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Issue of January 2006 
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“IT enables the quick creation of solutions for changing business needs”

RP Singh, former Executive Director, IT, BPCL speaks on the organisation’s IT initiatives.

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 at BPCL?

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.

Kusum Makhija

 
     
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