Indian Oil Corporation: Fuelling India’s Growth Using Digital

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. is on a structured path to digital transformation and it hopes to continue its progress and remain a frontrunner with multiple digital interventions planned for the future

Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. is a diversified, integrated energy major with presence in almost all the streams of oil, gas, petrochemicals and alternative energy sources; a world of highcalibre people, state-of-the-art technologies and cutting-edge R&D; a world of best practices, quality-consciousness and transparency; and a world where energy in all its forms is tapped most responsibly and delivered to the consumers most affordably.

Digital transformation has always been a top priority for Indian Oil Corporation Ltd, and they have been at the forefront of adopting technologies that would enable them to step up their transformation further. Alok Khanna, Executive Director, Strategic IS, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd. shares, “Indian Oil has been into digital for long. We launched the direct benefit transfer of LPG implementation for customer way back in 2015. That was a pioneer digital effort by Oil PSUs, which was recognised by the Guinness Book of World Records as this was one of the largest cash benefit programme in the world. It would not have been possible without digital means. Similarly, the Prime Minister’s Ujjwala Yojana is another example of how we can distribute LPG connections to BPL women in villages. It isn’t easy at all to go to towns, collect paper documents and then return to do punching and uploading them. Therefore, it had to be certainly a digital process.”

Beyond this also, IndianOil recognised the importance of Industry 4.0 technologies, and charted out their IT strategy after assessing all the businesses and thereafter launched a few digital initiatives, which are under implementation.

Oil and gas companies were working even during the lockdown because the supply of the essential commodities of fuels and LPG could not be curtailed. Hence, IndianOil changed over quickly to a work-from-home system. “We have most of our meetings done through video conferencing, we have workflow-based e-approvals and lesser movement of files. Even our customer events and vendor events & engagements are happening workflow-based. It is a structured digital transformation which is underway at IndianOil and I hope we will continue to progress on this path,” adds Khanna.

Going digital for business

Going digital makes business sense. And for IOCL, it was inevitable that they embarked on, their digital transformation journey based on their business and growth plans. According to Khanna, they assessed their IT strategy and its strengths and weaknesses in all business areas. They found that there is much scope for implementing Industry 4.0 technologies and reaping the benefits and they are well underway in most of these initiatives.

Partnering for the best in tech

Indian Oil Corporation has been a VMware customer for a while now, and this partnership helped turned out be beneficial in terms of achieving efficiency and managing scale along with time and cost optimisation. Khanna says, “IndianOil and VMware have been working together across our multiple divisional data centres and corporate data centres. So, VMware solutions provide us with a robust and flexible environment, and VMware is a strategic partner in our digital transformation.”

The current state of digital transformation is all about exponential technologies like hybrid cloud, digital workspaces, data centre modernisation, cybersecurity, etc. IOCL is developing many solutions, and these technologies are providing the infrastructure for these solutions.

Making digital a way of life for the future

When it comes to the next technology adoption plans in terms of improving IOCL’s digital initiatives, Khanna shares that they are finding that there is much scope for bringing in process efficiency or bringing in operational improvement. “Implementing a process like Robotic Process Automation, holds a good promise. AI/ML assisted analytics is another technology that is going to lend many benefits to us. We are developing a centralised platform which will collate all the real-time data from historians of our refineries onto a single platform. So IT-OT integration and thereafter the AI/ML assisted analytics would unlock a lot of opportunities for improvement,” shares Khanna.

Ensuring that the right impact is created

While most of the digital interventions adopted by IOCL have reaped multiple benefits for the organisation, for IOCL, they must keep measuring the impact and take further decisions accordingly. As per Khanna, even before picking up any initiative, they sit with the business and try to assess whether it is going to bring any improvement in their process efficiency, bring more accuracy in their predictive processes, help them add something more to their top line, or lead to any cost optimisation. “These are some of the measurable parameters on which we measure or pre-measure any initiative before taking it up. And once the business and IT team are convinced, we go ahead with the initiatives,” he shares.