#LeaderTalk: In Conversation With GlobalLogic Leaders
We were fortunate to catch up with two leaders from Globallogic: Mr. Nitesh Banga, Chief Operating Officer & Mr. Sumit Sood, Sr. Vice President & Head APAC.
They shared their experience of what COVID has taught, and as Mr. Banga says, “You can never manage a crisis; you can only grow out of it. Continuing to manage will only result in the bottom getting un-hinged.”
Read on for great insights.
1. Please share your thoughts on how you are managing productivity and employee morale during this crisis?
The impact of COVID has been different across the world. Given our global presence, we saw it coming quite early, and by March 17th, as a company we decided to go into lockdown. GlobalLogic, as you know, is a Digital Product Engineering company which is differentiated from IT Services. From a BCP standpoint, we were able to transition to remote working (almost 99%) within a matter of one week. We have about 8000 people in India and 16000+ worldwide, and besides India, we have teams in the UK, Poland, Ukraine, North America & Latin America.
So far, we have not experienced a drop in productivity but having said that, we do remain concerned – from a long-term standpoint. For instance, there are people who feel constrained working from home (elderly parents to look after, very young children, etc. adding to their challenges) and we are mindful of their conditions from the very beginning. Productivity and morale are intricately linked, so we continue to monitor these parameters very closely.
To keep the morale high we did a few things. Tech platforms such as Globallogic Café, doubled up to establish social connections too which included participants across the Board, team members, and clients as well. It wasn’t easy but over time it has worked very well.
I am amazed at the kind of creativity that exists in India. Our people have effectively deployed technology to onboard new clients and engage with them as well. Our platforms have established strong emotional bonding too and addressed a plethora of issues, beyond work. A critical tool to have during a crisis.
2. In a Post-COVID world, the disruptions you see in your business line? And, how will you turn them into opportunities?
I’d like to look at it from three different angles: Industry dimension, IT acceleration & Business Model change. The disruptions will happen in all these areas.
A significant amount of micro-segmentation is happening. For instance, earlier, CPG, Retail, and logistics could have been bucketed as one. Now these segments have broken away – from a digital adoption standpoint – and the solutions have to be industry-specific. Product & engineering platforms have come up in a big way to address these requirements. And, the trend will intensify. A lot of segments are creating niches, and solutions will have to be designed accordingly.
Moreover, many segments which were reluctant to adopt digital, are now coming forward. They realize it’s a business imperative. Business needs have become very complex which has also birthed the ideas of platformization, a much greater degree for collaboration & building partnerships, and co-creation, for instance. The idea of micro-segmentation will only expand further, and by leaps and bounds. Learning is yet another area where massive shifts can be seen.
At the same time, we are also witnessing a trend with an intensified focus on in-sourcing and growing locally. We can only hope this doesn’t lead to isolation (globally) in the long-run.
3. How do you see this new model of WFH shaping up? Is it here to stay? Please can you do a deep-dive for us, a SWOT of sorts?
It has thrown up some very interesting possibilities. In Western countries, young people live away from their families in shared premises. In this scenario, we will have to look at other factors too – data security, power outage, etc. To sustain this model in the long-run we will have to consider all these angles with greater precision and sensitivity.
We should look at the value chain in broad terms: Sales, Delivery & Fulfillment. There are tertiary functions as well, such as HR, Finance & IT which cuts across.
All these technologies were there earlier but now the Sales team is able to maximize the opportunities. Of course the time-tested practice of “breaking bread together” is a powerful one and it isn’t going away either. But the impact of virtual meetings has been seminal – it saves on travel time tremendously and greatly increases productivity. For Delivery too, it has been very good. Smaller teams across geographies can communicate very easily. Ours is a multi-locational company so it has proven to be greatly advantageous. From a talent perspective, it opens up a whole new window of opportunity – access to people in Tier 2 &3 locations, women who can work in a flexible environment, etc.
Among the constraints, we will need to provide much greater support in ensuring mental health for our employees from a long-term standpoint. And of course, that touch and feel factor is missing. But if you consider the Valley experience, most startups work remotely and it’s an established model. In my view, the positive aspects of WFH greatly outweigh the negative ones.
4. How can India optimize from this crisis – manufacturing and services angle?
India is very well-poised to leapfrog its digital growth story – the next billion users at the bottom of the pyramid can adopt digital services in their lives in a far bigger way than what’s already happening. Agriculture and telemedicine are areas that straightaway comes to my mind.
This is a great time to scale up our manufacturing capabilities in a big way. We can leverage digital to remove supply chain redundancies. When the world comes out of the crisis in the next 18 – 24 months, we can reimagine how we want to position ourselves and reduce dependency on imports. This is the time to make those policy changes and make capital more available. This crisis is an opportunity to re-configure our manufacturing capabilities.
5. Specific Leadership traits during disaster recovery.
• Stay calm & collected. This crisis is unprecedented. Unlike others in the past, that had a localized impact based on geographies / domains, COVID 19 is global. Everyone is looking upto leaders for directions – clients, employees, and investors et al.
• There will be no exact right / wrong answers – we need to be sensitized accordingly.
• Act fast. Since it’s very hard to predict, agility in action is what will separate the winners from the also-rans.
• You can never “manage” a crisis, you can only grow out of it.
Interviewed by Soumitra Dasgupta, NASSCOM.