On Steady Wheels

DQI Bureau
New Update

For someone who manufactures tyres, IT may not be considered to be the entity

on the hot-seat. Not so with JK Tyres. Like their product, they like to take

total control of their back-end IT too, and that is perhaps the reason for the

sophisticated IT infrastructure that the company boasts off.


JK Tyres has its own data center, with 600 licensed users spread across 160

locations. The company has thrity servers and also runs SAP ERP with sixteen

modules already implemented. They run the MPLS VPN network for connecting all

their national and international centers. SS Sharma, CGM, IT, JK Tyres, is also

a firm believer in the outsourcing model. "Outsourcing is a very cost-effective

solution, the more you can do it, the better it is for you," he says. No wonder

then that a lot of functions in JK Tyres are on the outsourced sheet. Emails,

facility management, hardware management and application management are all

taken care of by a third party.

SS Sharma, CGM, IT, JK Tyres

Here is Now

There are a lot of things that are simultaneously happening under Sharmas

gaze. Some of the ongoing projects for the company include Advanced Planning and

Optimization, Customer Relationship Management, Product Lifecycle Management and

Business Process Management. Sharma says that most of these projects are more

than halfway through and the stabilization phase is on for the company.


Ask Sharma if finding customized solutions is a challenge and he is quick to

attribute his luck to the vertical he operates in. "In automotive vertical, we

have the option of packaged software. People related processes are the only

things that are different, rest mostly everything is standard," he says. He goes

on to add that packaged software are a better solution. "Packaged software are

designed for international standards. So instead of changing the software we try

to change our process and try, and make people adapt to these changes," he says.

And yes, he too agrees that change management is a most crucial challenge for

any CIO. The other challenge that Sharma is finding ways to cope up with is

manpower attrition.

All that notwithstanding, Sharma has ambitious plans for 2010. In the coming

few months, he plans to establish connectivity between the shop floor and the

top floor using SAP MES and SAP XMII. His advice to any CIO is that change is

inevitable and the only way to tackle it is to be prepared by doing things like

thorough testing and training. "Whenever we mitigate from one environment to

another, testing and training should be high priorities."

Sharma believes that IT is forever a journey, and never a destination, and

that is how it should be considered. Come to analyze that statement, it seems

apt coming from someone from the automotive industry. After all, life is a

journey for them!

Mehak Chawla