Thermax To Upgrade Database, Change ERP

by Amit Tripathi    Mar 17, 2004

Thermax Limited, the Pune based energy and environment major, is planning an extensive revamp of its IT infrastructure, by lining up a database upgrade and ERP switchover in the coming months.

Speaking to CXOtoday, Rajan Erande, Head-IT, Thermax, said, “We have a few IT initiatives lined up for this year of which the database upgrade to Oracle 9i is significant as it will cater to providing improved web enabled services.”

Thermax’s inhouse IT team is undertaking the upgradation from Oracle 8i to 9i to facilitate web-enabled services. Among the major applications that run on the company’s database are Divisional Apex Review Team (DART), Enquiry Monitoring System (EMS), and Order Checklist Processing (OCP).

A Storage Area Network (SAN) on Compaq Xeon dual processor servers is also being finalized by the company to support the move.

The second change lined up at Thermax is an ERP replacement program. The enterprise, which had been using BaaN for a long time, is planning a complete change. The vendor evaluation process for selecting an ERP is already been initiated, and a decision will be taken soon.

Added Erande, “Those being evaluated are SAP, Peoplesoft, Oracle and QAD’s MFG Pro.” For now, the company is putting up with BaaN, albeit for just two of eight divisions.

Erande said, “We have planned to go in for a new ERP as new versions of BaaN are hard to come by, and especially, they have no answer for process upgrades, which is so important for our chemical processing business.”

Already, the enterprise has purchased Oracle Apps Financials - a resource planning package solely dedicated for finance. The package has modules for payment, account receivables, general ledger, and cash management.

VPN connectivity from Tata Indicomm is being utilized alongwith Department of Telecommunications’ (DoT) VSAT, using 64 Kbps bandwidth for connecting its 4 regional offices, 4 area sales offices and around hundred franchises / channel partners. In addition, at its corporate facility at Pune, 2 Mbps of bandwidth is being used to accommodate heavy traffic and an additional 1 Mbps from VSNL for Internet.

Elaborating on the pros and cons of using bigger packages, Erande explained, “While such packages come with assurances of integration and standardization, aspects of flexibility - as far as addition of new solutions based on changing requirements is concerned - is a worrying factor.”

Thermax has an IT revenue budget of Rs. 2 crore per annum, which might double to Rs 4 crore this season for its diverse IT initiatives.

A growing trend in India is that organizations are working on diverse applications provided by different vendors, which according to Erande “Would be fruitful only if they are able to speak to each other completely.”

Tags: Thermax