Evaluating Technology and Business requirements
Business teams and cross-functional units at the manufacturer came out with their own expectations and demands from IT. They wanted to have technology that can reduce expenses, improve efficiency and add value to better ROI on capital investments. In such a scenario, Jade and his team had to work on multiple areas and technologies. The team later prioritised a few use cases and areas which can help to increase revenue and optimise working capital, cost-saving, and improve efficiency.“Post evaluating the needs, we focused on warrior technologies including IoT. We are working on multiple initiatives in IoT for various machine automation and integration which will help us to improve overall OEE (Overall Equipment Effectiveness); improve product quality. Reducing time to deliver IT systems is one the objective to achieve and hence we strategically induct new processes, methods, and technologies which includes Cloud adoption, DevOps, Low-Code development so on,” He emphasised.
Operational Technology is well penetrated in the auto industry so bringing synergies between IT and OT is another priority which he is focusing on.
Having Uniform systems and processes has its own advantages and hence he is driving the “One Group – One System” Principal. Uniform and One ERP, CRM, HRIS, Biz Analytics, Vendors system, PLM/PDM, Project Management are some of the implementations that have already started in the last 8-10 months.
Ashok Jade’s strategy of building his IT team of passionate professionals
“First task I have decided to onboard the right IT leaders in the team and established an objective aligned organization structure. Leadership Team plays a vital role in the success of the organization and so having the right leaders on-board and formation of the right Organization structure is critical,” Jade said.
According to him, leadership team and organizational structure are indispensable means; One must bring the right leaders on board and design organizational structure to make possible the attainment of business objectives for short terms and long terms.
“While taking the team on board; we focus on having excellent skill in the area for which position will work. Ability to learn quickly, passion about the job and self-motivation, and self-driven are some of the qualities that can’t be ignored while inducting a person into the IT team. We have a good mix of experienced and freshers. Right from 5 years to 25 years. This combination of new and experienced people makes sure we drive our digital agenda passionately,” He added.
Key challenges faced by the team amid the digital transformation journey
Due to COVID-19 Lockdown, initially, Jade and his team faced some technical challenges as the 100% workforce suddenly started working from home / remotely. The challenge includes making IT systems and Infrastructure agile so that people can work from anywhere and from any device. Cyber Security was also another challenge on top of everyone’s mind.
“However, having me and my team hands-on various technologies – especially cloud; we could resolve these issues quickly. We quickly migrated a few applications on cloud, various systems made available remotely from the on-premise data center with a secure connection. Post COVID-19, we have resumed our agenda of consolidation of our Infrastructure and System at the group level. Our IT Leadership team has started traveling to plants and offices and working closely with the local IT team. Most of the time I spearhead teams for – what to be done – by whom,”
Contribution of Ashok Jade’s IT warriors
Vikas Yadav: IT Leader CoE – ERP and Integrated Systems at Group Level Yadav is driving the agenda of CBP (Continuous Business Process) Improvement which will lead to a seamless integration of various digital systems implemented across the group and standardized business processes across groups which is a key success parameter of any System.
Yadav is working to implement some large-scale projects across the group which includes Financial consolidation and Reporting, uniform Supplier connect; e-Procurement, Factory Automation, which will lead to the Industry 4.0 roadmap; one of the main agendas set by Ashok Jade at the group level.
“My focus in the first year will mainly be on migrating legacy systems on a new age platform, process standardization, increasing utilization of existing systems; this will increase the utilization of investment already done in technology till now,” Yadav said.
Pankaj Gupta: IT Leader CoE – Applications at Group Level
Gupta is driving a digital agenda with various applications at the group level which includes Business Analytics, Uniform HR Systems, Associate Management, Productivity Monitoring, and Management System.
“My focus is to leverage digital to give better connectivity, better monitoring, and uniform experience to customers, vendors, and employees. This year will be a consolidation of various legacy applications, the transformation of new technology platforms, and developing a uniform technology platform across groups,” Gupta said.
He is also working closely with CISO to build Digital Vault and Virtual Data Room for the entire group wherein people will keep and exchange data securely. RFQ Management, Customer connect, Integrated Project Management are the few initiatives he has planned to launch by the end of this FY.
Sohan Lal: IT Leader. CoE – Infrastructure
Lal heads for Data Center, DR, Enterprise Network, Cloud, End Users Support. In 2021, Lal is focusing on creating a robust infrastructure which he understands is the foundation of digital transformation for organization. Consolidation of IT infrastructure like Servers, Storages, network which is spread over across India at various locations is his priority.
“Consolidation of IT Infrastructure will not only give substantial savings but will also have better control and monitoring centrally. Going forward, we have plans for systematic adoption of cloud and migration on-premise workload to cloud in phase-aligned with business objectives. Achieving zero downtime will be our objective to achieve by end of the next year,” Lal said.
Kapil Madaan: CISO
Madaan is leading Cyber Security at Spark Minda. “Our priority is to implement new-age AI and ML-based tools rather than traditional approaches. We are also working on compressive cybersecurity policy across the group which is a key success parameter of Cyber Security,” Madaan said.
Madaan is working to implement Next Gen Endpoint security tools, advanced prevention tools to analyse traffic based on machine learning with less human intervention and have web application firewalls to safeguard applications and to fill the gap of risks.
Manish Sharma: IT Leader for Business Vertical I and IV
Sharma Manish is heading IT for the Mechatronics and Aftermarket Division of Spark Minda Group. Factory Automation is one of the key focus areas for him. “We have started many IoT initiatives which will take the journey towards Industry 4.0. Strategic direction from Group Corporate IT is very helpful as it connects overall group technology objective and growth strategy where technology is playing a key role,” Sharma said.
Sayaji Navadkar: IT Leader for Business Vertical II and III
Sayaji is heading IT for Information and Connected Systems and Plastic Interior Division of Spark Minda Group which is Business Vertical II and III.
Navadkar is working to bring the synergies between IT and OT. He is closely working with SMiT. Currently, he is working with Group IT to prepare a roadmap for PLM – PDM implementation across the group. Integrated Engineering Change Management, Engineering Productivity Monitoring, Shop Floor Automation, Traceability right from Sourcing of Material to Sale to OEM are the few initiatives on which he is working.
This team has started multiple initiatives around IoT, shop floor automation, machine to machine interface which will take the company towards the Industry 4.0 journey. In the near future, they have planned various digital initiatives including automation of HR processes, internal systems, and a few use cases of IoT for monitoring, etc.