As the Department of Financial Services (DFS) has asked all bank branches across the country to remain operational throughout the lockdown, basis an advisory from the government, the pressure on bank branches surged to a great extent owing to salary and pension payments.
Shailendra Badoni, Senior Director – Services, NTT Ltd. (India) discusses how in the wake of this unprecedented situation, banks have been ensuring business continuity. Excerpts.
How is NTT ensuring business continuity to ensure availability of banking services as an essential service?
The impact of Covid-19 – unplanned and unprecedented, demands urgent attention to business continuity plans, especially for the essential banking and financial services sector. As ‘work from home’ has become the new normal, the financial sector needs service providers that offer technology solutions to restore and recover critical business functions.
NTT India engaged with our clients in the last two months in helping them with their BCP Framework ranging from advisory, audit of existing IT landscape, solution design, deployment and future IT roadmap. The BFSI sector, specifically banking, has been our mainstay – it is the biggest vertical we operate in. We have developed a three-pronged approach to enable business continuity for all our clients –
- Rapid response – To fix and maintain a steady state, keep services alive, recover business and react to new market demands
- Bounce back – Involves keeping services alive, recovering business and reacting to new market demands. Ready for future state as markets rebound
- The new normal – Applying lessons learned to unlock new business value and growth areas.
Through our broad portfolio, ranging from data centre operations, managed network services, managed security services and empowering the workforce with field support, collaboration and productivity tools, team NTT is supporting clients to ensure that retail and corporate banking services remained uninterrupted throughout the lockdown period.
How is NTT enabling banks to conduct business operations with the effective use of technology?
NTT has been a pioneer in augmenting the banking sector’s digital transformation agenda through innovative technology implementations. In the unprecedented situation caused by the pandemic, our customised, modelled, engineered and integrated solutions were made available through multiple commercial models like SaaS, outcome-based services and consumption-based cloud delivery that can be activated in a matter of days. We also launched a BCP response program named CARE (Crisis Advisory & Response for Enterprises), anchored around:
- Seamless connect: To access the enterprise network anytime, from anywhere via any device not just to non-core applications but also role-based access to Enterprise Core Applications.
- Secure access: To extend the enterprise security posture and secure the vastly distributed nodes accessing the Enterprise Applications via company issued/ personal devices.
- Collaboration: Enabling near real experiences via video and collaboration solutions to ensure ‘connect, share and collaborate’ with internal teams and clients.
- Track productivity: To ensure that the workforce productivity is maintained even during WFH scenario.
- Digital forensics and incident response: To ensure a security check against the current increased threats which our security intelligence is discovering and assuring the organisations on the possibility of threats available or vulnerabilities in their infrastructure. A service that gives clarity on security preparedness, before the attack, while the attack is in progress and/or after the attack, for proactive mitigation and reduction of impact.
Our solutions covering unified communications, VDI, interactive meetings, digital events and team collaboration, all secured by design, have ensured that the banking diaspora in India has been able to keep their lights-on during the lockdown and to help end-clients access all essential banking facilities remotely.
How is NTT helping manage workforce productivity and efficiency?
In the current scenario, office location, time zones, and indeed working hours are no longer considered barriers to reach a desired outcome. NTT’s collaboration and productivity products and services portfolio help clients to create, build and manage an ideal workplace environment. We deliver enhanced client experiences, engage people and boost their productivity in the most cost-effective way by ensuring intelligent collaboration drives an intelligent workplace.
Our managed collaboration and productivity services including voice, video, messaging, presence, and conferencing, with customised deployment models such as on-premise, hosted, cloud, or hybrid cloud, help maximise the workforce productivity with secure collaboration tools and solutions.
By connecting the intelligent workplace from unified cloud communications to digital events, NTT delivers tailored end-to-end consulting, deployment, and managed services, to empower businesses and enhance workforce productivity.
We also provide client-centric, data-driven IT support services across multiple vendors, delivered through our innovative digital capabilities and deep technical expertise. It provides clients with higher availability, reduced operational complexity, and improves the return on their IT assets – freeing IT staff to focus on IT alignment to business innovation and transformation. We leverage the innovative digital capabilities of our services platform, manage centre portal, and skills and expertise within our global delivery centres to help client get the maximum workforce efficiency through technology.
What is the change being noticed in customer demands and mindsets and how is NTT responding to this change?
As businesses seek to recover and respond to a changing environment in the wake of COVID-19, clients are increasingly looking at service providers to increase their value. NTT’s 2020 Global Managed Services Report revealed that 45 per cent of the organisations globally will outsource more than insource in the next 18 months. Handling security risks as a key challenge of managing IT in-house, has also emerged as a top priority by 57 per cent of the respondents. Additionally, demand for expertise in cloud infrastructure outsourced to service providers is set to increase to 77 per cent.
Over the next 18 months, service providers are expected to form deeper relationships and deliver platform-enabled solutions at speed, across the entire technology stack. From cloud to networking, data centre to security and more, breadth and depth of capability is essential to recover and restore operations and position organisations strongly for the coming years.
To enable organisations to recover and readapt to the new macroeconomic environment that they operate in, smart sourcing will play a vital role. At its simplest, smart sourcing is a move away from traditional ‘outsourcing’. It is an approach to the selection and prioritisation of those service providers that go above and beyond the delivery of tactical IT solutions. It is about providers who can deliver business outcomes aligned to the goals of the entire organisation. Clients will look for true partners to help them do the smart things well and service providers need to help them adapt now, and also help them bounce back quickly when the business environment reignites.
How is NTT managing their own workforce to make sure the country’s banking services chug along with minimal disruption?
We have serviced and supported our clients in the last 60 days for urgent, short term projects on keeping IT operations running, remote working, enabling collaboration between teams and cyber security projects, along with managing client’s day-to-day IT operations. NTT Ltd. has been provisioning remote working even before the lockdown. With majority of our people working on laptops and with the effective use of collaboration tools, we were able to transition more than 90 per cent of our large workforces to this new model seamlessly in a matter of days. We also supported our people who needed to be present on ground in client locations for data centre support and for running their cyber security operations centre, by providing them with accessible accommodation, logistics and timely guidance along with adhering to all safety guidelines. NTT ensured that the ongoing hiring process was not disrupted by enabling onboarding and recruitment through video conferencing, to deliver a seamless candidate experience.
Client business relationships and trust are developed through personal connections and physical interactions. In such a scenario, collaboration tools help bring out different dimensions of the contributor’s personality, thereby fostering solid relationships and personal connections to be made with clients, vendors, and our people.
As managers and team leaders are not able to meet their team members in-person at this time, the tools to monitor employee productivity based on outcomes will be critical in this new environment. Workforce training, upskilling initiatives also helped in the smoother transition of the workforce to remote models and we at NTT Ltd., through the ‘Degreed’, our learning solution platform, have been at the helm of enhancing workforce skills to help them stay ready for the current and the future. Above all, as a corporate leader, empathy towards each other was the critical element that stitched all the above proficiencies together to ensure success of business and economic continuity during this period.