The neighbors are still envy!

By : |December 6, 2007 0

Prasad Ramasubramanian

BANGALORE, INDIA: ‘Neighbor’s Envy, Owner’s Pride’ remained not just a tagline to showcase Onida’s prowess in the markets, but a movement to display a brand that offered products to suit the customer. Backed with proper marketing campaigns and even with overseas brands grazing the Indian markets, Onida’s presence in the Indian minds remain unquestioned. True to the mantra of – changing with age and technology, Onida’s J Ramesh, General Manager-IT spoke to Cybermedia and shared his insight on the Information Technology initiatives taken by the company and his expectations for the New Year!

Excerpts from an interview:

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[image_library_tag 050/15050, alt=”” hspace=”6″ align=”right” vspace=”6″ border=”1″ ,default]CMN: What was the expenditure on Information Technology (IT) systems in 2006-07 (figures) in Onida?

J Ramesh: Our expenditure was close to Rs. 2.4 crore, mainly incurred for maintenance charges and increasing the bandwidth. We also purchased new servers like the HP Itanium Server and other hardware augmentations were carried out. So, if you look at our expenditure – it would be divided between building bandwidth, SAP application upgrade that demands hardware changes and services that are associated with it. Also, we purchased over 100 laptops, which to me was upgradation of client-level machines.

CMN: Could you talk a bit more on the support services front?
JR: See, when you do an upgradation, you have to take support from outside; it’s a kind of technical support or expert services.

CMN: Do you feel that enterprises are spending more on hardware than on software?
JR:
You have to look at it this way. The issue is that software upgrades are essentially conceptualized by the IT guy of any company. Everyone else wants their computer to have high level of operation and high memory. And to address this, last year I changed 300 CPUs.

 

 

 

CMN: Why was this done?
JR:
This was done to get the entire system functionary into one single level and this gave me a domain control. The costs have come down drastically since then. Now when I have a domain controller, calls and costs have come down by close to 70 percent. Previously, there were issues of viruses infecting the computers but now that have come gone down. Today, the problems that generally come are related to MS Office (MS Excel) etc. The total cost of CPU upgradation came to about Rs. 48 lakh.

CMN: How do you tackle when an unexpected investment needs to be met?
JR:
Tthat’s where I am coming at. The expenditure was unexpected but had to be done. You don’t plan for such expenses but has to be met in the larger interest of the company. When I put a server, I tell the management that people want higher performance and this was needed. Our company never bothers much about investment in IT. But whatever is spent, I need to justify it. So, unexpected investments are met at any cost.

I would like to give give you an example. We have a small exchange in Wada in Maharashtra. And if you have any problem, then the person concerned had to come from Kalyan, which would take atleast three hours to reach, and the situation was bad. We struggled hard to put across a connectivity solution in place and spent close to Rs. 12 lakh and people are more than happy. This was a need and it was met.

CMN: What are your plans for the Information Technology in Onida in the next fiscal?
JR:
I plan my application and what new features to be added. I see as to what is the business process that needs to be automated? Sometimes I have to invest in software and at times on hardware.

 

 

 

CMN: Has the price of IT products (hardware/software) been on the decline due to the current stronger rupee against the US dollar?
JR:
You are right in saying that the prices have come down. But we can’t change what purchases have already been done. Unless we go for a high level upgrade, our IT spends are miniscule in our company and it is more need-based than price-based. When the need arises we spend on it.

CMN: How big is the IT staff in your organization?
JR:
I have 21 people in my team.

CMN: As an IT man, what would you like to hear from vendors during the next fiscal?
JR:
I would want the vendors to give the right features of the product, like what it does and give a demo of how it works.

 

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