To understand how different organisations are tackling this crisis, Amazon Web Services (AWS) hosted an exclusive roundtable discussion with 22 Chief Technical Officers (CTO), representing both B2B and B2C organisations, who shared the different challenges they were facing in terms of employee and customer engagement.
They discussed challenges and solutions, explored avenues for new opportunities, and deliberated on ways they were steering their business to survive the pandemic.
The event began with a fireside chat with Mukund Jha, CTO, Dunzo and Sanjeev Barnwal CTO & Founder, Meesho, who spoke to Madhusudhan about how their organisations ramped up to cope with the lockdown.
The B2B session was moderated by Gaurav Jagavkar, Senior Manager, Solutions Architecture, Startups, AWS.
Here are the key learnings;
Inform and (over)communicate
With teams working remotely, updates are important, especially for engineering teams. Sometimes, teams should even over-communicate about everything that they are working on. This will come in handy until they figure out their comfort zones and the modalities of how they will operate in this new world. Teams following this saw an immediate increase in efficiency.
Balancing productivity and burnout
While some organisations saw up to a 30-35 percent increase in productivity during the lockdown, it became important to ensure strict boundaries around work and personal time. Employees who have been given the freedom to create their own schedules around their home lives have also shown consistent productivity.
Focus on product growth
With revenues down, many teams have shifted their focus to product growth and enhancing the user experience. This means manually curating data rather than being heavily reliant on pure-play machine learning systems. The learnings from the curated data were then put into developing the product, resulting in one business witnessing a near 50 percent jump in downloads.
Explore dormant projects
The lockdown has presented many companies the opportunity to explore dormant projects and parallel businesses. Many of the panellists concurred that this was the best time to put mindshare into something other than their regular growth and revenue, which had slowed down. This led to the setting up of alternate product lines and new revenue streams.
Invest in training opportunities
Many businesses have decided to use the lockdown to provide training opportunities for teams to upgrade their knowledge. When finding a single training platform for the whole team was a challenge, they were given learning budgets to enrol in courses of their choice or to buy books that would aid learning. Others participated in internal hackathons where employees worked on smaller PoCs. This aided both with learning and with keeping the teams motivated.
Having to deal with the pandemic has put the spotlight on the urgency to fast-track the adoption of agile workflows and the need to transform the value chain to ensure better business outcomes.