Apeejay Stya and Svran Group is one of those family run businesses which adopted technology long time ago. Founded in 1942, Apeejay Stya Group, is a leading Indian industrial and investment house with a strong presence in sectors like automotive, chemicals and plastics, distribution, logistics and retail, pharmaceuticals and life sciences, real estate, international trading, merchant banking and financial services, and publishing.
It has several alliances and foreign collaborations with a significant presence in Europe, Middle East, and East Asia.
Despite such covetous presence, the company for quite some time now had been looking for a solution to help them centralize its infrastructure and storage.
At a time when Indian IT leaders are shying away from shifting their infrastructure completely to public cloud, Aditya Berlia, member-Management Board, Apeejay Stya and Svran Group, took the leap of faith and went all in.
“We have been experimenting with multiple datacenter points but the complexity and connectivity always remained an issue. It was only in 2008 when cloud computing came, we realized that it was the solution we exactly wanted,” says Berlia.
Apeejay Stya and Svran Group has always been a discreet combination of small- and medium- sized companies. Although all these companies, which it started and acquired, were guided by a central IT committee, each one of it had chosen an IT solution to work on.
“It so happened that some of the older companies were running on FoxPro and new ones had Custom VB.Net, some ran SAP and others Tally. A manufacturing company which we acquired back in 2004 was running on some German system which no one had heard of. The challenge was how to manage all these infrastructures at the same time,” says Berlia.
Another significant challenge that the company faced was to find a way to secure all its information that was generated by its different storage systems and interact with it.
“Shifting completely to the public cloud is a very rare thing. But our philosophy was to have a centralized system in which all information can be stored, processed, and accessed. If you have a number of locations, it is easier for a central team to secure one fantastic location in the cloud,” Berlia says.
The shift to the cloud proved beneficial. The company was able to bring all its information, from diverse storage systems to one place, so that one core IT team can handle, interact, and access it. “It is much easier to handle a single team, rather than to handle one team for every unit,” Berlia says.
“By replicating our entire IT infrastructure on the public cloud, we have cut down the number of servers by 80 percent, our capex cost and upgrade cycles went down by 90 percent, and more interestingly our entire IT team went down from 30 to three members,” Berlia says.
The Legacy Loop
Another reason for the company to move to the public cloud was to tackle the issue of legacy. One really needs to be a David to fight this Goliath.
“Legacy is a huge issue. A lot of legacy players are now surprised to see that we are using their apps on cloud. We have done a lot of investment in learning how to take legacy apps and convert them,” Berlia says.
Berlia pointed out that avoiding proprietary software network plague helps deal with legacy issues. “Getting into the software and out of it costs more than licensing. In the coming one or two years we are going to stop using ERP systems at most of our companies as we are comfortable using the data systems in the cloud,” he says.
“If a business process changes on an ERP tomorrow, it will probably take three months and hefty amounts of money to update. Normally to get a VPS up and running takes five working days, but owing to the cloud, it took us only three minutes,” Berlia says.
“I told the board that users will not know we shifted to the public cloud. Today, I can move my entire infrastructure from Singapore to Tokyo, Tokyo to New Jersey within 10 minutes and no one will know,” he says.
The benefits Apeejay Stya and Svran Group derived after shifting to the public cloud can only make CIOs more confident about the technology.
Ishan Bhattacharya is a trainee journalist. Send feedback to Ishan_bhattacharya@idgindia.com.
By replicating our entire IT infrastructure on the public cloud, we have cut down the number of servers by 80 percent