Ben Bishop

COO, XCD

Ben answers the questions our customers have been asking 

Current focus

Hello everyone, 

This week I wanted to write to you about how we are maintaining, and dare I say improving, our operational delivery whilst protecting our loved ones, friends and colleagues by adhering to the lockdown rules in the UK and India. 

You heard last week that our business continuity plans are now fully in execution mode, and all our people are working from home in their respective areas (UK, Bangalore and Kolkata).

We have set up internal communities to ensure that we continue to connect with everyone at XCD, and we have even had some competitions for the most “creative” home working spaces (all DSE compliant of course). Everyone is in good spirits and our planning, processes and investment in secure infrastructure is paying dividends.

We are also using this to great effect with you, our customers, who we recognise are particularly impacted either due to an unprecedented demand on your HR teams to assist your people, or managing some of the less palatable changes to Payroll, for example Furlough.

I thought I would share some Q&A on requests we have been getting from the XCD Community– if there are any other questions we have not answered here, please get in touch:

Q: What have you done to ensure Year End goes smoothly?

Despite everything happening around the world, some things are inevitable, and payroll year end is one of those events. We have fundamentally changed our approach to Year-End, which, as those of you who came to the special interest groups will know, meant creating a number of independent versions of our product.

This has meant that we can keep customers on the most appropriate version for the features they need. We are rolling this out for the first time this year and our teams have been deeply involved in all aspects of testing (and tweaking as UK Government reacts) this release.

Our release team have been working tirelessly to update your Sandbox environments, and our Support and QA teams have been beta testing a small number of (very helpful) customers to make sure it beds in well.

We are firmly on track to deliver this update to all our Payroll customers in time for the April switchover with no disruption to this schedule through the lockdown occurring in both the UK and India.

Q: I want to upgrade to XCD Lightning – Can XCD still assist me?

For customers going through the Lightning upgrades, or indeed considering an upgrade to the latest version – with some fantastic improvements in product functionality, usability , look and feel, we can again assure you that our Business Continuity and CyberEssentials security means that we are delivering these projects as normal.

In fact, we are improving our process around this, with a view to being able to accelerate the upgrades and ensure that you stay compliant with the Salesforce roadmap as well as benefit from our enhanced product. All our Roadmap effort is focussed on the Lightning versions, so we hope you take advantage of this soon. 

Q: Is your Customer Support still available as normal?

Our Support teams remain on hand to assist you and again there has been no disruption whatsoever in our service provision. We would encourage you at this time to make full use of the community portal for logging and reviewing your calls, and also we continue to build on the XCD knowledgebase, with further articles being published over the last week, bringing the total to 101 published articles.

Again, for those interested in Year-End there is a fantastic Year End Process guide published just last week by Brittney. For those not familiar with the portal, you can find a link to it in the top right-hand corner of our website. Sign in with your XCD login. The Articles can be found by searching in the top search box, and then choosing Articles in the Search results below. 

Q: I want to implement some new functionality – can you still help?

As you would expect, we have stopped travel to all client sites at this time. However, we are successfully working remotely with several clients to continue existing projects and kick off new ones.

We have invested in further tools to make this process easier, and we have put guidelines in place to ensure we don’t get “digital fatigue”. This includes limiting remote consultancy sessions to half a day (either 9:30 to 1pm, or 1:30Pm to 5pm) and using Microsoft Teams with Video and Microsoft Whiteboard to share ideas. We’re also using our Marker.io and Jira tools extensively to help capture and manage activity throughout the implementation phases of your projects.

This is working so well that we will consider continuing this post lockdown to save on travel expenses for you and reduce our Carbon Footprint – site visits will be available as soon as is possible, however, it will of course be your choice.

Homeworking

One thing the homeworking has provided is an insight into our colleagues and customers lives. We have been introduced to children, pets and indeed sometimes unruly spouses 😊.

It’s been fun and completely understandable – for me, it makes the whole current episode much more “human”, and for those who have been exposed to my 2 Sphynx cats jumping on my shoulder mid-conference call, I can only (slightly) apologise.

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