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Automating a Retailer’s Workforce Management During a Pandemic

Read more about the journey of a resilient retail leader who acted quickly to automate their workforce management during this global crisis.

Businesses in every industry have been presented with unprecedented challenges due to COVID-19. These challenges continue to change and shift as we move from lockdowns and self-isolation through the various stages of reopening and recovery. In a recent interview with EnterpriseTalk, Mo Masud, Executive Director, Strategic Accounts and Emerging Markets, explains how Ness has supported a national retailer along each stage of this evolution to automate manual processes from on/offboarding to exposure management.

Article highlights include:

The Challenge

From an IT perspective, there were several tasks made challenging by both the need to work remotely and the fact that they were in simple spreadsheets that required manual input. This included: coordinating the collection and reclamation of IT hardware devices from vendors and associates who had been offboarded; re-harvesting or recovering the cost of unused software licenses or subscriptions; ensuring application access was terminated smoothly across all devices and accounts to prevent security breaches; and coordination of the hand-offs across multiple functional areas during the offboarding process.

Rapid Offboarding

In response, Ness and the national retailer developed a rapid offboarding solution that synthesized features from their enterprise digital workflow platform, existing HR systems, and modern digital workflow capabilities to consolidate spreadsheets, emails, and disparate data into one master application governed by rules-based workflows. This allowed the retailer to streamline and prioritize processes and data – while controlling costs and reducing compliance risk.

Exposure Management Solution

As the pandemic progressed, the next evolution of the initiative came when it was time to begin opening and running stores again, while still in the midst of a pandemic. This required new protocols, rapid adoption of changing public health guidelines, the additional expense of implementing retail safety standards, and, most importantly, ensuring the health and safety of its employees and customers. This was the genesis of the COVID Exposure Management Solution.

Click here to read the full article on workforce management during a pandemic.

Boston Red Sox Score Big with Salesforce

Learn how the Boston Red Sox are leveraging Salesforce to create better customer experiences.

As the global pandemic continues, organizations are looking for ways technology can help them adapt to this new normal. In a recent interview with CIO, Jason Lumsden, Director of IT for the Boston Red Sox, talks about discovering the advantages and challenges of relying on technology to satisfy the Red Sox Nation. In particular, Jason details how the Red Sox, in partnership with Sovereign CRM, a Ness Digital Engineering Company, consolidated multiple CRMs and are now leveraging Salesforce to realize operational efficiencies.

Improving the Customer Journey with Salesforce

Discover how the Red Sox improved their customer journey by focusing on having the most relevant information at their fingertips so they can help their customers as quickly as possible. Key topics include:

  • What were the key challenges with customers (fans) and the sales team
  • What do sales teams need from IT and what prevents IT from meeting those needs
  • How can a CIO foster greater trust between IT and sales
  • How did Salesforce help solve your challenges
  • What tools can improve communications between IT and sales
  • What advice is recommended to other CIOs

Click here to read the full interview.

Ness Connection: Meet our CEO, Ranjit Tinaikar

Welcome to Ness Connection, a new series featuring Q&A with our thought leaders and innovative trailblazers. This series is a direct connection for you to get to know what drives our team and learn some interesting facts about them along the way. In our first edition, meet Ranjit Tinaikar, Ness CEO. He brings a unique perspective as CEO, having worked on the demand side with CTOs and the supply side with service providers. Ranjit’s objectives are clear – to make Ness a top 5 pure play digital engineering firm that every Nessian is be proud to be part of.

Q: What does the concept of creating value for customers mean to you? 

A: One of my most cherished clients helped me make the distinction between a product or offering – what we sell; and what is customer’s value – what they buy. The two are often confused. My client was the newly elected Honorable Prime Minister, Jigme Thinley, of Bhutan – a small Himalayan mountain kingdom that had just transitioned from monarchy to democracy. It is a country famous for measuring its development in terms of Gross National Happiness.

I was presenting to the newly formed Bhutanese cabinet on a new tourism strategy. Most tourists visiting Bhutan travel to the same few places due to its mountainous terrain and poor infrastructure – resulting in overloading the local ecosystem. My idea was to distribute the tourist traffic across the country by building four helipads as it would expand tourist destinations and reduce investments in building large landing strips. But the Honorable PM didn’t like it. I was surprised and he saw it. He asked me, “Ranjit, what do you think is the tourist product of Bhutan?” I thought the answer was obvious. “The product is Bhutan’s breathtaking natural beauty, the mystical Buddhist monasteries, and the rich cultural traditions of a mountain kingdom,” I said with confidence.

And then PM Thinley said something that guides my insight into customer value to this day. He said, “Ranjit, the product of Bhutan is not the monasteries, the religion or nature. The real product of Bhutan is tranquility and preservation of nature. It’s central to what we call Gross National Happiness. If you place helicopters flying 300m above your head, you destroy tranquility and peace in our valleys – our core value proposition.” While fixed-wing aircrafts were more expensive, this was the path they chose. That was a valuable lesson to me because we tend to think about value in a self-centered way in terms of “what can I sell”. You often need to release your agenda and personal biases to see the value from the customer’s perspective. In this case, I was trying to describe a value my commercial conception was for the tourists as customers, not that of my client who valued Gross National Happiness, not Gross Domestic Product. I keep this example in mind as I interact with our customers to remember what value truly means.

Q: Everyone has their morning routine to help get their day going. What are the most important parts to starting your day off on the right foot?

A: I have been a traveling professional all my life, and the pandemic has temporarily changed this aspect. I now have a more regular morning routine at home, where I wake up around 6 am. I reserve the first 30-45 minutes to catch up with my wife over a cup of tea with ginger (which happens to be a favorite beverage that reminds me of my childhood). While it can be very tempting to pick up my iPhone and jump right into my day, I try very hard to resist this temptation. Starting my day off like this keeps me grounded for the rest of the day. I truly believe a positive state of mind is essential and shapes how you react to situations throughout the day. I find that interactions with colleagues are more positive and productive when you enter your day with the right frame of mind.


Q: When you think of leadership, who has influenced you the most, and what does leadership mean to you? 

A: I’m not going to reference any of the well-known leadership books because I haven’t had to go far to see what true leadership means. I see tremendous leadership in my home around me every day. Watching my wife raising two children has been an excellent example of leadership. I firmly believe leadership requires three important attributes, which you often see in mothers and caring parents. You need to have:

  1. Conviction: The ability to always know what’s right and wrong.
  2. Courage: The ability to stand by your convictions and fight for what’s right/wrong.
  3. Consistency: The ability to be courageous each day.

And since we are on alliterations, I would add a fourth C of leadership – Charisma.

Q: Tell us a little about your office. What do you keep on your desk?

A: We are a global and virtual community, and so the physical space of my office is less important to me as most of our colleagues and clients are often miles away. I have hardly used my office since I started, (due to the pandemic), and have managed to engage many of our colleagues without using the physical office. When I’m not physically in the office, anyone in the company is open to use it. I do keep three photos near and dear to me – one of my family, a photo with Colin Powell (whom I met two years ago), and a picture of me wearing a skirt with Bhutan’s Prime Minister. I also display a small award that was a big success as a reminder of a special time in my career.

Q: What excites you most about being the CEO of Ness?

A: Ness is in the digital engineering market where demand is outstripping supply. The pandemic has only accelerated the ongoing digital transformation as the entire world, stuck in legacy technology, desperately grapples with clutches of this dated infrastructure and processes. In these times, Ness is the right size organization with the right level of agility to quickly adapt to clients’ needs and provide much-needed services that are most in-demand such as, product engineering, cloud migration, data modernization, machine learning and artificial intelligence. The market needs these value-added services, and quite frankly, there are not enough of these capabilities out there. For this reason, I believe this market will grow by 20-30%. Just by being in this market creates tremendous growth opportunities for our employees. Ness can be 2-4x bigger in the future, giving our employees expanded opportunities to run large teams who may not be in senior leadership positions today.

If you look at this market, there are few pure-play digital engineering firms, and Ness is poised to break into the top 5 in this space. I come to work not to work for a me too IT services organization, but I want to be part of something special where we have a reputation for discovering, envisioning and engineering digital solutions of the future – where we walk the talk in our Marketing tagline: Discover. Envision. Engineered. That’s what excites me the most – being part of the Ness story.

Q: What’s on your to-do list?

A: My professional and personal passions are deeply intertwined. Visiting our various offices and customers around the globe has been and is still very much at the top of my list. One of the great things about Ness is that we are a global company with some fascinating locations culturally and geographically. I’m a history buff and love to experience history through culture, language, food, and stories. Now that my wife and I are empty-nesters, I anticipate even more travel and meeting more interesting people in the future.

Q: What does the future of this space/industry look like?

A: I think for the foreseeable future (the next 4-5 years), we’re going to see exponential growth primarily driven by two main areas on the customer side. Every industry will get rapidly transformed by digital technology through cloud, data, and machine learning. Simultaneously, the proliferation of new technologies will not slow down anytime soon; it will increase even further. We will see entirely new industries emerge – you will see that the various industries’ traditional boundaries will change. Financial services will not be financial services because Google and Apple are in financial services. Retailers will end up in logistics. TV and cable companies will become media companies. Media companies will become entertainment companies, and so on. There is a whole set of changes and transformations in the industrial structure and competitive landscape that Ness will be integral to because we will be building bridges to that future. The potential is not just in terms of growth, but the kind of problems we will be asked to solve will become increasingly complex and increasingly challenging. Therefore, Ness will attract some of the smartest and highest performing people on the planet.

Q: What’s the one word or phrase you use to describe Ness and why?

A: Engineers who take pride in solving complex problems. What I love about Ness is the classic engineering culture – we say it like it is and relish the thought of proactively identifying and solving our customers’ problems.

Q: You mentioned the pandemic had changed your morning routine. How have you been handling taking care of yourself during the pandemic?

A: Like many people, I’m trying to keep as much structure as possible as things continue to change all around us. I carve out time in my schedule to find a way to get outside of the confines of my home safely. When serving a global customer base and delivery footprint, it’s not always easy to have regular working hours. As often as possible, I get out my earbuds after 5:30 pm and take non-confidential calls as I walk in Central Park. On a given day, I walk up to 8 miles. When you’re stuck in one place all day, it’s not good for the mind or body. These long walks help me find a balance.

Learn how you can become a part of #LifeAtNess by visiting our careers page.

2020 Golden Bridge Award Winner in Company Innovation

Ness Digital Engineering, a global provider of digital transformation solutions, is honored to be recognized by the 2020 Golden Bridge Awards as a bronze winner in the Company Innovation of the Year category for our work designing digital solutions to enable business continuity and employee safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Innovation by Automating Manual Processes for Off/Onboarding

In partnership with a large retailer, Ness developed a solution that automates many of the manual processes that would have been overwhelmed during the rapid, fast-moving stages of the global pandemic crisis.

In the early days of the pandemic, it became clear that a significant number of employees would need to be offboarded as on-site operations halted. From an IT perspective, there were several tasks made challenging by both the volume of offboarding coupled with the need to work remotely (i.e., reclamation of hardware devices, recovering unused software, and terminating access). These tasks were initially being managed in simple spreadsheets that required time-consuming manual input that was prone to human error. Ness and the retailer developed a rapid offboarding solution that synthesized features from the cloud computing platform and modern digital workflow capabilities to consolidate spreadsheets, emails and disparate data into one master application governed by rules-based workflows. This streamlined offboarding process naturally lent itself to accelerating the onboarding process when the time came.

Exposure Management Solution

The next evolution of the initiative came when it was time to begin opening and running stores again, while still in the midst of a pandemic. This required new protocols, rapid adoption of changing public health guidelines, the additional expense of implementing retail safety standards and, most importantly, ensuring the health and safety of its employees and customers. This was the genesis of the COVID Exposure Management Solution. A case management solution was designed on the customer’s existing enterprise cloud platform to track potential and confirmed COVID cases across its retail stores and corporate offices. This significantly reduced risk and the administrative burden of tracking this information, allowed for faster adoption of local health guidelines, and helped ensure business continuity by providing insight into potential safety risks or hot spots across its store network.

A Proactive Approach

With the COVID Exposure Management Solution, the retailer is able to proactively identify and manage any potential outbreak within its workforce and take steps to prevent business shutdowns in the future, all while reducing the administrative burden and expense associated with implementing new and ever-changing safety guidelines.

To learn more about the 2020 Golden Bridge Awards in Company Innovation, click here.

Úspěšné pokračování příprav projektu pro Digitální Technické Mapy

Minulý týden úspěšně proběhl webinář s názvem „Žádná retro DTM, ale opravdové digitální dvojče vašeho kraje II., aneb co chcete vědět o DTM, ale zatím jste se nikde nedozvěděli“. Pilně pracujeme na vývoji informačního systému pro projekt Digitálních technických map České republiky, a tak jsme na setkání představili, jak pokračují přípravy.

Setkání bylo organizováno ve spolupráci s partnerem, společností Hexagon, a navazovalo na obdobnou akci, kterou jsme uspořádali jako osobní setkání v červnu tohoto roku.
Na semináři vystoupila se svými prezentacemi celá řada hostů z ČUZK, z IPR Praha i z řad zástupců krajských úřadů. Rovněž Ness konzultanti přispěli s novinkami z vývoje našeho produktu ISTEM (informační systém technické mapy).

O seminář byl enormní zájem a zúčastnilo se jej bezmála 60 hostů nejen ze všech krajských úřadů, ale i z ČUZK, ŘSD, SŽ a dalších státních institucí.

Děkujeme za kvalitní hodnocení semináře a poděkování našich hostů a těšíme se na pokračování.

Elevating the Modern Online Experience

The world has changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, this “new normal” has created both opportunities and challenges for every industry. In an interview for RegalixTV, Pete Rogers, Executive Vice President & General Manager, speaks with RegalixTV host Dheeraj Prasad about the modern online experience relating to retail, digital learning, and changes in companies’ go-to-market (GTM) strategies.

Interview Highlights & Takeaways:

  1. Increasing Demand in Online Retail 
    • While online shopping is not new, the realities of COVID-19 have increased e-commerce and placed more of an emphasis on logistics, distribution, telematics, and route optimization.
  2. Alleviating Increased Pressure on Call Centers 
    • At a time when they are in the highest demand, call centers have been hit with a double whammy. They are operating on a limited number of employees at a time when their incoming calls are at an all-time high. Hear how to balance customer service between technology and human interactions.
  3. Balancing Online Learning 
    • With a shifting emphasis to online learning, both in the formal sector and in professional development training, we are seeing an increased demand for more creative and innovative ways to communicate the necessary information.
  4. Enabling Distributed Work 
    • How are companies organizing themselves in a workflow management fashion to enable widely distributed teams to communicate properly?
  5. Adopting New Go-To-Market (GTM) Strategies 
    • Understanding when technology is the answer vs. human interaction in order for customers to feel comfortable. In turn, ensuring that a multi-tiered set of capabilities is provided to address their needs.  

Click here to watch the full interview.


Case Study


The Challenge

A top 5 diamond manufacturer found themselves facing regulatory pressure to provide transparency around their supply chain. Their best practices principles process (BPP) – addressing their KYC requirements – was time-consuming, manual and difficult to keep up to date. Thereby, exposing the client to significant regulatory and monetary risk.

The Solution

At Ness, we used our research-driven approach and the Kano model to understand the current state via many client and end-customer interviews, mapped customer journeys and built an optimized, new, more intuitive and effective platform.

The Results

Today, 2,800 entities across the diamond industry – which together employ more than 350,000 people – maintain compliance with the BPP standards. The BPP Smart System has become a flagship product for them and has had a positive impact on their brand as a whole.


Case Study


The Challenge

A trusted cloud technology outsourcing company was looking to scale its operations in order to get more people in jobs.

Their existing platform had many layers of integrations and their processes relied heavily on manual input; the business is rapidly expanding and their existing platform and processes were unable to scale accordingly.

The Solution

Over a 5-week Discovery phase, Ness worked closely with them to align the departmental teams through a range of workshops and pull together various sources of knowledge. The teams co-created opportunities to tackle the challenge of scaling whilst measuring against their defined needs and vision from both business process and technology perspectives.

The Results

In the end, Ness developed a strategized roadmap with a prioritized backlog of projects. Which provided the client with a clear path to achieve their goals, resulting in 20-30% increased availability and responsiveness of the platform for the end-users.


Case Study


The Challenge

A publicly traded construction machinery and equipment company, which specializes in advanced predictive analytics and expert advisory services across vessel or fleet of vessels by monitoring the performance of marine engines, was looking to increase revenue and consolidate its technology.

As the vessel operator deals with millions of data points, the client needed to unify data, which often comes in various formats, provide its crew with immediate insight into critical system conditions, and suggest corrective actions for any potential issues.

The Solution

Ness built a new product, the Alert and Notification Service, which sends SMS messages and email notifications to dealers, customers, and technical staff based on user subscriptions. We also developed the Value Dashboard, which visualizes real-time data and engine effectiveness metrics like running hours, fuel consumption, fleet utilization and vessel state hours, while bringing together data from different platforms and data sources.

The Results

The client is now able to handle the estimated volume of alerts, which is 25 million messages per year, and suggest corrective actions.