'Communication & Collaboration, key teaching and learning systems are moved to the cloud'
Dr. Ashish Bharadwaj, Director - IT, Digital & Innovation, BML Munjal University
“In my view, as far as possible I like to look at vendors more as partners - contributing in a strategic way to the organization and business rather than purely transactional. For one to enter the consideration set, they must have a product/service offering that solves a problem in an efficient manner. For this reason we have worked with a number of start-ups, addressing specific needs within our organization, adopting their products/services and in the process working with them to help them shape their solutions. A key factor to consider is the approach taken by the service provider to understand our business/organization and to be able to go the extra mile when needed to ensure the product/service works in our context. This, of course is within the framework of evaluating the best price-performance ratio for any product/service that I intend to use in my organization. The performance side translates to comparing products/services in terms of features and the cost side evaluating the total cost of ownership (TCO.)
We had adopted a cloud-first strategy for the past several years. Over this period we had moved communication & collaboration, operational systems and key teaching & learning systems to the cloud. As part of this we had also done a network revamp significantly increasing not only the bandwidth but also improving resilience across locations. The combination of these factors made us face relatively fewer problems from an infrastructure and applications perspective. Yes, there was an accelerated change management process that went in and the entire organization had to rapidly adapt to working remotely. For most, this was an easy transition as they had been doing an element of remote working previously. For others it was a dramatic shift - especially where the nature of job had been based on in-person interaction. The other challenge was around mental health as for short periods of time being isolated is one thing. When that extends to weeks and months - as has been the case with the pandemic - it becomes an important issue to address. We were able to do this through a series of initiatives that included frequent team check-ins almost on a daily basis, online social gatherings and activities. People were encouraged to follow good practices for online interaction to emulate in-person interaction as far as possible.
A lot of the in-flight projects have been proceeding normally - as they comprise geographically scattered teams. We are looking at some interesting initiatives around AI & ML, data science & analytics, and improving the digital experience. Several key security initiatives are also planned that include work around privileged access management, DLP and cloud security.”