To enable Dalmia Bharat to take advantage of new technologies incorporating mobility and analytics, the company’s IT team embarked on an aggressive consolidation plan.
Some of India’s most successful companies are conglomerates with large footprints, spanning multiple industries. Traditionally, group companies allow individual businesses to function as separate entities, perhaps to maintain the sanctity of their operations, or perhaps because they are afraid of disrupting established processes. But today’s technology landscape is challenging such conservative thinking. How can companies take advantage of big data, analytics, and mobility, among others, if they continue to maintain separate infrastructure stacks? How can IT support dynamic business plans if IT systems are carved in archaic datacenter architectures? These were some of the questions that have troubled Vinit Thakur, group CIO, Dalmia Bharat Group. With a vision for holistic growth buoyed by technological innovation, Thakur led the company on a cloud transformation journey.
We want to move towards being a complete cloud company. We are already re-looking at our security policies to get ready for the change.The Company: The Dalmia Bharat Group
is one of India’s most prominent conglomerates with business interests in cement, sugar, refractory, and power. The last few years have seen the company grow through a series of M&As besides organic growth. Some of its notable partnerships include big names such as Kohlberg Kravis & Roberts, and Orissa Cement. In the last 12 months, the company has doubled its user base. In 2012, it acquired companies in the North-east
(Adhunik Cement in Meghalaya). “The entire IT organization was segmented,” says Thakur. “Each business had its own infrastructure, applications, and ERP systems. There was no centralization.”
The Business Case:
At the same time, Thakur could see the writing on the wall. He knew that in the future, all businesses would run on the cloud. “The cloud is the future. We’re moving quickly to a broadband-enabled, tablet-centric environment where work gets done from anywhere. The IT organization has to enable this by moving out of on-premise solutions. In short, the IT organization has to be cloud ready,” he says. Besides, with growth on its mind, the company needed fast, agile systems that could scale up and down and be responsive to the needs of the business. At first, the public cloud seemed ideal. Thakur remembers wanting to bypass the whole virtualization layer and move completely to public cloud infrastructure. “But I realized that despite the buzz around the cloud, not all business critical needs can be met on the public cloud. That was a real eye-opener. Solutions that we wanted were not available in the AIX or HP UX platform, in many ways forcing us to consolidate.”
Thakur led a taskforce comprising Dalmia’s IT team and a few vendor representatives. They visited all of the company’s locations and analyzed the needs of every business. What was initially visualized as a consolidation project for the cement business, was expanded to components of the group’s other businesses. “The main driver was to extend and unite our business critical applications and users on a common ERP platform. For that we need to strengthen our underlying infrastructure on a common platform,” says Thakur.A migration plan was drawn up. In a span of six months, Dalmia Bharat successfully migrated its business critical applications and its ERP onto a single virtualized stack that resides in the company’s datacenter. The server and storage needs of the entire group were consolidated on a single virtualized platform, while legacy applications were left in their native state. Currently, the datacenter houses 259 virtual servers, housed in a single stack. Currently, the company is running on a hybrid cloud platform. The company is quickly rolling out public cloud services like Office 360 and a cloud ERP. “We want to move towards being a complete cloud company. We are already re-looking at our security policies to get ready for the change. But the ecosystem of partners and service providers has to mature.”
Thakur says that the project has already driven service levels to new heights. “Fault lines have dramatically come down, the resilience of the system has increased, the response time of users has shrunk drastically,” he says. The built-in capacity now gives the company the flexibility to add systems on the fly and enable faster integration with new companies. “We are number four in the cement business. Our aim is to break into the top two. We have been able to protect our legacy systems, while also getting business ready for the future,” says Thakur. Send feedback on this feature to firstname.lastname@example.org
. Follow her on Twitter @Varsaw. READ: Bausch & Lomb Defies Conventions and Moves Securely to Public Cloud
We are number four in the cement business. Our aim is to break into the top two. We have been able to protect our legacy systems, while also getting business ready for the future