passenger services reduced passenger complaints. application), CRIS Passenger traffic is measurable on a real-time basis. Since more details of the usage of trains were available, 56 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  12. 12. Cover Story | Implementation analytical reports with higher accuracy could be While Chopra didn’t provide any direct figures bearing produced for top management. upon the ROI of the project, he points out that, “While More counters could be opened for ticket sales without it is not possible to quantify direct savings or increased requiring any addition in manpower. revenues on account of UTS at present, as it is still in the The security features incorporated into the UTS expansion stage, costs will come down on account of reduced reduced the chances of fraud considerably. ticket stock inventories and reduction in investment for Of course, all this comes at a cost. While Chopra was not increasing points of sale. Revenues will increase because of able to provide the final cost of the UTS system because the greater productivity in ticket sales by booking clerks, better implementation of the system is still in progress, he says availability of tickets, and more efficient services through that the Indian Railways has already spent Rs 80.71 crore better planning made possible by better MIS.” as of March 31, 2006. An additional amount of Rs 86 crore A study of Lalu Prasad Yadav’s Budget Speech for has been sanctioned for 2006-07. 2006-07 gives us some indicative figures of the ROI of UTS. Passenger earnings increased by 7 percent, and no doubt, UTS would have contributed to that . Streamlining achieved by the UTS, among others, has also enabled the Indian Railways to target an additional income of Rs 200 Empowering Passengers crore by adding additional coaches to some 190 popular trains. For 2006-07, a growth target of 11 percent has been set for passenger revenues, which add up to Rs 16,800 crore. W hile RFID (radio frequency identification) is usually seen as Since the UTS already touches 5 million people per day, the something that adds value to the supply chain, the Indian averment that it is bound to add significantly towards this Railways is also implementing this technology to make target is not untenable. traveling easier for the common man. This plan revolves around Success apart, CRIS has no plans of resting on its laurels. smart cards, which are issued in denominations of Rs 100, Rs 200 “We are now planning to further enhance the UTS project and Rs 500. These cards are valid for one year, but the with the introduction of touch screen based Automated unused amount can be transferred to a new card. Ticketing Machine, both with prepaid smart cards, These smart cards are used with ATVMs debit/credit cards and currency in the near (Automatic Ticket Vending Machines), future,” says Chopra. which are equipped with a touch screen. Some of the innovations are also Using the touch screen, the smart coming from slightly out-of-the-way card holder can enter the details locations. For example, the Indian of his journey and the amount is Railways launched its first satellite automatically subtracted from his UTS at the Pampa Devaswom smart card. complex in Thiruvananthapuram While this usage is bound to in November 2005, which is enhance customer satisfaction, aiming at issuing unreserved RFID is capable of playing an tickets from non-rail heads. This even higher role in the handling system is expected to help several of freight. The Indian Railways lakh pilgrims visiting Sabarimala is supposed to have 222 million by enabling them to purchase freight wagons, and RFID tags tickets three days in advance from embedded in the wagons will be any railway station. read by readers located in sheds. Another first has been achieved by Using this system, which is currently the Danapur division of the east central in its pilot phase, the Indian Railways hopes railway, which has become the first division to streamline freight management across the of the Indian Railways in which all ‘A’ ‘B’ and ‘D’ country. The impact upon the country itself is bound to class stations have been provided with UTS facilities. be huge because, as of 2004-05, the Indian Railways carried 1.65 With UTS expected to proliferate across the country in million tonnes of freight on a daily basis. Since the network of the the coming years, these numbers are only likely to go up Indian Railways covers around 63,465 km across the length and — along with customer satisfaction, of course. breadth of the country, this system will make tracking of freight much easier than it is today. — B.n. Special correspondent Balaji narasimhan can be reached at 58 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01
  13. 13. cures HEALTHCARE On a large scale Enter a healthcare WAN that has succeeded in taking highly- differentiated and specialty medical services to remote areas. By rahul neel mani T hat India is a vast and varied geography with a highly specialized staff and technical equipment in remote burgeoning population is oft documented. Over areas. Telemedicine is an emerging system of medicine in a billion people are spread across a landscape India, but can prove very effective in terms of delivering from deserts to frozen mountain ranges, whose timely treatment for those deprived of good medical temperatures soar to 50 degree Celsius and plummet to -30 facilities, says Pradeep Saha, head-IT for Max Healthcare. degree Celsius. Delve deeper into the demographics, and one “Information and telecommunication technologies have will find more revealing facts: a very high infant mortality rate, now reached a stage of maturity so that it doesn’t take an unmanageable population per doctor — nearly 70 percent much time to set up a network for telemedicine facilities of the population lives in remote parts — and an average life between two points. expectancy of 63 years. In many ways, all pointers to a deeper “Earlier, an example of telemedicine may have been as need for India to turn to telemedicine. simple as a doctor receiving advice and consultation from The modern applications of telemedicine do not another doctor over the telephone. Today, telemedicine simply entail a better business logic for hospitals can bring a physician located hundreds of miles away into and other healthcare service providers, but also promise an actual examination room, thanks to a live, interactive to contribute toward an national cause. India has been system,” notes Saha. a relatively late adopter, but is fast catching up in terms of However, India is still far behind when it comes to applying telemedicine attaining acceptable standards of health infrastructure technologies. and services, says Saha. “There is a shortage of computer- Max Healthcare savvy healthcare personnel. Overall, it results in the poor Institute, the Rs 145- use of telemedical infrastructure, and the people who Greatest crore super-specialty suffer the most are those in the remote areas. Quite early Challenges hospital, has taken a plunge in proliferating on, Max Healthcare felt the lack of training facilities with regard to information and communication technology Infrastructuretoprovide treatment and medical (ICT) in medicine. In rural India, medical terms like servicetoremoteareas ser vices through HIS (hospital information systems, RIS (radiology Trainingandenhancing telemedicine. Its information systems), and PACS (picture archiving manpowercapabilities TeleMed connects and communication systems) are unheard of by the toprovideservices primary and specialty medical community. Creatingcost-efficiencies healthcare services, “There is virtually no exposure to the applications of ICT throughsuchasystem through images and in remote areas where most people of India reside,” says Saha. other data, to health “We recognized this problem and thought of putting in place centers and tertiary a solution to bridge this gap. Max Healthcare got actively hospitals with their involved in the practice of telemedicine with its various 60 n o v e m B e R 1 5 , 2 0 0 6 | REAL CIO WORLD VOL /2 | ISSUE/01