COMBATING HURRICANE SANDY

Hurricane Sandy, which has rattled the East Coast of the US, has its impact on the Indian IT industry as well. Several top IT firms, which have operations on the coast, have set up war rooms at their headquarters to keep in touch with their employees and monitor the situation.

A good number of Indian IT firms have shut offices temporarily to ward off damages as the cyclone hit the coast. Though it is not expected to cause a financial impact, the cyclone has made the firms spend considerable time and energy in safeguarding their facilities and employees and maintaining continuity work on the clients’ sites.

“Yes, it did have an impact on us. If not directly, the hurricane has impacted our clients, particularly in areas like New Jersey (the US). Power outages could impact their operations. We are closely monitoring the situation and are in touch with our employees. But the good thing is that the whole (Government) machinery has been kept on vigil three days in advance,” C.P. Gurnani, Chief Executive designate of Mahindra Satyam-Tech Mahindra Satyam combine, said.

Cognizant decided to shut its offices on the East Coast on October 29 and 30. It has two offices on the East Coast — at Teaneck and Bridgewater.

“In view of Hurricane Sandy, as a precautionary measure, our Teaneck and Bridgewater offices will be closed on Monday, October 29. All associates in the potential impact zone have been advised to closely monitor local news stations and take sufficient precautions to ensure their safety. We are closely watching the situation and are prepared with business continuity measures to deal with any emergency,” a Cognizant spokesperson said.

Several top companies such as Mahindra Satyam and HCL have activated their Business Continuity Groups that take care of critical functioning of the company in times of crises and otherwise, flagging the natural calamity and the relevant response measures. “We are closely monitoring the situation on the US East Coast in the light of Hurricane Sandy and working with local authorities to ensure the safety of our employees and their families. We have also activated business continuity procedures in collaboration with our customers,” a HCL spokesperson said.

Ganesh Natarajan, Chief Executive Officer and Vice-Chairman of Zensar Technologies, said it had temporarily shut its Manhattan and Princeton sales and marketing offices. He, however, doesn’t see any immediate threat financially.

A TCS spokesperson maintained that owing to its strong business continuity plans, customer processes are not expected to be disrupted. “All our associates have been advised to stay safe and be indoors. Owing to our strong business continuity plan customer processes are not expected to be disrupted,” he said.

(with inputs from New Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai bureaus)

(This article was published on October 30, 2012)
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