Six months ago, no business leader could possibly have imagined the challenges that society and business are confronting today. It is unlikely that any business continuity plan laid out before the global contagion unfolded had factored in a scenario that accounted for a sudden shift to (close to) 100% remote working.
As the coronavirus pandemic was declared, businesses had at the forefront of their minds the health, safety and wellbeing of employees. But business continuity, particularly in the Banking, Financial Services and Insurance sector, was also critical. Banks and other financial institutions had to completely change their way of working, whilst also causing as little disruption to their customers as possible.
Vipps, Norway’s largest financial services mobile application, faced precisely this challenge as the Norwegian government announced a far-reaching lockdown on March 12, 2020. Vipps’ success is largely attributable to its flexibility as a payment medium. It can be used not only to buy products and services, but to pay bills and transfer money between people. It allows the user to make payments to a receiver’s telephone number, instead of an account number.
With close to three-quarters of the Norwegian population reliant on Vipps as their payment app, ensuring their customers remained unaffected by the disruption caused by the lockdown was critical.
TCS, which has been partnering with Vipps since the app launched in 2015, had to rapidly reconfigure to working in accordance with Secure Borderless Workspaces™ (SBWS™), a comprehensive internal module to facilitate remote working, that saw nearly the entire workforce move to working from home within a matter of days. This shift, despite being rapid, was seamless and allowed for cloud operations and a 24x7 Command Center to continue being run in the new global scenario with no impact on the quality of service.
Four days after the lockdown announcement, Vipps was asked to help with an important digital fundraiser. Every year, Norwegian Church Aid, a humanitarian organization based in Oslo, raises money over several weeks for its chosen cause. Normally, its volunteers go to door-to-door to collect funds from homes. But this was now no longer possible.
From its new remote working environment, the TCS Vipps Cloud Support team made the necessary changes in the Azure Kubernetes Service (AKS) platform (by scaling up respective services to the required capacity) – and equipped the entire set-up to enable this fundraising event in less than 24 hours; a substantial sum was raised through the platform.
In addition, the team was now in a good position to seamlessly handle major incidents without any delays or impact. This proved timely when, shortly after lockdown, the team was able to successfully tide over an incident that had wide repercussions on the P2P and P2B transactions across Norway. The TCS Command Center team, working from the SBWS set-up, coordinated with multiple stakeholders, including third-party vendors, and ensured that the incident was taken care of immediately, with no disruption to service.
In January 2020, TCS announced the expansion of its partnership with Vipps to leverage TCS’ Machine First™ Delivery Model (MFDM™). This is where machine and human combine to optimize business models and enhance customer experience.
With investment in technology and innovation, Vipps aims to future-proof itself against regulatory changes, new competition, and increasing expectations from customers. The investment will also allow it to compete in the global market by giving it a cloud-led business strategy - and ultimately, enable the company to remain agile and responsive to future unforeseen circumstances.