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Computing at the core

Gunjan Trivedi | July 29, 2008
Only one word describes the state of the IT team of Aztecsoft, which is trying to manage this disparate IT infrastructure: nightmare.


"One of the roadblocks that we saw when we were growing: several of disparate MIS applications. Each application had its own authentication and user data repositories. We wanted to have a centralized user administration with an integrated core application. We wanted to merge most of our disjointed applications into a centralized ERP, if not dislodge all the applications. We did a complete study of our current infrastructure, and came out with a blueprint of what we wanted to have as an IT solution for Aztecsoft," recalls Varadarajan V., principal architect.

The process blueprinting exercise started around the same time that Aztecsoft was introducing certain organizational restructuring as several business units were being realigned to adequately meet the demands of an evolving market. The IT team roped in business units heads, project delivery decision-makers and designated representatives from the development and testing functions, as it sensed the opportune moment to introduce relevant IT changes to help meet organizational objectives.

"We started off with MIS blueprint where we came up with dataflow and processes map. We kept on refining the blueprint while defining all the relevant dependencies," points out Pooja Wahi, technical leader at Aztecsoft.

According to Varadarajan, about 25 processes were streamlined with several mappings marked out, such as between processes and data, between functional groups and data and data mapped to applications. The blueprint exercise went on for about six months with every aspect of the organization touched in detail.

With the blueprint, the IT team envisaged a solution that met a few objectives: centralized core application with no hassles to manage multiple apps, single ownership of data, de-duplication of data and single sign-on for users. Here, the buck stopped at Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 and the relevant MS ecosystem.

"Earlier, we had several apps, running in silos, written in ASP, JAVA, Perl and PHP etcetera. Before we could integrate all of these apps, we had to arrive at a solution that could have total seamless integration. Moreover, we wanted an IT ecosystem that was simple and easily accessible to our users. We had also deployed MS SharePoint 2007 portal to manage the information flow. With the SharePoint and other apps written in ASP and ASP.Net platform, the best choice for us was to go for Microsoft Dynamics," recalls Wahi.

"When we started evaluating between Microsoft Dynamics and other major ERP packages, we realized that whatever features one required from the HR, finance and project management perspective, are all available with Dynamics. MS Dynamics may not have the in-depth, drilled down features that a typical manufacturing company may need, but it definitely covers all the processes of software industry. We selected Dynamics because our needs were simpler and most of our environment runs on Windows," adds Nataraj.

 

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