Indian IT & ITES Industry is one of the leading contributors to GDP, Exports and Growth. The industry contributed over $130 billion in export revenue and employed over 4 million educated technology professionals. The industry is playing a key role in digitisation and has become a hub of innovation and venture funding.

The industry employs a large number of professionals and companies typically have multi-entity multi-location presence leading to complex compliance environment.

Our Client

Our client is a leading player in the IT Industry in India. They are present in 10 different office locations across 5 states. The client was facing serious challenges in day to day tracking of compliances across all its office locations. Some of the key issues are as given below:

  • Poor Understanding of POSH Act and various related compliances
  • Lack of awareness of the IT Act, Batteries Act and e-Waste Management Act
  • Lack of clarity on other applicable Acts and Compliances
  • Poor access to periodic Legal Updates
  • Penalties on account of delays in various critical filings
  • Missed display compliances in various offices
  • Lot of time spent on getting status of compliances across the company
  • Missed compliances on account of human errors
  • Poor awareness of risks arising out of non-compliance

Our client needed a solution that could help them address day to day tracking of company wide compliances. The client was dealing with several statutory notices and often lost control on documents, working files and statuses. There were several compliances driven by the multinational parent as well which needed to be tracked and managed.

Avantis Engagement

Avantis engaged with the client in Mid 2017. A team of 2 subject matter experts was constituted to work with the Company Secretary who was also playing the role of the Compliance officer. The team spent 3 business days at their headquarters based in Mumbai and interviewed their leadership to understand their business and compliance requirements better.

The implementation of AVACOM (Avantis Compliance Automation Solution) was initiated thereafter.

Phase 1 - Business Discovery

This phase of the project focussed on understanding the client business to establish the applicability of Acts / compliances.Comprehensive information was collated via in-person interviews / meetings / discussions with key stakeholders in the company.The following items were collated:

  • Business Set up ( Entities, Sub-Entities, Locations, Number and Nature of establishments, Employee Strength)
  • Products & Services (Type of Services, Network and Computing Equipment)
  • Internal Compliances (CMMi, ITIL, ISO 27001)

Phase 2 - Compliance Applicability Assessment

In this phase, Avantis team analysed all the information gathered and created a comprehensive list of applicable Acts and compliances by

  • Entity / Sub-Entity
  • Compliance Categories (Labour, Finance & Taxation, EHS, Commercial, Secretarial, Industry Specific & Other Local Laws)
  • IT Systems (Desktops, Laptops, Network Equipment, Servers, Storage)
  • Establishment Types

Avantis team identified various licenses, registrations permissions, consent orders, approvals and renewal requirements across all their offices. There were 71 Acts found applicable with over 2,800 compliances across 5 states. These included 1,010 event based and an additional 1,489 on-going compliances. In addition, there were 295 returns, registers and challans on a monthly basis as well.

A gap assessment was done and it uncovered several critical gaps between statutory requirement and actual requirements which were met by the company.

Phase 3- Implementation

In this phase, all the entities, sub entities and locations were configured in AVACOM.

This phase is the most critical phase of the project. During this phase, Avantis assigned a 2 member team of subject matter experts to work with the client’s project team. This phase lasted about 2 weeks during which the following items were accomplished:

  • Map the Client Organisation (Group, Entities, Sub-Entities, Locations, Departments)
  • Review of identified applicable Acts and Compliances with respective department heads
  • Discussion on identified gaps with department heads and compliance head
  • Mapping of Compliances to specific users along with their roles
  • Hands on training sessions with user groups based on their locations and roles
  • Activation of system for a predetermined go-live date
  • In addition, abstracts of various key acts were prepared, printed and displayed in various offices
  • A comprehensive review of pending renewals and delayed returns was done and one time clean up activity was conducted

The client was keen to leverage IOS and Android based mobile Apps to stay on top of their compliance. Our team helped them download the app and securely sign in and start using. A total of 66 users were identified across the organisation mapped to performer, reviewer, approver and management roles.

In Conclusion

At Avantis, we made some unique observations on the challenges faced by the IT & ITES industry in India. Since this industry has grown rapidly, so has the compliance requirements. Often, there is no dedicated compliance officer for mid-size companies in this industry. The CFO / CHRO plays a dual role of a compliance officer as well. As a result, the understanding of applicability of Acts and Compliance is low and they need greater support and assistance in a timely and accurate compliance.

However, we observed that the users in our client organisation were savvy and were quick to adopt the new solution. They were excited at the prospect of leveraging a state of the art, web and mobile based product to bring greater transparency, efficiency and control. We feel that IT & ITES can benefit greatly by migrating their current ad-hoc, people dependent and paper based compliance program to a predictable, process based and digital program.

Project Highlights