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
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!