COVID-19: ICICI group’s focus on digital transformation enables ICICI Direct to operate in BAU mode

ICICI as a group has always focused on BCP and DR. There were no major challenges in activating the processes for BCP. ICICI Securities as a company is now prepared to work from home even for a long term, if required. EC speaks with Yagnesh Parikh, CTDO, ICICI Direct

The stock broking business falls under the essential services category and thus, in a lockdown situation, it is imperative to allocate and realign resources such that business operations continue as usual.

The CIO’s office is the nerve centre for keeping the systems available and true to its role, Yagnesh Parikh, CTDO, ICICI Direct, and his team made sure the systems are available and thus even before the lockdown was announced, he and the important team members internally discussed and worked from different locations, to ensure business continuity from any location. The HR also identified three BCP sites, from where routine operations can be run without interruption. In case due to lockdown, any of the locations become inaccessible.

Parikh himself worked from office for the first five days and that too from different locations after the lockdown was announced.

Post-lockdown, the immediate task before Parikh was to enable work from home (WFH) virtually for all the employees. To that end, to list out the policies and processes with respect to the IT applications, to be matched with the privileged access manager (PAM). This proved to be a guide on which employees will have access to what kind of applications.

WFH was anyway available and technically made possible, but suddenly to scale it up to such a large scale in a relatively short amount of time was unexpected. For over 1400 employees however, a fresh exercise was undertaken. As part of the regular business process, these employees who were earlier not -enabled to work from home could now function from their home similar to the salesforce, who were always enabled to work from anywhere. “Our strong digital foundation built over the last few years in the form of a digital workplace IT infrastructure came in handy. It allowed us to easily provision employees to securely WFH,” states Parikh.

For Parikh, the safety of employees was paramount. In the initial phase of the lockdown, companies were asked to have twenty five percent of the workforce working from home. A list of WFH and office employees was prepared accordingly. Cabs were booked for the employees and wherever required accommodation was also arranged for those staying far from the office to ensure their safety and availability. “We ensured smooth collaboration between the work-from-home and work-from-office staff,” says Parikh. After a full lockdown was announced, the staff was put on rotation to work from home and office. A bare minimum team is now working from office and majority working from home.

The salesforce team has already been provided with mobility devices for account opening and doing routine work by accessing the necessary applications including CRM. They were working from home. “We  managed to procure additional laptops from the vendors for the IT, business operations team. A majority of them were already having either laptops or desktops with them,” says Parikh. They were configured and delivered to the employees in around two days.

ICICI as a group has always focused on BCP and DR. There were no major challenges in activating the processes for BCP. ICICI Securities as a company is now prepared to work from home even for a long term, if required. Brokerage houses come under essential services category and keeping business activities on and in a secured manner is the number one priority.

What’s keeping Parikh busy now, after having stabilised the post lockdown scenario is the security features. “I am focusing now on exploring additional security features for strengthening data privacy of my customers. We already have MFA, PAM implemented, however I am exploring more ways in which data privacy can be enhanced further,” says Parikh.

Work from home will become the new normal. Companies will have to find ways to continuously engage the virtual teams. ICICI Securities is already using many collaborative tools for select employees, which have VC options. It keeps the employees engaged.

The ICICI Group has stressed on digital transformation since the last two decades. “The investments made towards empowering IT systems targeted for end customers, employees and backend infrastructure have delivered excellent results during this time of crises. It enabled us to continue with a business as usual (BAU) mode,” concludes Parikh.

bcpCovid-19ICICI directICICI GroupYagnesh Parikh
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