Power Grid Corporation: How Digitalisation is Bringing New Value to Telecom Infrastructure

Sudipta Basu, Sr. DGM (Telecom Engg & Projects), Power Grid Corporation of India Limited talks about how the organisation’s digital transformation has always been a top priority for them and shares how they have gone about enhancing their digital capabilities in the recent times

The COVID-19 crisis is an unprecedented one in the history of humankind and caught the entire world by a big unpleasant surprise. The major challenge for the whole of the globe was to ensure business continuity amidst the lockdown, social distancing and other challenges.

Power Grid Corp. of India Limited (POWERGRID), is an Indian state-owned electric utility company headquartered in Gurugram, India. POWERGRID transmits about 50% of the total power generated in India on its transmission network.

The recent disruptions brought about by technological advancements and by the COVID-19 pandemic have accelerated the digital transformation journeys of almost all public-sector organisations today. Talking about how these changes have impacted the digital transformation strategy for them, Sudipta Basu, Sr. DGM (Telecom Engg & Projects), Power Grid Corporation of India Limited shares, “POWERGRID has always been at the forefront in inculcating, adopting and deploying the latest trends in technology in its organisation. COVID-19 has indeed augmented the need for digital transformation, and POWERGRID has fortunately been prepared for this already. Keeping in view the technological advancements happening across the globe, POWERGRID has already deployed & is using technology in its day-to-day operations, for example, Server Virtualisation, On-Prem Cloud, SDWAN Remote access, etc. and during the COVID-19 crisis, POWERGRID was better prepared and tackled the crisis with little difficulties initially.”

Keeping customer experience on top

Technology imperatives have constantly been changing, and convenience and personalisation at all possible touchpoints are now on top of the government agenda. Heading towards the real digital revolution, there were challenges that POWERGRID faced, but timely technology interventions helped them take the right steps to overcome them. Basu shares, “Being a leading technological PSU, we are always ready to embrace the challenges. In the context of the digital revolution, various projects are already initiated, and many are in the pipeline too. More secured network expansion projects, including the Virtual Private Network (VPN), has been implemented. Besides, we have secured the remote operations work completely with the network virtualisation concept.”

To kick start a digital transformation, every organisation has some business objectives and pain points that need to be addressed, and that help them drive the decisions. According to Basu, for POWERGRID, meeting the needs of customers and ensuring their satisfaction has been the foremost objectives. “Converting their questions into answers has been our prime motto. Serving the customers by meeting their Service-level Agreements (SLAs) and satisfaction is our primary objective which we want to achieve using technology. As customer requirements are versatile in nature and change from time to time due to evolving technologies, we as an ISP, want to cater to those versatile requirements through our deployed On-Prem Server Virtualisation with some extra efforts like deploying securely any application or technology by using Virtual Machines, etc.,” she explains.

Digitising with the right partners

For public sector organisations, digitising their operations has been a key focus area in recent times and partnering with leading technology players has been worked out well for them. Basu talks about the critical solutions that the organisation has adopted as per their aim to become more digitised and says, “POWERGRID has adopted many technology solutions in its dayto-day work keeping digitalisation in the view. Some of the major solutions are Virtualisation, Remote Access solution, Secure Data Backup solution, VPN implementation, e-Office, SDWAN deployment for customers, and Security solutions to secure the communications.”

Further talking about POWERGRID’s partnership with VMware for its MPLS Project along with the virtualisation of its operating system with VMware’s vSphere ENT+ and vRealize operations, Basu shares, “The journey so far has been a phenomenal experience. All sort of changes in the network configuration is first tried and tested on VMware Virtualised environment. Once it succeeds, it is implemented into a realtime network. POWERGRID has deployed VMware in its recent IP/MPLS project for virtualisation of its servers. With the deployment of VMware’ vSphere and vRealize, a lot of optimisation has been achieved in terms of space and storage. With the help of vSOM (vSphere with operations manager), monitoring of servers and optimisation of resource allocation among servers have become much easier, which has helped us in reducing the Opex and Capex.”

Additionally, POWERGRID also wanted clear visibility of its environment from a single console so that it gets visibility to any work that is either over-provisioned or under-provisioned and align the resources accordingly. And this was one of their aims of partnering with VMware. Basu says that they have been able to achieve this goal to a great extent indeed. “In fact, in the time of COVID-19, where the movements of site engineers got restricted, all the works were completely operated remotely, resulting in great efficiency,” she adds.

Paving the way for a brighter future

POWERGRID has always been working on enhancing its technology and improving its digital initiatives and to achieve the same; it is ready to adopt necessary solutions and technologies to meet the requirements of its customers.

Talking about their next technology adoption plans in terms of improving their digital initiatives and how the organisation sees technology leaders like VMware lending shoulder to the cause, Basu shares, “We are focusing on our GIS project and have already started working on it. A more integrated virtual network comprising of Internet of Things (IoT), as well as Engagement of Things (EoT), is the plan we are paving our way for. Also, the migration of legacy server into virtualisation is one more solution that we are planning to adopt soon. We are looking at VMware to help us in terms of planning, procurement & deployment.” She further adds that implementation of Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning is also something they are exploring for their telecom operations.