Our BCP approach is holistic and not limited to IT: Nischal Gupta, Chief Transformation Officer, STL

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With expertise ranging from optical fibre and cables, hyper-scale network design, and deployment and network software, Sterlite Technologies Ltd (STL) is one of the industry’s leading integrated solutions provider for global data networks. Nischal Gupta, Chief Transformation Officer, STL, tells us how his firm’s holistic approach to BCP has helped his firm 

From an IT standpoint, what are some of the key initiatives initiated by your organisation in ensuring that business continues as usual?
STL has strategically invested in its Digital Transformation roadmap over the last few years to ensure that we have very high interoperability of our systems and platforms and with a high focus on B2B integration and Cloudification. Not to undermine our focus on building a very solid virtual collaboration platform as we have a global footprint of STL employees, customers suppliers and of course our very intricate supply chain network.

Cloudification itself allows us to work from anywhere and from any smart device while we do extend VPN for hyper-secure transactions. By the way – let us not limit this question to IT ….here we are talking of things like Data Lake, Cloud-based process & workflow orchestration platforms, Cloud-based agile program management philosophies with virtual scrum meetings, mobile-based goal management and chat-based leave management – and all such is agnostic to location – be at the office or be at home or on the road.

What are some of the key challenges faced to ensure a Work from Home Policy? 
Well as spoken above, we have not faced any major challenges – because we invested in the virtual collaboration platforms with a ‘design for scale’. In fact, our productivity has gone up several times with so many STL employees balancing their work and life and being with their families at such times.

STL has always supported WFH as a core philosophy but of course, our scale of doing such has also been tested and we feel proud of this. We can connect very effectively with our employees, customers, suppliers, host town halls, and collaborate internally on documents and decisions and what not!

What are some of the key lessons learnt during this crisis? 
While STL has always had the proactive approach to dealing with crisis and this time around we could easily invoke our very well set Business Continuity Planning (BCP) team in a very agile manner, it makes us realize that we need to help our ecosystem as well, to play in total synergy.

All the partners in the ecosystem may not have evolved at the same level when it comes to BCP and Disaster Recovery (DR) so we are partnering with our ecosystem partners and even with our competitors – to help each other through these times. Our multiple sources of supply and diversity in business and a highly interoperable system landscape is really helping to tide over the crisis. Our BCP approach is very holistic and not limited to IT.

What are some of the technology tools used to facilitate smooth collaboration between employees?
We have a wide & thoughtful stack of technology tools keeping in mind our global footprint across India, China, Middle East, Europe, US and Brazil. We use best of breed virtual collaboration platforms which also have a high degree of interoperability.

To mention a few – we leverage Google suite for collaboration, Bluejeans and other VC platforms. STL is also one of the very early adopters of Facebook’s Workplace which is our employee to employee connectivity workspace. Per design, we use these based on some agreed formats and protocols which dictate as to when to invoke which platform. Again – these times have not put us in any surprise – we have always been a very virtually connected organisation!

Do you believe that the current mandatory use of remote work for business continuity is a signal to all organizations that it’s time to revisit their remote working policies and redesign them for wider application for business as usual? Please share your perspective?
While STL has been virtually connected always – I do feel that these times will be culture shifters for many other organizations. It will definitely promote remote working as a regular norm and also eliminate a lot of trust deficit that might have existed in the minds of some managers. Most importantly it will change the mental block whereby many always thought that certain meetings better be run face to face only – for example, customer meets. Interestingly you will soon see many white papers on the net on how these times made people more productive as they worked from home and this again is a very powerful mind shift for many.

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