He prioritised a migration from the physical workspace to remote working enablement. This meant anticipatory procurement of new hardware & workstations, creation of VPN hubs and gateways to avoid bottle-necks, distribution of enterprise applications to avoid excessive traffic coming through the VPN – all this while maintaining the security and safety to the utmost level.
Managing the last minute software and hardware crisis
“Analytical insights and our relationship with various technology OEM’s and partners helped us in procuring laptops early during this crisis, setting up additional hardware and VPN gateway and upgrading in advance. For this, reporting & analytics played a key role in providing us valuable insights and we often revisited our VPN gateway, bandwidth and security to offer a seamless experience for employees. For effective company wide communication, we have collaborative platforms such as MS Teams, WebEx and other integrated tools,” Sandeep Karan, Head of IT Systems & Processes at L&T Technology Services said.
To enable a seamless WFH experience, Karan prioritised his strategy based on technologies such as analytics while ensuring IT security across teams and processes.
He has invested in engineering analytics, which empowers the company with insights and helped in making decisions such as procurement of laptops, steps that were taken to enable employees who were not in base locations, supporting employees who wanted to come back to office locations or offices for work, and tracking the number of people reporting back to the office.
Analytics helped LTTS in employee and resource management
First and foremost, LTTS conducted a business impact analysis (BIA), which was followed by surveys to collect data points on enabling employees to work from home. This coupled with their asset allocation and inventory data, employee and project allocation details, deputation data, etc. Karan has deployed Qlik platform and tools which has supported the company to maintain continuity amid Covid-19.
As an engineering services company, use of machine learning and engineering analytics in whatever LTTS do is a part of their best practices which ensures timely project deliverables.
“We have important analytics reports & dashboards built using Qlik Sense to closely monitor the productivity of employees via. utilization reports, utilization trend analyses, billed efforts and trends, WFH enablement, number of people reporting back to office, and making necessary arrangements in office. We have various reports & dashboards from our weCare app, which were done using Qlik,” Karan added.
Apart from leveraging analytics for generating insightful real time reports and data driven business decisioning, Karan has also maintained his focus on VPN gateway & ISP Link Capacity.
“Being an Engineering R&D and Services company, we never had work from home as an established policy or culture. Hence only a few employees used to work from home except on rare occasions. VPN gateway was crucial for employees to access critical applications when at home, in case of emergencies. To enable LTTS’ 16,000+ employees to work from home via VPN in a short time required setting up additional VPN gateways, increasing bandwidth of our links and other enterprise devices. Enhancing security controls and security monitoring was another activity that we undertook across the entire organization,” Karan highlighted.
Monitoring productivity while ensuring IT security remotely
LTTS has developed a WFX App, based on their Work from Anywhere model, enabling managers to track the productivity of their employees, whether they are working from home or office. This initiative is one of the key investments made to enhance the company’s BCP readiness.
“Our practice of daily attendance and timesheet reporting has helped us in monitoring the productivity levels of our employees and measuring the impact of their hard work. We monitor VPN gateways, engineering software and other software usage. These lend insights into productivity and usage patterns. Before giving company-wide access to our resources, a two-factor authentication is required, health check of the device is done and necessary access is provided or denied. Our various cyber security tools for identity, threat & compliance management both at endpoints and at enterprise levels helps in monitoring and preventing malwares, data leakage, persistent threats, DNS protection, phishing emails, etc,” Karan emphasised.
The company has a SOC (security operations center) which monitors all of these apart from the respective domain teams. Their WFH architecture & process reviewed by respected 3rd party agencies specializing in cyber security and safety best practices. LTTS also believes in continuous awareness building among employees related to various measures for preventing cyber threats, best practices while working from home, and conducting cyber war games.
Getting into mobility for health and safety assurance
As Karan mentioned about leveraging analytics in various use cases of workforce management and resource allocation. During the Covid-19, one of the company’s initiatives which complemented his expertise of setting a comeback in this crisis, is their in-house developed application.
weCare, developed by LTTS IT team, complements Aarogya Sethu by monitoring the health conditions of employees and their close family members, based on self-assessment by done employees, and ensuring only predefined employees were allowed access to the office during the lockdown.
“weCare is a single repository for policies, guidelines, videos, related to Covid-19 pandemic. Using this app, our HR team conducted the Work from Anywhere (WFX) Survey, to identify various needs of our associates in terms of food arrangements, office shuttles, etc. Keeping social distancing and other government guidelines and directives in mind, we are also working on WFX Rostering. This tool helps roster employees to either work from the office (WFO) or work from homeanywhere (WFX). This helped in capacity and shift planning. We are also practising Hot desking strategy. We have started creating hot desks for employees. This was required as we had to reduce our office seating capacity. When employee’s reach the office, they might not get the same seat which they were using earlier. And all of these initiatives are possible because of our innovations and strong technology investments,” Karan said.
Karan believes that Work from Anywhere (a trend which LTTS has termed WFX) is going to be the new normal. Enabling employees to work in a secure and productive manner is going to be his prime focus. And this goal requires reviews of current methods and building a new architecture model for working.
“Cloud based infrastructure, platforms, software and services will lead our way along with a robust framework for security. We are looking at new models of operating and new ways of working which are based on remote working principles. Smart work is the need of the hour and the ability to be agile, flexible and use new tools to make things work while operating from one’s home is what really counts right now. We are adopting new technologies and restructuring existing ones to streamline and improve workflow processes across all our segments. Current investments in new age technologies to connect globally and make prudent decisions will be beneficial in future,” Karan concluded.