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Genotypic Technology Puts its ERP on the Cloud

Genotypic Technology Puts its ERP on the Cloud

While large enterprises are still weighing the pros and cons of cloud business models, it is the SMBs that are out there taking daring steps and reaping all the benefits.

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Summary:

While large enterprises are still weighing the pros and cons of cloud business models, it is the SMBs that are out there taking daring steps and reaping all the benefits.

Highlights:

  • The bigger issue was depending on an external agency for very basic requirements.
  • The biggest challenge was porting existing data into the cloud.

Reader ROI:

  • A journey to cloud computing -from Google docs and Salesforce.com for their CRM.

Organization: Genotypic is a life sciences company in the field of genomic services. The 10 year old company is worth 12 crores today with their clients ranging from academics to Pharma and biotech companies on the commercial side. “We essentially enable research in drug discovery and understanding of life forms, “explains Dr.Sudha Narayana Rao, vice-president, R&D, Genotypic Technology.  

People were not happy to have to conform with certain rules of the software which were not there in the past.

Business Case: Given the nature of their business, Genotypic deploys very hi-tech data-intensive technologies. Until three years back, IT infrastructure was minimal.  “As we moved on to certain technologies that were very data intensive we started enhancing our capabilities,” explains Dr. Rao. The company invested in hi-end servers and large data storage devices considering their typical data inputs were in terabytes. Their tryst with cloud computing began when they moved to Google docs for their basic communication and sharing needs and Salesforce.com for their CRM. But soon as the business began to grow, they started noticing lags in the systems.

 Project: “The problem with Salesforce was that it took care of only one function. We are in a highly technical domain. Even our sales guys are scientists so there is a lot of information transfer that has to flow downstream,” explains Dr. Rao. Their systems weren’t able to handle the data intensive transfer. They badly needed an ERP.

 Besides that, they were growing like never before. Since 2006, every year the company doubled in terms of the number of employees and their business. Scalability was becoming an issue.

 Yet, investing in a full-fledge customizable ERP would call for an investment they were not ready for. Customizable was key, because of the highly technical nature of their life sciences domain.  “We were looking for a cloud solution. And SAP was our best bet, “says Dr. Rao.

 First Steps: What followed was the grueling task of convincing the management to doll out their money on a concept most organization would shy away from; putting their ERP on the cloud. “Since we are a small company we had fewer decision-makers to convince, “chuckles Dr. Rao.

 Understandably, data security was an issue. The bigger issue, according to Dr. Rao was depending on an external agency for your very basic requirements. “It was hard decision, but when you’re a small fish in big pond, you need to take a leap of faith, “says Dr Rao. 

 The company went live with their ERP on cloud in July 2011. Because of the initial uncertainty, they’d take a lot of backups, just to be safe. As the systems began to function smoothly without any glitches, many of their initial doubts were pacified.

 Challenges:  The biggest challenge was porting existing data into the cloud. While the data masters were create internally, SAP leant support in the data migration process. “The time and effort spent to collate data and port it into the cloud format was tremendous. We also spent a lot of time understanding the new format, which required some training.”

 She did face some resistance from certain departments. “People were not happy to have to conform with certain rules of the software which were not there in the past. “

 For instance the finance team was not very welcoming.  Traditionally Indian companies have been working with Tally and are comfortable with it.  “Tally is easier to manipulate; correct errors and make changes. People were unhappy that now they have to take five steps to do the same thing that earlier took only two. “

 However, it has brought in a lot of transparency. “Through the systems, the management can trace out each and every step.”

 Benefits: Wisdom tells us smaller companies are more flexible and nimble. “It was easier for us because we were small, “admits Dr. Rao.  The biggest benefit according to Dr. Rao, is that Genotypic can now conduct more extensive research. “If I had a system earlier I could quantify the benefits in numbers. But since I didn’t, I can say that the company is today doing some wonderful things which wouldn’t have been possible earlier.”

People were not happy to have to conform with certain rules of the software which were not there in the past.

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