Building an Engineering ASP Solution for TCS, India
The Business Challenge
Tata Consultancy Services, headquartered in Mumbai, India, is currently an industry leader in their country, as well as a major player throughout Asia, the Middle East, CIS and the United States. Tata Consultancy Services offers a dynamic blend of strategy consulting and system integration services to help organizations architect and build their businesses in the eEconomy. Investing in collaborative research with the industry and academia, partnering global technology leaders and executing innovative projects for over 800 clients across 50 countries give Tata an in-depth knowledge of the internet economy. Their 60,000 person years of experience in providing end-to-end solutions in diverse business areas and technology domains further empower them to deliver measurable business results to their clients.
Late in 2001, TCS was looking to build an engineering ASP that would help industries in India reduce the new product development cycle, facilitate ease in engineering change management (existing product design changes), reduce rework for manufacturing firms as well as their suppliers and eliminate visits of suppliers spread across India and worldwide. The key criteria were a lightweight solution that can address the requirements comprehensively and at the same time offer easy deployment and usage. The customer profile largely included growing segments such as small and medium scale enterprises where global connectivity would enhance their reach and access. The solution TCS was looking for had to be collaborative in nature so suppliers and vendors could communicate and review drawings in real-time and had to be extremely “bandwidth friendly” since the infrastructure in India was not up to par with other systems around the world. TCS was also looking for a server-side solution that could run on Windows or UNIX/Linux and was scalable enough to integrate with a wide-variety of application servers and databases.
In October 2001, TCS ’s Engineering Services team, led by Ragu Ayyaswamy, began to look for a component to enable engineers to collaborate on large 2D and 3D CAD files that were produced by programs like AutoCAD, CATIA, SolidEdge, Pro/E and Unigraphics. The solution had to be robust enough to open relatively large data model files over the Internet from a remote document management system – Lotus Notes. After looking at products from other CAD vendors, TCS looked to Web4 to provide a customized solution for their ASP. Mr. Regu Ayyaswamy, commented that “eReview was found suitable for the key industries that will be served by this ASP. eReview was able to support the various formats and the collaboration needs of the customers in the region well. eReview’s connectivity and bandwidth needs are modest and hence affordable by industries based in India.”
The integration of eReview into TCS’s customized ASP system took approximately 1 month. Upon the initial installation, the superiority of Web4’s consulting services became readily apparent. TCS needed to install the eReview server on a Solaris platform running off a WebLogic application server. Because of eReview’s highly scalable Java servlet technology, Web4 quickly had eReview running on the specifications given by TCS within days. They also needed to have eReview integrate with IBM’s Lotus Notes using an LDAP integration. Like Active Directory Services for Windows, LDAP is a basic document data structure with Access Level Controls (ACLs) that permit certain users to access some document but not others. Web4 quickly extended eReview’s document management capability to be able to follow the ACL paradigm.
Koushik Dutta, Web4’s CTO, expressed concern in finish the project on time. “Being that TCS is located 10,000 miles away, we had to heavily leverage our international forces in India. Since we have four offices in India, getting resources who were knowledgeable about the eReview integration process to TCS was easy.” Web4 has development and sales offices in the US, UK, France, Germany, Russia, Singapore and India.
The Bottom Line Advantage
According to Web4, there were two major advantages this new customized ASP system provided for TCS. First, the new system helped TCS introduce a new revenue channel for their company. Many manufacturing companies signed up to use the new ASP to see how much costs could be reduced on smaller projects. Secondly, TCS used eReview internally to collaborate with other clients on engineering service projects.
In order for TCS to provide a robust, collaborative solution, a product like eReview was essential in that it combined a full document review system with a meeting management environment. No other product in the world could handle that. Considered a segway product, eReview bridged the gap between storing documents and sharing them amongst various geographically dispersed teams. TCS is also saving time and money using eReview internally to provide engineering support to many of its clients. This saves them time and money since traveling to the client’s office was not necessary on every engineering change order. With eReview, TCS could offer a multi-dimensional and truly collaborative engineering ASP to large manufacturing companies looking to automate their design.
Tata Consultancy Services is an IT services, business solutions and outsourcing organisation.
Primary Business Requirement:
Automate the product development cycle and transform a static workflow process to a dynamic one using an Application Service Provider (ASP) concept.
Web4’s Solution: eReview