The challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic has forced industry to rethink traditional ways of doing and maintaining business. One such challenge has been establishing a connect even in the absence of physical meetings. TCS as an enterprise has devised its own strategy to counter the hurdles that the global crisis has thrown towards business. The 2020 TCS Virtual Annual General Meeting (AGM) is a testimony to our ability to stay resilient and adaptive in the face of crisis.
Every year, the Annual General Meeting is an important occasion for the TCS management to connect with its vast base of shareholders. This year, due to the pandemic, this meeting went virtual. Setting an industry benchmark within the country, TCS became the first Indian company to hold its AGM – its 25th – online.
This transition led to changes that had to be embraced by both TCS and its shareholders. After thorough analysis of a physical AGM process, TCS worked out an optimal solution to deliver a similar experience in a virtual environment. At the outset, we had collaborated with National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) and used a cloud-based collaboration tool to ensure a smooth and secure execution of the event.
The TCS-AGM application, meant to facilitate collaboration amongst experts across various departments to address shareholder questions and feedback in real time, was the core platform for the AGM. Equipped with a tailor-made solution, multi-layered backups, and comprehensive guidelines -- from technical know-how to security instructions – , the event was set to roll out digitally.
For shareholders, the process involved registering themselves on the NSDL website prior to the event and receiving a link to join the webcast on the day of AGM. An e-voting facility for all board resolutions underlined the seamlessness of the procedure for the key stakeholders - the shareholders.
The TCS-AGM application has been designed for scalability with an ability to accommodate and adapt to evolving business and governance needs. Secure authentication, including a biometric login, management of questions with real-time dashboards, content navigation utilizing predictive search, instant content retrieval using secure document repositories, and resolution of high priority requests with the help of instant review alerts – went a long way in ensuring a state-of-the-art, seamless experience. Another key feature of the application is its in-built configurability in terms of access control, question categories and levels of response depending on the complexity of the question asked.
The app was key to ensuring that the event was a success. The AGM commenced on June 11, 2020 at 3.30pm IST. Following a leadership address, shareholders were given an opportunity to express themselves individually via video conferencing. The customized nature of the app ensured that answers to every shareholder question was reviewed in under a minute by subject matter experts and the leadership before being placed in the queue for an official response. A faster turnaround time due to the customized application meant that the questions and their answers took less than a minute on an average to reach the Chairman’s queue. It was just one more example of how teams that were located remotely displayed the spirit of location-independent agile – a methodology TCS has espoused – by working in synergy with the on-field support team to deliver a frictionless user experience.
The virtual AGM is an example of TCS' resilience and adaptability in the face of a global crisis. It is also testimony to our ability to maintain business continuity and allow key events to continue unhindered no matter what the situation.
As we continue to outmaneuver uncertainties, this virtually held AGM has helped us prove to ourselves that we can navigate uncharted waters. The occasion saw a near threefold increase in turnout – an outcome that has reinforced for us the belief that digital transformation and adaptability are the most critical tools to survive marketplace dynamics, be it in a COVID or post-COVID world.
The #OneTCS principle is at the core of our response to the pandemic. Regardless of where the location, the enterprise stands together, transcending geographical and operational barriers. The crisis and the #OneTCS philosophy that it has spawned has also helped us actualize our own Location Independent Agile methodology for ourselves. The TCS AGM virtual live event is is just one clear outcome and example of this.