In a development which will strengthen its role in the domestic IT outsourcing market, India's second-largest IT services company, Infosys Technologies, has bagged a pilot project to roll out an Integrated Coach Management System for the Indian Railways.
Even though the initial (pilot) project cost is small, the success of the pilot will determine the time-frame as to when the railways will go in for floating the final tender for the project, which is estimated to be about Rs 210 crore (Rs 2.1 billion).
Infosys, according to sources close to the development, bagged the pilot project emerging as the lowest bidder (L1) in a competitive bidding process, which was attended by most Indian IT services firms and global companies like Siemens and IFS.
As per the project, Infosys is rolling out the ICMS in three different locations, including Waltair (Visakhapatnam), Khurda Road and Sambalpur in Orissa, with the cost expected to be around Rs 3.5-4 crore (Rs 35-40 million). Based on the success of the pilot project, the railways ministry is planning to float the final tender for rolling out ICMS in about 50-60 different centres and coaching depots in the country by the end of the current fiscal.
"However, based on their competitive pricing and the first mover's advantage, Infosys will definitely be a preferred vendor for the project, as and when the railways decides to implement the project," an industry source told Business Standard.
When contacted, a top official at Infosys said the company was planning to launch the ICMS in three different locations 'shortly'. He, however, declined to give any further details about the project.
The ICMS is expected to use multiple technology stacks, including GPS, RFID and ERP, to automate the maintenance and repairing of railway coaches at different depots and to track the coaches which require timely maintenance. The system will have three different modules, including punctuality, stock and time-tabling.
The stock module will monitor each coach, ranging from running of trains to undertaking of periodic maintenance, while the punctuality module aims at monitoring running of coaching trains as per schedule.
This will also help in providing real-time online information to passengers regarding the running of trains. By using the tabling module, the railways management can identify various other areas of improvement, like introduction of new trains and extension of existing trains.
Infosys, which started focussing on the domestic market by setting up a separate business unit almost a year ago, has so far bagged three projects in the government sector in the country.
Earlier, the company had bagged a project to set up and manage a central processing centre for the Income Tax Department and a project from the ministry of commerce to develop an eBiz portal that will help in providing one-stop services to the industry.