KPIT Cummins provides specialised expertise to help corporations in the manufacturing and energy and utilities space become more efficient, integrated and innovative enterprises. Situation
KPIT Cummins provides business and technology solutions for the CTO, CIO and CFO of its global customers in the manufacturing and energy and utilities space. With revenues of over U.S.$153 million for FY10, KPIT’s niche offerings span from product engineering solutions (automotive and semiconductor solutions) through Business IT and Intelligence to Business Process Outsourcing and Knowledge Process Outsourcing solutions.
||OCS technology has changed our lives. It is not only cost effective but has also improved communication and increased collaboration among our employees. Travel and logistics costs have been reduced and there is overall better connect between global offices.
Associate Vice President and Head IT infrastructure
Headquartered in Pune, India, KPIT Cummins has offices in Bangalore and 14 other sites worldwide including the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and South Africa. The IT departments at KPIT Cummins is always looking to give the company’s 6000+ employees the best possible computing experience, while still driving down costs.
In 2008, KPIT Cummins recognized the need for an integrated communications platform that would efficiently serve its on-site off shore business model. As most of its business deals were off-shore, employees were incessantly using office phones for overseas calls. Travel requirements exacerbate the situation. The company realized it faced a serious challenge: not only was travel and logistics difficult to coordinate but the costs were also constantly increasing. As employees relied mainly on email communication, there was a huge gap between planning and execution. For time-critical projects such inefficiencies were costly.
Meanwhile, there was a limited usage of video conferencing as there were very few rooms, which was always a bottleneck. Partners and customers wanted chat rooms which would facilitate quick discussions and quicker decision making. There was internal pressure to provide economical and efficient means of communication.
From the future expansion needs perspective there was a need for a high-quality experience for communications and collaboration at a low cost. A solution had to be found that would solve the above problems as well as enhance the present quality of communications. It was important that the solution that was provided be interactive, support easy user access to email, voice mail, instant messaging and conferencing capabilities all from the same interface. The solution had to be cost-effective, user friendly, scalable and easy to implement.
“Poor integration between communications channels made it impossible for senior executives to see if colleagues were available to take calls or respond to email requests in real time,” says Mandar Marulkar, Associate Vice President and Head, IT infrastructure, KPIT Cummins. At KPIT Cummins improved efficiency across a range of business processes and enhanced employee collaboration and productivity could be achieved only if communication could be fully integrated and instantaneous.
The issue of successful real-time communication thus needed to be effectively dealt with to ensure improved efficiencies and greater revenues. “There had to be a faster top-down response in times of emergencies, increased collaboration was the order of the day,” says Shrikant Kulkarni, Senior Vice President, Infrastructure, KPIT Cummins.
In addition to the above the company also sought to reduce communications costs. The organization wanted to reduce the cost of international calls, extra travel and costs due to gaps between planning and execution. Adds Mandar Marulkar, “Implementing OCS would increase opportunities for flexi-timings and provide employees a better work-life balance.”Solution
To improve collaboration and reduce costs, KPIT Cummins decided to deploy a unified communications solution based on Microsoft Office Communications Server (OCS) 2007 and Microsoft Exchange Server 2007. “The decision to deploy Microsoft products was based on a number of criteria. Most importantly Microsoft Outlook was already in use at the company. This is easily and tightly integrated with the above solutions with a familiar interface and is also the perfect platform for a unified communications package,” says Sandeep Gandhi, Senior Manager, Data Center Services, KPIT Cummins.
Office Communications Server 2007 R2 supports both computer based and device based users. The features available to individual users depend on which server roles are deployed, how the administrator configures user accounts, and which client or operating system is running on the user’s computer.
KPIT Cummins deployed OCS 2007 in 2008. The implementation took only 45 days and was smooth and easy to adopt. Of KPIT Cummins’ 6000 employees, at present about 2,500 are on OCS. The solution is highly scalable and user friendly. The software gives users a single interface that brings together telephony, instant messaging, conferencing, and presence capabilities on their computers.
However says Mandar Marulkar, “The major challenge was convincing employees to use the new means of communication. It was a major change in office communication usage pattern and we had to educate employees used to cell phones and office phones to migrate to using their laptops or desktops for communication within the organization. Everything was being delivered to one mailbox. International calls, chat, video conferencing, messaging, everything was on a single interface.”
With OCS, employees can check on the presence status of colleagues, and hold instant messaging conversations with those individuals. Instant email notification as well as voice communication enables employees or partners to plan discussions in advance.
KPIT Cummins also deployed Microsoft Exchange Server 2007, to take advantage of unified messaging. Exchange Server 2007 enables a unified messaging system in which voice mail, along with e-mail messages appear in employees’ inboxes.
After addressing its presence and instant messaging issues, KPIT addressed its conferencing needs by rolling out Microsoft Office Live Meeting. The Microsoft Office Live Meeting client is the data collaboration and audio/video client for both Office Communications Server 2007 R2 and the hosted Microsoft Live Meeting service. It enables users to participate in meetings face to face in a virtual meeting room.
Office Communications Server brings video conferencing capabilities to all KPIT employees. To encourage the same, company has provided laptops with built in cameras and speakers. This capability is a major advancement as the video quality is now good enough to replace in-person meetings, thus reducing travel demand and making it more cost effective.
Microsoft Office Communications Server 2007 R2 Group Chat module, was also implemented by KPIT. This enables real-time communication using group chat sessions, with persistent content that is retained after sessions end. Thus if a meeting is scheduled for 9.30 am a late entrant can catch up on whatever he has missed as all discussions are continually posted including relevant links and texts.
Another capability that KPIT Cummins has also implemented is the Federation feature. This feature makes it possible to communicate with customers and partners over an IP connection in real time in an encrypted, authenticated, and managed environment.
KPIT Cummins is planning to federate with customers using the Microsoft OCS technology for improved voice communication, collaborative meeting and reducing costs both for customers and KPIT Cummins without compromising security.Benefits
OCS 2007 has become the lifeline for KPIT Cummins. It is the primary mode of communication providing a high level of comfort with no extra cost. “OCS technology has changed our lives. It is not only cost effective but has also improved communication and increased collaboration for our employees. Travel and logistics cost has been reduced and there is overall better connect,” says a completely satisfied Mandar Marulkar, Associate VP and Head, IT infrastructure, KPIT Cummins. Communication Costs Lowered by about 25 Percent
KPIT Cummins employees now have a unified communications solution that is transforming the way they communicate. Since deploying the new technology, overall communication costs have gone down by half, 25 percent of which are solely attributed to OCS 2007.
This is a considerable amount of saving and the money that can be ploughed back into the existing infrastructure for other improvements. Funds can be used for other purposes saving costs, increasing profits and leading to a healthier balance sheet. Money is also saved as employees can communicate via one single laptop eliminating the need for multiple devices. When complemented with a cell phone, it gives the user a tremendous amount of flexibility and accessibility. Improved Communication and Increased Collaboration
With the new unified communications solution, KPIT employees are able to work together much better. OCS 2007 gives employees the ability to communicate better with each other, which in turn improves their ability to collaborate. With a single unified communication system, there is better connect, more knowledge sharing and employees and top-level management react faster. There is constant real time communication between employees, customers and partners enabling faster decision making and greater efficiency. Akshay Deshpande, Manager Corporate Data Center Services, KPIT Cummins, says, “With a few clicks we now have full collaboration. A user can initiate contact with instant messaging, escalate to audio, move on to video and finally to Live Meeting. Alternately, a Web conference can initiate everything at one shot.”
Inefficient operations are greatly reduced with OCS because real-time information enables the caller to find an available resource before making a call.Lower Travel and Logistics Costs
With ongoing economic crisis and unstable prices, corporations are taking a hard look at cutting costs. However, organizations need the ability to transform ideas into value to maintain their competitive advantage. Microsoft unified communications technologies help organizations to reduce the operating costs of travel, telecom, and IT, while enabling them to improve their business outcomes in a more sustainable way. “Using IP telephony to support audio-conferencing features in OCS 2007, enables us to reduce our telecommunications costs further by 10 percent.” says Sandeep Gandhi, Senior Manager, KPIT Cummins.
Reduced travel requirements due to video conferencing, live chat, also remove the extra burden of travel arrangements and reducing travel costs. Costs are expected to go down by about 15 percent. “By organizing conferencing with OCS 2007, it is possible for us to hold meetings with colleagues, customers and partners who are in remote geographical locations. This completely suits our on-site, off-shore business model of work. Everyone can participate from their own work place avoiding the travel requirements,” says Mandar Marulkar. Monitoring Services
KPIT Cummins has also deployed monitoring services for measuring the usage and quality of service for every call. This has helped in identifying root cause in case of problems and provisioning adequate resources such as bandwidth etc. Monitoring services have also helped in measuring overall usage and return on investment.
Microsoft Office System
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