A change-maker amidst chaos

Srividhya PKS, Ashok Leyland

The Challenge: During the pandemic, to support and motivate my team on the ground, I decided to get back to the office. The situation was scary, and I faced tremendous resistance and push back from my family. It was difficult to explain what I had to do and why. Some days my phone wouldn’t stop ringing!

Story:

In December 2019, our IT team was diligently working towards the migration from Skype to MS Teams. The move is more than just a technical migration. It represents a transformation in how users communicate and collaborate. Change is never easy and driving this positive user experience was challenging.

I’ve done my best during this time to ensure the best for my organisation. I believe that 100% focus and interest on the task at hand is crucial. If you do this, you will always be successful.

For the adoption process to be smooth and successful, our executives needed to learn all its features and how to use it. To help our users, my team and I prepared a user readiness plans that would reduce confusion and boost user adoption of MS Teams. We ran an intensive campaign by sending emailers, conducting road shows, providing hands-on training sessions, distributing pamphlets across our plants and offices. With this roadmap, our adoption rates went up by 45% pre-pandemic.

In March, when it was clear that a lockdown was imminent and that everyone would be working from home, I arranged for my team to work from home and provide seamless support to end-users. Within 3-4 days, we distributed laptops, conducted trial runs, and even arranged for desktops for some. User adoption rates of our digital efforts went up by 85%. I guess this was one of the positive outcomes forced by the pandemic. But this success was only possible because of our earlier preparations and trainings.

When our Ennore Plant needed to be restarted, it was uncertain what infrastructure support would be needed to bring the plant back to life. But it was my responsibility to ensure that it happened. The plant had been shut down for more than a quarter. Widespread quarantines and travel restrictions were firmly in place. While I could put together a team to provide this assistance, it didn’t feel right to be working from home. To support and motivate my team on the ground, I decided to get back to the office. The situation was scary, and I faced tremendous resistance and push back from my family. It was difficult to explain what I had to do and why. My husband was my biggest ally at this time. Some days my phone wouldn’t stop ringing! But such is the nature of the job. You have to attend calls at any time. You have to sort issues even from home. You have to travel when required.

I started my career with Ashok Leyland as a Trainee in 2007. Fourteen years later, as one of only two women in the Infra Team, I’m proud to be in-charge of End User Computing for IT Infrastructure. Especially because IT Infrastructure isn’t really considered to be an option for women. This is sad; there are so many opportunities for women in this field.

The pandemic has been a challenge on both personal and professional fronts. Working from home, there was no ‘personal time’. Professionally, it was a new situation and it took us some time to adapt. But I’ve realized the importance of personal time and spending time with family. This happened when my adolescent son commented how thankful he was for the pandemic because of the time he got to spend with me.

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