"We are formalizing our company's roadmap for cloud technology; it will be done in phases" - S Ramasamy, Executive Director (Is), IndianOil

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S Ramasamy is responsible for IT strategy at IndianOil and his portfolio includes business information management, applications development, technology infrastructure, telecommunication networks and data center operations. A veteran in the industry, Ramasamy has 33 years of extensive experience and expertise in the petroleum industry in specialized functions like process operation, advance controls, optimization and information systems coupled with strategic planning and management.


He was the brain behind Project Manthan whereby SAP ECC 6.0 has been rolled out at more than 797 locations pan India. He is also providing consultancy experience for SAP deployment at Sri Lankan National Oil Companies.

Presently, he is focused on mobile applications, e-procurement, creating alternate MPLS backbone and business analytics framework for business process optimization. Excerpts-

- S Ramasamy, Executive Director (Is), IndianOil


What is the ICT vision of IndianOil?

Adding value to business by providing real-time information and analytics anywhere, anytime on any device.


What are the top ICT challenges faced by IndianOil?

The first major challenge today is to meet the information needs and expectations of internal and external customers for better business results. Second, we have to maintain the data related to logistics and price for more than 9,500 products and centrally update as and when required. Third, the business requirement of petrochemical business has undergone lot of changes so there is a need for IT enabled business process optimization.

Which projects is the IS division of IndianOil currently working on?


The IS division has implemented software enabled solutions for various business transactions related to sales, material, quality, production planning, HR, and plant maintenance, besides the supply chain management such as crude procurement, crude storage, crude processing in refineries, products to manufacture, and optimizing distribution channels through trucks, wagons, pipelines, barges, and tankers. The pipeline division requires software solutions for pipeline scheduling and dispatch planning.

Other than business IT, we have large number of IT applications related to planned operations such as advanced process control and optimization, real-time database, real-time data related to important process parameters like temperature, flow, level, and quality parameters. We also use IT applications for our 22,000 retail outlets and real-time vehicle tracking system to ensure quantity and quality of petroleum products to be delivered to our customers. The company also plans to use IT applications to enable government of India initiatives to curb subsidy leakage by integrating our application with Aadhar.

What are the activities planned for FY13?


Firstly, in order to realize our vision of providing information anytime, anywhere and on any device, we have to immediately firm up our enterprise mobility framework by coming up with our mobile technology architecture and the selection of mobility platform. This has to be followed up with the development of mobile applications as per our requirement. Some of the applications have been implemented and some are under development.

We plan to enable mobile solutions for our customers so that they can track their sales order, payment, and pricing details. We will also enable mobile field workforce of IndianOil so that they can access business information on their mobile. Plans are to launch mobile applications by July, 2012.

Secondly, we plan to enhance business analytics framework for business process optimization. Our efforts are to get inside of information and see how it can be useful for business. We plan to enhance business analytics for models related to demand plan for fuels and lubricants; integrated planning model for the entire company-be it marketing, refinery, and pipeline; and distribution of petroleum products. Plans are on for setting up business analytics dashboard by August, 2012.


Thirdly, we plan to have a robust network by having an alternate MPLS network. We plan to install MPLS by this year-end and the size of the network will depend on business requirements. Fourth, we are also going in a big way in HR applications other than payroll and compensation management like human capital management functions, including e-recruitment, talent management, and empowering employee self-service concept.

Being a large company with 10,000 tenders/year, our procurement activities are high and we are opting for e-procurement for purchase requisition, RFQ, submission of bids, and evaluation of bids.

What is your major expense in the IS department?


The major expense includes communication cost related to WAN, annual maintenance contracts related to software applications and hardware. We plan to minimize these as we move forward.

Do you see an increase in ICT budget as you are planning lot of activities in FY13?

With a slew of new ICT initiatives on the cards, our budget will increase as the company diversifies into lot of new things.

How do you plan to leverage your ICT expertise gained over the years?

Our direction is to encash our expertise on ERP implementation in the oil industry. We are doing work for SriLankan Oil companies and we are looking for other opportunities in the oil sector.

What is the cloud computing strategy for IndianOil?

We are formalizing our company-s roadmap for cloud technology and it will be done in phases. First, we plan to consolidate our data centers from six to three. Second, we are going for virtualization simultaneously both on Unix and Windows platforms. Our mission critical applications such as ERP and B2B applications are large online transaction based systems.

We will not go for an online cloud based system for these mission critical applications. Probably a hybrid model is more suited for these applications and we have plans to implement it. Cloud computing suffers from the constraints of governance and legal issues. As and when the cloud platform matures, we will plan our strategy accordingly.