State Of It Governance In PSUs

S Ramasamy

A most welcoming trend is that public sector companies have strengthened their IT governance structures. “Indian Oil Corporation is a major example. As it runs a strategically important business for the country, IOC needs to ensure three major things in its IT system: best management practices, business continuity strategies and information security,” says S Ramasamy, Executive Director-IT, Indian Oil Corporation. 

At Indian Oil, the IT system ensures that the entire business process, from supply chain management, sales, marketing, human resources, quality control, investment to treasury management, is integrated and closely monitored for delivering best results. A multi-level server fallback system prevents network failures affecting business continuity. An excellent data governance mechanism checks business failures due to data loss due to human error or natural disasters, or data theft through hacking. 

 

All stakeholders benefit from IT governance

Only those companies with mature IT-enabled systems and processes will survive and thrive in the long-term, argues R C Thakkar

Governance in general is basically to improve efficiency, transparency and accountability. India has, I would say, gone through in a gradual manner for the adoption of information technology in corporate governance. Now all the tenders are carried through electronically, tender notifications are issued through web; shareholders agenda, annual reports are electronically sent, and we have robust IT interfaces with employees, all these are possible because the technology is matured now. When you adopt e-governance it helps all the stakeholders, be it management, be it the administrative ministry, be it employees or be it investors. All the stakeholders get benefited from e-governance.

E-Governance in corporate governance can be described as the grand umbrella of systems and processes to govern the organisation keeping in with the interests of all the stakeholders. It should be implemented in such a way that it helps in creating the synergy instead of creating hurdles and bottlenecks in the organisation. Today we have very successfully implemented ERP and all the accounts are met on ERP.

You have to first deal with the hurdle of the change management and then implement e-governance so that the hurdles are reduced to the minimum. I would give credit to the people involved in IT profession in private as well as in public sector, because they were able to break that hurdle and could generate interest in those people they were thinking that they will not be able to learn computers today. Surprisingly, people who did not have basic knowledge about computers are now able to operate computers. Computers have also become user-friendly, too.

So, you have to first create an atmosphere that all are talking at the same frequency, all are at the same learning curve. Effective communication and awareness campaign have to be there so that the objectives are understood and the practices are complied with.

Today, the time has come when you have to have adopt the latest techniques for management, e-governance, and I think all the organisations be it private or public sector, they have to go for IT enabled activities. Then only they will be able to survive and compete with others. 

R C Thakkar is Director-Technical, Rural Electrification Corporation

BHEL is another example. “Having achieved that level of maturity in the company, we are now maturing into a completely integrated process across the company so that we have a proactive management and a clear long-term business visibility. Through this, we optimise our resource management and inventories. Right now that is the big initiative in which we are rolling out an integrated standardised process across the organisation so that we migrate all the units onto this platform of a single database,” says Anjan Dasgupta, Executive Director- Corporate Systems & IT, BHEL. For business growth and sustainability, e-governance is an imperative, not an option. “No e-governance means no IT pain and if there is no IT pain there is no gain. It is a super collaborative environment which synergises processes, people and technology,” says he.
In IT governance, there is a demand side and a supply side. Demand side governance talks about what IT should do. Supply-side IT governance says how IT should do what it does.

R C Thakkar, Director, Technical, of the Rural Electrification Corporation says awareness about IT governance has increased in the public sector. “Today, the time has come when you have to adopt the latest techniques for management and e-governance. I think all the organisations be it private or public sector, have to go for IT-enabled activities and e-governance. Then only they will be able to survive,” says Thakkar.

E-Governance in corporate governance can be described as the grand umbrella of systems and processes to govern the organisation in keeping with the interests of all the stakeholders. It should be implemented in such a way that it helps in creating the synergy instead of creating hurdles and bottlenecks in the organisation.

IT Governance is an Imperative Need

Successful e-governance or IT governance ensures ICT to deliver effective, efficient and timely solutions adding to business, says Anjan Dasgupta 

For business growth and sustainability, e-governance is an imperative, not an option. No e-governance means no IT pain and if there is no IT pain there is no gain. It is a super collaborative environment which synergises processes, people and technology. In IT governance, there is a demand side and a supply side. Demand side governance talks about what IT should do. Supply-side IT governance says how IT should deliver. On both sides, IT governance requires a very efficient, effective, integrated enterprise solution delivery and creation of business value. It is also a major tool to give the company regulatory compliances. 

So, as far as BHEL is concerned, we have strategic business units spread across the country. We have 14 manufacturing plants, more than 150 sites, many regional offices, employ 47,000 people and make 150 products. The challenge is to bring our employees and business processes together on one platform. Every manufacturing unit has created an integrated collaborative system for what they need. Our Haridwar unit, for instance, has a commercial management system which kickstarts from the issue of a work-order, an integrated engineering information management system which has an integrated materials management system and B2B portals with their vendors, transporters, customers. 

Running on legacy systems and work in silos becomes characteristic of a mature organisation like BHEL. So, part of the business intelligence, part of getting qualitative information right and clear visibility of operations becomes a challenge. IT has helped. We have ERPs running, we have SAP HR and we have legacies running somewhere else. But BHEL’s IT governance is a continuous process of improvements and maturing. Having achieved that level of maturity in the company, we are now maturing into a completely integrated process across the company so that we have a proactive management and a clear long-term business visibility. Through this, we optimise our resource management and inventories. Right now that is the big initiative in which we are rolling out an integrated standardised process across the organisation so that we migrate all the units onto this platform of a single database.

We are working on another important aspect: knowledge-based integration where we find our engineering is the key strength of knowledge. And every unit will work on a central platform and that will be the heart of the application. So, engineering is centralised on an integrated system and I am bringing a complete integration of 47,000 employees throughout the company, getting visibility and receiving reliable information on demand. 

The key challenge in IT governance is the change management. More and more business managers have to start believing that ICT tools can enable you to do better. Through IT governance we obtain complete transparency: people, systems and processes become so visible that sometimes people might feel threatened. And also, sometimes, there is disconnect between domain business managers and IT managers. Many organisations today are reversing that entire process by bringing in experienced domain managers into IT because those professionals have gone through the entire business pains and lifecycle of problems. Of course, successful IT governance depends on what type of ICT solutions are envisaged, but taking people along is crucial.

At BHEL, we are moving very fast on security management. We are audited by the CERT-In of government of India on our security compliances. Most of our units are certified for that. Recently CERT-In included BHEL in a mock-drill in which they created an artificial cyber attack and evaluated our preparedness to identify, defend and recover. We are right now working on some further higher level of security obviously targeting that once BHEL migrates into a single database, there are no risks.

Anjan Dasgupta is Executive Director, Corporate Systems & IT, BHEL

Challenges In It Governance
In IT governance, change management is a problem area. “More and more business managers have to start believing that ICT tools can enable you to do better. Through IT governance we obtain complete transparency: people, systems and processes become so visible that sometimes people might feel threatened. And also, sometimes, there is disconnect between domain business managers and IT managers. So, today organisations are reversing that entire process by bringing in experienced domain managers into IT because those professionals have gone through the entire business pains and problems so they can understand what IT can do,” Dasgupta says.

Sanjay Bobde, Director, Microsoft Consulting Services feels that identifying the project and process indicators is important in IT governance. He also calls for improved data standards IT governance. “The whole architecture is based on getting the objectives correctly, align the business strategy with it and measuring the outcome.”

“Cloud computing is a necessary area. This can dramatically reduce the risks and costs for companies in doing business, and for the government when it implements e-governance projects,” says Rajesh Narang, Principal Consultant, NeGD, Department of Electronics and IT (DeitY) while stressing on data and safety standards.

Mahesh Chandra, Deputy Director General, National Informatics Centre (NIC) believes the main goal is to maximise the revenue. He says, “In IT governance, project management and implementation is vital, and that is where flexible and scalable processes to accelerate implementation and improvement of the governance norms have a central role.”

When rethinking IT governance in India, according to experts there are seven challenges. First, total cost of ownership & IT value proposition. Secondly, building a compliance model that de-risks the organisation. Thirdly, architecture & applications, that involve implementing scalable, secure, open and standardised solutions. Fourthly, how to build an impenetrable, scalable and cost-effective security policies, processes & controls. Fifthly, asset optimisation, thereby building an optimal infrastructure and other asset utilisation such as physical assets, human capital and strategic sourcing. Sixthly, articulating demand management. And finally, building a data strategy, through which companies can transform raw data to knowledge and intelligence.

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of INCLUSION. Comments are welcome at info@skoch.in)

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