The Chennai Floods: One Year Later

November 7, 2016 John Alarcon

DATAMARK adds new backup infrastructure in advance of the South Indian monsoon season

Nearly a year after the record-breaking floods in Chennai, India, work still goes on to clear storm water drain systems in preparation for the upcoming winter monsoon season, which occurs November through December.

Chennai is home to one of DATAMARK’s global business process outsourcing (BPO) facilities. The 2015 South Indian floods, as they are formally known, caused extensive damage (dollar estimates range from $3 billion to $15 billion) to communities in India’s southern states. In Chennai, the capital of the state of Tamil Nadu, transportation was disrupted by last year’s unprecedented flooding—roads and bridges were submerged, train service cancelled, and the Chennai airport was closed until early December.

India Floods

Raul Avila, DATAMARK’s Director of Far Shore Operations, recalled the tense days in early December of 2015, when a record amount of rain fell, leading to the worst flooding in some 100 years. Chennai was declared a disaster area, yet DATAMARK’s India team went to great lengths to ensure that there would be no serious disruptions of work for the company’s clients.

DATAMARK was fortunate that its India production facility suffered no significant physical damage. The biggest issue, Avila said, was the lack of transportation for employees to travel to and from work, and the loss of reliable cell phone service.

“We worked to find transportation for people who were able to work. And we were flexible with our staff who had to stay home to take care of damage and other issues,” Avila said. “The people who were fortunate enough not to be affected by the floods—they worked overtime to help make sure work for our clients continued.”

In advance of the disaster, DATAMARK also began shifting some work volume to the company’s other global sites, helping to maintain business continuity for clients. During the worst of the city shutdown, DATAMARK India managers and staff remained at the facility, working overtime. Some stayed at work for 24 hours at a time to manage shifts and find transportation for workers who needed it.

The remarkable efforts of DATAMARK’s India and other worldwide teams were honored with a prestigious “Bravo Zulu” award from one of the world’s largest overnight courier companies, which counts on DATAMARK to process important transportation documents to ensure on-time deliveries.

In presenting the recognition, company officials wrote:

“Most companies in the area had closed their doors for several days. However, in spite of the hardship in this situation, DATAMARK kept the doors open and was able to continue to process much of the work. As a result, the impact to our customers was minimized. This is a true sign of dedication and teamwork!”

As the anniversary of the great flood approaches, Avila said DATAMARK has spent the past year continuing to improve its backup and disaster recovery plans and infrastructure to benefit the company’s clients.

For example, DATAMARK recently opened a new facility in the city of Mumbai, on the opposite side of the country from Chennai.

“If weather or other event affects production in Chennai, work can easily be shifted seamlessly to Mumbai, and vice-versa,” Avila said.

 

If you would like to read the full case study we did about the 2015 Chennai floods please click here.

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Case Study: Prepared for Disaster
Case Study: Prepared for Disaster

DATAMARK's worldwide teams deliver business continuity during the 2015 South Indian Floods.

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