Tech collaborative tools will bring more diversity in workplace

Keeping the workforce solid and motivated is at the grassroots of our strategy. We see our people as the foremost weapon to emerge stronger from this crisis.

3i Infotech Ltd is committed to empowering business transformation. It offers a comprehensive set of IP-based software solutions (20+), coupled with a range of IT services, uniquely positions it to address the dynamic requirements of a variety of industry verticals. 3i Infotech provides solutions for other verticals as well, such as government, manufacturing, retail, distribution, telecom and healthcare.

Here, Padmanabhan Iyer, MD and Global CEO, 3i Infotech talks about the ‘Future of Work’. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: How are you dealing with the Covid-19 situation? What plans have you put in place?

Padmanabhan Iyer: As we move further into the Covid-19 situation, all of our plans are continuously measured against a single prime objective: to reduce the impact of business disruption, and consequently, the impact on liquidity. Towards this, our foremost focus is on accelerating completion of current projects to maintain liquidity. We have strengthened our delivery operations. There is also a strong delivery management process in place to ensure delivery timelines do not slip.

Further, the new situation changes customers’ business models since their problems and priorities havenow changed. Digitalization and virtualization is seeing a paradigm shift. We see this as an area of immense business opportunity to help our customers build value added processes in this new scenario and to help them defend profitability and optimize costs. Strong communication lines with various stakeholders are in place to explore opportunities. Our consulting experience, domain expertise and the repository of best practices remain our asset in these challenging times.

We foresee that some of our products will have a greater edge in this increased digital environment. For example, the digital versions of our other products as well as AMLOCK, our financial crime detection and regulatory compliance solution become even more relevant today. Our cloud services team has a more aggressive mandate now.

All of the above, presupposes a strong action-oriented HR function that ensures the well-being of the employees. Keeping the workforce solid and motivated is at the grassroots of our strategy. We see our people as the foremost weapon to emerge stronger from this crisis.

DQ: How are you assessing on learnings from enforced experiments around WFH?

Padmanabhan Iyer: Our IT deployment model works on the offshore delivery premise. A major learning is the processes which we had earlier thought unlikely for offshore deliveries are now prime candidates for offshore deployment. There has been a paradigm shift in our thinking and more importantly, client acceptance, which will help us upgrade and innovate our delivery processes. Cloud deployments are gaining stronger acceptance and we see this as a platform that will have a significant surge.

DQ: This is a challenging time for managers. What advice would you give them?

Padmanabhan Iyer: This is indeed a trying time and a test of our abilities. On the personal front, our family and health, remains an equal priority. Hence, it is important to take breaks from work and ensure balance between work and home.

All I would like to say to the managers is that we will be able to serve our customers to the best of our abilities, only if we are strong. Tough times throw up opportunities to build real meaningful relationships. It is important that we stay connected and respond to situations without delay. Ensuring that our teams are well aligned and are clear about our action plans is the need of the hour. Hence, communicate more oftento strengthen relations – both business and personal.

DQ: How does work/life balance work in a crisis like this?

Padmanabhan Iyer: At this time of crisis, the customer demands, meeting deadlines and targets, coping with the overall uncertainty, are the real work issues to deal with on a daily basis. We do know that in these competitive and difficult times, work demands are being prioritized over family responsibilities and people are working longer and harder. Hence, ensuring work/life balance should be a priority, as, unless the balance is maintained, it will be difficult to stay productive in the long run and that should be recognized by each individual. Employees need to find ways and time to unwind, as it ensuresproductivity.

DQ: How are you now facilitating digital work?

Padmanabhan Iyer: Collaboration tools for video conferencing, e-meetings, VoIP, telephone bridgeshave become the norm today to facilitate remote working. Our Business Continuity Plan had an allowance for 50% of our staff to work from home in an emergency. To scale to 100%, optimizing and testing with the right tools was the challenge, which was easy to overcome in less than a week. We have increased the Internet bandwidth across all the access points/servers to meet the additional load.

Our experience in IT consulting and infrastructure managed services was helpful here. Also, the cybersecurity issues associated with remote working are real. We have a well-defined work from home security policy in place that lays down an approved set of tools and platforms to be used. VPN and firewalls are crucial when employees connect to unsecured networks from home. We have scaled up the same. We are also making sure that all the installed software is up-to-date.

Aanchal Ghatak | DATAQUEST

Padmanabhan Iyer, MD and Global CEO, 3i Infotech

DQ: How are the latest technologies going to redefine workplace?

Padmanabhan Iyer: The novel coronavirus pandemic has seen organisations respond with agility to build new work models. As people get comfortable and capable with remote working, technology and collaborative tools will bring about more diversity and inclusiveness in a workplace. It will be easier to tap resources from across the globe, since working from the same place and same time zone will no longer be a constraint. Technology will help us move away from the traditional time bound office hours to outcome-driven engagements.

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