About the organisation
Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) is an IT services, consulting and business solutions organisation. We partner with thousands of companies around the world to support their digital transformation journeys using our location independent model that allows us to tap into global skills, apply contextual knowledge and use technology that is innovative and adaptable. We have over 450,000 employees in 46 countries worldwide.
What challenges were you trying to address?
Like many companies around the world, TCS has had to adapt to the changing situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Our primary concern has been keeping our staff safe while ensuring our customers continue to receive excellent service and the tools they need to adapt to this changing landscape.
The implementation was made more challenging as in every market, industry and geography, the needs caused by the pandemic are different, meaning speed and agility have been essential to meet the demands of our staff and customers. The pandemic has presented challenges, but it’s also given us the opportunity to stress test our thinking and business models.
What was your solution?
TCS has inherited a legacy of fair and transparent leadership; we believe in driving change through action. When the pandemic broke out, we took that same mantra and applied it here. Our company purpose and ethos were essential to the way and speed at which we responded to the situation.
Employee safety is always a top priority, and this was a guiding force in our problem solving. Once we were able to ensure our employees were safe, we could move onto coming up with ways to streamline, innovate and continue to deliver excellent client service.
We also wanted to ensure we continued to best service our communities and maintain our CSR values at this time – we maximised our expertise and opened our platforms to help tackle this crisis beyond our own company, focusing on education and medical research.
Supporting our people
Staying open for business has required the expertise and resilience of our teams across the globe –our priority was to protect staff whilst ensuring we continued to deliver excellent customer service.
As a global company we were watching the pandemic hit some of our offices ahead of others, which gave us the impetus to plan faster and with more immediacy than those located in just a single market; this meant by the time the pandemic was taking hold in the West, we were better prepared. Within only a couple of weeks, we transferred over 400,000 of our global workforce to a remote working model; our Secure Borderless Workspaces™ (SBWS) model, enabled us to move from 100% of staff working from approved facilities to 95% operating remotely and securely, remaining connected to clients’ and TCS’ own systems and networks.
The SBWS™ model has provided our employees with remote access and continued cybersecurity, as well as access to the project management practices and systems needed to proceed as normal.
Amidst the tumult of the last few weeks, our priority has been to safeguard the health and well-being of our employees while continuing to support our customers’ mission critical activities globally. The agility, resilience and adaptability of our operating model were put to the test, and it has emerged stronger and more proven than ever before. This has further strengthened our customers’ confidence in TCS. Many of them have reached out to us to express their appreciation, and gratitude for how our teams went above and beyond to help them keep their businesses running under very difficult circumstances. I want to thank all the TCSers who showed immense grit, resolve and ingenuity, in the true spirit of TCS, to make this possible.— Rajesh Gopinathan, Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, TCS
Supporting our customers
One of our core philosophies is Business 4.0, which says that businesses who want to excel in the modern era must have four key behaviours at their core: creating exponential value, driving mass personalisation, leveraging ecosystems and embracing risk. We work with our customers around the world to make sure that they are fulfilling each of these behaviours - making them more agile and more resilient to change. The global pandemic has presented unforeseen challenges, but this period has really proven that these behaviours are essential to business continuity and innovation.
For example, a leading UK retailer of automotive and cycling products and services, many stores were suspended and there was a sudden spike in online sales, requiring significant and quick changes to operations. Warehouse management systems had to be reassessed and redesigned, the movement of some goods was revised, vendors needed clear communications and some orders needed to be reprocessed manually to keep everything on track.
The TCS team took swift actions to manage problems, coordinating with stakeholders, keeping focus on the fundamentals while finding creative solutions to ensure customers didn’t experience disruptions. Most importantly, we made sure that everyone was kept in contact with and felt like their voices were being heard. In addition, TCS has proactively deployed collaboration platforms, cloud-enabled infrastructure and robust security practices to continue critical operations.
By forging strategic partnerships that enable them to adapt quickly and accurately to fast-moving scenarios, businesses can still provide the services that are needed to support our key workers – and indeed the whole of society.
We are incredibly proud of what we have jointly realised with our customers and employees.
Supporting our communities
Over the last few months, TCS has invested in using technology to provide support to communities around the world in the fight against coronavirus. One of the most tangible ways we have done this is through our research into molecular compounds using AI. Our team of scientists discovered 31 compounds that could be used for vaccine and treatment research using the power of AI and made them freely available to scientists all around the world.
Education and inspiring children and young people through STEM are core to TCS, and we run numerous educational outreach programmes each year. With children not at school we decided to continue this effort of helping children to learn by making our TCS iONTM Digital Glass Room tool free to access. Our interactive virtual classrooms empower educators to engage with students in real time. We also opened our Digital Exam portal so students could continue taking their exams as close to normal as possible.
Businesses should always help where they can, using their knowledge and experience to give back and shape the communities they operate in. In times of crisis, we all have to come together, and volunteering your expertise is one way we can do that.
What have the results been?
During this short period, our teams have adapted with impressive resilience and are collaborating more with increased productivity. Employees are happier to have more time in their day for the things they love, now they don’t have to commute.
This has also led to a new vision for the future, the 25 by 25 strategy, that will put agility and flexible workspaces at the heart of our operating model. By 2025 we will only need 25% of our employees in the office at any one time, and we expect a 25% improvement in productivity and results. By making the physical location of our staff far less critical to our output, we can facilitate a more dynamic, flexible and efficient way of working. We are constantly talking to our employees about how we can make this work for them and what they think the next steps are, this gives them a voice in the future of TCS.
The strategy will also be good for the planet: with 75% fewer people commuting, sitting in traffic, using office space, it will reduce carbon emissions – contributing to ours and our customers’ sustainability goals.
What advice would you give to other businesses looking to do something similar?
This period of upheaval should be prompting business leaders to reflect on how their organisations currently run and to start looking ahead to how they will re-emerge post-lockdown. Whilst we can plan as much as possible, no one knows exactly what this new normal will look like – and how far away we may still be from reaching it.
Part of the reason that TCS has been able to adapt quickly and securely is because of our pre-existing agility strategy, albeit one we have had to test earlier and further than perhaps anticipated. Three years ago, we set ourselves the task of becoming 100% agile by 2020 and we have invested heavily in this to allow better collaboration across teams with no compromise on security. Putting agility at the heart of your company can allow you to be more resilient in times of crisis.
What we know is that companies need to ensure they can continue to operate in more resilient and adaptable ways to promote sustainable growth and success.