Tata Deploys Cedar Balanced Scorecard

by Julia Fernandes    Aug 27, 2004

In order to pursue business excellence within the framework of the Tata Business Excellence Model (TBEM), the $ 1.1 billion Tata International, the international business development arm of the Tata Group, has successfully deployed the Cedar Balanced Scorecard across all its five Global Business Units (GBUs).

Sharing the details of the initiative with CXOtoday, Sunil Bhaskaran, vice-president and corporate quality-head, said, “While we have been using the Balanced Score Card (BSC) for the past four years, we deployed the Cedar BSC framework across the organization in order to strengthen the BSC framework in terms of system-generated analysis, ensuring data integrity and alignment across the entire organization.”

The Cedar Balanced Scorecard (BSC) provides organizations with a framework to define their business indicators by automating data collection, analysis, reporting and communication in a web-enabled environment. It measures a company’s strategy against four broad- parameters: financial, customer-related, internal processes and learning and growth perspectives.

Disclosing the benefits of the solution, Bhaskaran stated, “Apart from integrating the BSC, it generates reports and analysis thereby strengthening the review process across the company.”

“In addition, it also ensures alignment and cascading of the organization strategy through identification of appropriate measures. This enables us to achieve a centralized review framework, resulting in opportunities for timely mid-course correction, wherever needed,” continued Bhaskaran.

Illustrating his view with an example, Bhaskaran said, “Prior to the implementation of the IT solution, reviews of BSC measures used to happen at various locations as data resided there. With the implementation of the IT enabled Cedar BSC, aggregation of the BSC from the business unit level to the corporate level and various analyses have been automated.”

Explaining further, Bhaskaran said, “We are able to get the actual-v/s-targets sorted through a “Stop-light” system that allows us to prioritize the management time during review as well as provide for automatic escalation of such reviews.”

According to him, the centralized review process also helps in communication and knowledge sharing across locations and business units. The system is also designed to accumulate data through links to other transaction processing IT systems, thereby reducing manual intervention in the BSC process, resulting in improved data integrity.

While 200 key data measures were identified, approximately 100 data elements were defined. In terms of deployment, it took roughly four months to deploy the system, which went live in June 2004.

Apart from the 70 odd users, the company has deployed 10 score cards (one corporate score card, in addition to one for each of the five GBUs. One scorecard has also been implemented for the four service functions like HR/Finance, etc.

The solution resides on a SQL Server 2000. The company runs Windows 2000 at the server level while the client end has Windows 98 and Windows XP.

Speaking about the TCO, Bhaskaran said, “The TCO is identified in terms of the cost of the software, licenses, and incremental investments in infrastructures. However, since the solution fits well within our existing infrastructure, the TCO has not been high.”

“We did not evaluate a direct ROI for this investment, as it is seen as an organization-wide enabler to improve our review processes. Instead, we looked at benefits like architectural best fit, longevity of the solution, ease of use, etc,” added Bhaskaran.

The company evaluated other solutions but they chose Cedar over the others. Reasons Bhaskaran, “Yes, we did indeed consider other options, but Cedar was chosen after considering factors like the need of our requirements against the features available in the product. The time and cost expected for implementation, roadmap of the solution and the existing customer base of the product were the factors that helped us chose Cedar.”

Crafted on a three-tier architecture, i.e. the database, the server hosting BSES and the client/user end, the web-enabled product can be accessed at multiple locations.

The product has been developed by the UK-based Cedar Group - a global management consulting, software and services organization, which has in recent times forged a strategic alliance with Mumbai-based STEM Computer Systems Pvt Ltd., to create and market Cedar BSES.

Tata International facilitates the globalization of the group’s core businesses by providing services in all key areas right from marketing, manufacturing and sourcing to international financing, logistics as well as CRM.

Tags: Tata