Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) is UK’s biggest automotive manufacturer with over 45,000 people employed worldwide. The IT landscape within JLR, one of the most iconic luxury automobile brands in the world, is highly complex, involving a high degree of integration between applications. The environment is subject to rapid change within multiple projects across different business portfolios that often use the same infrastructure and resources. When the pandemic broke out, ensuring the resilience of this IT landscape was critical even amid a physical shutdown in global operations.
When the UK reported its first COVID-19-related death on March 3, 2020, the JLR business and IT teams knew this could explode into a major situation and began work on actioning business continuity plans immediately. Many international governments called for a shutdown by the end of March, and the WHO pronounced the Novel Coronavirus contagion a pandemic. The TCS-JLR partnership, now in its eighth year, took stock of the situation, making employee health and safety, and business data protection topmost priorities.
Ensuring Secure Access
A crucial task to enable work-from-home (WFH) was to make RSA tokens available to the entire JLR and TCS IT workforce and activate them in the JLR system. An RSA token is a data access code used by technology teams for digital security. In a typical week, the IT team at JLR provisions approximately 100 RSA tokens based on business demand. However, the pandemic had necessitated that at least double the amount be provisioned that week. The TCS team was tasked with this and delivered on time, activating no less than 2,200 access requests within a mere seven days. For the client this meant that business could go on as usual and their team was on track for year-end book closure, among other business operations. While the TCS team created enhanced security access for the client’s employees, it also in parallel worked on rolling out work-from-home arrangements for its own team, using a comprehensive, internally-developed remote working module called Secure Borderless Workspaces™ (SBWS™).
Long-term Projects on Track
There was a separate check on ensuring long-term projects were unhindered. An expansive warranty solution that had been in the works for two years was under threat of being derailed on account of the pandemic.
The solution was designed to allow retailers to submit claims accurately the first time itself in their local currencies. The goal was to prevent unnecessary manual claims assessment and / or claim rejections and reduce payment time against such requests. The solution stood to benefit end users, and its rollout was therefore crucial. The rollout had been split across five phased releases in China, UK, Europe, North America, and the rest of the world. Countries like Japan, Taiwan and Korea, which were part of the latter market, were scheduled for a go-live of the solution in March 2020. But these were also the countries where the COVID-19 situation had already worsened, and this posed a major threat to launch schedules. In addition to the northeast Asia region being the hub of the virus at that time, there was now the added challenge of teams working remotely with language constraints and geographic time differences. The TCS team leveraged SBWS™ to keep the project rolling on schedule, making it among TCS’ biggest such implementations in its auto industry portfolio. Work is now in progress for the North America release planned for October 2020.
“Even in scenarios like COVID-19, TCS ensured the successful project delivery of the warranty program in Japan, Taiwan and Korea. I must highlight the flexibility for working in different time zones, using calls with the screen share feature right down to the retailer level, getting to a proper understanding of the issues, and delivering agility in fixing the incidents,” Cameron Mitchell, Global Warranty Systems Strategy Manager, Customer Service, JLR said.
At Your Service
The pandemic had also derailed the functioning of the JLR service desk that typically addresses technology questions and concerns that come in from the internal organization as well as dealers. The desk has a user base of 40,000 and facilitates nearly 65,000 requests a month. This workload became that much more daunting initially, given the new remote working environment. The incident volume for Day 1 since lockdown was significantly higher and the team was under severe pressure to rein this in. Personnel from other teams were immediately mobilized and service desk functions began to stabilize by the end of that week. Overall, TCS had moved infrastructure for nearly 1,900 associates, equipping them with a safe, WFH digital shield, while continuing to deliver its other key services, including application maintenance, network support, and end-user computing. Recognizing TCS’ role in the crisis, Stuart J Mills, Head of IT Service Delivery, JLR, said, “TCS has been a trusted partner in a grave situation like the COVID-19 pandemic, ensuring not only business continued as usual, but also keeping an eye on the big picture."
The true mettle of a collaboration is tested in times of turbulence. Swimming against the tide when the waters are choppy is no mean feat. That TCS had helped JLR experience certainty against all such odds speaks of the resilient nature of this partnership.