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BPM companies, popularly known as BPOs, are in no hurry to get back to offices.. Photo: Mint
BPM companies, popularly known as BPOs, are in no hurry to get back to offices.. Photo: Mint

BPM sector transitions to remote delivery aided by tech, relaxed norms

  • DoT had permitted certain relaxations for other service providers, including BPOs, such as exemptions on the requirement of security deposit

BENGALURU: Business process management (BPM) firms, which struggled in the initial phases of the lockdown, have transitioned to a remote delivery model, and will work-from-home (WFH) till year-end, aided by technology and relaxed regulatory norms.

On 13 March, Department of Telecom (DoT) had permitted certain relaxations for other service providers (OSPs), including BPOs, such as exemptions on the requirement of security deposit, signed agreements to allow WFH, and procurement of virtual private networks (VPNs) from authorized service providers.

Industry body Nasscom has been working with the government to seek relaxations in conditions related to remote working under the OSP regime, as a result of which, on 21 July, the DoT further extended the WFH relaxations till 31 December.

As a result of these relaxations, BPM companies, popularly known as BPOs, are in no hurry to get back to offices. Immediately after covid-19 was declared a global pandemic, leading BPM firm WNS deployed WFH solutions across its offices in 12 countries and about 95% of the workforce started working remotely. Today, that number stands at 90% despite many states allowing up to 50% staff in offices.

“We have no plans to move large numbers of employees back to our offices until the pandemic is safely behind us," said Keshav Murugesh, group CEO, WNS. “The remote working model will also open doors for us to tap into new talent pool like millennials, specialised retired professionals, and women workforce with secondary degree who can devote 3-4 hours per day."

NYSE-listed WNS has invested $2 million in capital expenditure for purchasing desktops and laptops to enable the WFH model. The company is also in the process of implementing a new “hybrid infrastructure model", called Hub, Edge and Spoke which will segregate work based on “what has to be done from office (Hub), what can be done from home (Edge), and what can be done from smaller satellite offices (Spoke)," said Murugesh.

At Genpact, also listed on the NYSE, majority of its employees are working remotely. Genpact, which employs about 50,000 people in India out of its total headcount of over 96,000, has evolved from traditional outsourcing work to digital consulting.

“We are prepared to continue to deliver services for our clients and innovate for them in a predominantly work-from-home model. Any return to office will be implemented in a slow and deliberate manner," N.V. Tyagarajan, CEO, Genpact, said during the Q2 earnings. “We are already piloting a permanent work-from-home, work from anywhere model in select geographies with plans to potentially leverage this globally."

In recent months, Genpact’s proprietary platform, TalentMatch has helped the company identify talent available for redeployment from one part of its business to another in sync with changing client needs. Their reskilling platform Genome which has now been made available to the public for free has “bolstered our ability to scale the work-from-anywhere model and improve employee utilization globally," Tyagarajan said.

At Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) Ltd, over 90% of the regular employees in India are working in the WFH mode although some have returned to offices to support critical services. “We have put in place a robust, secure environment by investing in cloud and security tools as well as implementing a no-pencil/paper/mobile policy set-up at home," said Partha DeSarkar, global CEO, HGS.

HGS has also deployed digital technologies like bots and automation to help the employees during customer interactions. For security, it has implemented a multi-factor authentication for secure login, access management system, privileged access management, and enterprise mobile device management platforms.


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