4-page Case Study - Posted 6/28/2011
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Leading Automotive Manufacturer Improves Data Collection, Reduces Cycle Time by 70 Percent
Founded in 1948, Ashok Leyland is one of India's major manufacturers of commercial vehicles. With offices spread over the length and breadth of India, the company wanted to streamline its IT processes, some of which were manual and took up significant amount of time. To coordinate its IT operations better, Ashok Leyland deployed a solution based on Microsoft Office InfoPath 2010, Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, and Windows 7 Gadgets, which brings efficiency in fulfilling employee requests by as much as 70 percent. It also, facilitates more efficient procurement processes and helps track costs incurred on IT productivity tools such as laptops, printers, scanners etc. Employees and the IT organization now has far greater control. Looking at the success of the IT organization, several business leaders have approached the Chief Information Officer to enable their divisions to with similar solutions.
||Earlier, we used to take 10 days to process an IT services requisition, which is now completed within three working days. There is a 70 percent reduction in cycle time.
Chief Information Officer
For over five decades, Ashok Leyland has been the technology leader in India's commercial vehicle industry, moulding the country's commercial vehicle profile by introducing technologies and product ideas that have gone on to become industry norms. It offers a wide range of products, selling about 94,106 vehicles in 2010 -11. Ashok Leyland is a key player in the medium and heavy commercial vehicle (M&HCV) segment with a market share of 26 percent in 2010–11 with sales turnover of INR 11,117.71 crore, a rise of 53.5 percent.
It is also one of the largest private sector employers in India, with about 12,000 employees working across six factories and 90 offices spread over the length and breadth of India. 5,000 of these employees are IT users.
The company had automated processes to log breakdown calls from employees. Engineers from Ashok Leyland IT team handle these calls in person or through remote management tools. However, for any IT services requests such as requisition for a new laptop, replacements, mobile phones, printers, scanners or even Internet data cards was a manual process. An employee would put in the request through email or standard paper forms. He would then take an approval over email or on the paper form from various approvers. These would then be handed over, or sent via courier to the IT department. Even verbal requests from senior management were accepted.
Request calls landed on someone’s desk, and hard copies sent via courier were often misplaced. Only when the employee called to check on the status, the IT team would realize that the call was never logged. All these issue though few in numbers, led to customer dissatisfaction. With more than a 1,000 requests per month, the manual process was slowing down the response time.
To improve its operations, the IT organization wanted to move to an era that defines service levels for commodity items including printers, mobile phones, plotters, scanners etc. However, to measure and set these standards, it required electronic forms and a well-defined, automated workflow in these areas.
||Over a period of time, we will be able to analyze this information to create service levels for each type of request received from the employees. This will make the IT organization far more effective and transparent to its customers.
Chief Information Officer
Ashok Leyland wanted to solve these challenges quickly and cost effectively. The objective was to eliminate bottlenecks and increase transparency. Using Microsoft Office InfoPath 2010, an electronic forms creation and gathering tool, the company designed and created a set of electronic forms. These are available to all employees on Ashok Leyland self-service portal, called ‘UCentric Portal’ built on Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007.
InfoPath forms are integrated with Microsoft Office Outlook client, as all employees use Outlook through the day. “The idea was to make the process simple, self explanatory and ensure high adoption,” explains Venkatesh Natarajan, Chief Information Officer, Ashok Leyland.
An employee clicks on a Windows Gadget on the desktop to launch the forms. Using Microsoft Outlook, the completed InfoPath form goes through a workflow using Microsoft Office SharePoint Server until the requisition request is closed. At each stage, the employee is notified via an automated email on the status of the request. Once the request is closed, all information continues to be available on SharePoint Server, which can be extracted for further data analysis and published using SharePoint Data Excel Services.
“The solution is easy to use and also provides a very flexible development environment,” says Venkatesh Natarajan, Chief Information Officer, Ashok Leyland. "Office InfoPath 2010 is quickly becoming the backbone of our IT services process. It’s a great example of using our existing infrastructure to drive efficiency in day-to-day operations by 70 percent.”Benefits
By developing an integrated solution using Office InfoPath 2010 and other Microsoft technologies, Ashok Leyland has brought in efficiencies and accelerated request times. “The chance of a lost paper form or forgetting a verbal request is in the past. A single repository supported by a workflow and automated email response makes us efficient and customer centric,” comments Venkatesh Natarajan.Quick Application Development and Roll Out
The company took three months from conceptualization to launch of the solution. A technical team member trained by Microsoft imparted the knowledge within Ashok Leyland. “We were able to learn a new technology, build a user-friendly solution and deploy it in just three months,” comments Venkatesh Natarajan. The familiar environment helps minimize training needs, and speeds up form creation.
The IT team at Ashok Leyland has familiar tools to work with to create forms to support business processes. Employees needed no training and very little assistance to start using the solution. Today, the organization is receiving all IT services requests using the new solution.
The success of the solution is clear from requests received from other business units for similar InfoPath based forms to their automate processes. “We have received requests from Human Resources and other departments to automate their processes respectively,” explains Venkatesh Natarajan.
Significant Time Savings
Employees are enthusiastically using the new system to boost efficiency and save time. Analyzing bottlenecks enables it to improve processes and define service levels. “Earlier, we used to take 10 days to process an IT services requisition, which is now completed within three working days. There is a 70 percent reduction in cycle time,” explains Venkatesh Natarajan.
Efficient Age Analysis
The information on all requests is now available in a single repository on SharePoint Server. This information can be easily extracted into an Office Excel worksheet to perform Age Analysis and calculate costs incurred. This is published through SharePoint Excel Services for wider distribution and usage of the reports. “Over a period of time, we will be able to analyze this information to create service levels for each type of request received from the employees. This will make the IT organization far more effective and transparent to its customers,” comments Venkatesh Natarajan.More Environment Friendly
The eForms are far more environment friendly. Physical forms are no longer printed and made available across the country. In addition, it eliminates the need for employees to courier physical documents across the country, making it almost a carbon free process. “We believe every small change in operation should be environment friendly. Hence, all our initiatives take into account the impact; expanding our green IT footprint,” comments Venkatesh Natarajan.
Microsoft Office 2010
Microsoft Office 2010 gives your people powerful, timesaving tools to do their best work from more places. With new capabilities and insightful updates to Excel, PowerPoint, Word and Outlook, Office 2010 offers the complete package — with familiar, intuitive tools. Now you can express ideas, solve problems, connect with people, and create amazing results — in the office, at home, or on the go.
For more information about Microsoft Office, go to:
www.office.comFor More Information
For more information about Microsoft products and services, call the Microsoft Sales Information Center at (800) 426-9400. In Canada, call the Microsoft Canada Information Centre at (877) 568-2495. Customers in the United States and Canada who are deaf or hard-of-hearing can reach Microsoft text telephone (TTY/TDD) services at (800) 892-5234. Outside the 50 United States and Canada, please contact your local Microsoft subsidiary. To access information using the World Wide Web, go to:
For more information about Ashok Leyland products and services, call (91) (44) 2220 6000 or visit the Web site at: www.ashokleyland.comThis case study is for informational purposes only. MICROSOFT MAKES NO WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, IN THIS SUMMARY.