There are not too many opinions when it comes to the use of IT in the cement
industry. Cement is generally considered a very orthodox industry, and CIOs are
content with a couple of computers or at the maximum, a data management system.
Not so with Madras Cements.
Madras Cements boasts of an IT infrastructure that comprises its an own data
center in Chennai. Whats more, they are also setting up another data center for
their disaster recovery site. Madras Cements also runs an ERP by Ramco and blade
servers by HP. All their storage too is on HP.
In the Backyard
If there is one thing that Muthukrishnan G, DGM, IT, Madras Cements doesnt
have to worry about, it is perhaps the skill-set availability. Madras Cements
being the flagship company of the Ramco Group, most of their IT solutions come
from labs across the backyard.
The company uses Ramcos business intelligence suite and even the MIS report
generating system is home-grown. "Skill-set has never been a problem with us. We
have our own team of forty developers with 24x7 support," says Muthukrishnan.
Muthukrishnan G, DGM, IT,
Skill-set has never been a problem with us. We have our
Thus, the trouble of looking for ERP and BI elsewhere is something that
Madras Cements has been spared. During the last two years, the company has moved
to a completely web based Ramco system to better automate their processes. The
work on disaster recovery systems is also on a full swing.
Muthukrishnan says that the main thing for him is having his own data center.
"Instead of hosting it out, we manage it ourselves and that helps us in a big
way in terms of security, etc. All this would not have been possible without
Ramco," he says.
The white feather in Madras Cements hat right now happens to be their newly
on-board mobile platform. Muthukrishnan, who is all for enterprise mobility,
proudly says that they are the first ones in the cement industry to use these
Through this mobile platform, the company employees shall have information
like hourly status updates, information about important parameters and other
vital figures all in their palms. And some milestones have already been achieved
for the mobile project. The company embarked on the mobile journey six months
back and is already using the platform for vital things like order booking.
Muthukrishnan says that the most challenging teething problem that he had for
this project is the challenge to connect all the seventy odd sales locations in
an integrated yet cost-effective manner. He is still trying to explore some
options for that.
Another thing that he is seriously looking at as of now is virtualization
because that, he says, will cut his opex substantially. He thinks that
outsourcing is something that can only work partially for CIOs. Hed personally
rather outsource his hardware and keep the software under his own watch!
For the year ahead, his main plans include floating their next data center
dedicated to disaster recovery, and also to expand the mobile applications to
encompass employees across the company.