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Against the grain: Bucking the outsourcing trend

Kanika Goswami | Nov. 24, 2008
Underneath its distaste for chrome, glass and anything loudly modern, VST's been busy pulling off an IT feat few other modern companies have attempted.

Up and Away

VST's success with the ERP implementation prompted other users with similar problems to approach them for consulting. In January 2008, VST set up an IT Projects Wing (VST- ITPW) and offered SAP services to other organizations based in Hyderabad.

One of them is the Rs 576-crore Hindware Sanitaryware Industries (HSIL). "We started interaction with VST in December last year. After a brief session to get them to understand our setup, we got them on board," says B.K. Venkatram, DGM-IT, HSIL.

"We implemented SAP in October 2006, but sometimes we need support. Before we decided on them, our IT team went to their site, saw their installations, and met all the people in charge of their modules. We thought them capable and decided to take on VST's services to run our SAP ERP," adds J.K. Somani, VP, HSIL, which has drawn up a one-year contract for three years.

Part of the reason that HSILtook on VST -- even though it is not an IT company -- was because VST had already undergone all the troubles Hindware faced. That means Nemani can predict challenges and have ready solutions. In his bid to make ITPW a revenue generation center, this will be a sizeable plus-point. "I understand both the vendor's end as well as the customer's. That gives me an edge. I can tell the customer, what can be done and what can't be done and what not to expect from SAP. I know the ground realities," Nemani says.

Nemani's first-hand experience is bringing more people to his door. In May this year, Priya Foods signed up VST ITPW as a consultant for their SAP practice. "We were looking for someone who had gone through what we were facing. We checked out a few software services companies but they could not understand our process. When we went to met the [VST] team, they explained to me some issues that they had resolved for their organization and we were quite impressed," says J.V.V.S.N.S. Prasad, manager IT at Priya foods.

Priya Foods faced some real challenges: their invoices, both inward and outbound had a huge number of line items and taxations lists. "Passing bills was troublesome. Because we have so many raw materials and the purchasing scenario is so complicated, we have long calculations. Then bills had to be broken down according to payments. The manual mode made things very difficult. We also had problems when there were changes in taxes. Or we had cases when our people entered Rs 32 instead of Rs 0.32. These had a huge impact financially, we are talking about lakhs of rupees," Prasad explains.

While an ERP solution could solve these problems, getting user buy-in was hard because users thought they would lose their jobs. "In my company, as in many others, the thought of an ERP can be a bit unnerving for personnel down the line," says Prasad.


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