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Grown with the wind

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CIOL Bureau
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PUNE, INDIA: Just because a new breakthrough claims to be cutting-edge des not imply jumping the gun. Specially when one is facing the dart-board of business goals and wielding IT bullets. Shirish Sharad Godbole, President — IT, Suzlon Energy Ltd takes us through his own anemometer readings in pastures like workflow tools, ERP solutions, analytics, integration issues, mobility and business alignment. The needle, as expected, points only in one direction — a breezy future.

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As we greet 2012, do you see your IT strategy changing in a major way for a new scenario? Which breakthroughs might change the game in the coming future?

There are no major changes. Our strategy is more or less unchanged except for areas like Clickview, CRM, SCM etc. We will keep a sharp focus on mobile applications and improving efficiencies. Mobile technology is going to be a great game-changer. Security will also be large piece in the overall picture because of the increased awareness. We are on the path of achieving and continuing our long-term strategic goals though. Its major pieces would be SAP, workflow tools, a portal, a mailing system, business intelligence (BI) or dashboard tool etc.

Can you give a peek into how they will take the goals forward together?

With SAP, we will have some enhancements, consolidation CRM extensions etc. That will connect many areas and transactions in an ERP fashion. In case of workflow, we have picked up Savion and in the next two to three years, about 100 workflows will be deployed across all entities of the system. One virtual engine will host multiple applications. Then there would be Sharepoint to be integrated with other systems. Mailing system would be part of Unified communication. The next piece will be business warehousing or dashboard. We are also extending with Clickview for senior management reporting levels while BusinessObjects will remain alongside. Everything fits with our overall strategy. The Sharepoint portal will have integration with virtual system as well as SAP and BI tools.

How do you make sure that integration and standardization challenges do not impede such a system with this level of variety and complexity?

There are such issues of course. But we took a conscious decision that any new tool would be considered well before deploying. We have discouraged creation of new data centres or any non–standard equipment. We have clearly defined standards on what to buy and what not to buy. We have successfully consolidated and reduced the number of data centres as an indication of the success. Yes, all this can not be done overnight but over a period of three years, the standardization effort yields impressive results. We started this endeavour one and half years back. It’s on course.

As a player in the area of sustainability, what are your views on the increased green washing that many technologies and vendors are packing their wares into?

When we got into high-end tools we wanted to learn with experience. That had been our method. We have decided not to deploy any new tool just because it is cutting-edge. It is not taken in unless it has some serious competitive advantage. It is ok to be a version below rather than investing in something not completely understood or proven yet. Virtualisation was chosen only because it makes sense and we do have some virtual machines in our data centres which will grow ahead also. But we will never do it for the sake of it.

How about the sudden surge in the area of Analytics?

Increasing use of BI tools is happening. I guess the usage of BI was not as much as it should be and it would be changing the role of CIOs now.