"Small" Data Center "large" group

Source: Internet
Author: User

Since the beginning of 2007, Mengniu has re-planned and integrated its information systems throughout the group, and plans to build a supply chain system that meets the needs of Mengniu's new development in three to five years.

Mengniu informatization seeks further breakthroughs

Mengniu, as a leading enterprise in China's dairy industry, has carried out a lot of information work over the past few years and has contributed a lot to Mengniu's rapid development. However, when Yang Xiaobo, the group's Chief Information Officer, faced the company's annual sales revenue of more than tens of billions of yuan, he found that the rapid growth of the company's scale has left the original information system behind, due to the lack of planning, it is difficult to meet the Group's development needs for many systems established in the process of growth.

"In fact, this situation is inevitable, because Mengniu's growth speed is too fast, which was unpredictable a few years ago," Yang Xiaobo said: mengniu, like many large enterprise groups that have grown up in China, adopts a business-based management model. Currently, there are three major business units: normal temperature, low temperature, and ice cream. Previously, various business departments had established their respective information systems, which were very fragmented. Even in the same business unit, due to rapid business development, many systems were constantly built, they are also separated.

Therefore, Yang Xiaobo said: "This isolated system makes it difficult for the Group to grasp the operation status of each business unit at the macro level, and data cannot be shared, in addition, it is difficult to achieve the benefits brought by integrated supply chain." At the same time, due to the large number of systems, the system performance and speed are greatly affected under the pressure of thousands of Mengniu users.

In this context, Mengniu proposed the idea of integrating the system. According to reports, this transformation project will last for three to five years. The first integration is the distribution system module, and distribution is the foundation of Mengniu as a fast-moving consumer goods manufacturing enterprise, it is also the most urgent and personalized module for enterprises. Compared with foreign enterprises, it is the most prominent part of Chinese characteristics. Therefore, Yang Xiaobo said with deep feelings in the interview: "The direction of system integration is the key !"

On the selection issue, Yang Xiaobo repeatedly stressed: "We will not talk about too many theories, concepts, but actual results ."

Yang Xiaobo: "Mengniu supply chain system can only be customized under mature system framework model"

That is, a system architecture and business model framework must be able to meet the needs of super enterprise groups.

During the selection process, Mengniu compared and analyzed the well-known software vendors at home and abroad. However, mengniu's business developed in the Chinese market has many practical but distinctive personalized requirements, which are difficult to implement as a product solution. Yang Xiaobo said: "We must never influence the company's business and development because of a set of systems. We must resolve the immediate contradictions while taking into account the long-term development flexibility, rather than using systems with a long and complex implementation cycle, in other words, systems that can only use a part of modules, the biggest weakness of foreign manufacturers is not to modify their basic platforms for enterprises, or the unbearable response speed, which will lead Mengniu to be subject to human beings, such a project is uncontrollable." In Mengniu Group, this feature exists in different business management modes for normal temperature and low temperature business units.

Similar to this special business model left over due to special reasons in the growth process, it is widely used in Mengniu business units, and these business models cannot be changed in a short time. However, the ability of standardized products to adapt to the business is very weak. It is only a high risk for Yang Xiaobo to adapt the business to the software. The change must be gradual, after clarifying the idea of ERP over the years, we need to implement and gradually optimize the process based on the actual situation of the enterprise.

Mengniu finally selects a supplier from four vendors who can provide tailored development services throughout the entire software lifecycle. "We also pay great attention to the successful cases they have already implemented. This illustrates the problem when more than 6000 users use a system ." Yang Xiaobo added, "This type selection reduces a lot of risks and we should seize the main contradiction at any time ".

Both milk and pork are fast-moving consumer goods. Yang Xiaobo and Liu Xiaobing, CIO of Shuanghui group, share their views on the business characteristics of enterprises. That is, both Mengniu and Shuanghui are typical "two large and small" dumbbell-shaped enterprises. In the entire supply chain of the group, front-end procurement and back-end sales are the most complex and key, but the intermediate production process is relatively simple. Because, whether it is the procurement and slaughter of live pigs or the management of milk sources, whether it is the sale of fresh pork, ham sausage, or milk, ice cream sales, all of them are faced with a large number of swine farmers, cattle farmers, or a large number of retail stores and consumers. The market environment is complex and variable, making management difficult. Therefore, both Liu Xiaobing and Yang Xiaobo have repeatedly stressed that the focus of Informatization should be on both ends, that is, procurement and sales. Background resources are designed to meet the needs of the front-end.

In contrast to such a dumb-bell-shaped enterprise, it is an enterprise like an automobile manufacturer that has two or more sides in the middle. Their informatization focuses on intermediate production processes. Cad, Cam, EMS, and other information systems are important to these enterprises. However, such an information system is highly standardized, so enterprises can completely deploy and implement it by purchasing finished software. Enterprises such as Shuanghui and Mengniu that focus on procurement and sales are hard to buy ready-made software products. Therefore, they can only achieve this through customization.

"Real-Time Concentration" is the trend of the times

Mengniu's other focus during software selection is on the technical route and architecture of the software system. When many enterprises are keen on implementing SOA, Yang Xiaobo said in an interview: "in the fast-moving consumer goods industry, real-time concentration is the trend of the times. We have no doubt about this, we will not integrate multiple systems. Many so-called portal, e-business, CRM, SCM, and ERP are a platform and a system, there are not so many components for the show." "For Mengniu, the realization of data centralization depends on the system performance. To support such a large application scale, the software performance is of course a decisive indicator ."

Mengniu took 10 months to launch the four major systems at the largest normal temperature, low temperature, ice cream, and manpower. the distribution system is indeed very complex and representative. "If you don't want to talk too much about it, it turns out that we are right. Obviously, we are better than the systems of many famous Enterprises in China ."

"We are not making comparisons. We are innovating and taking a new path. We need to have independent thinking, calm opinions, and non-interfering ideas, and a firm will to push forward information ."

"Now, after more than 20 billion of the sales volume is migrated to the new platform, we only have two people in daily maintenance, one dBA and one network engineer," Yang Xiaobo said.

Shuanghui's "Five Ones"

Huang Yan is an old employee of Shuanghui group. He joined Shuanghui eight years ago, and Liu Xiaobing, CIO who joined Shuanghui and presided over the informatization work of the group a few months later, it has established an information system supporting the business of Shuanghui group in excess of RMB 30 billion. Currently, he manages the only data center of Shuanghui group, which is approximately 200 square meters located in Luohe, Henan Province. Huang Yan has an assistant, but Huang Yan said: "It cannot be an assistant. All the major and minor tasks maintained by the data center are handled by us ." Although he said the workload was huge, he also said that two people could fully cope with it. According to him, the Data Center was built in 2000 and was rebuilt in 2003. He laughed and said: "the previous data center was too simple, and it was hardly a data center, the transformed IDC is just like a rebuild."

However, even if Huang Yan feels "decent", he only invested 1 million yuan in decoration and 3 million yuan in hardware equipment, currently, there are two master servers and three application servers. However, this "Small Data Center" has made great contributions to Shuanghui. "Without information, Shuanghui cannot be so large ." Bandung, Chairman of Shuanghui group, once said with emotion. As the planner and implementer of this accepted success case of informatization, Liu Xiaobing returned from Canada in 2000 and began to host the informatization work of Shuanghui group, in less than two years, we have successfully implemented a series of information projects to achieve the refined management of Shuanghui group in the meat processing industry. The sales revenue of the group has broken through three billion mark points in several years. In 2003, it broke through 10 billion yuan, in 2005 it broke through 20 billion yuan, in 2006 it reached 23 billion yuan, and in 2007 it broke through 30 billion yuan. The net profit margin exceeded 2006 in 15%.

No matter in Shuanghui group or in many interviews with reporters, Liu Xiaobing always likes to talk about his "Five Ones" goal of Informatization: one database, one application, one machine room, one server and one network, and one team of personnel. There are only two persons in this team, one is the network administrator and the other is the database administrator.

Liu Xiaobing believes that "the larger the enterprise, the smaller the data center", is the target that CIOs should pursue. Enterprises must not compete with each other on the size of data centers, because they are all piled up with money. In fact, Shuanghui group has invested only 3 million yuan in the purchase of equipment rooms. This equipment supports the daily operation of more than 80 corporate enterprises, more than 600 offices, more than 120 branches, more than 40 factories, and more than 700 chain stores in Shuanghui group, in addition, thousands of distributors are using the system online for business exchanges with Shuanghui.

In Liu Xiaobing's office, the reporter saw that every purchase information, production and sales information, can be clearly identified through a laptop. In a chain store, what products are sold every day, which products are selling well, how much traffic is consumed by a single store, and how the chain stores operate are clearly displayed. In the Shuanghui slaughter system, the information of each pig is recorded in detail. In addition, the video monitoring function enables users to sit in front of the computer and view the slaughter scene.

In the face of such a system, Liu Xiaobing often confidently said: "Although we did not know what SOA was called in the early years, we have already surpassed the data integration, SOA, and SaaS stages ." In his opinion, the entire group has completely solved the problem of data integration and the problem of business connection to be solved by SOA with only one database and one application. At present, all the organizations and external partners in the group can use Shuanghui's supplier self-service platform and customer self-service platform to connect with Shuanghui's information system, which is also very simple in operation management. Liu Xiaobing said with a smile: "It's nothing more than opening an account and setting permissions. Isn't that SaaS ?"

 "Five One" is only a superficial phenomenon

Although the idea of "Five one" seems very simple, there are also successful practices of Shuanghui group, but both Liu Xiaobing and Yang Xiaobo are very clear, these are not the "reassurance" to ensure the success of Mengniu project ". In fact, in their opinion, the so-called "five one" is only the final goal, or the form of expression, but there is another reason for them to feel steadfast.

"The key to the success of Shuanghui informatization is the enterprise-level application platform of our software," Liu Xiaobing said seriously. "Enterprise-level application platform" is literally nothing new, but in Liu Xiaobing's view, Shuanghui's platform can be said to be his "baby ", this "baby" was born from the 1990s S.

Liu Xiaobing said: "At that time, I was always thinking about why Microsoft Windows quickly became popular in a short time ?" He found that Windows provides the most basic functional elements and basic logic required by various applications, such as Windows and mouse, you only need to load new data, processes, and business logic through a "Dummies" Installation Process to call these basic elements to implement the required application functions. Inspired by this, Liu Xiaobing believes that if an enterprise's application software can have such a platform, when new features need to be added, as long as the data and business logic required to simply load new functions on the platform can be achieved, both data and applications can achieve centralized management. Moreover, if the platform is properly designed, the operating efficiency of the entire system will be greatly improved.

In this way, Liu Xiaobing summarized the four basic elements of all application operations: account, function, data, and control. The enterprise-level application platform provides four containers to store account information, function modules, data required for application operation, and control information. To add new business functions, you only need to create an account, develop a function module, import business data, and configure account permissions. Liu Xiaobing said: "In this way, we have achieved the so-called" Five Ones "goal ."

Yang Xiaobo believes that, although Mengniu and Shuanghui are both fast-moving consumer goods manufacturing enterprises, their specific businesses are far from each other. For example, Mengniu has milk source management, Shuanghui has swine slaughter, and Mengniu has freezers, shuanghui has logistics management, and so on. The two enterprises share the common characteristics of group-type enterprises that are multi-organization, multi-level, and cross-region. The difference between enterprises requires that the information system have a general and flexible expansion of the infrastructure, otherwise it can only be developed from scratch for each enterprise, the cost is not high, the key is that time is not allowed, the system reliability is also poor. "The applicability and flexibility of the infrastructure are the most important, and other differences are minor issues," Yang Xiaobo stressed. "for specific functions, if the software already has it, you can directly use it, or use it after slight modification. If it is not previously available, it is nothing more than making some development on the infrastructure platform ".


Cross-regional, multi-business, and complex group-type enterprises such as Mengniu and Shuanghui, "A real-time management information system tailored under a large and existing system framework" is a practical idea that can be used for reference in the informatization construction trend in China. Of course, find people and resources.


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