This year, Independence Day celebrations will be markedly different due to the COVID-19 outbreak. What remains the same however is the spirit of freedom and the patriotic fervor. India’s struggle for independence has taught us that empathetic leadership and strong communication can go a long way in building resilience during extraordinary situations.
As the global crisis is still far from over, IT industry leaders are radically re-thinking traditional workplace transitions and ushering in a new era of digital transformation across industries. More than anything, they are using technology as the greatest collaborator in modeling solutions for boosting morale and engagement levels and fostering better productivity.
On the occasion of India’s 74th Independence Day, CXOToday speaks to a dozen tech CEOs and industry leaders to understand what pledge they are taking this Independence Day and the changes they would they like to see in their future plans.
“I’m reminded of a quote by Sir Winston Churchill. “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts”. In many ways, 2020 has been an eye-opener – regardless of our geography or the line of business we’re in, we have to keep reinventing, without any exceptions. As a CEO, I joined my team in pledging business continuity during and post the COVID-19 pandemic. We took measures to gauge our remote-functioning efficiencies, plug gaps and re-energize our digital strategy, to remain ready for any future challenges the year may throw our way. We also continue to empower our employees, by bringing in more diversity and enabling them to step up and take charge. As a priority, we shall continue to invest in digital enablers and training programs to enable our workforce to excel. 2020 has been a year when the world went from flat to silo almost overnight! As a country, we’re testing out the economics of self-sustenance. The importance of adopting a “build local and go global” outlook by leveraging local pockets of competence cannot be overstated. We’ve gathered valuable real-time information on how Fintech products can enable and enhance our industry-wide movements and government initiatives. We will ramp up efforts to convert these insights into innovative offerings that augment our products and services, and catalyse India’s vision of becoming a $5trillion economy by 2024-25.” – Jaya Vaidhyanathan, CEO, BCT Digital (Bahwan CyberTek group)
“We are taking a pledge that Transerve will remain on a growth path and will continue to help our customers with the technology. We have new HR activities and policies to help our employees while they are working from home. Transerve is transforming the work culture to ensure that employees of the organization will remain connected at a professional and personal level to cope up with the stress. Regular sanitization at the workplace and health-related counseling will be part of new HR policies for well being of all office staff. Flexible working hours to enhance productivity will be adopted to expedite product releases. As a technology company, we are focusing on integrating machine learning and Artificial Intelligence into our spatial platform and hiring the best talent in remote locations and will continue doing so. Work from remote locations including outside India has made hiring easy for us and we will continue with this hiring policy in near future too.” – Ashwani Rawat, Co-Founder and Director, Transerve Technologies
“At ThoughtWorks, we’ve always been comfortable with working from home and could access flexible working hours when necessary – this helped us readily adapt to remote working at scale. Our priority in the coming months is, to continue leveraging our ‘work from anywhere’ philosophy. This thinking will further boost our pursuit of diversity of thought and experiences as we will increasingly hire talent from tier 2 and 3 cities, underrepresented and marginalized groups. ThoughtWorks is also renewing focus on offerings relevant to our clients’ needs in the new normal. Digital channels, tech platforms and Cloud adoption are top of mind for our clients and us. And, the effective uses of these channels require formidable data strategies. All combined, this approach will facilitate a pandemic-proof and resilient infrastructure that delivers innovative customer experiences, products and services.” – Sameer Soman, Managing Director, ThoughtWorks
“The pandemic has forced organizations to radically rethink how they operate and embrace technological investment. Cybersecurity matters more than ever during COVID-19 and the risk of ransomware has increased as a result of the shift to remote working. This can be the right time to foster a culture of cyber resilience and put in place a mechanism to monitor employees’ cyber hygiene. With physically distanced security teams, educating employees on cyber security challenges while working remotely will be a priority for the firms to ensure they safeguard the data, privacy, customer trust and comply with regulatory norms. With data, data centers and businesses moving to cloud and workforce at home, organisations will be looking at comprehensive cloud security including Hybrid (cloud and on premise) DDoS protection, threat intelligence, web application firewalls, bot management and cloud workload protection.” – Nikhil Taneja, Managing Director-India, SAARC & Middle East
“Today, we all have an opportunity to enable positive disruption through technology, which will help us navigate the new normal. The world will never be the same again, and our endeavor is to make it a better place than it was before. We at Cisco are committed to helping our communities successfully adapt to this transformation and making a positive impact.” – Harish Krishnan, MD, Public Affairs & Strategic Engagements, Cisco India and SAARC
“This year has shown us that with agility, unity and collaboration, the industry is powered to face any uncertainty. At Intuit India, as we moved to a virtual environment, we made quick pivots as an organization, assessed how we can play to our strengths, and remained committed to our goal of supporting our employees, customers and the larger ecosystem. We are using our technology expertise to help small businesses become more resilient by contributing in terms of tools and knowledge sharing in areas like risk and fraud management. We are also focussed on enabling employees to easily adapt to the changing environment and new way of working, encouraging them to invest in themselves and be prepared for the future of work and enabling them to stay physically and emotionally healthy. We have seen an emergence of talented and innovative startups that look to tackle the real-world challenges and we want to provide them with the support they need, in terms of access to resources, guidance and technologies that will accelerate their growth. A focal point for the future will be to nurture and mentor these startups, creating a community to facilitate scalability and help them in their journey.” – Sanket Atal, MD, Intuit India
“2020 has been full of uncertainties and a lot of us are going through tough times. Through it all, technology has been a savior in helping us ensure business continuity. Many customers are turning to Poly’s collaboration solutions – from our headsets to video conferencing devices to connect and collaborate with each other; our technology continues to be crucial to first responders, government officials and healthcare workers as we continue the fight against COVID-19. My pledge this Independence Day is to help our customers to the best of our ability and ensure that they have an amazing collaboration experience through our solutions. During this tough period, we want to help them use our technology to power authentic human connections.” – Ankur Goel, MD for Poly India
“This Independence Day, tech innovators like us need to look beyond ourselves. The country has enshrined two principles relevant to COVID-19: Atmanirbhar or self-reliance and Make in India. We pledge to—as we already are—redefine our ethos to suit these concepts. With our remote-working video-conferencing solution that we are developing the goal is simple: Connect everyone in India seamlessly, no matter how remote their location or how weak their Internet connection.
Not just operations, but our innovation and product development efforts are now along the lines of community-scale problem-solving. We will continue to understand the communications obstacles that people face and come up with creative and ingenious solutions to solve them.
Being a true-blue Indian company currently operating on the cloud, we came to a realization quite early on: International brands like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Google Meet, do not understand the Indian employee. So our future plans, understandably, become a pursuit of the question: How can we create the perfect remote workplace for India? With a digital reality dawning upon us, we have been ideating geographically flexible options for our other products as well.” – Vinay Chhabra, CEO, Real Time Data Services
“This Independence Day brings with it, the inspiration to accept the new normal and proactively lay out strategies to adapt to these unprecedented times. For CSS Corp, employee-centricity has been a core guiding philosophy. When the pandemic struck, we were among the few IT services providers that rolled out annual hikes in April along with variable pay and promotions. We were also committed to hiring and onboarded 1,200 new employees in Q1FY21. From a future standpoint, our customers and prospects globally are looking to accelerate their digital transformation initiatives and there is a tremendous opportunity to partner them with compelling value propositions that would enable them to provide unparalleled customer experiences to their end-consumers. It will also be imperative to reinvent employee engagement and operational models, and set the organization up for the future of work. We were among the first in the industry to move to a 100% WFH model in March. As part of our plans to thrive in the upcoming times, we will soon be launching a comprehensive virtual operations platform which will simulate the office environment in a ‘Work from Anywhere model’, and enable secure and seamless remote operations globally.” – Sunil Mittal, EVP, CSS Corp
The Independence Day could be an opportunity for the IT industry to evaluate new ways of responding to the ongoing situation and preparing for the future. Accelerated adoption of technology and sound workplace policies, coupled with a strong vision and leadership will help companies in remaining connected with their customers, employees and the larger business ecosystem in these challenging times.