COVID-19: Protecting critical operations

The news that India’s government has imposed a 21-day lockdown on the country in a bid to stem the spread of COVID-19 has added further urgency to a significant workforce challenge for many multinational businesses within financial services. With the biggest offshoring centre in the world now effectively out of operation and a lot of our clients telling us that they are seeing a growing number of staff on sickness leave or self-isolating, replacing workforce capacity has become a critical priority.

Our clients are adapting staff to remote working but this isn’t always a practical option. Cyber security and data privacy considerations, as well as a lack of available IT infrastructure, mean that maintaining or replacing workforce capacity in critical business-as-usual functions is a huge challenge – and this comes at a time when many organisations, particularly in the financial services sector, are seeing a surge in customer enquiries, especially around:   

  • Processing of applications and dealing with customers wishing to defer mortgage payments, change loan terms or extend overdrafts

  • Call handling, especially for vulnerable and sensitive customer groups

  • Complaint and claims handling across all financial services products

  • Administration of the Government Continuity Loans Scheme.

Now more than ever, customers are relying on you heavily. Business as usual and regulatory requirements remain, amidst a backdrop of a rise in cyber security challenges. You need extra bandwidth to safeguard your business continuity and resilience. We’ve been working with affected clients to meet this increase in demand through our dedicated managed services teams in Belfast, helping them replace capacity or temporarily reshore critical activities at short notice, for as long as they need it. 

We also feel this may be a time for clients to review their future shoring options, particularly with respect to critical business functions. A review would also assess the resilience of business continuity plans. We will continue to advise our clients on the best future route for their business whilst delivering a lasting and immediate value to them now as they struggle to overcome the challenges this unique situation poses. 

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Ian McConnell

Ian McConnell

Partner Responsible - Operate, PwC United Kingdom

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