Uffe Jes Hansen (l) VP, EMEA, and Elias Moreira, Product Manager SAP People Connect 365, look at what enterprises need to maintain business continuity in the face of unexpected incidents that threaten to disrupt the day-to-day operation of the business.
In times of disruption, it’s essential that enterprises have the right systems and processes in place to minimize the effects of an incident and maintain business continuity, protect workflows and service delivery, supply chains, facilities and assets, and employee well-being. Nothing has been quite as disruptive in recent times as the current COVID-19 pandemic. People the world over have been forced to abandon their offices and work from home, creating a dispersed workforce for the enterprise to manage and keep track of, almost overnight.
But even in recent months, COVID-19 has not been the only disruption facing enterprises, schools, agencies, and governments. Protests across the world have thrown up their own issues for companies to address, and in “normal” times, disruption can take many forms, from network, utility and infrastructure outages, to civil unrest, weather and natural disasters.
When trying to manage their way through the disruption caused by these types of incidents, organizations need a solution that is intelligent and automated, and that minimizes the need for manual data input and instructions, enabling managers and administrators to know where their people are, dynamically segment them into groups based on their location or other factors, and then communicate with these groups seamlessly over multiple channels.
Over the past few years, we have been fine-tuning our SAP People Connect 365 mobile service along exactly these lines.
During the current pandemic, for example, in addition to monitoring updates and alerts about the virus, we have enabled enterprises to show precisely where their employees and contractors are currently located, to within a few metres, via their mobile devices, in a privacy-compliant way. This is useful for enterprises to be able to confirm that any of their people who should be self-isolating, actually are.
Self-service signup A key element of the platform is a self-service signup capability for existing employees, new ones joining the company, and contractors who may not be registered on the same HR system as regular employees. The system administrator generates a URL that can be shared via e-mail or social channels, to enable people to sign up to the tool. On sign up, they add their own contact details, reducing the administrative burden on the enterprise. This process fosters collaboration, interconnectivity and the safety and well-being of employees, contractors and their families.
The platform’s multichannel capabilities are also important. As part of our communications-platform-as-a-service (CPaaS) portfolio, SAP People Connect 365 enables enterprises to allow two-way communications with people over e-mail, SMS, but also, popular social channels such as WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and WeChat, and collaboration tools such as Microsoft Teams and Slack. This is extremely useful to the organisation, when so many ‘All Staff’ corporate e-mails go unread and ignored.
It is enabling companies to keep their staff informed via their preferred communications channel, so that they can tell their workforce when they will be able to return to the office and what the protocols will be.
Dynamic groups The solution also makes it easier for enterprises to message the people they need to reach quickly. Administrators can draw polygons to create geofences and then deliver a message just to those people within the geofence. Using dynamic groups, they can automatically send messages just to people who live in a certain town, or work in a certain office or factory, or any other custom rule they want to create to define the group. This meets one of the key requirements of a crisis management tool, in ensuring that manual effort is not needed to constantly update the information the system holds about an individual.
We’ve also worked hard on location accuracy to ensure that we can reconcile coordinates with addresses, even in countries where map services tend to be inaccurate. Employees can be invited to update their home and work locations on the fly, so that even for a factory in a remote location or with no physical address, the employees at that factory can share their coordinates and say: “This is Factory 1”. The enterprise can then save that location and position them on the map.
The service also allows for custom risk feeds[SM1] , since the risks that enterprises will need to monitor will vary from one to the next. This feature enables enterprises to add other sources of information including their own data. It could be from internal assets such as networks, operations, security or IoT (Internet of Things) devices that are constantly sending status messages back to base, enabling notifications to be sent to specified people automatically if any remedial action is needed.
The cloud-based SAP People Connect 365 provides an intuitive interface reachable via any browser. To simplify complexity for developers, a library of programmable APIs and SDKs help enterprises easily integrate SAP People Connect 365 into their existing business processes and applications, ensuring that the solution can become part of a more holistic workflow that forms a key part of a business continuity plan.