Companies are under increasing pressure to think and act globally. However, the immediate priority of focusing on their local marketplace and customer base means they don’t always have the breathing space to think about the bigger picture. For British companies to act local and think global, finding the right partner can make all the difference.
The coronavirus crisis has had a huge impact on our personal and professional priorities, so no wonder it has caused businesses of all sectors to rethink their strategies and concerns too. TCS’ recent Covid-19 Business Impact Survey of 300 global business executives revealed that more than 90 per cent of businesses have maintained or increased their digital transformation budget. Throughout history, business disruption has been followed by opportunity, and now is no different.
Business opportunity and innovation are available to all organisations if they are willing to embrace four key behaviours:
- Driving mass personalisation
- Creating exponential value
- Embracing risk
- Leveraging ecosystems
This last behaviour is the most important in this context. As companies adapt and recognise the importance of investing in digital transformation, there will be much that the internal corporate structure cannot solve, which is when many will turn to trusted partners. In doing so, UK organisations will become more tech-forward, driving innovation and strengthening both their business and the wider economy.
For example, TCS developed Secure Borderless WorkspacesTM (SBWS), a sophisticated and fully integrated model that enables staff to work remotely. Through SBWS, we were able to deploy TCS DynaPORT, a state-of-the-art operating system, at Forth Ports’ new ferry terminal in London, while staff worked from home. This opened up new shipping opportunities for Britain and eased supply chain pressures.
With the impact of Covid-19 still leaving many industries reeling, TCS is using its contextual and global knowledge to help businesses adapt and thrive – from establishing dynamic supply chain systems for retailers, to developing solutions for remote talent management, to supporting financial organisations and transactions with cloud technology. The opportunities offered by technology are enormous, but they are often missed by enterprises that lack the broad industry expertise or extensive experience of digital transformation and technology solutions.
As we operate in the UK, we make sure that we invest in UK plc too, whether through the number of people we employ or the brands we work for. TCS has vigorously supported its British customer base and 19,000 UK employees from the very start of the crisis. We enabled 99 per cent of our UK employees to work from home using our SBWS operating framework in just a matter of days.
We were also able to support our employees when they needed it most, offering benefits such as an employee assistance programme (EAP), health information and advice, and a virtual engagement team set up by the HR department to promote wellbeing and to help keep employees connected. Keeping employees happy is vital to the survival of business in the UK, as by doing so motivation and productivity stay high.
A number of our major UK customers are also benefitting from our innovative operational framework. With our help, Halfords was able to adapt its systems to meet increasing consumer demand for bikes and outdoor equipment. This crisis has shown that by investing in the right technology, companies can boost their sales and increase their market cap as more commercial opportunities become available to them.
It’s also vital for the UK economy that companies invest in the future skills this country needs to thrive in the global digital economy. The nation’s young people have a real love of technology, but there is often a disconnect with how this technology is made. Through extensive STEM outreach, TCS is helping to bridge the knowledge gap. Working closely with charities, social enterprises and TCS employees, TCS’ IT Futures programme has already reached 300,000 students since its launch in 2013. Adapting to the digital economy is an ongoing challenge and we continue to evolve and invent. But the UK needs to embed this in the education system at every level if it is to produce a workforce with the digital skills it needs to succeed, here and internationally. Technology companies can go some way in making this happen.
I’m confident UK plc is going to bounce back even stronger from what has been one of the most challenging years for businesses. It is imperative that global companies that operate here contribute and local companies embrace that contribution. As the global economy starts to recover, it will become increasingly focused on a digital tomorrow. To avoid falling behind their international competitors, British businesses will need to become even more tech focused. This includes finding the right partners to invest in them and their communities. With its worldwide reach, TCS has the expertise and resources to help drive British business success, as well as invest back into the country by promoting digital skills and supporting our local workforce.
By Jim Bligh is Director of Corporate Affairs for UK & Ireland at Tata Consultancy Services.