Palash Nandy

When I.T. backs up the backup

Palash Nandy, CEO, Numeric UPS, shows how the switchboard of continuity, uptime, security, and reliability works when technology is wiring everything at the right place. When it comes to power, he says security is not the icing on the cake, but a big layer of the cake itself. Let’s plug into this world.

Why is technology important to what you do as a UPS manufacturer and supplier in India? Has IT’s role been super-charged due to the pandemic?

UPS is a business that is responsible for ensuring uptime for all customers. Business operations should be continuously running with clean and quality power, whenever needed. When a customer suffers a power cut, there should be someone that the company can count upon. It’s like life insurance. It does not matter until it matters very much. When you need it in a crisis, the power backup supply should better be reliable. Especially with data centers or healthcare, where data safety and lives depend on the reliable supply of power. It also means a lot for manufacturing and process industries that would, otherwise, have to restart the entire set of operations. So we use a lot of technology to ensure this factor of reliability. It is also significant for areas like preventive maintenance and supporting service centers, call centers, tech teams with a 360-degree view. Historical records and readiness help to elevate the level of service. IT also works to minimize the cost of service and maximize uptime. It is used for 3 pillars internally as well – for employee experience, operational excellence, and customer experience. As to the effect of the pandemic, the business-continuity needs of customers have become very stark during the lockdown period.

palash nandy
Supriya Rai

Cybersecurity is an area where power infrastructure is quickly moving from being a target to an instrument as well. Do you confront this concern?

Yes, data security and privacy are at the core of our design operations. These imperatives are integral parts of the process of designing a product. Security is not just some icing on the cake for us but a core layer. We also have a group mandate of compliance with European regulations and our data foundation is very strong. Data security is at the center of our solutions. We ensure this with remote monitoring. We can transform the service from reactive to proactive with the use of intelligence and communications technology.

It does not matter, until it matters very much. When you need it in a crisis, the power back-up supply should better be reliable.

Are concepts like Digital Twins or the Internet of Things (IoT) on your radar that way?

One key area which we are working on next is to protect the customer-side of data without infringing on their LAN network. This assures them control over their data but without compromising on the security aspect. We are working on pilots and will roll out solutions by the end of the year. We are considering IoT in our UPS solutions as well as battery and accessories that are configurable for communication.

What made you work on automation for the mobile workforce? Was it triggered due to the pandemic? Why Salesforce?

It was in the pipeline since 2018. We have the widest infrastructure in terms of Field Service Agents (FSAs), across many cities and centers. We had to enhance the service experience of our customers to stay cutting-edge in this massive infrastructure while also reducing costs of service. We needed to automate this area. Because we knew we were not competing with just some other UPS company when it comes to a service experience. We were competing with AC companies, elevator companies—how they served their customers during service, repair, and maintenance. It could be done well with automation and a big real-time picture of the customer’s area. We started to evaluate different solutions and short-listed Salesforce along with two big brands. Then we chose Salesforce. We started implementing in March 2020 and went live with online training during the lockdown itself.

Was it easy? Any lessons that other enterprises should keep in mind?

The more time you spend in mapping a process today, the lesser would be your implementation cost tomorrow. One should be knowing where one wants to be. Also picking the right implementation partner is very crucial. This aspect tilted the decision in favor of Salesforce. No matter how good a tool is, if you do not have a proper implementation partner, problems can pop. It has to be done by actual and professional experts with thorough coverage of all details. The converse is also true. Your timelines and costs can get awry if you do not map it all well. Another important tip is–never estimate the power of a good brand ambassador. We did a pilot in Bangalore first and then our Karnataka team became the ambassador for the benefits. It changes resistance into a positive adoption curve.

Now FSAs have everything on their phones. Earlier, the information was scattered in diaries, files, desktops etc.

Have you started witnessing any gains?

Yes, and for many stakeholders. Now FSAs have everything on their phones. Earlier, the information was scattered in diaries, files, desktops, etc. So their productivity has gone up. The coordinators also find it easy to plan everything because they have a good view of the customer. The service is always prepared. The customers enjoy a faster turnaround time. Even the top management enjoys faster decision-making because of the 360-degree view.

What next then?

We are working on remote visual tools. We want to change reactive service to predictive and that’s possible when all information is available beforehand.

Palash Nand is CEO, Numeric UPS

Pratima Harigunani

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