CIO Talk News

The EPC Companies Need to Rapidly Digitize their Processes

Manoj Deorukhkar, CIO, Sterling and Wilson Pvt Ltd

Covid-19 has brought in a huge challenge to all kinds of companies in terms of their business continuity. During the lockdown no workforce could WFO and no operation could happen except it came under essential goods and services. The industry pundits have brought out various formula to restart the industry. Here are the viewpoints of Manoj Deorukhkar, CIO, Sterling and Wilson Pvt. Ltd. on the whole situation

What kind of approach the EPC companies should take for rebooting the industry through technology?

The 3Ps of EPC companies are Planning, People, and Procurement, which form the backbone of its operations. Covid-19 has disrupted these three factors bringing site operations to stand still in most of the cases.

The EPC companies need to rapidly digitize these processes to automate, strengthen collaboration and information sharing, as well as make them agile to adapt to disruptions and re-plan quickly. One such example that helped us during the pandemic was IoT based remote monitoring and digital workforce management for Solar projects. Apart from this, revisiting business continuity planning and cybersecurity will be topmost priorities.

Kindly provide your perspective on digital transformation strategy.

Digital Transformation is a portfolio of numerous digital initiatives linked through a common objective of business model transformation. It is a program that starts with a clear strategy to succeed in the marketplace, identification of a new business model to support strategy, business process, and cultural changes. And, finally, a set of digitalization projects to enable this transformation. Existing large business organizations need digital transformation to shed constraints and stay relevant to the new normal. 

Digital Transformation takes a longer time, cost, and effort from the organization, and hence it needs to be carefully selected and planned well to be successful. 

How companies are ensuring work continuity in this pandemic situation?

Most of the companies have managed good business continuity during the pandemic. This has been possible due to two factors – an overall reduction in business volumes due to the lockdown and the advent of mobility and online collaboration tools such as MS Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet. There are many other factors such as cloud adoption, remote management tools, VPN, etc., which made this process easier for the organizations. 

As the economy starts recovering, the organizations will face several challenges to strike a balance between business operations recovery, with risks of disruptions due to people, materials availability and the need for pandemic control. Having appropriate solutions for quick detection and response capability will be very important during this phase.

What is the DC strategy, if it is hosted throw some lights on that?

As a part of the company’s cloud roadmap, we follow a two-prong strategy. We have gradually migrated several on-premise applications to cloud infrastructure and are in the process of completing this by March 2021.  For new applications, we are giving preference to a cloud version over on-premise to bring in simplicity and scalability to our IT systems.  

How the companies are protecting their data from data breaching?

The Covid-19 pandemic has driven a change in digitizing data as much as possible to keep business running. This has presented opportunities and threats of a different kind for organizations. Some of the common solutions adopted by organizations, especially to address work from home requirements are:

  • Antivirus protection for office and home computers and updates 
  • VPN based secured access 
  • Subscribing to SOC services to monitor e-mails, servers, repositories and critical network elements 
  • Security hardening of various IT assets
  • Upgraded protections for websites 
  • IT security review of edge devices and application landscape for IOT and data logging

How you are ensuring business continuity in the current pandemic situation? 

By the mid-March 2020, we had conducted a review of our preparedness for a lockdown which was divided into four major areas as:

  • On-premise data centre
  • Network 
  • End-user enablement
  • IT security

Each of the areas had activities identified for the pre-lockdown period, such as provisioning of laptops for identified critical users, shifting of the desktop systems to the user’s home, etc. A detailed risk analysis was carried out, along with the creation of response mechanisms. Besides, online awareness campaigns were initiated to educate users and help them to settle down with a new mode of work.

Our team has an SOP in place, and whatever unforeseen situations were encountered, a quick solution was found and updated in the SOP. With this approach, we ensured IT business continuity amid the pandemic. 

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