COLLABORATED WE STAND
Voice and Data|April 2020
COLLABORATED WE STAND
While we had the technology to create a mesh of remote workers, COVID-19 pushed its adoption at an unprecedented scale. Here is how companies in India are dealing with it
JATINDER SINGH

At the outset of 2020, nobody would have thought that the world would be facing one of the most difficult times since World War II or any of the known health crisis within a few months. It would have seemed improbable that the entire human race would be engaged in an uphill battle against a contagious virus with no cure and COVID-19 bringing public life to a standstill.

Amid government’s lockdown measures to contain the virus spread, many businesses are finding it difficult to meet their contractual obligations despite their best intention. Holding face-to-face meetings have become unworkable, uncertainty is palpable, and work-from-home has become the new normal.

In such a scenario, when communicating with clients and employees has become more significant than ever, adoption of good technology and availability of uninterrupted connectivity is the only way that can help businesses survive and sail through such challenging times. It is interesting to note that the telcos faced an unprecedented 40-45% surge in the demand for data volume during the initial week of the lockdown, with a majority of this spike happening because of remote working.

Optimizing remote work tools

Amid the ongoing pandemic, besides accomplishing work-related projects, employees are dealing with stress and anxiety, and hence need uninterrupted access to data connectivity and seamless platforms so that they can share their ideas and grievances. This has compelled organizations across the globe to utilize digital tools and solutions—from web conferencing and e-mail to mobile collaboration suits and virtual event platforms—to engage their employees, protect their health and ensure business continuity.

Virtual collaboration tools are being used not only to enable employees to work together remotely on everyday work-related tasks, but are also empowering organizations to conduct coordinated sessions such as weekly meetings, workshops, training, fun activities, and yoga sessions for employees in multiple locations.

“The ability to stay connected, collaborate, and get secure access to all work-related documents remotely has become more critical than ever. Organizations are also taking appropriate measures to keep track of their employee’s health and well-being. These have become the core to ensure that business continuity and connectivity is maintained, and work continues,” says Vinay Bhartia, India’s head of Lark, a remote collaboration solutions provider company.

Zoom, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Skype, Cisco WebEx, Slack, Lark, Google Meet are some of the prominent collaboration tools being used by enterprises across sectors to stay connected with their remote teams (see Voice&Data Top 5). Many of these tools are also equipped with real-time language translation solutions, helping global organizations connect effectively in a global virtual environment.

During this lockdown period, Raritan is ensuring that its customers are not left behind and is constantly providing support on different platforms for easy communication and service. “We are using Office 365 Teams, teleconferencing, and 8x8 video conferencing tools for customer interactions. We have also ensured remote maintenance of their systems, along with collection and saving of video snapshots from equipment for viewing and sharing device status with multiple users,” says Anjani Kommisetti, Country Manager, India & SAARC, Raritan & Servertech, a power, access and control solutions provider.

Because of the lockdown many companies are forced to shut down their local offices, logistics, shipments and deliveries. Yet, despite these challenges, many are still able to create opportunities due to effective remote work management policies. “We have suspended field operations as per the government directives and are mitigating the impact via mobility solutions. Our senior management is continuously in touch with our employees via videoconferencing solutions to minimize the disruption in business processes,” says Mangesh Wadaje, CEO, Highbar Technocrat Limited, an enterprise business solutions provider.

The company is helping its clients to cope with this complexity through many best practices and cloud-based tools such as ERP, electronic Document Management Solution (DMS), business intelligence, IoT and CRM.

But are all employees comfortable with these tools and work-from-home concept?

“Understandably, it is a new experience for many, and we are adapting ourselves to respond in the most efficient way. Apart from last-mile connectivity to ensure customer delight, the insurance sector must unite to find solutions and new ways to interact with customers virtually. Strengthening of Salesforce tools is also a must. The collaboration platforms need to look beyond communication and file sharing, evolve to enable business and operational process visibility,” says Mohit Rochlani, Director – IT and Operations, IndiaFirst Life Insurance Company Limited.

There are also companies like Anmol Feeds who have their own challenges. The company manufactures livestock feed, which has been categorized as an essential commodity and exempted from the lockdown. “Our team from the office has been working from their respective homes to ensure continuity in every aspect of the business. Apart from phone calls, we use mobile apps like WhatsApp to communicate with every employee of the company. Further online meetings are scheduled using videoconferencing tools like Zoom. We are also using a dedicated toll-free number for taking up orders and ensuring no there are no hiccups in fulfil the market demand,” says Amit Saraogi, MD, Anmol Feeds.

Choosing the right solution

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April 2020