Technology industry

India’s tech industry is battling covid-19 without letting businesses suffer

The tech industry in India has always been known for its cutting-edge innovation and global success.

By Debjani Ghosh

The second wave of Covid-19 will go down in history for the devastating impact it had on India. The depth of pain and loss is something most of us have never experienced until now. It also brought to light the power of humanity and kindness. It was truly inspiring to see communities of selfless volunteers coming together to support families in need of urgent help and going out of their way to help strangers. Strangely, our collective grief has brought strangers together like never before and demonstrated the true power of compassion and kindness across India.

The tech industry in India has always been known for its cutting-edge innovation and global success. However, over the past few months he stood for one thing above all else – his people and the resounding message from almost every CEO was that we must do everything we can to ensure the safety and well-being of our employees and their families. . It was the first job.

And hence began a marathon effort to provide 24×7 assistance to employees – testing, information, doctors on call, isolation centers, oxygen concentrators, insurance, mental wellness, partnering with healthcare providers health and vaccination campaigns. Leadership in times of crisis is all about resilience and agility and I have seen another key trait overlapping with this – empathy and flexibility.

Around this time last year, when cases in India had just started to rise and strict lockdowns were imposed, the industry had quickly shifted to a remote working model while keeping employee safety as its priority. absolute. Over the past 14 months, the industry has continuously invested in strengthening the remote work model. Almost everything is virtual – hiring, onboarding, sales, collaboration, delivery, and even mergers and acquisitions. The industry has implemented world-class practices on remote working and the current lockdowns have not caused any difficulties. Businesses were working 90% from home in March 2021 and quickly moved to 98% working from home. The model is extremely fungible and there is constant investment in technology and process infrastructure. When you think of a distributed work model, you don’t normally envision a distributed model across 150+ cities and towns in India and many more internationally, but it’s been the model of the tech industry ever since. ‘last year.

A question that sometimes comes up: does focusing on people have an impact on business? Does the fact that employees are absent for medical reasons have an impact on global customers who run critical processes in India? I firmly believe it does the exact opposite. We are a knowledge industry and talent is our greatest competitive advantage. Our employees build our differentiation vis-à-vis the competition. Therefore, focusing on the welfare of our people has always helped us emerge from a crisis stronger than before. Our customers understand this too and they have supported us through every step of the crisis. On the contrary, I would say that the trust and partnership between companies in India and their global customers or parent organizations has only grown stronger during the crisis.

I believe everyone understands that the second wave of Covid is not an Indian phenomenon – USA, UK, Europe, Brazil, South Africa, several countries have faced this pandemic and lockdowns are a measure necessary to break the chain. Second, as the data from these countries shows, this phase is temporary, cases will peak and begin to decline as we are already seeing in some parts of the country, although we cannot let our guard down and must follow protocols Covid. Third, Indian companies have invested in sophisticated business continuity plans and risk management practices to deal with scenarios like this, and have been very willing to proactively discuss the situation with customers who all called on companies to prioritize the health and safety of employees. If necessary, reprioritization of work is done, reassignment of employees is undertaken for critical projects, and new hires are expedited. Covid has been the ultimate stress test for industry business continuity plans. Strong BCPs, sustained transparent communication and strong partnerships are how we navigate through the crisis.

What is encouraging is that the demand environment for technology and digital continues to be very healthy. As demonstrated by the quarterly results of leading companies, the deal pipeline is very strong and the pandemic is only accelerating every company’s need to be a technology company. Investor interest in Indian tech startups is at an all time high and more companies in India are building their model online + offline. The demand for tech and digital talent continues to outstrip the supply and India’s rapid industry reskilling efforts are helping to address this shortage.

Empathy, resilience, agility and adaptability are what continue to define the tech industry in India and the lessons learned from this phase only bring the industry closer to its most important asset: its people.

I’ll end by saying that I’m really proud to be part of an industry that really cares about its people and the country. With a foundation built on empathy, trust and resilience, I strongly believe we have the right building blocks to build back stronger and better. Every crisis forces us to rethink who we are and what we value. I believe the pandemic has brought to light one of our industry’s greatest strengths: the power of empathy and compassion. And I hope it will become a badge that we will always wear with pride.

(Debjani Ghosh is the president of NASSCOM. Opinions expressed are those of the author.)

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