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Case Study: ABB India

Because of the diverse nature of its business operations, ABB India just could not continue using its legacy applications and errorprone communications system. So it redesigned its WAN, increased capacities, consolidated processes and installed a uniform messaging system.

In support of ABBs continuing high profile growth, Nortech is providing major multi-site reorganization and overhaul of ABB Indias infrastructure, data center, overall network management, disaster recovery services. As a Strategic Networking Partner for ABB, Nortech offers great quality, performance and delivery on ABB Indias IT services. "Our thrust is clearly on creating greater value for our customers by leveraging our unparalleled 'domain competence' to deliver world-class power and automation technologies. Through this outsourcing partnership, we can concentrate more on our core businesses and pursue our overall mission. It helps us gain operational efficiencies and allows us to remain at the cutting edge of information technology. On the whole, its a smarter way of working," says Ravi Uppal, President Global Markets, ABB. Client Overview Asea Brown Boveri Ltd India (ABB) operations in the country include 14 manufacturing facilities and over 6500 employees. Customers are served through extensive countrywide presence with around 30 marketing offices, 8 service centers, 3 logistics warehouses and a network of over 750 channel partners. The ABB Group is increasingly leveraging the Indian operations for projects, products, services, engineering and R&D. Also, as part of ABBs new regional approach, India has been designated as the hub for the South Asia region. ABB has a presence in manufacturing, process and consumer industries; utilities, oil & gas, and infrastructure. There are several business divisions within ABB and these units were using courier and fax for day-to-day communicationsa time consuming and error-prone process. The company had also outgrown its legacy accounting application. The consolidation of SAP centrally has helped bring down the cost of implementing ERP, and streamlined accounting procedures. By using Lotus Notes, ABB India has gained a uniform mailing system that has replaced the tedious paper trails of the early days. The Beginning ABB decided to go in for a Wide Area Network on MPLS. To begin with, the WAN connected seven locations including two in BangaloreABB's

headquarters at Sona Towers and Peenya; two in Mumbai at Andheri and Worli; and three at Maneja, Nashik and Delhi respectively. 8Mb MPLS network lines were used to link all these locations. While rolling out the SAP and Lotus Notes applications, ABB decided to consolidate its servers at a central location: Bangalore. By doing this it hoped to reduce implementation costs and set up a more robust WAN. The ABB network team comprising fifty-two engineers used Cisco WAN routers.

The Business Challenge ABB's WAN had links with capacities varying between 64 Kbps and 2Mb, When the WAN was first set up in 1987, the cost of a 64 Kbps link for a distance greater than 500 kilometers was close to Rs 14 lakh per year. In 1988, ABB felt the need for a corporate mailing system and decided to use Lotus Notes. But the existing bandwidth was insufficient for using Notes. In 1995, ABB's corporate office in Zurich directed its Indian subsidiary to roll out SAP at all its locations. SAP was chosen because the product was well supported in India and was also a worldwide ERP standard. As a rule, before any application can be used for ABB's operations, permission must be obtained from the corporate office in Zurich. Before the implementation of SAP across the country, all locations were operating on OLFA (Online Financial Accounting System), a legacy accounting application. The Problem: ABB could not cope with its manual communications systems (courier/fax) which was error-prone. Another problem was the high implementation cost of SAP.

ABB-Nortech: A Snapshot
The Company: ABB India is a 51 percent subsidiary of ABB Ltd, Zurich. It provides solutions for industries as diverse as power, pulp & paper, metals, cement, mining, consumer industries, chemicals, petrochemicals, refineries and automobiles.

SAP is not a bandwidth hungry application unlike Lotus Notes. The Notes design was based on a hub and spoke topology where the central server (hub) located in Bangalore was connected to the branch offices (spokes). The cost of the SAP implementation was another reason for consolidating the IS infrastructure.

The Solution: ABB set up a WAN and consolidated its servers to a single location, Bangalore. This helped in reducing the cost of implementing SAP. It replaced the old mode of communications with Lotus

The IS consolidation project began in 2000. For server consolidation to work with satisfactory response times, a 2 Mbps link was required. Considering the economics, a 2 Mbps star topology was rejected on the grounds of being too expensive. The WAN was redesigned in early 2001 as a distributed star network and today the ABB network has 2 Mbps links to all major locations. However, 64K pipes continue to be used at a few locations where supplementary bandwidth is not required. And some locations (Kolkata and Hyderabad) are being considered for a link upgrade from 64 Kbps to 2 Mbps.

Notes messaging.

The Benefits: ABB has eliminated paper errors, improved financial accounting and reduced the cost of implementing SAP. Server consolidation has lead to cost savings and made IS management easier.

Security Consolidation ABB has an international link from Bangalore to Singapore on Frame Relay with 1 MB Committed Information Rate (CIR). This link connects ABB India to ABB locations worldwide. Singapore is the Asia Pacific hub and all Asian countries are connected to it. This point of connect is referred to in ABB as 'Country edge' and it is managed by ABB's Network Competence Centre (NCC) in Sweden. ABB standardized on Cisco routers as per corporate network guidelines. While the in-country WAN operates on EIGRP (Enhanced Interior Gateway Routing Protocol), Cisco's ABB has a stringent worldwide IT security policy with well-documented rules available in the form of a Lotus Notes Database. The rulebook is available to all registered users. The company has an Internet gateway at Bangalore providing HTTP access to users. This gateway is protected with a Check Point firewall with policies reviewed and scanned every month by the ABB Corporate Security team at Zurich as well as the Indian team. The IDC has access restrictions and has two levels of Access controls. The data and information to all users are either on SAP or in Lotus Notes databases/messages for which the user requires access through permission. IDs that These are can be to accessed individual

proprietary protocol for routing, RAD is the preferred vendor for modems. ABB has used 92 servers from vendors like Compaq, HP and IBM running Windows NT. These are now being migrated to Windows 2000. In all ABB has used 32 Cisco routers for 56 WAN and six VSAT links. BSNL and MTNL provided the leased lines while HECL provided VSAT services for six links.


employees after formal approval. In addition ABB also follows the GSD331 standard for security.

Benefits Redundancies and Backup Consolidating SAP on a central location has ABB uses star and mesh topology in six major locations for effective backup connectivity. These are connected by 2 Mbps links and also have backup 64 Kbps links. In case these links fail, ABB has VSATs connecting directly to the data center at Bangalore. The VSAT links have re-locatable bandwidth that can be used elsewhere depending on the situation of links at those locations. Some locations use ISDN dial-up to the nearest VSAT location. Offices in Bangalore are on ISDN link to the data center itself. ABB also has redundant links of 64 Kbps at a few locations. brought all processes on one platform, hence reporting financial data is easier and information is available to the user and controllers online in realtime. All locations now have a uniform mailing systemLotus Notes. This effort has resulted in providing timely and relevant information to users who need to take decisions on business issues. An application enabled through Lotus Notes provides online chat, helps share information and reduces communication costs.

Plans The IT Services department of ABB Ltd. recently began outsourcing its IS requirement to IBM Global Services India. With this decision, IBM India has acquired 45 people from ABB's IS team and they have become IBM employees. IBM India takes responsibility for the quality, performance and delivery of ABB's IT services. This includes handling ABB's IT infrastructure and applications; managing and operating the data center; providing end-user support, overall network management, disaster recovery services and

technical support of business applications. Through this outsourcing partnership with IBM India, ABB Ltd. will be able to concentrate on its core businesses and gain operational efficiencies. ABB intends to implement VoIP in future. They spend approximately Rs 5-6 crore per annum on inter and intra office communications. They are looking at different ways to reduce their communications costs. Currently they are evaluating the prospects of implementing a VoIP solution an alternate and cheaper way to communicate. They are talking to Cisco and Nortel for the VoIP implementation. Bharati and Reliance have also announced that they will be offering VoIP solutions connecting land lines to mobile connections and vice-versa by end 2002. It will be a good option as it will help them save on equipment cost, but these service providers need to have a presence in all parts of the country.