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Solve A Business Problem Or Create A Business Opportunity

by T G Dhandapani - CIO, TVS Motor Company May-2015

A part of TVS Group, TVS Motor Company Limited (BSE: 532343) (NSE: TVSMOTOR) is a leading manufacturer of motorcycles, scooters, mopeds and auto rickshaws. Headquartered in Chennai, the company currently has a market cap of Rs. 11,366.46 Crores.

Information technology and business are becoming inextricably interwoven. I don't think anybody can talk meaningfully about one without the talking about the other - Bill Gates

One cannot disagree with Bill Gates on this. With advancing business processes the need for Information Technology applications in organizations have amplified and IT trends have evolved to bridge the gap. We have entered into an era where talking about a business without involving IT is unattainable. Though IT has attained high level of importance as a core function, not all the IT initiatives are successful in terms of meeting expectations.

With an entire world accessible at the click of a button, the strife is largely stationed on how an organization generates unique techniques and strategies to fulfill its customers’ demands. McKinsey & Company in conjunction with the University of Oxford in 2012 carried out a study on Large Scale IT projects which demonstrated that 17 percent of large IT projects go down so badly that they can threaten the very existence of the company. Moreover, an average number of large IT projects run 45 percent over budget and 7 percent over time, while delivering 56 percent less value than initially predicted. Over the years, IT industry has modified but what hasn’t changed is the proliferation of high profile IT implementations and failures.

Project Management Challenges and Dealing with Risk

One of the major reasons why most IT projects end up getting collapsed is the project objective which is not backed-up by strong business needs. The desire to succeed breaks through automatically if the project is aimed to solve major business issues of an organization. Another reason is referred or imposed technologies which are adopted without analyzing the right fit of the company. Most projects backslide because the project team tries to fit the organization for the technology rather fitting the technology into the organization. Furthermore, selecting the right team members for a project is also very crucial as the destiny of the project lies on the team irrespective of the leadership.

 

IT is not just restricted to technology areas like servers and networks but it also involves understanding errors and rectifying them. Every major IT project like ERP, CRM, PLM, SCM amongst others is like new product development. Adopting Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) and Failure Mode Effect Analysis (FMEA) processes during the process of project ensures achievement of goals in terms of objectives, time and cost. During design and testing stage, a project team may visit Genba (also Romanized as Gemba) which means the ‘actual area of operation’ to check for a problem and to gather data from all sources. Though prevention of mistakes is important, the earliest deduction of mistakes should be ensured if the solution isn’t feasible in short period.

IT projects are strategically important to improve organization’s long term goals and operational metrics and hence enough care has to be taken during implementation. Involvement of stake holders be it users, customers, owners or management throughout the project life cycle moderates the expectation, brings acceptance in practice, leads to process simplification and target orientation.

 IT Trends to Boost Business Efficiency

The failures of organizations that attempted implementing IT projects and the thousands and millions that they lose is the reason why it is even more critical to choose the right IT system for a specific industry.

  • The much hyped Internet-of-Things (IoT) is now transforming into Internet of Everything. Applying IoT to the overall production process as well as individual assets could increase production output, product quality, or operations and workforce safety and lower resource consumption.
  • The relatively low cost of 3D printing and its growing use in the market demonstrates it as cost effective and viable way to reduce cost of designs, prototyping and short run manufacturing.
  • Big data is the capacity of a company to extract values from large volumes of data. Analytics on the other hand remains the center of attraction as the IoT and embedded devices continue to foster. It also concludes that the big questions and big answers are more important than big data.

Each IT project has a target to achieve; it may be solving a business problem or creating a business opportunity. Working for benefit realization and verifying the value after institutionalization will bring credibility to the project. All energy of the organization should be focused to make the project work and benefit realizations rather than fault finding. Everybody is the hero when the success is achieved and in the end it’s a team work. (As told to Deepshikha Singh)