The Covid-19 pandemic has equipped the IT industry to handle a identical global disruptions, says VK Mathews, Founder and Executive Chairman of IBS Software, a leading provider of SaaS solutions to the travel, tourism, and logistics sectors globally. “I think we will be able to handle it better, handle it well,” Mathews told BusinessLine in an interaction on the occasion of the Thiruvananthapuram-based software products company completing 25 years in business. Some of the world’s leading airlines, airports, cruise liners, and travel distributors apart from top oil and gas companies now use IBS solutions for their mission-critical operations.
Four crucial parameters
“I will talk about IBS, but then that could be typical for several companies,” he said by way of introduction. “If you really look at it, there are different aspects to the disruption. The first relates to the health and safety of employees; second, business continuity support; third, financial sustainability since customers too will be impacted and by default; and fourth, employee productivity. On all four accounts, IBS is now in a better position. And hopefully, we don’t want to test it,” Mathews said. As a SaaS company, IBS runs not just the system for customers but also the software and the production environment. Internally, the HR department is more equipped to manage people in the face of a disruption. It adds to costs in the interim, which can’t be helped since the company has no business if employees are not safe. IBS employs people from 30-40 countries, across three locations in India, and 25 abroad. So, the geographic spread provides some natural risk mitigation. The SaaS business model, by its own nature, ensures a certain level of business continuity.
Withstood industry blues
While the pandemic caused a 50 per cent dip in income for the travel industry during 2019 and 2020, it was only 15 per cent for IBS. “The reason is two-fold. One, we have a number of sectors that we serve within travel itself. For instance, the air freight industry did very well, while the passenger side did not do well at all. So, when the passengers part went down, the cargo part went up by threefold to historically the highest-ever. After all, there was no belly space (with passenger aircraft) available during the period of disruption,” Mathews pointed out. As for employee productivity, he noted companies have now mastered the art of working from anywhere. “At IBS, we have replaced almost all the desktops with laptops. And we have implemented information and cyber security measures so people are now enabled, and have multi-step protections. So, without compromising the security and the quality, we will be able to work remotely.”