Ed Berndt of Aspect Software discusses how preparedness is making all the difference in business continuity.
As a new week is on the horizon, it is important to briefly look back to see what has transpired as well as how we did. The words “Never Saw That Coming” have taken on a new meaning!
It is fair to say that many companies had IT business continuity plans for several disastrous “what-if” scenarios. Most revolved around the data centres not being able to operate. However, the state of the world surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is not about whether a data centre is working, but how a remote workforce can access it.
Upon reflection, it seems that companies are breaking into one of three categories in terms of manpower and systems business continuity:
- Ready and executing
- Almost ready (close enough-ish)
- Not ready but trying
In terms of Aspect Software in this breakdown, we came out on the “ready and executing” side.
As previously reported, we had a remote workplan, with 20% of our support teams working from home at any given time. Early last week, we conducted a disaster drill for all of our teams and asked 100% of them to work from home.
It was a test. We passed. When first discussed, our test was all about technology. Did our VPN have the bandwidth? Did our systems stand up to that many remote access points? Did our associates have appropriate support from their ISPs?
However, it turned into more than that. We found that additional questions needed to be asked: Did the associates have an appropriate workspace in terms of space, equipment, and ergonomics?
Did the associate have enough privacy given that many schools are closed and that many spouses/significant others/family members may be working from home as well?
Did the infrastructure of the building the associate was in have enough power? Did the ISP have the bandwidth? Etc., etc.
Our test went so well, and the world has progressed in the definition of social distancing, that Aspect made the decision to continue all customer support, professional services, cloud operations, educational services and more from a “work-from-home” model.
We learned so much, in fact, that we are launching a webinar series for customers to help folks make better use of the features of Aspect product. We also decided to take our learning and offer consulting engagements (delivered remotely) to our customers to assess readiness and offer suggestions and guidance.
These engagement offerings start out with no charge and, depending on how deep we are asked to go, may require some charge down the line. More to come in a follow-on post on both these topics.
In closing, we have seen an increase in call volume. We have had an associate diagnosed with COVID-19 and needed to take action in one of our offices. We have gone to a full work-at-home model. If you are ready for the same, great!