GVK capitalizes on India’s infrastructure boom with IBM and SAP

Published on 30-Apr-2013

"IBM and SAP are making a huge difference to the way we run the business. We have standardized and automated processes, and – even more importantly – we have been able to bring about a profound culture change." - Srinivas Sagi, Vice President of IT and Business Process Management, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited

GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited

Construction / Architecture / Engineering

Deployment country:

Storage: Storwize V7000, Business Integration, Business Resiliency, Enterprise Resource Planning, High Availability , Information Integration, Server Consolidation, Virtualization, Virtualization - Applications, Virtualization - Server

IBM Business Partner:


One of India’s largest conglomerates, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited (GVK) holds diversified interests across many sectors, including energy, transportation, hospitality and life sciences. GVK has established itself as a leading infrastructure developer, investing more than $3.3 billion in infrastructure projects to date, with future investment plans of $6.6 billion.

Business need:
India’s economy is booming, fueling a greater need for reliable infrastructure than ever before. For a premier infrastructure developer like GVK, the current climate presents exciting opportunities for growth. To generate revenues faster from the assets such as power plants and roads, GVK needs to maintain tight control over all aspects of its operations, in order to ensure that projects are kept on schedule and that its many business divisions run as profitably as possible.

GVK partnered with IBM Global Business Services to implement a broad suite of SAP ERP applications, including Finance & Controlling, Materials Management, Plant Maintenance and Sales & Distribution. For improved project lifecycle management, GVK chose to deploy SAP Project System, and the company streamlined electronic document management with SAP Document Management System. IBM Power 740 Express servers, running IBM AIX operating system and IBM DB2 database software, serve as the infrastructure backbone for the SAP applications.

Expected to accelerate the time taken to get new infrastructure development projects up and running by as much as 45 percent, cutting the process from months to weeks. Reduces the time taken to close month-end financial processes by more than 50 percent. Provides access to real-time, online reports for project planning, helping to keep a tight control on project timelines and costs, and reducing the likelihood of expensive project overruns. Transformed GVK into a fully unified enterprise.

Case Study

One of India’s largest conglomerates, GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited (GVK) holds diversified interests across many sectors, including energy, transportation, hospitality and life sciences. GVK has established itself as a leading infrastructure developer, investing more than $3.3 billion in infrastructure projects to date, with future investment plans of $6.6 billion.

Seizing new opportunities for growth
India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, and shows no signs of slowing down. Increasing flows of goods and people throughout the country spur the need for substantial investment in infrastructure in order to sustain economic progress.

GVK sees huge opportunities in the marketplace, which also presents a number of challenges. As the regulatory environment relaxes to encourage more foreign investment, companies such as GVK face increasing competition from overseas players. Foreign companies are often believed to have greater technological expertise, deeper pockets and more extensive experience compared to domestic firms.

If GVK is to win competitive contracts, the company needs to convince decision-makers that it has the capacity, technological know-how and process-based experience to guide projects to a successful finish.

Maintaining a competitive edge
Srinivas Sagi, Vice President of IT and Business Process Management at GVK Power and Infrastructure Limited, elaborates: “As a conglomerate, GVK manages a huge number of different projects, which can range from setting up and maintaining power plants to building highways and expressways.

“With the average project size totaling between five hundred million and one billion dollars, we float each project as a separate operating company.”

He continues: “When you are managing projects of this magnitude, you need a solid set of processes in place that can cover all business functions through the entire project lifecycle, from the planning and construction phases to day-to-day management of the new company. Without this integration and control, it is easy for projects to go off track and for expenses to soar – something that we could not afford as the revenue generation starts only after the assets are commissioned for commercial operations.”

Choosing a common platform
GVK sought a more-efficient way to manage new projects, and to run existing companies more productively and cost-effectively. The aim was to move away from operating different business divisions as localized entities, and bring the entire company onto a central, standardized platform.

“We wanted to integrate business operations and automate the entire project lifecycle,” explains Srinivas Sagi. “After looking at a number of solutions, SAP® ERP emerged as the frontrunner. With the largest installed client base in our industry, and the highest level of process integration, SAP was clearly the best fit for our needs.”

Partnering with IBM Global Business Services
Having selected SAP ERP, GVK looked for an implementation partner with the expertise to successfully manage the project. Srinivas Sagi comments: “We chose to engage IBM® Global Business Services® because they had proven experience in the verticals in which we operate, and because of their strong competence in deploying SAP solutions.”

Drawing on its extensive experience of change management projects, IBM Global Business Services worked closely with GVK to plan a strategic roadmap for the SAP ERP implementation that aligned with industry best practices and covered all project stages from design and deployment to training and support.

Srinivas Sagi says: “Collaborating with IBM Global Business Services on this project was a very positive experience. The IBM team placed a strong focus on helping us to build a solution that best fit our individual needs, and made sure that we stuck to project timelines.

“With the guidance and expertise that IBM Global Business Services brought to the implementation, we were able to deliver the project ahead of schedule, and went live with the new SAP systems in just eight months. This was a huge achievement, especially taking into consideration the fact that we had to extend the solution to 28 different companies.”

Boosting business integration and insight with SAP ERP
GVK implemented a comprehensive suite of SAP ERP applications, including Finance & Controlling, Materials Management, Plant Maintenance and Sales & Distribution, which are accessed by some 200 business users.

The integrated SAP applications have optimized operations at GVK, helping to standardize and automate company-wide processes and workflows to enable more efficient day-to-day running of GVK’s many operating companies.

With its new SAP ERP platform, GVK has been able to transform the flow of information across the company, gaining real-time access to key operational data and enhanced insight into different business functions. This improved degree of transparency helps to support better, faster decision-making by providing management with accurate and timely information.

Keeping projects on track
To provide better project lifecycle management, GVK chose to deploy SAP Project System. The solution is closely integrated with core SAP ERP applications, and helps to provide managers with a structured approach to planning, execution, budgeting and project closure. By delivering tight control over even the most complex projects, SAP Project System helps GVK to ensure that all projects are executed efficiently, on time and within budget.

Srinivas Sagi comments: “SAP Project System will help us to precisely plan all of the activities involved in our development projects. For example, if we are contracted to build a new power plant, we can easily manage all construction activities, including procurement, resource allocation, payments to contractors and document management, from a single interface. We anticipate that SAP Project System will be a great help in managing our costs and resources effectively.”

GVK also deployed SAP Document Management System to enhance electronic document management capabilities of project materials. The solution helps to automate the entire lifecycle of each and every document associated with a project, from creation and storage to access and updating.

By providing access to all documents from any computer in the company’s network, the solution enables problem-free data exchange, ensuring that the responsible employees or external partners can view and process up-to-the-minute information.

Virtualized IBM platform
To guarantee top performance and availability for its suite of SAP applications, GVK designed a robust data center environment, based on virtualized IBM server and storage technology.

The company implemented two IBM Power® 740 Express servers, running the IBM AIX® operating system and IBM DB2® database management software. Selected for its tight integration with SAP, IBM DB2 provides unmatched power and scalability while remaining easy to use and manage, allowing GVK to optimize the performance of its SAP applications.

The Power Systems™ servers leverage IBM PowerVM® virtualization technology for optimized resource use and scalability. Running its SAP applications in a virtualized environment allows GVK to consolidate multiple workloads onto just two servers, helping to keep operating costs low while maintaining high levels of performance and availability.

GVK also has plans to take advantage of the Live Partition Mobility feature on PowerVM to move running virtual workloads from one Power Systems server to another without application downtime, which will allow GVK to avoid interruptions to service during system maintenance.

“Given the diverse nature of our business, requirements can change very quickly,” remarks Srinivas Sagi. “IBM PowerVM offers us the versatility to handle this constant change and dynamically allocate resources as needed. For example, we can scale up our systems to cope with increased demand when we are handling month-end closing processes. This flexibility will allow us to respond more rapidly to requests from business users, boosting agility for the company as a whole.”

The IBM Power 740 Express servers are connected to an IBM Storwize® V7000 storage system, with an IBM System Storage® TS3200 tape library providing tertiary storage. GVK uses IBM Tivoli® Storage Manager software for centralized, automated data backup and recovery management.

Accelerating business processes
GVK’s new SAP ERP applications are delivering significant changes to the way the business is run. By bringing its power and infrastructure division onto the IBM and SAP platform, GVK has been able to improve enterprise-wide visibility and accelerate its business processes.

According to Srinivas Sagi: “The IBM and SAP solution allows us to access more meaningful data on nearly all aspects of our operations: we are able to obtain near real-time information on assets, cost drivers and resources. In addition to supporting better decision-making, the increased data availability enables us to reduce the time taken to close month-end financial processes. While this took around seven to ten days in the past, we can now close the books in three to five days.”

Creating a truly unified enterprise
Running the business on SAP ERP will also enable GVK to build a fast, flexible enterprise by accelerating the rate at which the company can get new projects up and running. This agility will prove to be a considerable advantage in the competitive and dynamic infrastructure development arena.

“Now that we have a common set of standards and processes, we anticipate that it will be much easier and quicker to set up new companies. With SAP ERP, the groundwork is already in place, so we can bring projects on board much faster, without spending too much time caught up in the initial planning stages,” notes Srinivas Sagi. “We expect to cut the time taken to launch new projects from months to weeks.”

With its entire power and infrastructure division now running as a truly unified business, GVK can benefit from greater economies of scale, and reinforce its position on the market.

Srinivas Sagi concludes: “IBM and SAP are making a huge difference to the way we run the business. We have standardized and automated processes, and – even more importantly – we have been able to bring about a profound culture change. We now operate as a fully integrated business, rather than isolated siloes, and are able to sustain a greater volume of activity more productively and cost-effectively. With IBM and SAP supporting more efficient, integrated operations, we are fully confident that we will be able to meet whatever challenges and changes the market holds.”

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Power 740 Express, Storage: Storwize V7000, Storage: TS3200 Tape Library

AIX, Tivoli Storage Manager, DB2 for AIX

Operating system:

GBS Business and Customer Strategy, GBS ISV Community: SAP, IBM-SAP Alliance

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