The importance of business continuity during times of upheaval

Kishor Wikhe – COO of Capgemini’s Business Services – talks about how we continued to deliver frictionless operations to our clients during the COVID-19 crisis.

Hello Kishor. Could I start by asking you how the Capgemini’s Business Services leadership reacted when governments started to announce lockdowns around the globe in the wake of COVID-19?

Kishor Wikhe: The crisis seemingly sprung out of nowhere. It called for quick thinking, and even faster action in order to maintain business continuity and deliver the same value clients need during this unprecedented moment. Our values at Capgemini have always inspired us to be a step ahead to serve our clients and this time was no exception.

We are proud of our ability to provide exceptional value to our clients, and we needed to continue delivering on our service commitments to our clients and partners, while ensuring our people are safe. To this end, we implemented several measures to maintain the same level of service and continuity our clients have come to expect from us.

Can you tell us more about these measures and the challenges that you needed to overcome to maintain business continuity for our clients?

A number of our teams leaped into action and made it possible for most of our Business Services colleagues to work remotely. We enabled 95% of our workforce to work from home (WFH), ensuring our delivery centers were delivering the same quality of service to our clients.

This meant delivering computers and other essential equipment to the homes of team members in 21 different countries in which Business Services operates. For example, we needed to make it possible for our colleagues in India to work from home. Therefore, when the country went on lockdown on March 24, we needed to transport over 6,800 desktops from offices around the country to people’s homes. Not only did we manage to do this, but we delivered over 5,000 desktops within three days of the lockdown starting.

We also created a task force comprising people from IT, Risk & Contingency (R&C), HR, and several other teams to develop strategies and review our preparedness daily. This fast response means there was no need for us to invoke business continuity planning (BCP) anywhere across our delivery centers – something we are incredibly proud of.

In these uncertain times, it is vital to ensure that our colleagues are well taken care of and practicing self-care. To this end, we created a wellness program with a dedicated partner to help manage anxiety and feel secure. This, in turn, helps us to maintain the continuity of our service.

What are some of the benefits that are coming out of this new way of working?

While working from home has its challenges (limited bandwidth availability and a lack of face time with colleagues, just to mention a few), it has enabled us come up with some game-changing solutions.

This new way of working requires a profound change in thinking for both leaders as well as employees. It presents pressing questions for business leaders such as how to lead effectively in a virtual environment, how to ensure your remote workforce remains engaged and motivated, and how to maintain collaboration and creativity virtually. The prerequisite, of course, is having a strong digital infrastructure and the right digital and collaboration tools.

Another important aspect is the visible commitment and expectation management from senior leaders that would encourage the successful implementation of this new way of working and cultural change across the organization.

We are striving to use this period to come up with better flexibility, create innovative solutions to any problem that may arise, and be better individuals both personally and professionally.

Finally, how have you been impacted by this new way of working?

The energy and the passion shown by our teams across the globe in addressing this unprecedented situation inspires me to give my absolute best. I make sure that there are no distractions while working from home and I can deliver 100% to my work commitments. I’ve learnt that instilling a sense of routine into my workday goes a long way in creating a sense of control and discipline.

Read more  from our colleagues across the Capgemini Group about how they are helping our clients run their business operations during these challenging times.

Learn more about how Capgemini’s Crisis Care solutions can become a critical part of your COVID-19 nerve center to help your organization reopen and stay open.

Kishor Wikhe is the Chief Operating Officer for Capgemini’s Business Services – a global business line of the Capgemini Group. He is responsible and accountable for key activities including digitalization, reskilling, and introducing industrialized innovation across the business.