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Strategic Shift - SRS Group moves to a more robust telecom infrastructure

March 15, 2010
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Incorporated in 1990, the SRS Group started off as a financing company for vehicles and machinery. It was initially known as Bansla Finlease Limited and later as SBS Finance Limited.

In 1997, the company diversified its business activities to include manufacturing and marketing of edible oils and tea under two new entities, BTL Industries Limited and BTL Commercial Limited.In 2000, the group entered the retail, real estate, cinema and food court businesses as SRS Entertainment and Retail Limited.

To meet the demands of diversification and its growing business, the SRS Group felt the need to upgrade its communication infrastructure. It decided to install a multi-tier backbone to help standardise its service delivery platform, gain full control over all IT and telecom infrastructure, and reduce costs.

tele.net tracks the development of the SRS Group's telecom infrastructure...

Legacy system

Even as early as 1990, the company had a strong focus on its communication infrastructure, according to Narender Singh Vaid, head of IT, SRS Group. It began by using DOS, along with applications such as Word Star, Lotus 123, Tally and other market-leading software.

By 1994, SRS had installed a local area network with a Novel Network server and RJ 54 network cable wiring, and had upgraded its systems to Intel 386 and 486 processors.

Subsequently, it moved to P-4 processor-based machines, which offered Windows servers and UTP wiring with hub connectivity.

The shift

According to Vaid, "SRS's operations had, by 2002, become substantial in terms of turnover, number of transactions and business streams. The company had expanded its businesses to several locations as well.To overcome the handicaps of the existing environment and scale up and continue with our benchmark efficiency levels, we felt the need to upgrade our communication infrastructure."

The company installed a centralised data centre in 2002, which included Xeon Dual processor servers. In the beginning, SRS had five servers, and connectivity between its business locations was maintained through radio frequency (RF) towers. By 2002, the company was using Windows-based desktops and application software like Tally 5.4.

In 2005, the company upgraded its communication infrastructure to a wide area network (WAN) for locations that were not connected through RF. The main components of WAN included internet and private virtual private network (VPN) connectivity. By 2005, several application softwares such as Vista, Ginny, Prology and Prodgy were also being used. While the entity's accounting activities continued to be carried out on Tally, the company also installed mail servers, antivirus servers and closed-circuit television, which connected all the diverse sites through fixed IP connectivity.

From 2008 onwards, the company opted for several other platforms. It moved its accounting functions to ALIF, an integrated accounting software.Firewalls were developed and installed in servers across all the locations. VPN and voice over internet protocol connectivity were also introduced to connect the major locations. The company started using machines with XEON 4 processors with 128 GB RAM.

Challenges and benefits

According to Vaid, "The challenges were not too many, as our chairman and managing director is a passionate believer in adopting the latest technology for greater empowerment and management."

With regard to the financial implications of this upgrade, Vaid says, "While it is true that we spent a huge amount of money, the upgrade was so smooth and beneficial that it did not matter at all. Our business gains are far in excess of our investments in such upgrades."

The new set-up has yielded several benefits for the company. In fact, SRS believes that its growth plans would not have materialised without this new structure. "It has enabled us to smoothly overcome the challenges posed by fast growth and wide operational spread. Our response time and real-time robust reporting have improved substantially, leading to strong communication and business management across the entire spectrum," Vaid notes.

By upgrading its telecom infrastructure, SRS has been able to scale up its business operations, reduce operational costs and improve its bottom line.

Going forward, Vaid says the company hopes to add enterprise resource planning solutions such as SAP and customer relationship management to its communication infrastructure.

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