Why the future of work is about defining new horizons and new beginnings
The ways businesses have had to adapt this year are not limited to short-term responses to Covid-19, but a whole new beginning for many. New ways of working and managing businesses present a great opportunity to not just recover from the consequences of the crisis, but to accelerate transformation through technology.
During the early stages of the pandemic, at Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) we moved over 99 per cent of our nearly 500,000 strong global workforce to remote working using our Secure Borderless Workspaces™ model. Using this, we’ve also supported many of our customers to do the same, including Halfords, Mace, M&S and Seadrill. Technological innovation, largely facilitated through the SBWS™ infrastructure, has enabled the deployment of collaboration platforms, cloud-enabled infrastructure and robust security practices to continue critical operations.
TCS associates have adapted to remote working with impressive resilience and are collaborating even more, and with increased productivity. Clients are comfortable and are asking us to take on more of their digital transformation work; associates are happy that they have more flexible working hours and are saving time on commuting that can now be spent in other ways.
Part of the reason that TCS was able to adapt so quickly and securely is because of our pre-existing agility strategy, albeit one we have put to the test earlier and further than anticipated.
Three years ago, TCS set itself the target of becoming 100 per cent agile by 2020 and we invested heavily in this to facilitate better collaboration across teams without compromising on security. This investment gave us insight into what would be needed to execute agile working at scale. Covid-19 acted as a catalyst for further change. The question now is around how we continue to maintain, embrace and develop this change.
TCS’s Business 4.0 philosophies describe the essential behaviours which will allow businesses to survive and thrive. They should be:
• Purpose-driven – centred around embracing risk and mass personalisation
• Resilient – leveraging ecosystems, cloud technology and automation
• Adaptable – being intelligent, agile and creating exponential value
These behaviours put the customer first and pull from the expertise of other partners in the business ecosystem. By adopting Business 4.0 philosophies, companies can better leverage digital technologies, making them more able to deliver business outcomes and thrive during disruption and change.
How resilience and adaptability can help a business stay true to its purpose was a core focus at TCS’s Innovation Forum panel discussion, entitled A New Beginning – Purpose-driven, Resilient, Adaptable with Business 4.0, where leading companies spoke about how they are looking to, and planning for, the future. The panel looked at how the events of this year have accelerated the use of technology to enhance agility and how, for many businesses, this period has also reinforced their organisational purpose and their commitment to their communities.
Ajit Dhaliwal from Aviva stressed the opportunity to place a greater focus on people, culture and wellbeing and spoke about having “to adapt to doing business differently and arming our people in teams with that differing skillset and toolset to be experienced to operate in these very different conditions.” To allow employee collaboration wherever they are without compromising on delivery, creative discussion and innovation, companies need to put systems and platforms in place which work.
Sara Milne from Lloyds also made the point that during this time employers have had to be more aware of the different circumstances each of their employees and customers face. “We have to respect that and find a way forward that works for our employees and works for our customers.” While we adapt to this changing landscape, the tenets of Business 4.0 hold true. We need to support our staff and allow for collaboration, and personalise that experience too.
It is more important than ever that employees feel involved in decision-making and are trusted to deliver results, manage their own time and make the most of the tools available to collaborate wherever they are working from.
The successful implementation of our SBWS™ model has led to a new business vision at TCS that puts agility and flexible workspaces at the heart of what we do. SBWS™ has been such a success that it inspired the creation of our 25X25 business strategy, where by 2025 only 25 per cent of TCS associates will need to work out of our facilities at any time; every associate will be able to be 100 per cent productive without spending more than 25 per cent of their working time in a TCS office. By doing this we can improve our productivity and service while still increasing customer satisfaction by focusing on relationships and streamlining processes. 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. TCS is also working with clients to overlay wellbeing solutions to help them look after employees better as they face the new physical and mental challenges of working from home
While uncertainty will continue to be a feature for some time to come, by trusting employees and supporting our customers, the future of the workplace does not need to be insecure. What this crisis has shown us is that working location may not be vital to business success. What really matters are the people at the heart of a workplace, keeping companies innovating and helping company culture thrive.
Find out more about what TCS can do for you here.
Ved Sen, Digital Evangelist, Tata Consultancy Services UK&I