CLP India, one of the largest foreign investors in the Indian power sector, wanted to standardize its technology environment. It signed the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, which includes software such as Microsoft Lync Server 2010, Microsoft
Exchange Server 2010, Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007, and the System Center products. Since signing the agreement in 2009, it can adopt and upgrade technology solutions easily. The company now uses the latest technologies to support the business, and provide
employees with communication and collaboration tools that maximize their efficiency. All this, while it controls costs and saves 15 percent on license fees. This smart use of technology enables an affordable standardization of CLP India’s IT environment.
||This is a global Enterprise Agreement extended to Indian operations to deliver maximum price benefit. We buy and manage our licenses locally. With this agreement, we are saving approximately 15 percent on licenses, which is crucial
| Nimesh Mehta
Head ─ IT Operations, CLP India
CLP India Private Limited is a wholly owned subsidiary of the CLP Group, a leading investor-operator in the Asia Pacific energy sector. CLP India is one of the largest foreign investors in the Indian power sector, with a total committed investment of over
INR 13,500 crore (US$ 2.45 billion). It has a diversified and environment-friendly generation portfolio that covers renewable energy and super-critical coal-fired and gas-fired generation amounting to over 2,947 MW (including assets under construction). It
is also one of the largest wind power developers in India, with approximately 970 MW of committed wind projects, of which 500 MW capacity has already been commissioned.
CLP India had entered the Microsoft Software Assurance (SA) program in 2006. However, the company realized that operations were becoming difficult and challenges were on the rise. There was lots of confusion about licensing. “Whenever we procured licenses
under the SA, we got a different version,” explains Nimesh Mehta, Head ─ IT Operations, CLP India. “It was very difficult for us to consolidate all the licenses for all our entities, review them, and manage compliance.”
The company was also concerned about costs. “There are often lots of attractive offers proposed by Microsoft and it becomes difficult for us to justify the costs,” says Nimesh. “The issue of costs being higher in the SA than in the local Indian offers has
been raised in our internal audits as well.”
CLP India was also facing infrastructure challenges. The latest software was not always available. Licenses of higher versions were not utilized, as the standard operating environment (SOE) did not permit it. For example, CLP India did not upgrade from Windows
Server 2003 to Windows Server 2008. “Even though we bought new licenses for Windows Server 2008, our Active Directory (AD) deployment wasn’t compatible with this version,” explains Nimesh. The other limitation was RAM utilization, which was restricted to 4
GB in Windows Server 2003. Plus, there were compatibility issues, and therefore, the management was taxing and resource hungry.
The company also faced other challenges while using Office 2003. Custom templates in Excel were used for some business modeling. “These business models are extremely critical for us. They help us evaluate business case benefits and return on equity (ROE)
with a lot of input data and iteration,” says Nimesh. For example, while exploring any new project, often the team has to assume certain factors or input certain parameters. This is a customized activity, and employees had to interlink multiple worksheets
and workbooks. However, in Office 2003, it was not an efficient method as the system would hang due to large files and the high number of interlinks. This had become a technical challenge for the company.
“We were not getting the enterprise level benefits, or a similar level of support,” says Nimesh. “We therefore thought that moving to an enterprise-level infrastructure would be beneficial for us.”
In 2009, CLP India entered into a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, part of Microsoft Volume Licensing. The agreement includes the latest Microsoft business productivity and core server technologies for collaboration, security, communication, and infrastructure
management. “The CLP Group already had a global Microsoft Enterprise Agreement and the same was extended to the Indian subsidiary,” explains Nimesh.
||Our semi-automated process did not authenticate the entire inventory. We invested two months with three engineers to physically verify it. With SCCM 2007, we track our assets with ease and our information is always updated.
| Nimesh Mehta
Head ─ IT Operations, CLP India
One of the key deployments at CLP India was Microsoft Lync Server 2010. Lync allows employees to establish presence status, initiate instant messaging (IM) conversations, and web and audio conferences. The solution’s capabilities improve communications and
collaboration among users. CLP deployed Lync across the organization for around 400 users. Right now, around 75 percent of the employees use Lync.
In addition, the company upgraded its messaging environment from Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 to Microsoft Exchange Server 2007 email messaging and collaboration software, and the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system. Says Nimesh, “We have secure and
reliable email, calendar, and contacts on our PCs, smart devices and tablets simultaneously.” In June 2012, CLP India upgraded to Microsoft Exchange Server 2010, which offers the latest functionality and proves to be a more stable and simple to manage mailing
Windows Server 2008 R2 delivered much of what CLP India needed. As part of the upgrade process, the company migrated some of the very specific local business applications, which were running on Windows Server 2003. These included SAP for ERP, Availability
Based Tariff (ABT) for pricing, and the Work Permit System that helps prevent accidents and injury during power generation processes. Nimesh says, “Once we signed up for the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, we decided that we should take maximum advantage of
what was on offer. We opted for an end-to-end Microsoft solution, including an upgrade to Active Directory (AD) 2008 R2.”
Nimesh continues, “We have two ADs, one for India and the other at the global level. At first, we assigned most of the global applications to the global AD, including SAP, which covers our HR, finance management, and plant maintenance. We then gradually
migrated some of the local applications, which were running on a local domain, to the global domain. We have now migrated all applications to Active Directory (AD) 2008 R2.”
CLP India also runs Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 for data management, and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007. The collaboration features in Microsoft SharePoint Server 2007 make it easier for employees to find and share documents and build an India-specific
intranet. Employees share resources, access critical information, and make collaborative decisions on the intranet.
In March 2013, the company standardized the Windows 7 operating system and Microsoft Office 2010. All desktops are now running Windows 7 with Office 2010.
CLP India has overcome the earlier challenges with business modeling with the new Standard Operating Environment (SOE) and Office 2010 implementation. The Excel sheets populate quickly and the employee feedback is very positive. “Practically, Windows 7 has
dramatically increased Microsoft Excel efficiency and the financial models that we churn out are less bulky in size and compute faster. With Office 2010, creating these reports is very easy, and saves us more than 50 hours in a month for one laptop,” explains
Hyper-V technology was implemented primarily for the company’s test environment. Nimesh says, “We used the Hyper-V technology for our File Net application, which is an electronic document management system running on Windows Server 2008. In addition, some
of our old applications like the financial systems ─ SUN and Maximo ─ have been virtualized. These legacy applications are only accessed on a need basis.”
Nimesh continues, “Our test environment is running fine and we have not faced any issues so far. It has helped us to reduce the server count in the test environment and also the operations cost on electricity and space. Today, we have 20 physical and five
CLP India also installed Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) 2007, which is used to manage PCs, deploy software, and assist in asset management. “The Windows 7 upgrade was done using SCCM 2007,” says Nimesh.
Nimesh explains, “It automatically takes data back-up along with user preferences. Users experience seamless upgradation, keeping their preferences and profiles intact, and also their data on the desktop or local directory. We have observed that a typical
manual process takes approximately two days to upgrade on a desktop. Now, the upgrade happens in just four hours. So 15─16 hours are now down to four hours, which is a drastic reduction.”
Earlier the company was using Altiris, but there were no upgrades available and the architecture was cumbersome to manage. Plus, it required a separate server and consumed significant bandwidth while taking desktop and laptop back-ups. Employees were complaining
about slow performance. To overcome these issues, CLP India deployed System Center Data Protection Manager (SCDPM) 2012 to back up data. Going with SCDPM not only saved on hardware but the performance also improved significantly.
“Currently, we are using Symantec Vault for email archiving, but with the availability of licenses under Enterprise Agreement, we have initiated deployment of the Microsoft Email Archive solution in order to have the same look and feel like active email,
improved performance and of course better ROI. The initiative would be completed by August 2013,” says Nimesh.
With the Enterprise Agreement, CLP India has standardized its technology and adopted a more comprehensive IT management tool set. “System Center has made a real difference. The main incentive for us to enter the Enterprise Agreement was to acquire a better
set of tools to support business,” explains Nimesh. “Today, we have the technology we need to simplify business processes, improve individual levels of efficiency, and work more productively. We have reduced back-up time to half, from approximately 30 to 15
By investing in the Microsoft Enterprise Agreement, CLP India can embrace technologies easily and cost-effectively, and adopt emerging technologies as they become available. The company is able to optimize its infrastructure, reduce IT management responsibilities,
improve productivity, and conserve costs.
The Microsoft Enterprise Agreement is helping the company save costs with respect to license procurement. Not only do employees get upgraded to the latest product and feature sets, but the overall costs of licenses also comes down. “This is a global Enterprise
Agreement extended to the Indian operations to deliver maximum price benefit,” says Nimesh. “We buy and manage our licenses locally. With this agreement, we are saving approximately 15 percent on licenses, which is crucial for us.”
After upgrading from Windows XP to Windows 7, the company now has an IT environment that meets its security standards. Primarily, it has fewer problems with compatibility when critical patches are released. Also, as part of this Windows upgrade process,
CLP India standardized some of the other software in its IT environment, including Symantec Endpoint Protection, Acrobat PDF viewer, and PDF writer.
Improves Asset Management
By using System Center Configuration Manager as an asset management solution, CLP India was able to quickly conduct an asset inventory and identify all software installed on each device. Now the company knows what software is installed and where, at all
times. “Our semi-automated process did not authenticate the entire inventory,” says Nimesh. “We invested two months with three engineers to physically verify it. With SCCM 2007, we track our assets with ease and our information is always updated.”
Improves User Experience
Nimesh emphasizes, “Currently the SOE which we have deployed is common across CLP India. Employees across the company use it, including the senior management. We see a positive reception of the initiative on the part of the employees. The start-up time is
reduced from 10 minutes to only two. Overall, it helps in increasing the morale.”
Increases Return on Investment
CLP India has utilized resources and support from Microsoft and its partners to pilot and deploy Windows 7, System Center, etc. “The new licensing offers give us access to the latest products and also deployment planning services via Microsoft Partners,”
explains Nimesh. “We have used our free training vouchers, a part of the licensing agreement, to train the IT team as well as the pilots for the new technologies, streamline the deployment, and increase the return on investment.”
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