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Shock-proofing organizations against future disruptions

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Long-term, organizations are looking toward delivering their services in ways that allow them to achieve their objectives as well as take into account the new realities of remote work, accelerated digital transformations, and changing business conditions.

To shock-proof organizations against future disruptions similar to the coronavirus pandemic, IBM recommends using a  framework that sustains operations at scale and with speed and resiliency.

“We need a holistic model that absorbs shocks for future disruptions. The current models can’t. Dynamic delivery is a framework that articulates how employees can engage … and tasks can be performed from anywhere, anytime,” said Sanjiv Gupta, head of IBM’s Client Innovation Center. 

Short-term, organizations had to employ tactical moves to maintain continuity. Mr. Gupta gave as an example a global retailer client that previously opened a brick-and-mortar store a day, but then had to shut down two-thirds of them within six months because of the pandemic. The client has since been rolling out digital channels aggressively for its worldwide customers. Another client, this time in the banking industry, saw the daily logins of its mobile banking app increase from five million to nine million soon after the global lockdown restrictions. Its cloud capacity was expanded to scale up the bank’s capabilities. 

Long-term, organizations are looking toward delivering their services in ways that allow them to achieve their objectives as well as take into account the new realities of remote work, accelerated digital transformations, and changing business conditions. 

SHOCK-PROOF

Dynamic delivery has three building blocks: enhanced and automated processes for contactless delivery, deep thinking on how humans function in the network, and the latest delivery foundation

Part of the framework includes moving its IBM Garage—an approach for co-creating a minimum viable product with clients—remotely. The process of co-creating and co-executing solutions, said Mr. Gupta, has been replicated online with the use of collaboration tools such as Trello and MURAL. “It’s leveraging knowledge management tools to keep everyone up to speed and motivated.” 

While IBM is no stranger to the work from home (WFH) setup—having begun its transition to remote work in the era of pagers—it realizes that looking after the welfare of employees entails more than equipping them with the necessary hardware. 

“Soon after the pandemic started, I started connecting with people individually on Webex to see how they were coping,” said Lope Doromal, chief technology officer of IBM Philippines. Apart from personal communications, activities such as online birthday celebrations and virtual get-togethers are also scheduled regularly to foster connection.

Mr. Doromal also shared that, notwithstanding the contentious Internet connectivity in the country, transitioning into a WFH setup has worked out fairly well for the company. There have been no complaints among the workforce in terms of reduced productivity due to bandwidth issues. “My connection to the Internet is 1 Mbps, because I used to work in the office most of the time anyway, yet my productivity didn’t dip (despite this).”

Mr. Gupta added that one’s bandwidth needs depend on the nature of one’s work. “Whether it’s tech support for faulty laptops, processing work for payrolls, or the development of applications, none of these types of work need more than 30–40 kbps of speed. Application development may require a bit more, but the work can be processed in batches.”

VENDOR-AGNOSTIC 

Cloud computing is recommended for the framework as it is more efficient than traditional IT infrastructure, although dynamic delivery does not hinge on getting IBM as a cloud service provider. All the tools can be integrated with any cloud platform. 

There are three engagement options for organizations wishing to apply the said framework: IBM can assist with the method itself; it can provide step-by-step guidance on the tools recommended for each of the key components; or it can assist companies in its digital journey as it shifts its infrastructure to the cloud.

“Will all the (current pandemic restrictions), organizations need to start looking at their processes end-to-end and ask, is there a way for us to transition these online? What is the best way to optimize this?,” Mr. Doromal said. — Patricia B. Mirasol

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