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Follow up on TiE New Jersey Tech CEO Circle
Mar 31, 2020
05:30 PM - 06:30 PM (America/New_York)

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On March 17th, we had an interactive Virtual Zoom Video meeting of our Tech CEOs and Charter Members focusing on Experience Exchange & Best Practices In dealing with the emerging COVID 19 crisis.

Much of this first meeting led by Charter Member Anjan Lahiri (Former CEO Birla Soft & Co-Founder Mindtree) covered "How to keep employees safe" and "How to put in effective employee policies in these times of crisis".

We also agreed to conduct a follow up Virtual meeting two weeks after our first meeting in order to continue to benefit from our collective experience.

Anjan Lahiri has put together a very interesting follow-on program that starts with priority issues concerning Employees; he also challenges us to think about how to deal with the world as it evolves and then to go beyond to think about how to thrive in the world that will emerge after the prevailing COVID crisis comes to an end.

I invite you to participate in this very timely & useful virtual meeting.

 Raman 

Raman Kapur 

President, TIE New Jersey 

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Agenda for March 31st 

The next Virtual Meeting focusing on the COVID-19 crisis will be held via Zoom at 5:30 pm on Tuesday March 31st.  As during our last meeting, one guest, Siby Vadekakkara, CEO & Founder of Marlabs, will also be invited to share his experience during this interactive call.

KEY AGENDA TOPICS

·       Take stock of employee health and employee policies including work from home and presence of critical employees at work?

·       Impact on Business Development and sales revenues:  Any emerging themes coming from initial customer feedback? Impact on current contracts, medium term expectations & budgets?

·       How are companies dealing with the financial impact of drastic change in short term results?

·       What will be the dent in this quarter and next quarter? What are the unexpected financial needs that companies must prepare for? Any impact on receivables?

·       Federal Aid Package: How to position to benefit from the Federal Aid Package which has been passed? 

·       The World is unrecognizable from what it was four weeks back. Which of these changes will stay? What new trends might impact business in the longer term?  Any planned change expected in your model of working?

The detailed notes from the previous call are attached for reference.

Request everybody to join the call with their Video on. That makes for a very productive meeting based on our last experience. 

Look forward to your participation.  

Anjan Lahiri

Chair, TiE New Jersey Tech CEO SIG 

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Meeting Notes from March 17th Session

On March 17th, the NJ Chapter of TiE had an interaction of its CEO Special Interest Group and its Charter members around the Coronavirus Crisis. The issues discussed and the takeaways outlined below.

Key topics that we had wanted to discuss were around:

1.  Employees:  Effective Communication with Employees.  Steps to protect Employees. Managing customer expectations against Employee needs

2.  Remote Working:  Challenges & How to maximize Employee's ability to work remotely.

3.  Business Development in a pandemic world:  How to stay close to the customer.

4.  Planning Horizon -- contingency planning:  What if the disruption continues for several months?

5.  Any opportunity to develop competitive or business advantage?  What changes will we see in the future and how can we plan for that

We had an extremely effective interaction over video using zoom on the issues involved with contributions by a number of Tech CEOs.   

There was general agreement that companies and countries are not overreacting. If anything action should be more extreme and it is already much delayed.   The Primary focus was on the first topic concerning Employees. 

The key takeaways from the way each of the CEOs are handling the current situation are:

A.   Employees:  The Initial focus of action by most companies has been on the health of their employees and the employees' families.

1.  The earliest that people starting waking up to doing something about Coronavirus and tracking employees was about three weeks ago, in the last week of February. Those who started communication even in early March feel it was too late.

 -- For those with European offices, it was a little easier as there was a lot of communication from the respective Governments and the companies just followed suit. 

2.  Office workers pretty much across all companies are working from home. This was true even for some Companies who have India based employees.

3.  For those Companies who have employees coming to the office:

a.   Self evaluation has been the selected way as the American with Disabilities act would not allow things like checking health or temperature as people come to the work premises.

 b.  Many companies are using an 'Employee self evaluation' method to determine who can come to the office in case of extreme need.

One company follows a Level 1 to Level 5 evaluation where Level 5 is where the person is a near confirmed positive with Coronavirus and Level 4 is when that person has come into close contact with someone who has the virus. Level 1 is when the person has no known contact with anybody and is completely healthy even otherwise.  

 c.  Similarly, for those that are working in a factory, some form of the above 'self evaluation' is being used to see who can and who cannot come.

 d.  Some companies who work in teams have divided their team into Team A and Team B with only one of the two Teams coming into work on any day.  This is to ensure that even if one of the teams does fall prey to the virus, the other team can continue functioning.

 e.  In the majority of situations, companies are trying to keep paying all people including their temp employees.

 f.  All companies, almost without exception, have stopped all business travel. Some companies have mandated that even if people make any 'personal travel', they have to quarantine themselves for 14 days before they come to work for any reason

 g.  One best practice that came up was that everybody must have a designated backup and a Manager cannot be the backup for a reportee.

B.  Supply Chain:  Companies looking into the controls implemented by their suppliers & partners including logistics companies such as UPS to ensure that they are taking appropriate steps to protect their employees and are taking appropriate precautions to ensure that  there will be no interruption in their shipments.

C.  Business Outlook & Viability:  There was some discussion that while profits was not the initial or immediate focus issue, business viability has to be considered as soon as we get a fix on what is going on.

1.    Thinking was that if this lasts for 2-4 weeks the impact will be significant but can be managed in the future. But if this lasts for two to three months, the impact will be devastating..

2.    A lot of the initial drop in demand is actually being 'deferred' and not 'cancelled'. There was some difference on opinion on this and how much is deferred/cancelled will determine the state of business in the future.

3.    The business development machine is stuttering right now and expected to do the same for the next few quarters also.

4.    Companies are expecting a negative Q1 and also Q2. But hoping that by Q3 things can be back to some normalcy.

5.    The lesson from the DotCom Bubble when so many businesses collapsed was that business expenses & viability is an issue that deserves urgent consideration and contingency planning.

6.    Some companies are creating 'Cash Cushions' for every location, specially outside the US to prepare against the possibility of banks starting to freeze up despite all the work by governments to keep liquidity flowing.

D.   Three General Comments:  

1.  Human beings do not understand the nature of exponential curves. The spread of COVID could be exponential since most of the human population has not yet come into contact with Carriers.  only extreme measures taken over the next three to four weeks will give some hope to containment.  And businesses must do their part in containment NOW.

2.  Remote working will become far more normal than it has been before the crisis.

3.  Some companies are looking at this as an opportunity:  One felt this is an opportune time and is actively scouting for potential acquisitions at a favorable price.

We agreed that this was a very useful exchange of status and, depending upon the trajectory, it would be useful to continue the experience exchange going during this dynamic, unsettled phase of the COVID 19 crisis.

Anjan Lahiri

Chair, TiE New Jersey Tech CEO SIG

This event is by invitation only for TiE Charter members and invited guests. 

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TiE New Jersey

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