Maulik Patel: Both human lives and economy are at stake in the pandemic. Ahmedabad has seen the mushrooming of several KPOs in the last decade providing excellent service to companies in the US/UK/Australia. Thanks to the pandemic, KPOs have begun a work from home culture to overcome the lockdown. However, work from home remains a challenge due to several communication, internet, IT and human resource constraints. Productivity has gone down in some cases but efforts are on to meet targets. The post pandemic world, however, provides an interesting scenario. To begin with Covid19 is not going to vanish soon and we at least should not be in a hurry to ask employees to return to office. What we decide should depend on the situation but we know that once the wind blows over, business will see an upswing. The only thing we need to do is survive the crisis.
As of now the impact of lockdown is not huge because it has been only for a month or so but if it continues we will start to see the impact. If client countries like USA/UK/Australia extend the lockdown it will have a spiral effect on Ahmedabad’s KPO industry. Ahmedabad KPOs serve different sectors, so the effect will depend on whether the sector they serve has been affected or not.
Some KPOs have already announced salary cuts and more harsh measures may be in the offing. As of now we have kept our employees on board as we don’t want anyone to lose their job in these difficult times. The focus needs to be on taking precautions and maintaining social distancing to keep ourselves and our loved ones safe. Eventually we can hope that things will improve and we will overcome this.
(The author is a chartered accountant and director at PBSL.Views expressed are his own)
Hardik Shah: We have completed over one month of stay-at-home orders and this has been unprecedented for all of us. It will have a rippling effect on the KPO industry/ business as well as employees.
Impact on KPO/BPO industry :
For the first time the world has been brought to a standstill. The geographical/demographic advantage does not matter anymore! DRP/BCP (Disaster Recovery Plan/Business Continuity Plan) concepts have been turned upside down. The silver lining is people can work from home. The notion that you can only be productive while working from office has been busted. Thankfully, the BPO/KPO industry is already working with remote working solutions that require few adjustments at the organizational level to achieve parity between security and productivity. Employees will need to learn to be more efficient and we will need a new definition of productivity for the new normal – work from home. New skills need to be acquired, developed and everything needs to be incorporated into the organizational model. Certain factors like loss of clients and revenues will be common for everyone. If the industry can learn to adapt to the quick changes it will have the advantage available to any early learner. So, overall, this course correction will help the industry to be more agile and future ready.
Impact on individuals/ businesses :
As an entrepreneur, it is important to stay strong and work on out-of-the-box solutions so that you can provide the right guidance to all who look up to you for it. Planning for uncertainty is important but one needs to accept that certain things will always be beyond your control and they need to be taken as they come – one step at a time. It is important not to lose focus and stay committed to the right path to overcome uncertainties and achieve one’s goals.
As for the impact on business, no one knows how this will play out. Any prediction is subject to multiple caveats as things are constantly evolving. But I personally see a very bright future for India and Indian businesses. Facebook used the opportunity to invest in Jio as a minority shareholder. Florida Pension Fund has invested in Zee Entertainment. The whole world is looking at an alternative to China and many are now focusing on India. Under the able leadership of prime minister Narendra Modi, India is breaking new grounds and leaving its century old shackles. Recently, Jeff Bezos said this is the century of India. Bill Gates has also praised the use of technology by India to fight Covid-19. I believe we will use this opportunity to not only overcome the challenge but emerge as a better and stronger nation. Every challenge has an inherent opportunity in it. The only question we need to ask is if India is ready to grab it with both hands.
(The author is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA).Views expressed are his own)
Chintan Jadeja: Covid 19 has had disruptive effects across the globe. Since India went into a lockdown, the Indian BPO/KPO/RPO industries have faced significant challenges. The global spread of Coronavirus has led to an unprecedented situation, both for the companies and their clients in the outsourcing industry.
At eMentalist Outsourcing Services, our main aim as an offshore service provider has always been business continuity. We have always put our customers first. As an organization, we took steps to ensure a 24/7 seamless service delivery to our clients. It was a logistical nightmare to install corporate desktop computers at the home of our staff spread across the city. With a pre-planned boardroom strategy and a prompt IT workforce, we eventually managed to organize work-from-home solutions and other business-continuity plans for all our employees.
We are currently thriving in an uncertain period where we are unsure of what this pandemic has in store for us. We are reading about businesses incurring heavy losses, staff layoffs and the sinking global economy. So many industries globally are taking a serious hit. Will they bounce back from it?
The current lockdown has given us more time to reflect and introspect on how we do business and how we will emerge from this. We are looking at atleast 18 to 20 months for things to be normal again.
At eMentalist we will continue to consistently abide and work by our values; ownership & customer first being the foremost. We will continue to cater to our client commitments. We have stood up strong so far and will continue to do so. The future looks a little blurred, however, I am positive that in the current situation more and more businesses will look to leverage the benefits of outsourcing. We all are in this together, we all need to come out of this together. Times are tough, but they won’t last!
(The author is a bussiness devolpement director at e-mentalist. Views expressed are his own)