ERP Rolled Out

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Although most things in insti have transitioned from the age old days of paper filing, the administrative systems, resource management and academic services and portals never truly shifted to an integrated online platform; or a dedicated system software. While the institute strives to raise the bar for engineering education and research, the delays due to inefficiencies in such a disjoint system decelerated its progress. But not anymore. IIT Bombay went live with the new SAP ERP on 3rd April 2017. The ERP has been hailed as the solutions to the majority of such problems and inefficiencies.

What is ERP?

ERP (acronym for Enterprise Resource Planning) is a business development software used by companies to manage their resources (human resource, capital) and help direct process flow. It serves as a common (integrated) platform for all the administrative processes of a business. In layman’s language, a do-everything software for the company; be it disbursement of salaries, availing benefits, purchase and procuring management, etc.

Origins in IITB

The institute had been mulling over the idea of procuring professional ERP software to cater to its business needs. Different modules of ERP are available in the market. But as the institute does not work like a generic business/organisation, a customized ERP from the ground-up had to be designed.

A committee headed by the Deputy Director, Academic and Infrastructural Affairs, to explore this activity was setup in 2010. Market leaders in the ERP domain were invited to make presentations to IITB functionaries. To further understand this business, and if required, to decide upon an action-plan, the Director formed an ‘ERP task force committee’ and an ‘ERP cell’ under an ‘officer on special duty’ specifically appointed for this purpose. Further, an ‘ERP Visions committee’ and comprising of all section heads was constituted to set up expectations from such an endeavour. A few IITB Alumni as well as ERP system Integrators made presentations to these committees which helped them understand the ERP domain and decide upon future course of action.

In 2012, IITB engaged Ernst & Young to study business needs of the institute and create ‘Functional Requirements’ and ‘Request for Proposal’ documents. The tender for ERP procurement was floated in 2013. IITB formulated independent committees to meticulously evaluate the ERP bids on techno-commercial grounds. After the evaluation process involving multiple POCs and reverse auctions, (during 2014) IIT Bombay selected Ms Atos India as System Integrator partner to implement SAP ERP in the institute.

Rollout Details

ERP will be released in two waves. After two years of intense effort from all stakeholders, rollout of Wave 1 began last month. It includes the following SAP modules:-

  • FICO – (Finance accounting and Controlling) for managing accounts, budget, expenditure and investments
  • HCM – (Human Capital Management) for HR, employee promotions, leave management and payroll
  • PS – (Project systems) For managing IRCC consultancy and sponsored, as well as Dean IPS contraction projects.
  • SD – (Sales and distribution) for managing clients, invoices and payments for IRCC, CEP and other paid facilities.
  • MM – (Materials management) For purchase of materials and services. This covers current activities of MMD, Dean IPS new constructions and Dean IPS design cell activities.
  • All the modules of Wave 1 are expected to be rolled out by June in this year. Wave 2, slated for release in December 2017, includes :-

  • HER – (Higher education and research) for Student lifecycle management (SLCM)
  • FICA – (Finance and Contract accounting) for student fees, scholarships, loans and benefits.
  • RQMS – (residential quarter management) for covering hostel, guest house and quarter management
  • RE-FX – (Flexible real estate management) To manage quarter leasing and management Hospital Management, Handling RTI, queries
  • Initially, only stand alone and low-impact SAP modules are being released. Other SAP modules have been released in parallel with legacy systems essentially for the purpose of testing and training. As of now, ASC, Drona, OPS, Moodle, Surveys and library systems shall continue as before. Backend servers MISEC, EIS, ADMS, Online Payment Gateway (OPG) and Online Recruitment System (ORS) shall continue for the time being. Eventually, functionality of all IT systems except LMS (Moodle, surveys & Library) and CMS systems shall move to SAP. Students will begin to use the platform once Wave 2 goes live.
    For more information, visit this link.

    Changes to follow

    Through ERP, all sorts of information and records will be made available online and will be accessible by people with the required credentials (Way to go towards paperless IITB!). Data pertaining to Insti accounts, hospital data (pink slips, OPD dates), room booking, room retention, equipment issue, etc will all be in a single system. Corresponding through mail, “Home grown systems were disjoint, buggy, having multiple databases with duplicate data and getting increasingly difficult to maintain with existing work force. IITB was consciously product agnostic during entire ERP procurement process.” stated Prof. N. K. Khosla, Professor-in-Charge, ASC. Thus, this integration is expected to greatly smoothen the work flow in the institute.

    Also, the system will be robust and less laggy than before. For instance, the pains encountered during registration due to asc getting overloaded are expected to reduce after SLCM happens via ERP.

    Conclusion

    This long awaited update will definitely benefit the students and faculty both academically and otherwise. Hence, it is a welcome change which will take the institute further towards its mission of creating an ambience in which new ideas and creativity flourish.