IT Leadership Opinion

WFH Will Become an Acceptable Way of Working: Deepak Sharma, CDO, Kotak Mahindra Bank

WFH Will Become an Acceptable Way of Working: Deepak Sharma, CDO, Kotak Mahindra Bank

Many organizations today are facing serious challenges as far as business continuity is concerned, in view of the lockdown due to Covid 19. However, there are enterprises that have been able to buck the trend due to their early adoption of technology. Kotak Mahindra Bank is one of them. According to Deepak Sharma, CDO, the bank had made preparations and was ready a week before the actual lockdown was announced.

“That gave us a slightly better heads up, in terms of preparations, ensuring that all our key resources have access to systems, have the VPNs installed on the laptops, so that they are ready to work remotely.

The company ensured that developers and partners were all well-equiped with virtual desktops and VDI licences so that they can continue to work remotely from their devices in a secure manner. Similarly, there was preparedness for managing the data centre, infrastructure, security, firewall monitoring, etc. A central BCP team looked at all aspects thoroughly at Kotak Mahindra Bank.

“Depending on various functions such as customer-facing, non-customer facing or remote and other organisation support functions, there was enablement and support through various tools. We ensured that we as a team are connected,” adds Sharma.

The physical part of the business continues to run as before but with reduced staff. The focus has increased on digital transactions, communication with customers, and how to help them do most of their banking digitally. Only those services are being offered at the branches for which there are no options except for a customer to walk in.

“The larger part has been to support all our teams engaged in customer support, for example, relationship managers, field staff, contact centres, operations people, etc.,” points out the CDO of Kotak Mahindra Bank.

Paradigm Shift in the Way Business Is Done

Talking about the impact of the crisis on the way business is done, Sharma accepts that there will be a lot of change in the way business is done.

“This probably was not seen as a possibility earlier in our regular business. For example, nobody could have ever imagined that you can run a contact centre from an individual’s house. I think there has been a huge paradigm shift in terms of finding possibilities and different ways of working,” adds the technology leader.

Sharma says that there is more demand today to enable customer acquisition digitally and more services and transactions to go digital.

WFH Will Become an Acceptable Way of Working

“I don’t think once we resume back to normal, these things are going to go back to where they were. Habits once changed last long. For example, during demonetisation, digital transactions picked up. Even after cash did come back into the economy, digital transactions continued to grow. We see something similar happening here. For example, video conferencing is a very efficient way to connect. You don’t need to go to meeting rooms, wait for meetings to start, travel, etc. A lot of that we can probably do away with,” says Sharma.

He goes on to point out how today everybody has figured out how to effectively work from home and that the WFH model will become an acceptable way of working in an organisation. The new normal is here to stay.

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