Bombay College of Pharmacy undertakes digital transformation in its Diamond Jubilee year

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Suresh Ramani_Techgyan-min

Bombay College of Pharmacy (BCP) is a pioneering institution in pharmaceutical education in India. BCP was founded in 1957 by the Indian Pharmaceutical Association – Maharashtra State Branch (IPA-MSB) with financial assistance from the Government of Maharashtra and several pharmaceutical corporations. Since its inception as a college offering a Diploma in Pharmacy, the college has grown in stature and at present offers bachelors, masters, and doctoral programmes of study in pharmaceutical sciences. It has won the prestigious ‘Best Industry Linked Institute for Pharmacy’ category from AICTE-CII for three years in a row in 2013, 2014 and 2015.

Business needs
The winds of digital transformation were sweeping every field, and pharmacy education was not an exception. However the technology infrastructure of the institute was outdated, so the Chairman of the Governing Body, Nitin Maniar reached out to Suresh Ramani, CEO, TechGyan. The brief was to suggest what was needed to ensure that the institute could offer the best-in-class digital infrastructure to its stakeholders, be it students or the faculty.

Ramani along with his team then did extensive study of the existing technology infrastructure and presented a detailed report with gap analysis and a set of recommendations which would give the institute a world-class digital infrastructure. Within a few weeks of the report being presented, the Chairman of the Governing Body requested for a meeting with Ramani and approved every recommendation and requested Ramani to personally oversee the project implementation.

Solution overview
The team at TechGyan identified various gaps in the existing infrastructure:

Security

  • There was no firewall in place which resulted in unfettered access from inside to outside and vice versa – this was a huge risk
  • While the institute was using Windows servers, the active directory was not implemented. Instead, all the servers and the PCs were in a workgroup
  • Most of the PCs did not have latest patches updated. This was a potential malware risk due to unpatched systems
  • The anti-virus on the PCs was not always updated
  • Many systems were using unsupported softwares like Windows XP and Office 2003; this was a risk

Email management
The Google Mail was implemented; however, due to the poor offline experience, many users went back to using their personal email even for official work. This led to issue of email compliance.

High help-desk calls
Since users were using a mix of operating systems like Windows XP, 7, 8.1, 10 and applications like Office 2003, 2007, 2010, 2013, there was a high incidence of helpdesk calls, besides the security risk associated with using unsupported software.

Document security and compliance
Users created documents and stored them in the ‘My Documents’ folder. There was no systematic backup happening due to which there were instances of loss of documents

Email used for document collaboration
For any collaboration involving documents, email was used. By itself, use of email for document collaboration is not efficient. But since users were on a mix of email systems, mostly personal emails, this rendered the activity as a potential hazard.

The proposed solution had two objectives: Fill the gaps identified, and provide a platform to the institute which could be leveraged for comprehensive digital transformation.

Security

  • An enterprise grade Dell SonicWall Firewall was implemented
  • For identity management, a hybrid Azure Active Directory was implemented. This was done by first setting up local Active Directory in the Windows Server, then integrating it with Azure Active Directory using Azure AD Connect. All users, which included teaching and non-teaching staff, faculty, senior management and finally all students, everyone was assigned a unique identity which spanned across on-premise applications as well as cloud applications
  • All systems were upgraded to Windows 10 Education and Office 2016 Pro Plus Education. These were then managed by Microsoft Intune Education which did an effective job of device management, application management, device protection with Windows Defender, and Patch Management. At one glance, information was available of status of security patches, instances of malware attack and whether any unsecure device was present in the network

Email management
The Google Mail was replaced by Microsoft Office 365 for Education. All the connected systems had their Outlook 2016 configured with Exchange Online, which is a part of Office 365. The rich Outlook interface ensured that all the users readily accepted and migrated the new email system. Within a short time, all the communication moved to one single official email system.

Helpdesk calls
Due to a standardization around Windows 10, Office 2016 Pro Plus, Intune, there was a huge drop in helpdesk calls as infrastructure was now extremely robust.

OneDrive and basic SharePoint Team sites were also setup and users were asked to create and use documents in OneDrive and SharePoint. This minimised the data loss due to document security.

Collaboration
To enhance collaboration, it was recommended to use a combination of teams, Yammer, One Note. All these tools are a part of Office 365 Education.

Campus automation
In order to take the next leap and automate the business processes, TechGyan recommended that the institute should consider moving to the cloud and using Azure as a Platform. Using this platform , the institute can then identify the right partner who has an Azure based campus Automation System. TechGyan then recommended the Microsoft Partner who had implemented such solution and connected them to the institute. After due diligence, the institute finalised the contract for Azure based campus Automation system with the software vendor. The team at TechGyan setup Azure and then handed over the platform to the software vendor who is in the process of rolling out the campus-wide automation solution.

“The Bombay College of Pharmacy had a large footprint of legacy systems in the form of Windows XP, Windows 7 and Windows 8 with older versions of Microsoft Office installed in them. Security of their entire infrastructure and moreover their data was critical. We took a strategic approach and looked at securing the core operations of BCP first and are looking to enhance the collaboration by enabling Microsoft Teams, OneNote and Yammer in the coming few months. BCP is deploying its campus automation system on Azure, which will allow for further efficiencies,” said Ramani.

Impact
BCP has elevated its adherence to compliance, thanks to a highly secure end-to-end solution in Microsoft 365 for senior management; staff (teaching and non teaching) and all students.

Modernizing the entire infrastructure set-up has led to:

  • 50 per cent reduction in IT support calls, enabling the IT staff to focus more on process enhancements
  • 75 per cent reduction in data loss thanks to the migration from device storage to cloud storage
  • 20 per cent reduction in email support calls and a more user-friendly experience with Exchange Online

“Our vision is to be a leader in pharmacy education, pharmacy training, and research in pharmaceutical sciences. We realised that to achieve our vision, we must continuously transform ourselves digitally. We’re already seeing some impressive results with the implementation of Microsoft tools, under the guidance and leadership of TechGyan. Our productivity has increased by 25 per cent and we are excited to see the role of technology nurturing our vision,” commented Nitin Maniar, Chairman – Governing Body, The Bombay College of Pharmacy.