VS Parthasarathy, Group CIO, Mahindra and Mahindra on how the group is using technology to prepare for the future

The Mahindra group plans to take a quantum leap and drive digital transformation across the group. The group plans to automate supply chains and actively leverage technologies such as IoT. VS Parthasarathy, Group CIO and CFO, Mahindra and Mahindra shares his perspective

Mahindra & Mahindra’s core focus has always been to drive business transformation through use of technology and it has always been an early adopter of technology. In 2008, with VS Parthasarathy in the driver’s seat, M&M changed gears and there was a clear vision on the windscreen – Enable, Enhance and Engender.

VS Parthasarathy, Group CIO, Mahindra and Mahindra, takes us through the group’s key IT initiatives as part of the Enable, Enhance and Engender vision.

Here is VS Parthasarathy in his own words:

 

As part of the ‘Enable’ strategy, M&M laid a solid foundation through Project Harmony which was kick started in 2010. It was one of the world’s largest big bang SAP projects in which multiple instances were consolidated into a single global instance and processes were harmonized in the areas of Finance & Accounts, HR, Indirect Material Procurement and setup of a unified analytics platform. In the project 50 companies went live in a short span of 8 months, a record which has not yet been surpassed and today Harmony supports 72 companies across the globe on this single instance.

In our ‘Enhance’ strategy, M&M subsequently concentrated on Analytics, Data centre transformation, In-memory tool implementations. It embarked on creating a process-oriented analytical culture by automating and deploying user-friendly and feature-rich reports that has helped senior executives take informed decisions and helped reduce non-value added activities. This shifted the trend from gut based decisions, operating executives collating and massaging data in order to support such decisions, to, intelligently analysing information.

In 2013, Mahindra and Mahindra began its foray into the cloud based solutions, as an early adopter, commenced with the Office 365. M&M now runs on the best-in-class SaaS and IaaS solutions in the market.

M&M developed a unique integrated Mobility app, MeConnect, which employees can access “on the run”. The app provides a single gateway to the M&M world. Employees can access the intranet for latest news updates, announcements, Rise Portal and the employee portal for transactions from expense reimbursements to leave approvals. It is not only a unique app in the palm of your hand, but a first of its kind.

With the emergence of e-commerce aggregators, every company would like to have their footprint in this exciting opportunity. M&M decided to bring the offerings of 145+ companies from 18 industries to one e-commerce platform. The result, M2All.com – a one stop online shop where end customers and employees can find information, enquire and transact online for vehicles, agriculture, power solutions, real estate, business services, leisure, retail and financial services.

As part of the Engender strategy and Rise philosophy, M&M uses all its resources innovatively to help its stakeholders and communities across the globe to rise, by accepting no limits, by driving positive change and through alternate thinking.

In all M&M projects, there is a penchant to break the norm and think beyond. A few examples of such alternate thinking are, delivering financial numbers along with the sales numbers on the first of each month through accelerated closing, automated provisions and integrated workflow; a unique example of actionable analytics where in inventory carrying cost is computed at component level and responsibility assigned to the buyer and the component.

In the year ahead, M&M plans to take a quantum leap and drive digital transformation across the group. A few major initiatives under deployment are:

* An updated version of MeConnect will be launched and transactions will be voice-enabled using Siri, Cortana and Hello Google

* Internet of Things: Geofencing for attendance recording, restricting cell phone usage in specific locations, working out bay-wise profitability based on vehicle movement in the workshops

* Building Algorithms to automate supply chain processes to enable simulations and improve accuracy of information

* Migrating ERP to HANA and rewiring business processes to reap maximum benefits of higher compute power

* Integrated workflow for expenses other than employee expenses which have already been deployed

* Digitizing the entire document stack across M&M, Outgoing documents will be digitally signed, Incoming documents will be scanned and all documents digitally stored.

* Revamping the current performance, talent and learning management systems

We have also embarked on deploying Design Thinking, which we plan to scale it across our workforce to help them collaborate better, focus on discovery & exploration to uncover customer needs that have not been articulated with relevance to emerging technologies, business models and emerging human behavior.

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