IT-Led Business Transformation at Reliance Energy
The takeover of Bombay Suburban Electric Supply Ltd (BSES) in 2003 (eventually renamed Reliance Energy) marked the foray of Reliance Industries Ltd into the power transmission and distribution business. The power sector, plagued by bureaucratic controls and constraints on supply and demand, offered little managerial discretion to alter the traditional drivers of growth and profitability. The case illustrates how Reliance Energy leveraged technology to transform its strategy and operations in order to establish international standards of operational excellence and customer service in the Indian power sector. Students learn about the significant risks in technology-driven transformations and their critical success factors, such as complementary changes in firm structures and business processes. The case is set in 2008, when the Chief Information Officer (CIO) of Reliance Energy is found dwelling over the digital transformation of the company that has led to the decision to spin off the information technology (IT) department into a third-party technology solutions provider for the infrastructure sector. Was the digital transformation of the company a success? What were the lessons learnt from this transformation?
This case is designed for course sessions that demonstrate how companies use technology strategically to improve their competitiveness. It requires students
- Understand the business challenges that characterize old world industries in India, and
- Assess the business equation that complements technological change in organizations to drive value. Students gain insights into complementary changes required in structure, policies, and culture to enable the successful adoption of new technologies.