The Challenge: We heard of a possible lockdown, due to the pandemic. We had over 16,000 users all over the country and overnight we had to enable internet services to all of them to work remotely.
In the 13 years that I have worked with KPMG, the period from March 2020 till date has been the most challenging! It would’ve been difficult to handle an office, but the challenges were compounded for me as Head of the South India operation.
My main motto in life, and this translates into my work as well, is that you need to use the ‘josh’ that you have to propel you. You must guard against negativity from creeping in and always remain positive and be prepared to deal with any challenge!
As IT enablers, we’re here to support the business. Every day is new challenge. But the KPMG tagline motivates me with the ‘josh’ to inspire my team. When we heard rumours of a possible lockdown due to the pandemic, we got into action. We have over 16,000 users all over the country and in about a week we enabled VPN for everyone. With incredible support from our vendors, we were able to equip our users with internet access, almost overnight. We were also able to plan alternatives, if deliveries were impacted by the lockdown. It’s an amazing accomplishment that we delivered laptops to users in Jammu & Kashmir, Vizag, Bijapur, etc.
During the total lockdown, IT support staff couldn’t get to the office and had no access to the data centre. Our Admin Team pitched in by engaging our security company to transport laptops as they had permission to travel. The HR Team had to provide laptops to new employees on Day 1. To facilitate this, our staff walked about 5 kms from the office to the employee’s house.
Most users will work from home till September 1. IT engineers, however, are already working onsite. Work conditions are tough without small perks like air-conditioning and tea/coffee. But we continue to support and assist users. I visit the team at least once a week to motivate and support them. Sometimes this means ordering special meals for them!
When we were able to obtain a ‘critical services’ pass for an engineer in our Bangalore office, we made special arrangements for him to stay there for 6-7 weeks and work. Another engineer had his vehicle seized, and we had to step in to resolve the issue. When essential services were allowed between 6 and 9 am, we organised a schedule for users to visit the office to get their issues resolved. We worked quickly and efficiently, to allow them to get back home before curfew.
It is heartening how all our teams worked to support each other and get work done in these circumstances. By utilising all resources to the best of their capabilities, we ascertained that clients were serviced, and business goals achieved. Such dedication goes beyond the call of duty!