CRY Deploys ERP, Reduces Response Time By 86%

by Julia Fernandes    Oct 04, 2004

From a humble beginning in 1990 with the installation of the first computer in CRY, (thanks to donations from HCL and the British High Commission) to acquiring a total 200 desktops till date, CXOtoday traces the evolution of its technology infrastructure. The organization has come a long way from being an EDP function to today becoming a facilitator in building a sustainable learning institution.

Child Relief and You, more popularly known as CRY — an Indian NGO that works towards restoring basic rights to underprivileged Indian children has succeeded in deploying CRY Integrated Application Systems (CIAS), a mini-ERP package.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Aravind Ramamurthy, GM-IT, CRY, said, “We have deployed a mini-ERP called CIAS, developed by Agni Software Pvt Ltd., which addresses contact management, donation management, financial accounting and our Intranet.”

Sharing the key benefits of the solution, Ramamurthy affirmed, “With e-mail confirmations in place, donor response time has reduced by 86% from the earlier 21 days to 3 days now. It has also integrated multiple branches and helped us in achieving consolidation of information, resource generation and fund utilization. For e.g., the resource mobilization manager has up-to-date information across locations about the effectiveness of each strategy - the expenditure incurred, resource generated and strategy impact.”

The solution resides on Borland’s Interbase — a relatively lesser-known RDBMS platform that can effectively support 50 GB data, with data security built in. It took one and a half years to deploy the entire core IT infrastructure in a phased manner (4 months for each solution).

Expressing some of the key concerns, he did admit that off take on IT spend currently was not high. “Most of the Windows products have been given at discounted rates or sourced donations from corporates / funding agencies specifically for IT Capital Expenditure (Capex). However, despite balancing the IT needs on a tightrope, we are proud to use all licensed products, not a single product is unlicensed,” affirmed Ramamurthy.

The NGO currently has around 200 desktops, residing on Windows platform supported by five servers spread across five locations in India. Microsoft’s Small Business Server (SBS) has been deployed at Mumbai, Delhi and Bangalore, while Windows 2000 server is located at Chennai and Kolkata..

In terms of Capex, Ramamurthy stated that the hardware and software needs are identified and accordingly a budget for the same is prepared at the beginning of every financial year, which has to be approved by the Trustees. The NGO’s annual turnover is around Rs 25 to 30 crore.

For their connectivity needs, leased lines/DSL are deployed at all locations to enable faster data transmission and e-chat from desktops at a speed of shared 64/128 Kbps. Meanwhile, the internal LAN networks are connected through CAT 5 cables with 10/100 Mbps network cards and network switches. While VSNL is their ISP provider for Mumbai, Touchtel DSL provides connectivity for the southern region. Net4india takes care of the CRY network at Delhi. The NGO also has PSTN connectivity (dial-up)/ISDN as backup for leased lines/DSL.

The NGO currently uses above Pentium III and Celeron based machines with 10/20/40 GB hard disk and 128/256 MB RAM. Every two years the organization reviews these systems to prevent the onset of obsolesce. Currently the ratio of personnel vs. computers is 1:1 at all locations.

The organization not only protects the CRY.org domain but also 40 other domains to protect their brand. In fact, country-specific domains registrations are in progress. The NGO’s email server is shared Web space at USA with 500 MB space. It has 186 accounts across locations. The organization uses Mdaemon mail server software.

Backup is taken at three levels; at the application data level, at the user document level and finally every user’s email backup is maintained. In terms of disaster recovery, currently every fortnight IT administrators send their Tapes/CD’s to other locations. They are then resorted in the regional server as DR-Backup folder and kept for safety purposes, with nobody other than the IT administrators having access to it.

Disclosing the future IT initiatives, Ramamurthy said, “We will be shortly deploying development support systems (that is more into project management, monitoring of projects). We are also looking at centralizing all the applications, with the goal of making CRY a leader in the area of Child Rights by deploying cost-effective technology in the long run.”

Tags: ERP