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Nakoda Migrates to IBM Solutions through Innovative Telecom

o Radhika Nallayam
01.03.2013 kl 21:55 | Channelworld India

Executive Summary


Executive Summary

For Gujarat-based Nakoda, aggressive expansion would not have been possible without the backing of a reliable and robust IT infrastructure. Its existing infrastructure clearly could not meet the growing business requirements. But Innovative Telecom and Softwares knowing that Nakoda was an existing account, was well-prepared, and studied the customer requirement very carefully.

Case File

Key Parties:

Nakoda, Innovative Telecom & Softwares



Implementation Time:

Rs 60 lakh

Key Challenges:

Convincing the customer to migrate from existing platform to a new hardware platform, training the customer on new technology, price war from competition

Post Implementation ROI:

Less hardware to manage, long-term cost savings, reduced power consumption, improved business processes and efficiency

People Involved:

Vaidyanathan V. Iyer, CIO, Nakoda; Moin Shaikh, Director, Innovative Telecom & Softwares

Key Vendor:

IBM (IBM BladeCenter servers, IBM System Storage DS5020 and Tivoli Storage Manager)

IT has definitely moved out of the datacenters. It now plays a key role in increasing business efficiencies. Growth in business thus naturally translates into increased pressure on a company's core IT infrastructure. For Gujarat-based Nakoda, aggressive expansion would not have been possible without the backing of a reliable and robust IT infrastructure. Its existing infrastructure clearly could not meet the growing business requirements.

BSE-listed Nakoda Limited, which clocked revenues of Rs 637 crore in the third quarter of 2012, has been diversifying into various businesses that span from manufacturing of raw materials to wind farm equipment. Nakoda's acquisition of a South Korean Polyester plant in 2010 straight away triggered off its plans to go for a full-blown SAP implementation. The home grown applications that the company was using had to be replaced for certain. But equally important was putting a robust hardware system in place that could take the growing load.

"We wanted to go for an integrated IT platform that allows us to centrally plan, control and optimize workloads, while keeping data accuracy and integrity up-to-date," says Vaidyanathan V. Iyer, CIO of Nakoda. Though all of its applications were running on HP hardware, Iyer wanted to ensure Nakoda implements only the right solution. Not one to take any hasty decisions, he chose to consider an IBM platform, along with HP, before finalizing the right platform.

The Tough Migration

The deal was by no means a hit or miss for Innovative Telecom & Softwares, a long-standing IBM partner from Surat. Acquiring a competition-account means a lot to any SI. But Moin Shaikh, Director of Innovative, knew very well that its competitors would try to bag the deal by any means necessary, as Nakoda was an already existing account for them. Innovative was hence well-prepared, and studied the customer requirement very carefully.

Apart from a less complex infrastructure, Innovative realized that they would have to come up with a very scalable solution that could address the customer's requirements for at least few more years. "We had plans to scale up from 200 users to around 800 users eventually. At the same time, we did not want to make any further investments on hardware for the next five years," says Iyer.

Innovative proposed that Nakoda migrate to IBM platform. "We proposed a solution on IBM Power Systems built with IBM BladeCenter servers, IBM System Storage DS5020 and Tivoli Storage Manager. The solution additionally offered benefits like less space to reside and lower power consumption. The amount of hardware that went into our solution was much less compared to the solution proposed by the competing partner," says Shaikh.

Migration to a new platform was still not a small decision for Nakoda. Like any other customer, Nakoda did everything possible to evaluate the right solution. "I have used both platforms during various stages of my career and I knew the pros and cons of both technologies. So during negotiations, we had in-depth discussions about what unique advantage each solution can provide," says Iyer.

Iyer had still not made up his mind about which solution to implement. A POC was thus conducted by both Innovative and the competing partner. SAP data was also tested to evaluate the end result of implementing a full blown SAP ERP system onto the proposed hardware. The results swayed in favor of Innovative.

Less hardware, More effort

Besides the technical suitability of the solution, Iyer was quite impressed with the SI's honesty. He feels that Innovative's focus was more towards delivering an appropriate solution and less towards making margins. "We have very often observed and experienced that channel partners want more business and hence they try to sell more hardware to create more business. But that was not the case with Innovative. They came up with a solution that suited all our needs. As compared to what our existing vendor suggested, there was a significant memory and hard disc saving. This means the solution was both technically and commercially more viable for us," says Iyer.

The result--Nakoda willingly paid a premium to Innovative, though the competition had offered a cheaper solution. The customer was convinced to go in with a higher initial investment, for it would mean less hardware to manage and a scalable system that won't require a refresh for next five years. Thus, a price war that would have otherwise been a tough hurdle became an obvious choice for Innovative.

"We really appreciated the approach of the partner, who worked towards a solution without allowing business to take precedence. So we were more than ready to pay a premium. Besides, the solution offered long term cost advantages. We also considered the comfort of Innovative being a local player. It has presence in regions where we have our offices. They have their local engineers, and we thought it will be easier to work with them," says Iyer.

The extra margin from a customer who moved from a competing vendor platform was literally icing on the cake.

The challenging part however was introducing the customer to a new technology. The IT team at Nakoda had never used a Unix platform and Innovative's solution was completely Unix-based. Though small, Nakoda had a dynamic IT team in place which was prepared to learn new things. Innovative, on its part, assured Iyer that his team would be trained on Unix.

Post Implementation

The infrastructure went live in January last year. The SAP implementation part was carried out by PwC. A year later, Iyer and his team are quite content about their choice. Nakoda has now standardized and streamlined business operations, which has resulted in improved efficiency. A comprehensive ERP system, a robust hardware infrastructure and a trustworthy partner to work with are surely reasons for any business to stay confident.

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Keywords: IT Management  
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