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Issue of June 2004 

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ERP’s still standing as BI takes off

Despite the hype around CRM and SCM, ERP continues to be the king of the EWA (Enterprise-Wide Applications) road. The upcoming EWA is Business Intelligence with banks, telcos, and automotive companies getting on with the business of mining the data mountains generated by ERP applications. by Soutiman Das Gupta

ERP is among the top three items on the average Indian CIO's wish list. It's interesting to note that ERP is still being considered at a time when the buzz has all been around post-ERP EWAs such as CRM and SCM.

EWA past and future

In the past, 55 percent of all companies across industry verticals had invested in EWA. Last year found 38 percent of companies investing in this area. 2004-05 will see an upswing in EWA deployments as 42 percent of companies put their money in EWA.

The size of the company isn't very significant when it comes to EWA deployments. Medium-sized and large companies are almost at par when it comes to making investments in EWA. 45 percent of large and 42 percent of medium-sized companies will invest in EWA over the next year. Small companies are also starting to adopt EWA, 35 percent of them will roll out some form of EWA in the next one year.

Roughly two-thirds of the 254 companies surveyed had either invested in EWA, or made plans to do so. ERP is still the hot favorite of Indian CIOs. 69 percent of respondents are betting their Enterprise Application budget on ERP, up by six percentage points from last year.

Analyze this

It's no surprise that BFSI and Telecom are both embracing Data warehousing and mining. What's interesting is that the third industry vertical that's gung ho about Data warehouses is Auto & Auto Components. While the figures for Data warehousing are 40 percent across verticals, it's over 50 percent in all the three verticals listed above. Even the overall figure is up by seven points from the previous year. E-business tools and applications are also gaining in popularity; they are up by four points as 35 percent of the companies surveyed this year planned to e-enable their firms.

CRM and SCM are not as popular as they used to be. It is likely that this is, at least in part, due to the fact that these applications have failed to deliver as promised. Integration, interoperability, and security issues have all helped undermine the benefits of these two EWAs. Another point to note is that without ERP there can be no CRM or SCM, and lots of organizations are still deploying ERP.

On the cards

This brings us to the year ahead. ERP leads the list, next comes data warehousing or mining and e-business tools. CRM and SCM applications get the least priority. It's clear that companies want to put their core systems in place. Those that have already done so have already built sufficiently large data mountains that they feel the need to analyze that accumulated data. That's where the strong interest in business intelligence (Data warehousing or Mining) comes from.

Research Snapshots
  • 42 percent of India Inc. will invest in Enterprises-Wide Applications (EWA) in the coming year
  • The use of ERP is widespread, nearly 69 percent of the companies surveyed already have some sort of ERP in place.
  • This year 46 percent of the companies are planning to invest in ERP, this investment is expected to be the largest in Auto & Auto Components followed by Govt/PSU verticals.
  • CRM and SCM seem to be of low priority for India Inc, fresh investments into these areas are lowest—at 19 percent and 13 percent respectively.
  • The use of Data warehousing and mining solutions seems to be on the increase. Already 40 percent of the companies surveyed have some sort of solution for mining information and 28 percent plan to invest here this year.

NM Suggests
  • It's clear that many companies have either not deployed an ERP solution or wish to upgrade their existing ERP system. ERP is the only way out for companies in order to streamline operations and stay competitive.
  • Companies that have an ERP system in place should consider implementing BI solutions. BI will help companies mine raw data to produce valuable nuggets of information.
  • While the initial CRM/SCM deployments appear to have disappointed going by the waning interest in these solutions, a proper CRM/SCM deployment backed by business process re-engineering can pay off in a big way. India Inc should definitely give CRM/SCM a second look.
  • The slow-growing interest in e-business is heartening, it appears that India Inc. has gotten over the dot com bust and is now ready to B2B in a big way.

Eicher's EPIC initiative

Eicher Motors has setup an employee self service portal called EPIC to enhance productivity and promote knowledge sharing

EPIC or the Eicher Portal for Information and Collaboration was initialized in 2002 by Eicher Motors, to provide a single 'secure service point' for all information and collaboration needs of Eicher employees and partners.

While many organizations have deployed intranets, workflow automation, collaborative and knowledge management tools, a unique aspect of EPIC is that it integrates all these facets into a single unified architecture, which can be accessed through a browser.

The Benefits

Sanjay Govil, Director - IT, GIS, Cartography & CIO at the Eicher Group, said, "SAP licenses and training expenses for a large number of employees would have been prohibitive. Access for the same has been enabled through EPIC, resulting in significant cost savings. The turnaround time for key employee-centric processes have reduced by around 40 percent.

There has been a considerable reduction in data-entry errors and administrative costs by minimizing the need for telephone follow-ups, printed forms and manual data entry. And there has been a rise in employee satisfaction due to quick, efficient resolution of HR issues and transparency of employee-centric processes.

In future

The ultimate vision is to make EPIC the single window (device-independent) gateway for all information and collaboration requirements within Eicher.

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