COVID-19 has pronounced an uncertainty for businesses worldwide, with the global economy taking a hit and countries announcing lockdown globally. Business continuity was the immediate focus. At TCS, our priorities have been safeguarding the health and well-being of our employees, even as we continue to be involved in mission-critical business operations globally.
We have enabled new ways for working for our employees while ensuring not only their own safety, but that of client businesses as well. Despite an unprecedented and historic crisis situation, TCS IT, Ultimatix, has been keeping the organization’s internal wheels spinning 24x7 to enable technology to work for our enterprise faster and in ways more productively now than ever before.
TCS activated its Secure Borderless Workspaces™ (SBWS™) model mid-March 2020 to enable associates to continue working from the safety of their homes even as they seamlessly supported client operations. Our first step towards remote operations was in assessing and covering for any potential security risks from this. We identified and tested several SBWS connectivity models and executed these across India in a matter of a few days, following an agreement with our clients. The speedy implementation of the SBWS initiative across the organization served to reinforce the enterprise’s credo of executing an agile work methodology, whatever be the situation. Internal teams also enabled remote work arrangements with VPN and VDI support. VPN (Virtual Protected Network) and VDI (Virtual Desktop Infrastructure) are critical tools to support and enable remote working. Our IT team upgraded existing VPN capacity and physically transported over 100,000 desktops in under a week. The outcome: 95% of our associates were fully equipped to work from home in a matter of days. This experience led us to reset our thinking for the future and TCS will now be moving to a 25 by 25 model, where employees would need to spend only 25% of their time in our offices and work remotely for 75% of their time.
Even as the pandemic situation evolved rapidly, TCS took proactive and clear-cut steps towards employee well-being, in keeping with its core value of employee safety. Two types of additional leaves – Special Paid Leave and Quarantine Leave - were enabled in the system within 10 days across all geographies. Provident Fund withdrawal support was also enabled for employees, in line with government regulations. Most importantly, the organization processed an early credit of salary for 446K+ associates worldwide– with the credits being made on the 27th of March, instead of the last working day of that month. This meant that the TCS IT team had to process payroll 50% faster and ensure salaries were credited early, given the criticality of the overall situation.
Health insurance policies issued to all associates now cover all Covid-19-related claims. In addition to all of this, measures have also been taken to ensure the mental well-being of our associates working remotely with daily check-in calls, a 24x7 dedicated toll-free COVID-19 helpdesk, a medical hotline to doctors, and skill development programs to keep associates enthused, engaged and motivated in these times of social distancing.
Technology-driven communication tools have been maximized with actionable push notifications on an in-house mobile app platform, a COVID-19 corner on the internal enterprise portal, and a dedicated COVID-19 tab on O365 Teams to facilitate timely communication.
With its self-empowered and self-organizing teams, TCS IT is depicting the true power of being Enterprise Agile by responding quickly to business needs during a global crisis.
The power of the ‘Enterprise Agile’ organization
Multiple dashboards were delivered to the TCS leadership within days for clarity related to Business Continuity Plans and SBWS readiness while ensuring security, transparency and accountability within the corporate governance system. TCS IT also turned around an asset-tracking app within 24 hours to monitor and facilitate the movement of hardware from its offices to associate homes.
Last but not least, TCS IT, Ultimatix, ensured the timely closure of the most critical event for any organization, the closure of quarter- and year-end activities. This was done within just three days, ensuring timely reporting to our stakeholders. The guiding thought behind all of these initiatives was to enable a seamless verification and approval process, and effective overall crisis management. What the days since March 2020 have taught us is that a global crisis of this scale can only be overcome with skilled teams fighting to a synchronized plan to keep business going as usual. Despite the dynamics of industry, geography and the constraints in terms of time and movement, our larger ideology of #OneTCS has helped reinforce our belief that we are in this together; that what we do for ourselves is exactly what we do for our clients; and that while the world is in lockdown mode, TCS remains “open for business”.
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