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Managing the Transition to Virtual Workspaces: The New Normal of COVID-19

Amit Kumar Das
Global Delivery Head – Cloud Apps, Microservices & API

The key priorities for TCS during this global outbreak of COVID-19 are the safety of our associates, compliance with government directives and the delivery of services that enable critical digital programs and processes for our customers. In the course of fulfilling these primary responsibilities, however, our own experience in leveraging cloud technologies may provide some guidance to other companies as they also navigate these uncharted waters. 

Even – perhaps especially -- during this time of societal and economic upheaval, enterprises globally are relying on cloud technologies more than ever to make newer applications work for their businesses, to leverage ecosystems, and to apply innovation at scale, so they can focus on achieving their core purposes. As a trusted partner for many of these firms, TCS is working around the clock – and from home whenever possible -- to help them achieve their business objectives as they reshape their own priorities. By relying on the cloud ourselves, and working on cloud-based projects for our clients, we are able to deliver mission critical technology projects for leading organizations globally while ensuring the safety of our associates. For example, our pioneering Location Independent Agile methodology and Secure Borderless WorkSpaces make it possible to deliver desired business outcomes for our customers, work across geographical boundaries, and produce deliverables key to clients’ modernization and transformation…all by leveraging cloud technologies

Due to the rapid spread of the pandemic in most of the countries in our major markets -- such as North America, UK and Europe -- continuing normal business operations was challenging for all companies in the month of March. For TCS, when the Government of India instituted a pan-India lockdown, it became extremely important that, in addition to ensuring associate safety, our teams across India needed to work seamlessly with their onsite counterparts to help our global clients realize planned outcomes of their digital transformation initiatives.

Collaboration across organizational functions -- including Security, Operations, HR, Risk & Compliance and Finance -- became critical to plan and address situations never encountered previously. With virtual war rooms and a real-time communication framework backed by Microsoft Teams, our associates switched gears to transition our delivery operations to the new model, while complying with legal requirements, data privacy and secure working protocols.

We reached out to our global clients and discussed with them the solution we were planning to implement for their digital transformation programs. Based on their concurrence, we focused on execution of client-specific plans. Every associate signed a nondisclosure agreement to comply with the requirements. Computers were shipped overnight to associates’ residences with the help of our Infrastructure and Operations teams. HR and our Business Continuity team continuously tracked the entire process with required management oversight from the delivery leadership. We instituted daily touchpoint calls to reach out to every project team member, understand their situation, and help them align their daily priorities with the program delivery plan and reporting requirements. The leadership team remained connected on a continual basis and worked to address every issue arising on the ground, without any additional delay.

As a result, within just one week, almost 90% of associates working on cloud applications, microservices and APIs were enabled with the Secure Borderless WorkSpaces (SBWS) model to ensure smooth delivery of the digital transformation programs of several of the world’s leading businesses. Clients are getting the necessary updates in their daily scrum calls and reporting, just as they would have under normal conditions. Across our global, digital workforce, we’re delivering our programs with their regular rhythm.

The passion of our workforce to achieve the desired outcome for our partners is reflected in some of the most recent deliveries in just the last couple of weeks in March, despite the extraordinary circumstances:

  • For a leading bank headquartered in Netherlands, we delivered an API-based solution to generate payment requests for business-to-business and business-to-consumer propositions. The system will share payment request links using SMS, WhatsApp, or any other channel and end customers do not need to install a separate app to pay. The delivered solution currently has over 6 million users. An impressive 80% of business payment requests are paid within 24 hours and 50% within one hour.

  • For a major global diagnostic company headquartered in Europe, we delivered a secured communication channel between patients and a patient navigator. A patient navigator helps patients communicate with their healthcare providers to get critical healthcare information to make informed decisions. It also acts as a platform for setting up appointments for doctor's visits and medical tests, and in getting financial, legal, or social support.

  • For one of the major energy resources organizations in APAC, we delivered an API-based reporting platform to be used by finance professionals.

  • For one of the major energy utilities businesses in Europe, we helped move their banking application to AWS cloud, which is used to connect multiple partners and includes the capability of financial transfers for banks.

Successful deliveries such as these and many others shows that – even during an unprecedented emergency – our associates’ dedication and professionalism remain strong. It also proves the value of leveraging the cloud whenever possible, both in the normal course of transforming an organization and in times of upheaval. A willingness to innovate and an openness to adapting programs and projects to the emerging digital ecosystem enable a company to act across different stages, leading from the crisis of today to the next normal that will emerge after the battle against the virus has been won.

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