An Investment Expert

Thirty-eight-year-old SS Dogra is the IT Manager of Osram India
Pvt. Ltd, a subsidiary of Osram GmbH Germany (the lighting division of Siemens). Dogra is
regarded as an expert in software customization, evaluation, development and
implementation. A bachelor’s degree in science with specialization in electronics
instrumentation, Dogra had started his career as a Management Trainee with Punjab National
Bank. So far out of his 17-year career, nearly two-third of the duration he has spent in
planning, managing, and supporting computerization activities in the financial sector.
That includes his assignment in the PNB branch automation pilot project, handling the
conversion of entire software of PNB to Unix-based system, upgradation of retail banking
software.

Currently, Dogra is looking after the IT functions
of both Osram India and Osram Surya (a joint venture company with Surya Roshni). In an
interview with Sharmila Chand, he spoke about the various aspects of IT at Osram.
Excerpts:

How prominent is Osram as an IT
user?

Osram worldwide uses SAP ERP for large subsidiaries. For other subsidiaries we use other
ERP/accounting packages like ACCPAC, SCALA, FACT etc. The company is a very active user of
IT and we have world wide connectivity. The corporate Internet site www.osram.com provides
exhaustive information about the company and its innovative products.

How critical is IT to your
organization?

IT is very critical to our business. All the business records, reporting, and
consolidation of business data with Osram Germany and finally with parent company,
Siemens, are done electronically. This has resulted in better and faster output and
greater efficiency and reliability. Also, IT has definitely helped us in marketing our
products through the Internet.

What is your hardware and software
platform?

In India, earlier our main platform was Banyan Vines. From this we have migrated to Novell
Intranetware. The applications are office productivity tools-Hyperion for reporting and
fact accounting package for financial accounting and sales/stocks maintenance.

Are you thinking of implementing an
ERP solution at the India office?

Yes, we are planning for implementing an ERP package. As mentioned earlier, we have SAP,
SCALA etc. as our corporate standards and we are currently planning toward implementing
SCALA for India. Hope-fully, it should be implemented by the end of this financial year.

Is there any particular area in IT
you are focussing these days?

We are having a close look at the possibilities offered by Internet for ecommerce. Since
Indian market is not yet matured to ecommerce, we are gearing ourselves in that direction.

How much do you spend on IT every
year?

About 1.5 percent of the turnover. Especially from 1994, we have been very particular in
spending on a need-basis technology. That means the total investment is coming to the tune
of a moderate Rs 50 lakh. The investments in IT have not been very heavy during the
current and last couple of years. We believe in opting for proven solutions which promote
the company’s ability in furthering the business objectives rather than investing in
technology just for the sake of technology.

What are your future plans?
We plan to have integrated sales and accounting data in the near future. This may involve
investments toward hardware and software in the region of Rs 1 to 1.5 crore depending on
the solution chosen and its implementation.

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