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    IBM says firms that adopted digital much more resilient to tide over COVID-19

    IBM says firms that adopted digital much more resilient to tide over COVID-19

    IBM says firms that adopted digital much more resilient to tide over COVID-19
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    By Kritika Saxena   IST (Updated)

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    In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Vikas Arora, the South Asia and India vice president of cloud & cognitive software & services spoke about how the company will come back after the COVID-19 period passes.

    Indian information technology (IT) was faced with a peculiar problem when COVID-19 pandemic hit - how do you ensure safety of employees while making sure that clients ​that are essential to the functioning of the country continue to run?
    Global IT major IBM, that manages the technology infrastructure and platform for many large banks and companies that fall under the essential category like BSE, was faced with a similar predicament like most of its peers.
    In an exclusive interview with CNBC-TV18, Vikas Arora, the South Asia and India vice president of cloud & cognitive software & services spoke about how the company will come back after the COVID-19 period passes.
    "In some ways, things have changed completely and in some they are just the same. We are involved with some of the largest enterprises in the country, many of whom fall in the essential services category. From banks to telecom companies to retail. We needed to be engaged with our customers with the same intensity as before," Arora said.
    "For instance, we manage the security infrastructure of Bombay Stock Exchange which could not go down or comprised in any way. Whatever we had to do in terms of our commitment to the customers did not change because their expectations still remained as before. I got a call from several large banks the day the Janta Curfew was announced on March 23. At that time, the requests were for how people can reach their data centers because they were a part of the SWOT teams that were required to be there. That was the starting point. How went about doing this in the past and how we are doing it today has fundamentally changed," he added.
    How Life Has Changed From January 2020 Till Date?
    According to Vikas, there are key ways in which life is different now for companies like IBM.
    How companies engage with clients has changed: the tools and technologies used to interact with clients have changed with many of these executives working from home.
    "In the old world, we would be just white boarding in a conference room. The discussions are now over technology with the same level of richness. What's been complimentary to this is how people have adopted. Don't think things will default back to where they were in the past," explained Vikas.
    Business continuity plans are inadequate?: Clients invoked what is called a Business Continuity Plan (BCP) immediately after the COVID-19 pandemic started spreading.
    Vikas believes that the BCP plan put in place by most companies seemed to be inadequate and did not prepare for a pandemic of this scale. Customers and companies are now going back to the drawing board to expand their vew on what all they need to prepare for.
    "Within a couple of days, IBM India went to 99 percent Work From Home (WFH) model because clearly technologies companies are better placed to activate these BCP's. But because we work with large enterprises, we realised that the existing BCPs were not designed to deal with something like this," he explained.
    Digital Now Critical For Survival!
    Another thing that has become very apparent is how critical digital is for survival, "We realised that customers who had been ahead in their journey on digital transformation and were relying a lot more on technology to reach out to customers or to create new revenue sources and engage with their supply chain digital, were clearly impacted lot less than customers who were not. Every organisationsation has been talking about digital transformation for a long time but the whole urgency of making that real or of moving along that journey faster came to light in this situation with COVID 19. There is an opportunity in that for us since we are a cloud and cognitive organisation. We focus a lot on hybrid cloud and Artificial Intelligence, all the technologies are going to critical in that digital transformation for enterprises," Vikas said.
    "Whatever the "new normal" looks like when the world emerges from this difficult period, we anticipate our clients will continue to demand cloud solutions to power their operations and drive their businesses forward. Perhaps more than ever, we believe that organisation will fully commit to cloud based flexibility – from embracing a hybrid multi cloud design and shifting to ‘as a service’ strategy to leveraging partners to supplement provision and capacity. For now, though, our main priority above all else is to help our clients and businesses of all sizes quickly recover and maintain their path to growth and success," he added.
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