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Luminous – Digitization Journey on the Cloud

by Vivek on September 30, 2015

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Founded in 1988, Luminous Power Technologies (P) Limited is a leading company with a differentiated portfolio of solutions for packaged power, diversified generation, electrical control, and safety & energy optimization. With over 5,000 employees across 8 manufacturing units and 28 sales offices, Luminous enjoys a dominant market in India as well as overseas.

Chander Khanduja joined Luminous in 2013 as CIO to lay down the digitalization road map for the organization and to formulate an IT strategy that complemented the fast pace of innovation and growth. He is a dynamic IT leader with more than 20 years of experience in various industries and diverse technologies. Here, he discusses how Luminous leveraged the Cloud to drive innovation.

“IT is a key strategic function in any progressive organization,” begins Khanduja, “and all applications are built to accelerate growth and efficiency.” Khanduja’s 35-member team has implemented almost 25 projects in the last two years including major SAP, CRM, SAP, GRC, Virtualization, SAP DR, Ariba, Mobility, SRM, Portals, and Cloud applications. Primarily divided into three parts – infrastructure, enterprise applications, and digital applications, the IT support and development is mostly in-house and performs two main functions – Operations and Projects. The Operations team takes care of day-to-day IT requirements and the Projects team works on ideating new technologies to increase the operational efficiency of Luminous. “During our digitization month, we developed one application every week. I am yet to hear of any company who has done that,” proclaims Khanduja, about his award-winning IT team.

Easy Choices

“We were looking for a technology which was easily available, scalable, and broad parameters that we considered when contemplating the Cloud. “Office 365 perfectly fits these parameters. It was easily available, one could choose to either expand or contract our operations to scale in the future, and finally Microsoft’s long reputation and expertise in the area eased all doubts about Cloud being a sustainable solution.”

In terms of technical aspects, many other factors were considered too. IT Security is the key for any organization, along with a simple user interface, and the ability to work on a hybrid model (partially on-site, partially on the Cloud). Upon evaluation, we found Office 365 a sound solution and were very satisfied with its capabilities. “Apart from this, we also had existing licenses for many Office applications like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint. Office 365 offered us a familiar solution, making change in management all the more easy.” 

Easy Implementation

Like all other projects, Luminous followed their homegrown, 5-point protocol for the successful rollout of Office 365. This in-house process has served Luminous well, when any new project is implemented it follows:

  • Prep and Scoping – Initial research on a solution
  • Planning – How the said solution can be implemented
  • Migration and Transition – Transfer of on-premise data to the Cloud
  • Communication – Internal communication about the new system in place
  • Adoption – Final rollout of application and change management

Temporary Troubles

However, like any adoption program, Khanduja’s team had a few obstacles that needed to be addressed.

  • Firstly, data migration was an issue. Transferring large inboxes was difficult
  • Secondly, the existing Internet bandwidth wasn’t enough to operate on the Cloud

A planned adoption protocol saw the hiccups through. Data migration was done over the weekends so as to not hamper company operations and an improved Internet connection was brought in with extended bandwidth to accommodate Cloud operations.

Post addressing these challenges, the entire Cloud operation has been smooth sailing. “We’re very satisfied,” says Khanduja, “the entire process was very fruitful for us as an organization. We are confident about the future.”

Little Lessons

“Look at your journey and plan your milestones” says Khanduja. Although the entire adoption process was very smooth, Khanduja has a few suggestions for other organizations who might be considering the Cloud.

  • Firstly, he says, it is important to not just look at the technology – do not have a micro view. There are many external factors that one must consider. The Cloud is whole different way to look at things.
  • Secondly, there is no need to try everything that the Cloud has on offer at the same time. Khanduja strategically adopted applications one by one, starting from mail, then OneDrive, followed by Azure and now finally Yammer. 

Real Returns

Khanduja stresses that at times there are no immediate tangible returns in moving to the Cloud. “Right now, it is a very essential tool to the organization,” says Khanduja. “If I had to talk about ROI, I’d say that we are now able to work efficiently. Our operations are scalable – we can even roll it back when needed. The flexibility that the Cloud offers us greatly contributes to our business dynamics.” The success of Office 365 lies in the fact that more solutions and features are being explored and implemented at Luminous every day.

Summing It Up

“We are looking at Cloud in a very big way because it gives us a sense of comfort. It does not block your investment,” says Khanduja. A Capex kind of investment would not allow the same pleasures. One can’t tell if the investment will be valid in the future. “Opting for the Cloud meant my decision will hold good for the future and I can now focus on other opportunities that the Cloud has to offer,” he reiterates.

Khanduja now works on innovating new capabilities with the Cloud. Apart from mobility, Khanduja is also evaluating a Disaster Recovery system on Azure. Developing an application on the Cloud makes it easier to roll it out to the business, thereby reducing Application Development time considerably.  “As CIO, apart from looking at existing technology to sustain business, I now spend a lot of time to understand other growth drivers which can be initiated with technology,” he concludes.

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