Re-writing the rules of BCP for the new world!

BCP

Business Continuity, an organization’s ability to deliver critical functions during and after a disaster has occurred, is at the core of Aryaka’s offering, ensuring that from a customer’s perspective, it is Business As Usual (BAU). Ultimately our customers rely on us to keep their network up and running; it’s both our commitment and promise to provide the best support and service, no matter what.

In a traditional BCP exercise, an alternate site is identified, process and procedures are put in place, along with engagement guidelines and approvals. The backup site is geographically positioned in such a way that the conditions impacting the primary site cannot/will-not impact the backup site. While this assumption is true for most of the time, what happens if it is not?

What if the backup site is also impacted? Agreed that it is easy to call the event as a Force-Majeure impacting the world and protect oneself. This is exactly where customer-obsessed organizations differentiate themselves from the rest of the crowd.

In today’s world, where products and services are consumed via various cloud offerings, it is all the more important that enterprises partner with cloud vendors who not only have a BCP/DR plan in place but are also available during a global crisis and enable their customers.

Often BCP is confused as a process exercise that enables for a backup site to deliver services in a non-disruptive manner. But, it has more to do with people while process and technology are the enablers.

During these testing times, when the world is stressed enough with the spreading of a contagious virus, lockdowns, constraints on basic necessities, people play a critical role.

At Aryaka, one of the core success factors has been its people. Our culture and objective of identifying and hiring personnel who are not only obsessed with taking care of their customers but also possess extreme grit to deliver with absolute self-discipline and confidence.

As movie fans know, it takes a great villain to make a great hero. However, this is reality, and it was time for me (Vidyaranya Maddi, popularly known in the industry as Maddi), Aryaka’s VP of Service Delivery and Customer Support, to not only prepare the people in the organization for a BCP where everything had to be done from home.

Original business continuity plans were developed early in the days – what I should call pre-globalization, pre-global and pre-cloud/SaaS era. However, innovation around new continuity models has stagnated. This was an opportunity for me to re-write some of the basic rules in preparing Aryaka and its customers for the global-crisis with a focus on multiple levels of resilience, tapping into the right technology and partners with the absolute focus on delivering unprecedented customer service.

Organizational and Operational Resilience

While people are a critical piece of the entire puzzle, tools and processes are needed to enable it. That is where I was quickly able to capitalize on the technology that Aryaka has been implementing over the years.

It is obvious to think that the support personnel will work from home. But when you dig deeper, you will realize all the challenges associated with running a 24×7 monitoring and support organizations.

  • How does one extend the monitoring dashboard to each and every one?
  • How do inbound calls land on the shift personnel 8×8 endpoints? Now try doing this to a team of 80 people!
  • VPN was easy for Aryaka as we can capitalize on Aryaka’s Secure Remote Access; if not, how does one go about analyzing and preparing for the entire world-wide staff connecting via VPN? Think VPN Gateway capacities, etc.!
  • Do the support personnel home broadband connections run stable – what if not? What is the backup?
  • What about the ticketing tools?
  • Most importantly – ensure collaboration across the engineers, ticket handovers, etc.
  • These are just a few to name.

Aryaka as a true cloud-first vendor, had made decisions and investments in the past carefully and meticulously identifying and partnering with Tier4/5 carrier-neutral datacenter providers, Microsoft O365/Teams for collaboration, Salesforce.com, 8×8 as Unified Communication tool, Zoom for customer collaboration, etc. These efforts have enabled Aryaka to be completely fault-tolerant with redundancy for every component delivering an unprecedented service uptime of more than 99.995% (26.3 minutes of downtime annually).

While we have the people, partnerships, process, and tools – it was important that we test it out with a drill. However, things were moving very fast, and time was not on our side. We approached our BCP with Work from Home (WFH) in a 2-Phase drill with the following steps:

  • Phase-1: 30% staff, Leaders/Managers on-site and rest of the team WFH
  • Phase-2: In 48 Hours, move the entire team to operate from home

With this approach, we tested our SOP (Standard Operating Procedures) for remote delivery. We applied lessons learned from the skeleton staff team while strengthened our process, team engagement over the first few days, enabling us to deliver Aryaka’s entire services from home. That applies to working with our logistics partners for ongoing shipments of ANAPs to our customers, on-boarding new customers, troubleshooting problems, clearing backlogs, driving successful Proof of Concepts, etc.

Interestingly, it is exactly during the time we have started to see a significant increase in our customers’ usage (a jump of 250% across all of our China POPs alone), asks for more bandwidth, handle China crisis requiring the team to work on a war-footing basis in increasing our POP capacities without any impact to our customers.

We have to keep working not only so that our business works, but also that of our customers who are providers of essential goods and services, like Healthcare, Manufacturing, Agro-culture/Fertilizers etc. When you have customers like these, can we afford to miss a beat? Of course, not.

It is a NEW WORLD out there, and old-school BCP no longer works. It was time for us to re-write the rules of the game, and we are proud of what we have accomplished. For any specific information on how we have achieved details of our plan or guidelines  – or to contact me – please feel free to reach out to our 24*7 Support team at support@aryaka.com.

We are proud of the trust and support we have earned from our customers over the years.  As we know from customers’ feedback, like the most recent recognition we received as a March 2020 Gartner Peer Insights Customers’ Choice for WAN Edge Infrastructure, our customers come to us based on our technology or the promise of operational simplicity but end up staying for our relentless focus on customer service and our alignment with their business needs.

Even in these times of uncertainty, we hope you, your families and your employees are safe and continue to put your trust in us, so that you don’t have to worry about your network. That is our job.

About the author

Vidyaranya Maddi
Seasoned IT leader with more than 25 years of experience who has seen, innovated and influenced the compute/networking industry from the Mainframes to today’s cloud/SaaS world. He has played leadership roles in both start-ups and large enterprises with a unique skill of creating a customer first culture, drive innovation at the speed of change without losing sight of corporate vision. He has been working with Aryaka for more than 8 years as VP of Customer Support and Service Delivery.
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