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Ranbaxy upgrades ERP independently

Gunjan Trivedi | Oct. 15, 2009
Multiple acquisitions and seven years of double-digit growth had pushed Ranbaxy's hardware needle into the red.

BANGALORE, 14 OCTOBER 2009 - Multiple acquisitions and seven years of double-digit growth had pushed Ranbaxy's hardware needle into the red. David Briskman, VP and CIO of Ranbaxy had an ERP upgrade in mind, but he also knew it was a huge and complex task, given Ranbaxy's size.

Briskman decided that the task would be done in-house. An ERP upgrade on this scale would have got most organizations to get a consultant, and hordes of subject matter experts - immaterial of the price. But he had realized that when organizations enlist consultants for such high level projects, the cost of consultancy usually makes up 60 to 70 per cent of the total cost of the project. The rest largely goes in procuring hardware and software. By taking a D-I-Y approach, Ranbaxy lowered the total price of the project and reversed that ratio.


Ranbaxy's ERP was creaking under the weight of expansions and multiple acquisitions.

Upgrading the Rs. 4400 crore company's ERP without any consultants took all David Briskman's abilities and the team's dedication

Testing played a more crucial role at Ranbaxy's upgrade because compliance is key to the pharmaceutical major

Health Check

India's largest pharmaceutical company, the Rs 4,400- odd crore Ranbaxy has a complex IT fabric. Most of those locations run on a single instance of SAP 4.6c version of R/3 ran on a 32-bit windows 2003 environment and SQL 2000 with database of about 2.25 Terabytes, growing at about 45 GB a month. Transactions were growing with the business, and by 2008, about 70 per cent of the people with access to the system - were using the ERP concurrently, on 2,500 custom-built programs and about 900 types of transactions .Briskman and team decided to overhaul the entire ecosystem, upgrading the hardware, the software including the operating system, the database and the ERP platform. SAP ECC6 was soon running on more efficient.

David vs. Goliath

Most CIOs would hire a consultant at this stage but Briskman lead his team to the more risky alternative, DIY." We have been doing rollouts and upgrades without any consulting help and decided that this project should be no different," says Briskman.

In the first phase the IT team would move their current ERP to the new servers. The Windows Server would also be scaled up to a 64-bit environment and the database would be upgraded to SQL 2005. The second phase, led by the SAP COE Head, Neeraj Kukreti, would involve a combined upgrade of SAP environment and migration of the data code pages based on MDMP in earlier SAP R/3 to Unicode on the newer ECC6.While Windows and SQL were moved to the 64-bit platform and SAP R/3 made way for SAP ECC6, business warehouse and APO were integrated.


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