In a candid interview, Vinay Bhartia, India Head, Lark Communications opens up about the company’s efforts in helping businesses collaborate in the era of the coronavirus pandemic.
Q: Please tell us in brief about Lark’s journey? How has the scheme of things been at Lark during the global era of social distancing?
Lark is an all-in-one next-generation communication and collaborative platform which enables teams to work together. The platform builds a culture of effective communication by combining a multitude of essential tools in a single interconnected platform, including Chat, Video Conferencing, Live Streaming, Documents & Sheets, Cloud storage, AI-powered auto-translation, multi-time zone view in Calendar and many more. All functionalities are deeply integrated into a single app, which is available on Mac, PC, iOS, and Android.
Watch-brief about Lark’s journey
The current lockdown has encouraged more and more organizations to collaborate remotely using digital platforms to ensure business continuity. To help people and businesses in need, we recently announced Lark being available for free in India to ensure that we empower businesses to adopt new-age tools and solutions. The service is also extended for free to individuals, businesses & educational Institutes including, schools, colleges, and coaching classes across India, enabling remote working between teachers and students that will effectively and rapidly manage workflow. We are currently working with many organizations across verticals such as education, not for profits, pharma, and healthcare to help organizations to connect seamlessly and provide business continuity while boosting productivity through an affordable and sustainable digital tool.
It is our commitment to provide accessibility via digital collaboration tools and enable individuals and organizations regardless of size to operate effectively with no additional cost at the time of need to support the community.Vinay Bhartia, India Head, Lark Communications
Q: How long do you think the advantage of collaboration tools will persist in the post-COVID-19 world?
The COVID-19 pandemic has posed many challenges for organizations in terms of business continuity. To overcome this challenge, businesses have started adopting collaborative tools enabling their workforce to work remotely without losing business continuity. And it is working, as productivity rates are higher all across using collaborative tools to connect remotely. Businesses are adopting collaborative tools to enable their workforce to work remotely without losing business continuity. And it is working well, as productivity rates are higher all across.
With this adoption of technology, businesses are taking a leap towards digitization, realizing that these platforms can help manage and execute their tasks with the additional benefit of being more economical and time-saving. As more and more businesses are experiencing the ease of using remote collaborative tools, the convenience it offers, we believe that we are in the midst of a cultural shift in the way the businesses operate. Corporates will be more accepting of remote working options and will consider it as a viable alternative for employees whenever necessary. Just to cite some examples, many companies like Twitter, Microsoft, Google, TCS have announced it as a part of their long term business strategy because it also helps cut down costs and offers safety in an unpredictable environment.
Q: Collaboration tools have found new avenues today because of the lockdown. What innovations can help you retain the audience once we return to normal life?
Collaborative platforms have brought together people from different groups to connect with each other for various purposes. We have entered a new phase of digitization where by using collaborative tools, team members can jump from the boardroom to their personal devices while keeping the conversation going. Also for students, classes and assignments are conducted remotely without breaking the flow of lectures and virtual social gatherings are also witnessing new heights. Technology has empowered unprecedented collaboration in the workplace, from AI wearables to VR presentations to smart whiteboards to a world without emails.
The collaborative tools will go a long way in redefining our lifestyle. In future, the concept of ‘phygital’ offices, which will be a hybrid of digital and physical office space, will become popular due to the gaining prominence of office automation tools. There are apps to automate the entire business by integrating all the collaborative tools in one place (under a single app) making it a faster and more organized system. Organisations are already considering an alternate work model where they can cut costs through a complete virtual experience involving collaborative tools. To support communication ecosystem,
Lark in its own unique way is playing a key role in enabling business continuity during the time of lockdown and is empowering professionals and organizations to become productive and remain connected.
Q: What about privacy concerns? Is the cybersecurity issue being overplayed or is it a valid deterrent?
It is important for customers to know and make sure that the platform they are using is safe and secured. The platforms need to make their users and potential customers aware of the safety standards deployed and how they are ensuring end-to-end encryption for better security and additional privacy.
At Lark, the security of user data is of utmost importance to us. We ensure that our consumers are equipped with the highest measures of security. Lark has passed some of the most authoritative and dependable information security standards in the world, including ISO 27701, which is the international standard for Privacy Information Management, ISO 27018, ISO 27001, SOC 2, and SOC 3 certifications.
Also, Lark ensures business security by only allowing the authorized team to invite, add, or delete users to Lark for the company. This ensures relevant teams are getting relevant information in a secure manner. Moreover, when an employee leaves, he/she is automatically removed from all workgroups instantly with no access to any past or present communication.
Q: What are your plans at Lark and go-to strategy during the pandemic and as lockdowns reopen worldwide?
With organizations rapidly adapting remote collaboration strategy and tools to ensure business continuity, the demand for communication and essential office tools has risen. The collaborative tools have gained popularity and are here to stay even after the lockdown reopens. Lark is prepared to meet that demand through our robust outreach plan.
We are building a loyal customer base by providing a dedicated customer helpline, creating awareness around our platform while educating our potential customers through webinars/workshops. Through our partnership programs, we are partnering with multiple channel partners – distributors, ISVs, and resellers to expand our footprint in the country. We will increase our network to work with more distributors to ensure the Lark suite reaches all professionals who require a one-platform solution for all their office needs.