by Jay Malin, Managing Director
We started this current health crisis like many organizations with a business continuity plan that anticipated disasters such as acts of war or inclement weather and not a pandemic. For each business, continuity of operations, disaster recovery, and risk analytics takes on different meanings specific to their operating environment. For a critical “cloud” software communications provider to local government and utilities, we need to be prepared for a variety of situations that could impact operations. That being said, I wanted to reflect upon our observations as we seek to continually improve our operational posture.
We knew that AGENT511’s leadership and delivery teams were ready to work from home as we had been working flexibly for years. In light of the global pandemic, we were fortunate that many of our off-shore developers, typically tied to their offices, were able to securely work from home with limited interruption. In addition, we identified new solutions and because of cross-training we had implemented earlier, were able to quickly transition workloads while all staff members connected remotely. Our key vendors and contractors deliver to us global support so that even in the event some staff were unavailable, the work could be shifted.
In order to overcome the impact of personal and professional isolation, team members have been more intimately checking-in our own staff, as well as our vendors and clients. One of our colleagues felt that in order to boost morale and connectedness we instituted a weekly virtual happy hour with team members and their families joining to discuss “life”. There were several remote – and even nearby family children and spouses with whom we’ve had the chance to engage. Mental health wellness is just as important during this unprecedented time.
Technology infrastructure as it turns out has not been a gating factor during this pandemic and our resilient, redundant cloud services were operationally ready in advance of this crisis. Our only challenge attributed to limited travel was an upgrade to client physical infrastructure which was instead carefully performed by an on-premise datacenter technician. What may come out of this pandemic are new technology solutions that privately and securely communicate user information needed for contact tracing and proof of immunity. One interesting technology area for this is decentralized identity (DID) built upon distributed ledger technologies.
Our utility and emergency dispatch customers are naturally overburdened during this crisis and we’ve sought to provide any needed assistance in the area of communication tools and capacity. Constituent communications whether customer, partner, or employee is critical during this time and we’ve been flexible in our customer relationships. Some anticipated projects are delayed but so many others have been accelerated as organizations seek to expand engagement. We are fortunate that our business was well positioned to weather this crisis and serve the market.
In closing, the key is people – and not just our core team, but our contractors, partners, vendors, and clients. Checking-in and virtual happy hours in order to maintain sanctity may be as critical as cross-training and geographic diversity of resources.
To my colleagues and friends – please stay safe!