Why IT plays a big role in employee care in the time of Covid-19 - Gulf Business
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Why IT plays a big role in employee care in the time of Covid-19

Why IT plays a big role in employee care in the time of Covid-19

In the Covid-19 era, automation application can support employees, track potential company-wide health issues and bolster business continuity


As businesses across the world lean into what has been termed the “new normal” they have been faced with challenges that no one could have predicted. From new security issues that come with ushering an entire workforce into a new “work from home” model, to business continuity challenges that arise as businesses try to avoid service disruptions, no business has succeeded in the Covid-19 era without robust IT solutions and accompanying partners.

While the financial industry has long been transitioning to a model that relies heavily on technology to protect sensitive financial data and support an often widely dispersed workforce and client base, banks throughout the world have not gone unscathed.

“An existing customer, a large bank with multiple branches, approached us in the midst of the early days of the Covid-19 crisis,” explains Anas Jwaied, managing director for Middle East and Africa at Micro Focus.

“While they already had a number of Micro Focus ITOM solutions in place, they were keen to get the most out of their solution portfolio to support their business, staff and clients during this time.”

Micro Focus took a consultative and holistic approach to the bank’s request. “We utilised a top-down approach,” says Marc Merheb, presales manager for Middle East and Africa, “and identified five focus areas that are essential to the bank’s business continuity.”

The five areas – services, staff, systems, sites and suppliers – were then further unpacked to highlight solutions that could be used to overcome current gaps with minimal investment, time and effort.

“Our analysis revealed what many organisations have discovered since the start of the Covid-19 crisis,” recalls Merheb. “Employee care is essential for maintaining business continuity. Not only do employees need to feel supported, but their sensitive data also needs to be protected. They need to have the autonomy to report their own healthcare incidents, and the confidence that their privacy is respected.”

A more confident workforce is only one benefit from robust employee care. Tracking the healthcare requests of a workforce also allows organisations to adjust their strategies to meet the needs of their customers. Banks with many branches like Micro Focus’ client need to know when and where their employees are falling ill, so that they can balance employees between organisations and services to ensure business continuity.

“When consulting with the bank, it was clear that healthcare requests and overall employee care were vitally important to them, but it was also apparent that they wanted 360-degree visibility into their overall services, be they external, internal or infrastructure services,” says Merheb.

In partnership with the bank, Micro Focus built a suite of bespoke SMAX applications, as well as a Business Value Dashboard that would both support employee healthcare, and give them deep insights into the data being created by their SMAX applications.

SMAX, or Service Management Automation X, is the first software solution for IT and enterprise service management and IT asset management that includes machine learning and analytics. Employees are able to request healthcare services, report on their health status, and even request repatriation services if they fall ill while abroad.

“In order to help the bank meet their goals, we proposed a solution based on SMAX that would provide a new employee care application, facility management access, a set of catalogue offerings and report generation that would provide insights into the real-time status of the staff’s healthcare status,” explains Merheb.

The SMAX applications created for the bank included the New Employee Care application, which records and tracks each medical leave or health problem reported by employees; Facility Management Access which manages all employee requests to access the office – a critical function during the Covid-19 pandemic; a set of catalogue offerings that give employees the ability to self-service through the SMAX portal, and; reporting capabilities that allow end users an overview of the healthcare status of their employees.

“Applications that track employee health requests and facility access are key during these unprecedented times. SMAX gives both employees as well as the bank peace of mind and could mean avoiding a disastrous outbreak,” says Merheb.

While SMAX provides a new level of autonomy for employees, to ensure business continuity, decision makers within the organisation must be able to assess and analyze the data to determine their workforce strategies. To that end, Micro Focus worked with their client to optimise their Business Value Dashboard, a portal designed to give all bank stakeholders “big picture” insights created by SMAX and other existing Microfocus tools at the bank such as business service monitoring.

“A C-level at the bank can navigate to the main BVD and at a glance, he will have visibility into the volume of users in the new “work from home” system, observe their satisfaction with it, and correlate its infrastructure performance to assure the quality and continuity of their external business services,” explains Merheb.

BVD users can drill down further into their data, checking the status of credit card shipments, reviewing critical staff requests and observing the degradation in the availability of internal or external business services. Using the service availability dashboards, users can look into channels such as online banking and ATM services and determine the volume of users connected and the total volume of transactions.

With SMAX applications in place and the BVD customised for their needs, the bank experienced lower ticket volumes with faster resolution times, improved end-user autonomy and satisfaction and increased service quality all for a low total-cost-of-ownership. Most importantly, both the bank and its entire workforce can now address potential health issues before they become problems that disrupt business continuity. Microfocus solution can be applicable to any customers from any industry vertical that desires to achieve such tangible KPIs.

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