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    Explained: Why TCS's ‘25% workforce in office’ plan may redefine the way IT sector works

    Explained: Why TCS's ‘25% workforce in office’ plan may redefine the way IT sector works

    Explained: Why TCS's ‘25% workforce in office’ plan may redefine the way IT sector works
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    By Kritika Saxena   IST (Updated)

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    The Indian IT sector, one of the largest employers in the country, is getting used to new ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. India's leading IT company, TCS, has taken some lessons from the new functioning style and set an aspirational goal for 2025 and this might have a sectoral impact. In a statement to CNBC-TV18, TCS detailed its strategy, which is woven from the lessons learnt since the outbreak.

    The Indian IT sector, one of the largest employers in the country, is getting used to new ways of working due to the COVID-19 pandemic. India's leading IT company, TCS, has taken some lessons from the new functioning style and set an aspirational goal for 2025 and this might have a sectoral impact. In a statement to CNBC-TV18, TCS detailed its strategy, which is woven from the lessons learnt since the outbreak.
    "We have no hesitation to see our future operating model embed this philosophy we call 25 x 25," TCS said in the statement.
    What does 25x25 philosophy mean?
    (1) Only 25 percent of TCS employees may have to be at the office to ensure that 100 percent are productive.
    (2) Only 25 percent of their time is needed to be spent at the offices.
    (3) A 25 percent improvement in throughput coupled with TCS's ‘MachineFirst’ approach to work.
    (4) Only 25 percent of the project team may be in one location.
    In a post-earnings call with clients, TCS’s chief operating officer - N Ganapathy Subramaniam explained that the company believes it does not “need to have more than 25 percent of the workforce at the facilities in order to make all the 100 percent productive.” Pointing out that every employee need not be present in the office all time he said, “I think it’s sufficient that they spend 25 percent of their time in our offices.”
    How will the 25X25 strategy work?
    Back in 2016, TCS had set itself a vision of becoming 100 percent agile by 2020. The company believes it is very close to achieving this.
    "As a part of this initiative, we have been systematically moving our development centers to Agile Operating Centers (AOC) and we're encouraging our clients to move to the Open-Agile-Collaborative-Workspaces Offered by the AOCs. Such workspaces promote an open office environment, co-working with people working for clients of different verticals and organizations yet with no compromise on the security features available in their ‘own’ development centers," says TCS.
    In the current COVID-19 situation, all these learnings and investments have come in handy as employees have been forced to work from home.
    "The learnings include best practices on network bandwidth management, operating the internal SOC benchmarked to the best in the industry, deploying a standard service delivery environment, digitised delivery governance processes, adopting collaborative and cloud-based technologies such as O365, Teams, etc," the company explains.
    COVID-19 pushed TCS to extend the 'Open-Agile-Collaborative-Workspaces' thinking to operate in a ‘Borderless’ environment beyond the office boundaries and this created the company's Secured Borderless Workspace model.
    "This has in a matter of weeks moved our associates being remotely connected, collaborating, and providing value delivery through SBWS – a new tech-enabled pervasive working model. In the process our proven business continuity processes got enhanced and securely; from 100 percent work from approved facilities to 90 percent operating remotely and securely connect to our clients and TCS systems and networks;" said the company.
    The company says its experience over the last few weeks with this move has been positive and with that its 25X25 strategy has emerged.
    "Clients are comfortable with what we have done and want us to take more work that others are not able to handle; associates are happy that they have flexible operating hours and have suddenly seen between 1-2 hours of commuting time available for work, learning, fitness and in pursuing their hobbies," the company explains.
    "During this short period, we have observed that not only the teams have managed to deliver to the SLAs but have been able to manage the peaks and troughs of transaction volumes with alacrity. There are pockets where we are witnessing improved velocity, throughput, and productivity and in areas where the free energy is being diverted to think digital, agile, IP, and innovation," it added.
    What does this mean for the sector?
    If TCS is able to execute this strategy well and without any dramatic shift to headcount along with increased productivity, this could mean,
    (1) margin increase with lesser costs
    (2) increased non-linear model (where workflow isn't directly proportional to employees) leading to better utilisation and a more dynamic and flexible way of working.
    The big challenge is going to be getting the clients accustomed, keeping security concerns in mind. However, if clients are oo board, this could usher in an era that defines the new way employees work in these IT firms.
    Moreover, with the largest Indian IT company following a more agile model, other directly competing IT players will be forced to do so, especially keeping in mind many have common clients. One thing is evident though, the pandemic has changed the Indian IT sector and pushed it to face a new era.
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