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How a CIO increased his project budget by 50 percent

Debarati Roy and Gunjan Trivedi | Nov. 30, 2012
Anil Khopkar, Vice President (MIS), Bajaj Auto, convinced his management to clear not one but two budgets in a single year.

That approach was in line with the typical budget planning process at Bajaj Auto. As the company runs a fiscal year April to March, Khopkar kick starts his annual budgeting plans around January. The knowledge gathering process ends by the third week of February and a first draft of the budget is submitted to management. This is followed by a review, and another round of meetings with stakeholders. The entire process rounds up with the approval in the third week of March.

After the initial rounds of information gathering and research, which also included intense conversations with vendors and internal stakeholders, Khopkar presented his case to Bajaj's Auto's management. He focused on the various benefits that the SAP upgrade would bring and how it would impact at least 25 different business processes. "A comparative study gave them a clear idea of our current scenario and the promised advantages that we were bringing," recalls Khopkar.Keep

Them in the Loop

He also ensured that management was kept in the loop throughout the conceptualization and data gathering process. "It took three to four rounds of meetings just to propose the idea to management. Catching them by surprise on the final day could have jinxed the project," he says.

Khopkar says it also helps to ensure that management gains insight into the overall IT strategy and not just piecemeal projects. Over the course of the year, he says, he ensured that management was aware of IT's three-year roadmap--and that it was aligned with the business' plans.

"We co-related all the end-points together. It is very important that one has an IT stratagem that seamlessly aligns with the business road-map for the next three years. Disparate infrastructure, added on-demand without completely realizing its significance to the organization, is not a favorable situation to be in," he says.

In addition, Khopkar did not just present a case for a SAP upgrade but demonstrated that his decision was also driven by Bajaj Auto's desire to adopt the SAP Service Parts Planning for Automotive package. This would help improve the company's increasingly complex spare parts planning and distribution process--and an Employee Self-Help Portal--which would smoothen the interaction between employees and the HR and finance departments. Both modules were to go live post the

SAP upgrade.

"Quite often when CIOs propose hardware replacements or upgrades, management usually thinks that it is a vendor-driven IT gimmick. And that perception is precisely the biggest roadblock a CIO faces in an annual IT budget meeting. The only way to get rid of that pre-conceived notion is to be able to talk to management in business terms. The more one can substantiate using facts, benefits, and statistics, the better chances one has," he says.


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