How rapidly has the world changed around us? Even for the ones who were prepared for the worst and had seen it all. The current scenario is certainly farfetched and unprecedented!
Yes, for our company too, while we had done our BCP (Business Continuity Plan) “reasonably well,” the dramatic turn of events in the last few weeks was a lot to deal with. While preparing the BCP, we asked the necessary questions about what we might need to make a company like ours work virtually if it came to that. We had also asked what it would take to be relatively insulated from a disaster scenario where there would be no physical office space left.
We built our model around a 9/11 type scenario, but we certainly did not plan for a global pandemic situation where all of us would be locked down for weeks at home.
This one took us all by surprise!
We started rolling out our BCP a few weeks ago (March 12th to be exact), anticipating that if we moved proactively to a complete the WFH (Work from Home) model, we would be entirely prepared for it.
Needless to say, the move was rather “clunky”, and we are glad we started early.
We have made mistakes along the way, but we have also learnt and have since moved into our daily work routines of remote meetings, remote sales calls, remote support for customers (In India and 14 other Countries) and also (probably the most challenging piece) - a distributed software development model for the core product development team. Frankly, I am rather impressed to see it all work.
While we are still learning new things every day, this massive experiment is still work in progress and is underway as we speak.
This settling down process into our “new normal” would not have been possible if we had not planned well in advance for the infrastructure, the software, the hardware platforms and the work processes that go along with this.
Selecting the right mix of platforms on which to work and from where we would manage our resources remotely was crucial to our successful rollout.
The most important aspect of this entire preparation was related to our ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) system (ArrowPS®) that was put in place many years ago. Having that as our core platform on top of which we enabled other collaborative apps was probably the most critical part of our success with WFH.
I can’t emphasize more that having a web-based ERP as one of the core components, kept the critical business processes working and information flowing made our transition from physical presence to virtual, a smooth one !.