The Coronavirus crisis is global, and many businesses and organizations have enabled their employees to work from home. It is no different for state and local government agencies. Consider Seattle, one of the epicenters of the pandemic in the United States.
According to an article in the Wall Street Journal, Saad Bashir, Seattle’s Chief Technology Officer, and his team have taken measures to support the growing remote workforce by the use of Virtual-Private-Network (VPN) software that has now jumped to 3000 connections a day from 300. Their IT department has also developed an internal chatbot within a week to answer basic IT questions that the workforce might have.
Sagitec and our teams are also taking important steps and investing in new technology to ensure remote delivery for our clients, so they don’t get affected by the crisis.
Here are some measures we are taking which in turn are providing some additional benefits to our client teams:
Ensuring efficient remote IT delivery of services: Since our inception, we have leveraged technology to keep business running smoothly with many of our teams being offshore. We now apply these best practices and lessons learned for our clients too. We have enabled WFH for all our employees and provided some teams with new laptops, so they are not tied to their desktops at office locations. We have doubled our VPN connections internally at Sagitec to ensure stability in communications with clients and client teams. We also have secure site-to-site VPN connections between client offices and our offices to do provide remote administration of our solutions. We even helped one of our clients deploy a scalable VPN in just a couple of days so they could adhere to business continuity and our robust and scalable software architecture ensures we are able to support agencies in this time of need.
Maintaining clear communications: We are leveraging video conferencing on many platforms like Skype, Microsoft Teams, GoToMeeting and Zoom to ensure our communications internally and with our client teams don’t get affected in any way and we are able to maintain that personal connection. The advantages of video conferences over phone meetings are many – one is able to see facial expressions so cross-talk and speech overlap is curtailed, they are more personal than phone calls and more engaging. For some of our other clients we have been talking about quickly bringing up services like live chat, so members and participants have another communication venue, and contact representatives working from home can more easily serve them.
Investing in collaboration technologies: Sagitec is investing in smart boards like the Microsoft Surface Hub 2S and Dell touchscreen monitors that let teams collaborate remotely. These smart boards let teams in multiple locations work on the same project while whiteboarding, web conferencing, and marking up documents delivering true team flows. We have even placed high-quality professional stationary speakerphones that provide superior audio and seamless connectivity for larger meetings.
Suspending travel leading to efficiency gains: By suspending both national and international travel, Sagitec is playing its part in flattening the curve to slow the spread of the virus. Travel restrictions are not all gloom and doom though. Traveling takes up a lot of productive hours, especially if client locations are remote. Through the use of advanced collaboration technologies, we can bring the right resources to cater to a project more quickly, increasing efficiency and productivity. And the more efficient Sagitec is, the better the saving and value we provide to our clients. Maintaining clear communications as stated above is of prime importance to us and we are making sure none of our client teams face any problems due to our travel restrictions.
Exploiting technology available to us is imperative to get over this crisis. How are you or your company leveraging technology – write in the comments below?