Getting employees back to the work places is something that organisations across the verticals are working on. Technology solutions major IBM has come out with Return-to-workplace Advisor, which has a suite of products, ensuring safety of employees, ensuring a safe path for firms to bring employees back to work places.

“It focusses on how employees are seated and how meetings are conducted. Because you cannot have more than a certain number of people at such meetings. You cannot just have too many people,” Subram Natarajan, Director and Chief Technology Officer (Technical Sales) of IBM Technology Sales (India and South Asia), told BusinessLine .

Launched globally, IBM sees a good potential for the solution in India as companies sees a significant portion of their employees coming back to offices by the year-end.

“The solution also advises on how the workspaces should be spaced out. All of this requires heavy-duty application of artificial intelligence,” he said.

The US-based firm also developed a blockchain-based solution for the efficient delivery of the Covid vaccine. “It helps in reduction of wastage and manage inventories better,” he said.

The vaccine distribution solution helps manufacturers monitor for adverse events and improve recall management. For the distributors, it would offer real-time visibility and enhanced ability to respond to supply chain disruptions and manage inventories better.

Service landscape changing

Financial services, triggered by the pandemic, are being digitised. A lot of people have been consuming banking services from their laptop and mobile phones, rather than going to a bank branch, he said.

The pandemic also accelerated changes, influencing business models. “Financial services are being offered or merged with some of the non-banking transaction as well. For one, if you are buying an appliance or a mobile phone, you are offered an EMI option along with the product itself,” he said.

On the other hand, banks and their websites are offering several shopping windows, combining their business platforms with IT platforms.

“Increased digital banking services would require a humongous scalability and resilience. A hybrid cloud platform will allow you to provide that kind of capabilities in a more secure way. So, the cloud landscape is changing,” he said.

Also read: Hybrid cloud is a $1-trillion opportunity: IBM

Analysing the huge volumes of data that is being generated every day, the banks are offering personalised services to their customers.

Data privacy concerns

Asked about the privacy concerns as banks offered personalised services to their customers, Subram Natarajan said that the data that “you are sharing with the bank remains intact. So it is not belonging to IT vendors like IBM or anybody.”

He said the pandemic has not impacted the IBM’s developer ecosystem as they consumed the technology through digital channel. “So, for them, this is not a big change. They've always been consuming the services through digital channels,” he said.

Return to work

IBM, like many other firms in that league, is allowing about 99 per cent of its staff to work from home.

Asked about will there be any change in this strategy, Subram said the firm would have a methodical way of bringing in the workforce whenever the government and the IBM review permits.