How India's services sector is coping with life under Covid-19

25 March 2020 Consultancy.in

India’s top professional services firms have now implemented strict “work from home” policies, a scenario that is obviously impacting several aspects of their operations. Livemint spoke to some senior executives from the sector to get an idea of life in the time of Covid-19. 

Most IT services firms are based in Bengaluru or have significant operations there, and the move to send employees home has come after a “work from home” notice was distributed by the Karnataka government. Some of the largest names in the sector have now adapted to the situation.

“We have advised our employees to work from home while ensuring client confidentiality and security. We will continue work with local governments the world over in following their advisories,” explained Infosys Chief Executive Salil Parekh. One of the firm’s biggest rivals, Wipro, has done the same, as have other firms.

Among them is Big Four accounting and advisory firm PwC, which reports that the virus has sent shockwaves throughout the sector, threatening several operational aspects. “We did not expect Covid-19 to escalate so quickly. When we see a change, it is essentially two things – work environment and delivery,” a PwC executive told Livemint.

How India's tech sector is coping with life under Covid-19 conditions

The PwC official has also highlighted the challenges specific to the consulting sector in this scenario, in light of the nature of work in the industry. “The work we do involves collaboration with colleagues in the office. This got disrupted and is being done in the virtual world,” he said. 

The response has been to adapt, although there is also a personal connection that is now missing from professional activity. “We are sharing screens with our colleagues and collaborating virtually. We, however, miss interactions that happen beyond office work like team bonding, socialisation and events,” he added.

Meanwhile, at Big Four rivals EY, KPMG and Deloitte the picture is no different. Employees have been sent home and are using the firm's digital infrastructure and collaboration tools as they try to maintain their services and operations.

Similar challenges are likely being faced throughout the sector. Disruption to operations in Bengaluru is critical to India’s IT sector, given the city’s prominence as a tech hub not only in India but across the global tech landscape. The sector will have to adapt to ensure that it can maintain some of the substantial momentum that it has gained over the last decade.

Nevertheless, the global Covid-19 situation only appears to be worsening at present, with approximately 300,000 cases reported across the globe according to the WHO. Aside from the devastating loss of life, the lockdown in response to the virus has caused unprecedented economic disruption, which a number of sectors will struggle to recover from in the near future.

According a recent analysis from Consultancy.asia, the coronavirus could slash $30 billion from the global consulting market. However, the Asia Pacific market is expected to be the most resilient to the pandemic.


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