IT enables the quick creation of solutions for changing business needs
Singh, former Executive Director, IT, BPCL speaks on the organisations
What kind of IT infrastructure is in place at BPCL?
BPCL is an integrated petroleum refining and marketing company with 6,466 retail
outlets and 2,071 LPG distributors throughout India. For managing such a large
setup, we require a multitude of IT applications. We have developed and maintained
allied applications around SAP. We have standards laid down for hardware and
software use. BPCL also has a disaster recovery site for business-critical servers.
Our data centre in Greater Noida, UP has a centralised disaster recovery mechanism
built in. Other than that, we have a robust networking infrastructure in place,
with our own VSAT hub connecting remote locations. We have a separate development,
test and production environment for most applications.
What are the challenges you have faced while managing IT
The biggest challenge so far has been to spread all the IT services across the
geographical spread that we cater to. The huge IT investments that we have made
so far and the big budgets that we have for IT need to be streamlined and aligned
to the business directions to get maximum benefits out of IT.
Another challenge for us has been to keep ourselves updated with the ever-emerging
new technologies and inculcate change management in the organisation among employees.
How has IT helped BPCL to grow as an organisation and what
benefits have you achieved so far?
Most of our processes are now Web-based. This has helped us streamline our workflow
not just internally but also has helped us better satisfy our customers. We
now have online booking systems for LPG refills and electronic payment to vendors
through banks. A robust IT infrastructure has helped us come up with quick solutions
for changing business needs. Better inventory and credit management along with
reduction in data processing are some of the other benefits we have observed.
We are now looking at creating an IT infrastructure library framework for deployment
along with acquiring Software Engineering Institute (SEI) Capability Maturity
Model (CMM) Level 3. A better authentication mechanism and identity management
system is also being put in place.
What are the various security initiatives by BPCL?
Security is our prime focus area this year especially with BPCL making a foray
into E-business and solutions like Smartfleet cards. We had a third party security
audit of IT infrastructure done. This will be followed by such audits every
six months. We also have a corporate information security policy in place. The
average e-mail traffic at BPCL is more than 700 mails per day, so we have readied
an e-mail policy internally as well.