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Fiorano Software Emerged to Quench the SOA Thirst in India

Eureka Bharali
Sunday, January 3, 2010
Eureka Bharali
Twelve minutes to generate one invoice’ is a revenue-gulping affair and it took around a decade for the world’s second largest spirits company UB Group to realize it. During the twelve minute process in its SAP system the invoice generator had to flip through nine screens, demanding the attention of up to five different people – Five steps, nine screens and twelve minutes for a single invoice! It was an obvious sign of huge revenue losses . Today, at UB Group a single employee generates an invoice within two minutes. He clicks two screens, with the second one being just the confirmation page and the invoice is ready. The company has saved Rs.2.5 crores with the optimized process, a major advantage at a time when each company is striving to preserve capital and position itself for a full recovery. The Rs.3600 crore firm did not scout for any IT specialist, but instead deployed Fiorano’s SOA solution. Thanks to Fiorano, the enterprise middleware and peer-to-peer distributed systems provider, today at the UB Group the profit ball is in the business managers’ court. Founded in 1995 with headquarters in California and Bangalore, the multi million dollar firm Fiorano Software has over 450 clients of which several reign in the Fortune 50 list. Fiorano’s patented, asynchronous real-time data-flow technology has positioned the company as a tough competitor for the likes of Oracle, IBM and SAP.

“The need was to automate workflow and speed up invoicing business process, zero in on the enterprise architecture and then choose the vendor. We had to share our production plan with the supplier to ensure on time delivery of components involving real-time integration of SAP with our supplier’s planning system. After detailed evaluation, due diligence and a POC (proof-of-concept) lasting over six months, the UB Group decided to implement Fiorano’s Service Oriented Architecture (SOA),” says T.K. Subramaniam, Vice President - Information Systems, spirits division, UB Group. After implementation, the total cost of ownership (TCO) for the company was reduced by almost 60 percent. Fiorano helped UB automate their other beleaguered processes, which resulted in inefficient working capital turnover due to their non-inter-operable SAP systems. The Fiorano SOA platform helped UB integrate their varied applications under a single architecture and the result - an asynchronous, real-time flow of information across diverse hardware and software applications – which in turn led to significant productivity gains. Now the UB Group can share information about Contracts, Purchase Order Creation, Goods Received Notes, Bill Booking, Production and Dispatches, all in real-time, making their decisions more effective.

Delivering on SOA infancy in India

After creating a significant footprint in the United States, the Founder and CEO of Fiorano, Atul Saini wants Fiorano to be recognized as the numero uno SOA player in India. The ever-ambitious Indian, Saini, believes the SOA opportunity in the home market looms large. After the recent recovery every firm in India has ticked their IT budgets with the highest priority. As per Spring Board research, the SOA market of Asia (excluding Japan) will touch $2.2 billion by 2010, of which India is expected to claim a significant share of the pie. SOA provides the ease to streamline enterprise environments while working towards a state where business requirements can be fulfilled through the re-composition of existing services in contrast to traditional programming. The recession being a learning ground, many of the biggest Indian companies are looking for smarter ways to boost revenue without additional staff or significant hardware and/or software expenses. Once it caught sight of the vast opportunity, Fiorano immediately turned its attention towards India. Companies here are still in the phase of SOA exploration. Companies are cautious, as any technology upgrade typically involves extra cash flow for the software and subsequent annual maintenance and support. Only innovative technology, which does not require armies of implementation consultants and which is easy to mould to new business requirements, can help them move to an advanced stage of productive SOA deployment. “We have seen Companies tossing significant sums of money to support basic ERP systems that are rigid and difficult to change; our platform offers them solutions at a fraction of their current costs,” asserts Saini.

Most Indian companies however, are in the very early stages of appreciating the benefits of business process automation to drive productivity and enhance profitability. The state of infancy of SOA in India can be attributed to the misconception that SOA is more of a technology requirement rather than a business decision. Adding spice to the deflated notion, the industry heavyweights that have dominated Indian business for generations tend to stick to their manual work processes that consume more time and energy with lower efficiency. For instance, one CIO, as an answer to a query on the need of automation to transfer data automatically from multiple spreadsheets and databases into a complex ERP system confidently replies, “Why do we need automation? Our ERP systems are updated by young, smart people who do not make any mistakes. We do not believe the automation is worth the expense”. The boast about his employees only proved the state of ignorance of integration, SOA and software automation in India. For Saini, the challenge has unfolded into an opportunity. Adding India to Fiorano’s global focus, Saini believes his technology is well poised to be the eye-opener for all such CXOs, among others.

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