4-page Case Study - Posted 5/18/2010
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Wipro Knet Solution Transcends Teams, Delivers Process Efficiencies, Saves Costs
While Wipro as a brand is synonymous with Information technology, the Wipro Group consists of several companies focused on consumer care to medical equipment and biomedicine apart from technology. While each business unit had its own intranet portal for collaboration, Wipro wanted to bring together all units under one umbrella.
Wipro Technologies and Wipro Infotech had a well-established intranet since 2001. There was a need to revisit the existing portal and review all applications and business collaboration. Over the years, the complexity in business as well as the market dynamics and technologies had evolved.
With increasing demands, implementing these requirements in the existing portals was becoming more complex.
Over the last decade, the employee strength also grew from 10,000 to 100,000, a 10-fold increase. To meet the demands of the employees, as well as looking at the trends for the next decade, Wipro wanted to create an IT infrastructure for the portal that could scale easily to meet today’s and tomorrow’s needs.
As it looked towards the future, the organization realized that social computing tools applications would play a significant role in the present and future. Hence, the solution must ensure it supports Wikis, blogs etc.
Wipro culturally evaluates internal as well as customer requirements on how it can achieve more with less. It enables the organization to remain agile and nimble even as it grows larger each day. “Our aim was to provide a state-of-the-art communication, collaboration and information portal. And yet we wanted to ensure that we did this most cost effectively,” explains Laxman K Badiga, Chief Information Officer, Wipro Solution
Wipro’s Internal IT team decided to re-examine every part of the portal – technology, applications and business logic and collaboration needs. “The new portal would not be just an upgrade of technology. Instead it would set the benchmarks for knowledge management for the next decade,” comments Kenny Kesar, Vice President-Information Systems, Wipro.
As the company reviewed its business needs, and looked at the evolution of collaboration within the organization, it realized that Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal 2007 also provided the next generation portal foundation. “Upon evaluation, we realized Microsoft Office SharePoint 2007 meets several of our goals. It would enable us to reduce complexity, streamline operations, and it offered the new tools and technologies for sharing information and collaboration that we wanted to deploy,” comments Krishna Kumari, General Manager – Information Systems, Wipro.
||More and more teams are turning to KNet and leveraging on existing knowledge, doubling the average monthly usage of documents and components from 550,000 to 1,100,000 in just 12 months. This is a significant example where the portal has streamlined a knowledge flow process that has led to time and cost savings.
Chief Knowledge Officer
Wipro Global IT Business
The organization deployed the solution in a phased manner over a period of two years. It was not a typical migration, as each application, section, and requirements were being re-evaluated and applications re-architected. The first of the key applications that Wipro worked upon was the ‘War-rooms’. A War Room is a virtual space where team members located at different physical locations collaborate in order to achieve a common goal. War rooms become a necessity when large teams which are geographically dispersed need to collaborate on a real-time basis to discuss, coordinate and accomplish their individual but inter-related activities which lead to the common team goal. . Instant messaging ensures that team members can connect with each other from the War-room itself. Since there was no need to bring all the older war rooms, a need to migrate the older war rooms wasn’t felt.
In the next phase, MOSS 2007’s latest and far more powerful search engine was implemented across the portal for Wipro Technologies, Wipro BPO and Wipro Infotech New features such as Data Cataloguing have been implemented. This was important to ensure that the information repository or DockNet application could be organized effectively. However, migration of data from MOSS 2003 would have been a mammoth task. To avoid doing so, both, the old document repository and the new one, have been made available through a single user interface. This has been achieved through integrated search. The enterprise search of SharePoint 2007 indexes the content repository of MOSS 2003 and having a single search scope defined to display the results in a single search window. This ensures users can access information, regardless of its location.
Initially, the organization began with a single server farm for the War rooms application. This was to ensure quick roll out and to test the new environment. “We didn’t want to wait for the whole farm to be set up. Once the sizing was completed, the server farm was also set up in stages, as new applications or re-architected applications were added. The server farm sizing also depended on the use of social networking tools such as IM, Wikis, and Blogs, which were enabled with each sub-site. The current farm consists of 5 servers – 2 web front end servers, 2 Database servers in Active/passive clustering mode and 1 index server. The web front end servers are load balanced. The various applications in this farm has been enabled through access over Internet though the ‘Intelligent Application Gateway’.
For each business unit (BU) and group with the BU KNET has become a gateway to share and inform the rest of the organization about thier projects and expertise. Today, the portal has close to 2500 group sites catering to teams.
Account authorization for all employees is managed through Active Directory® integrated with the organizations ERP solution. A federated model has been established, to manage and administer the portals for the business units. Benefits
Significant Increase in Usability and Performance
The new version provides a richer user experience while maintaining the familiar and consistent look and feel. It also significantly increases usability by integrating many new or enhanced features such as email, blogs, IM etc. Introduction of social networking tools in an enterprise environment has created a new experience for all.
In addition, business unit and team sites can be easily created and with a richer visual user experience. This is possible as MOSS 2007 comes with many more Web parts, which enables local administrators to create and manage individual sites.
“Customization of workflow based utilities has reduced by a significant percent, with out-of-the-box development, features as well as maintenance possible,” Krishna Kumari, General Manager-Information Systems.Quicker, More Relevant Search
The federated search features available within Microsoft Office SharePoint Portal Server enable users to filter down by selecting the relevant category. “,” explains Krishna Kumari, General Manager-Information Systems.Usage of Artifacts has Doubled, Engagement Increases to 60 Percent
KNET led a business initiative for reuse of artefacts for software development. In the past, finding relevant artefacts was not as easy. With new search and cataloguing processes usage of artifacts has doubled in the last 12 months. “More and more teams are turning to KNet and referring to artefacts that are relevant to project delivery. This is a significant example where the portal has streamlined a process that has led to time and cost savings,” comments Vijayakumar Kabbin, General Manager – Automotive and Peripherals Practice. Successful Re-skilling through unified competency framework
For a large organization such as Wipro re-skilling employees to newer technologies becomes an epic task with a large chunk of resources (people, money) blocked for a long periods of time. With MOSS 2007, Wipro embarked upon virtual learning in earnestness through SHINE framework (Seek, Hands on, Interact, Network and Enhance) designed to reduce billability cycle time and enhance overall competency of knowledge workers. Subject matter experts (SMEs) created content and through collaborative tools for peer study groups and interaction with the SMEs, Wipro has re-skilled more than 30,000 of all programmers, developers and analysts. “The re-skilling process has strengthened our knowledge base in existing and new technologies and domain areas. The initiative has received excellent feedback from our customers who believe this exercise is enabling is to deliver better quality solutions,” says Siby Abraham, Vice President – Competency and Operations.