Nortel's SSL VPN To Automate Pidilite Sales Force

by Amit Tripathi    Dec 15, 2004

Tedious batch transfer of data from the field that involved thousands of excel files, followed by indexing and sorting of useful data will soon be a thing of the past at Pidilite Industries.

The field force at Pidilite will henceforth be filing field data straight into the central database, thanks to the Secure Sockets Layer VPN (SSL VPN) that the company’s IT team has put in place recently.

Zoeb Adenwala, chief-information technology, Pidilite Industries, spoke at length about the latest initiative to CXOtoday. He stressed that the initiative has been chalked out to increase the security of data access by the staff on the field apart from reducing the data administration hassles once they reach the head office.

Speaking about the security aspect Adenwala stated, “Before logging in, the user first sends an SMS to the central server which in turn authenticates the number and accordingly generates a password and sends it back. The user then uses that password to log in that remains valid for ten minutes.”

Technically all the application servers are connected to the SSL VPN server, which flashes the application from the concerned server, after verification of the user, log in information.

“Nortel’s SSLVPN fulfills all our expectations in addition to effective bandwidth management and optimization,” observed Adenwala. The VPN has also enabled the company’s mailing application to go online. This in turn aids the field staff to access it. The VPN connectivity has facilitated heavy acceleration of data transfer from more than 1000 field personnel of the company.

The company believes that by deploying the VPN solution, data feedback time will significantly reduce from a monthly to weekly basis. This is in turn will enable faster decision making from the marketing team. Adds Adenwala, “We wish to reduce the feedback time down to a daily basis once we connect all our distributors (over a thousand of them) to pick up secondary sales data. However, that initiative will take around a year to commence.”

The Nortel SSL VPN for which the company has spent close to Rs 10 lakh, is currently being deployed by Wipro staff (the IT hardware needs of Pidilite is outsourced to Wipro Technologies), in association with the in-house IT team. The other vendor evaluated for the technology was Net Scaler.