New Delhi: India Post plans to invite consultants, such as KPMG International and Ernst & Young, to help the loss-making postal department buy technology solutions, including software applications and computer hardware, as it plans to spend around Rs2,300 crore on technology in a year’s time.
Driving ahead: Dak Bhawan in New Delhi. Postal revenues in the last fiscal were Rs1,400 crore short of the department’s expenses in 2005-06, the latest available data showed.
The department of posts aims to integrate the world’s largest network of around 155,330 post offices across the country and bootstrap productivity with the investment in technology.
Postal revenues last year were Rs1,400 crore short of the department’s expenses in 2005-06, the latest data available showed.
An “expression of interest” inviting consultants “will be floated in few days’ time”, said a senior official at India Post, who did not wish to be named because the plan had not been finalized yet.
“We have been allocated Rs2,300 crore under the 11th Five Year Plan for computerization,” the official added.
For decades now, the department has been supported by the government in making up losses while running low-priced and inefficient services. A business software known as enterprise resource planning or ERP software, which integrates functions of finance, operations and distribution, is “very compelling for India Post for managing their large network”, said Arvind Mahajan, executive director at a Mumbai unit of KPMG International. “They would need a consultant to help evaluate different vendors for software applications and other services.”
“It will take almost a year for us to procure an ERP solution,” said the India Post official.
As reported in Mint on 15 June, much of the proposed expenditure will be on radio frequency identification or RFID, a new system for tracking shipments and mails; the ERP software, for automating and integrating human resources, marketing and finance operations; a national data centre for creating and updating records; and a national call centre for providing round-the-clock support to all its customers.
“We have already received proposals from companies such as Oracle and SAP,” the posts official said. The postal department plans to float another tender specifying the technology solutions “after it is advised by a consultant about what kind of technology solutions to procure,” the official added.
Senior officials from India’s second largest software company, Infosys Technologies Ltd, have already met the India Post officials for providing application development, maintenance and system integration contract.
“We are seeing government buying and private companies here are investing significantly in IT,” said S. Gopalakrishnan, chief executive of Infosys in an interview with Mint last week. “We are involved with some domestic clients in a more consultative or advisory role and hope to get engaged with some of them on projects.”
“Officials from Wipro and TCS have also met us during past couple of months,” said the India Post official. TCS is short for Tata Consultancy Services Ltd, India’s largest software services vendor.