Exclusive Interaction – Nakul Chopra, Director, IT Solutions

Nakul Chopra, Director, IT Solutions, talks to us about the solutions required during lockdown and afterwards

How did enterprises you handle reacted to the lockdown and how much was their acceptance towards work from home model?

Most of the customers faced some teething issues, for e.g. they didn’t have enough laptops for users, some applications were internal and were not available through internet. The security posture had to be compromised as a lot of the security was planned for maximum users using computers within their office network. Then we saw a lot of customers looking for productivity enhancement tools for employees working from home by deploying tools to know where most of their time is being spent.

Most organisation found that employees whose work can be quantified found WFH very productive while the one’s where a lot of team interaction is required or where the work is not quantifiable found WFH to be challenging. Most employees found themselves working more hours than what they were doing earlier.

What were the challenges you faced during transforming them towards the new model? Share few interesting incidents?

Around 8 years back we had moved everyone to laptops and didn’t have a single desktop for the last 8 years in our organisation, so we didn’t have any issues with the endpoint as we asked everyone to take their laptop to their home. We faced some issues on the accounting side as we had to move from physical invoicing to electronic invoicing, ordering and bank transfers from cheques. There was no challenge in delivering software but movement of hardware was challenging. 

Customers held on to new purchases of what had now become non-essential items and the items that they wanted were not available nor could we give a definite timeline for the availability. We had to deploy security solutions on thousands of endpoints for a banking customers ideally we would have deployed people at customer’s office to deploy the same but due to WFH we deployed the whole solution from a remote location on all the endpoints.

What were the key industry verticals you are handling and what are they sectors that were very quick to adopt and how are they working now?

We are handling almost all sectors whether it is IT, ITES, manufacturing, pharma, BFSI, retail, utilities and we saw the challenges in all the sectors. For example, the BPO industry has a lot of security deployed in their office and most endpoints are desktops but now the challenge was how to send these endpoints to the user’s home. They wanted to buy laptops but laptops were not available and if available delivery was again an issue due to lockdown. Even the industries which were operational shifted some of their workplace to WFH and seeing the overall reduction in cost and productivity increase will shift some of their workforce to work from home.

What were the key challenges in cybersecurity and how did your organisation address them?

There are a lot of challenges and I believe that most of the SMB customers are less secure than what they were last year. While the cyber security attacks are covered on the front page of newspapers but due to disruption in business, management of organisations are still not focusing on securing their enterprises.

What are the new challenges evolving and how IT is expected to enable them?

I think this is a time when the importance of IT systems, applications and what the IT managers have been doing has been understood by most of the organisations. This is the glory time for CIO, IT managers as they have made it possible for the organisations to operate from home.

I believe that enterprises will look at continuing WFH for users who work is quantitative and who don’t need to interact will a lot of people to their work. We will see a lot of SaaS application consumption for them, security. Enterprises has learnt to use technology much faster, collaboration tools will be used more for customer meetings and internal meetings. Sales teams will have to learn to sell in the new way where they will get less time to meet the customer across the table but at the same time might be able to meet more customers in a day.

Once the unlock is opened, what are your predictions towards the IT investments will move?

We foresee that organisations will now deploy solutions keeping such situations in mind and making this part of their Business Continuity Planning. There will be a lot of investments in all areas including endpoints, applications (both in house and Saas), Cloud, VDi, and Security. 

How, as an organisation are you poised to grow, post lockdown?

We believe that the lockdown has made us more resilient and more agile. Our team has spent time in getting trained on more solutions, technologies and as a result we have built more capabilities and competence on solutions that we feel organisation will require once organisation will allow work from office or complete lockdown is lifted.

Our processes are application are more in tune to work from home like billing and ordering has shifted to electronic copies from physical. We have kept constant touch with our customers and have we built our capabilities around these solutions so post lockdown when they would be ready to buy these solutions we will be ready to deliver the same to them.

As told to B Swaminathan

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