CASE STUDY – AKSHAYA PATRA 2012-13
Initially the NGO had only accounts and financial reporting that were centralized and done out of the head office in Bangalore. It made use of Tally software for accounting until March 2011. “However, we felt there was no real-time availability of data and had no standardized way of recording data either. And besides there was no common platform for distribution, collaboration, and sharing of information was bare minimum and employees were working in silos. Since the information was not accurate so a sense of discomfort was felt by the high reps at the head office,“ said Shridhar Venkat, Executive Director, Akshaya Patra.
The IT wave within the organization happened in 2009-10, when Akshaya Patra started to look and shop for adequate software. A major beak-through happened when they implemented the Microsoft Dynamics AX2009 (ERP)among other equipments. In fact, Microsoft Dynamics AX is the complete ERP solution for enterprises that provides a purpose-built foundation across the organization, along with comprehensive, core ERP functionality for financial, human resources and operations management.
The NGO has positioned the ERP project in three phases. In the Phase I, they stated off with finance, purchase and stores which is up and live from April 1, 2011. While Phase II will cover payroll, production, distribution, maintenance and quality that will be completed and up by June, 2012. The final Phase III will cover HR, projects, CRM, business intelligence (BI) etc that will be completed and up by April 2013. The ERP is being implemented by Microsoft Dynamics Gold partner Affordable Business Solutions, Bangalore.
Besides no repository of the report required for each function to perform smoothly that was discovered during the implementation stage. It has only settled down now on the reports. In fact, the first six months was a big struggle, signs Kumar.
Some of the business benefits with the ERP running in phase II stage has helped to standardize on procedures like accounting, finance etc. It has also helped in consolidation was one of the biggest challenges. Also since everyone connects at the same time so able to get real-time data benefits unlike earlier besides it has cut down on travel and also on communication costs.
“The best thing that has happened by installation of ERP is everyone from our top management, auditors (KPMG)and our CFO are all happy since every thing done is more timely and accurately. All counts on the ERP database now,” remarks Kumar.
Since every one talks about 'Green' today, we were able to get system-based approval rather than the earlier manual-based approach. So though this green approach helped in reduction of paper and time, says Kumar.
CONCLUSION & FUTURE TRENDS
Akshaya Patra with the full implementation of the ERP platform will be able to get 100% of benefits in terms of data availability, accuracy and transparency.
As the NGO has no plans to increase the strength of the IT staff, it has plans to move entirely to the cloud and mobile platforms in the coming years.
They also have plans of opting for central procurement using a e-platform to help do a lot of research on the season to buy, location, state etc. Also on the cost of operations/spending and so dependent on ERP Analytics coming up for procurement. “So it would be complete database decisions by 2013 by integrating exchange server with ERP on real-time basis. We also would be going in for trading on the commodity exchange – MCX, NCDEX through Food Corporation Of India on items like oils, dal, rice, wheat, sugar, jaggery and spices etc,” remarks Vinay. “Akshaya Patra as an NGO is a pioneer in the use of IT in the real sense for maximum impact. It is definitely a pointer to how other NGOs can do the same to maximize operations and exploit the potential of IT to better their programmes. Akshaya Patra can be looked at as a best practice NGO for the use of IT.” concludes Mohandas Pai, Trustee, The Akshaya Patra Foundation.