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Telecom Showcase: Spice Global upgrades its systems for business efficiency

November 29, 2013
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Established over three decades ago, Spice Global is a diversified conglomerate with over 25 million global customers across 20 countries including India, China, the US and the UK, and the Africa, ASEAN and Middle Eastern regions. The company is headquartered in Singapore and has nearly 9,000 employees.

Spice Global’s business is spread across the mobility, entertainment, finance and health care segments. In the mobility segment, its telecom products and services business is overseen by Si2i Mobility in India and by Si2i overseas. Si2i offers services under three brands – Spice Mobility Limited, Spice Retail and Spice Digital. Its brands in the entertainment segment include Spice Enfotainment, Spice World, Spice Studios and Spice Cinemas. In the finance vertical, the company owns Wall Street Finance Limited, a non-banking finance company dealing with foreign exchange and money remittances. Wall Street Finance operates under the brand Spice Money and is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange. In the health care segment, the company established the Saket City Hospital in New Delhi.

With the aim of keeping pace with changing business requirements, Spice Global took steps to modernise its communications infrastructure. tele.net traces the development of its telecom set-up…

 Legacy system

According to Ajay Srivastava, group chief information officer, Spice Global, the company had deployed a relatively simple communications infrastructure in the early days of its operation. “The company used the Tally solution to manage and simplify daily operations pertaining to accounts, inventory and auditing,” he says.

 The shift

As the company’s operations expanded, it realised that its existing communications set-up could not keep pace with its business requirements. It, therefore, prepared a road map to upgrade its communications set-up. “The basic aim of this exercise was to avoid duplication of data entries at multiple points and retain our market position,” says Srivastava.

As the first step, the company decided to migrate to an integrated platform and switch to an enterprise resource planning (ERP) module – the SAP ECC version 6.0 platform. In January 2010, Spice Global went live on the SAP platform, which included modules such as financial accounting and controlling, materials management, sales and distribution, payroll, enterprise portal and business intelligence. That apart, it switched to IBM’s new BladeCenter server.

The company today uses a multi-tiered communications infrastructure. According to Srivastava, Spice Global has deployed MPLs circuits for connecting its warehouses at various locations to the head office. This infrastructure is used to access the SAP business application. Moreover, it uses point-to-point links for data replication at other locations.

The company uses internet bandwidth from multiple Tier I internet service providers including Bharti Airtel, Reliance Communications and Sify Technologies. For internal and external communication, Spice Global has deployed videoconferencing equipment, audio bridges as well as various messaging platforms.

Apart from telecom tools, it has deployed several applications such as the SAP business application, which is hosted on the IBM BladeCenter. This equipment is located at S Mobility Limited’s data centre at its head office in Noida. In addition, dashboards based on business intelligence tools are used, which help the company’s top management and its business users in decision-making.

Several mobility applications have also been deployed. Srivastava says, “Important business information, such as sales records, is accessible through smartphones. Moreover, we use portal-based applications like SMS for our service centres located across the country.”

 Challenges and benefits

According to Srivastava, the biggest challenge faced by the company while modernising its communications set-up was convincing its employees to adopt the new infrastructure. “For every change in telecom infrastructure, there is an initial challenge in adoption. However, in due course, the new set-up was accepted by all our employees,” he says.

The company has derived several benefits from the system upgrade. “There is no duplication of work and employees have access to updated information, which facilitates decision-making. Moreover, all communication is instant and risks are minimised in several areas. For example, we can track the number of mobile handsets sold,” says Srivastava.

By upgrading its communications infrastructure, Spice Global has managed to simplify daily operations and streamline information flow between its various offices.

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