While IT in general is always looking to move forward, sometimes there are trigger points which dictate a rapid – and often unplanned – change, which can then be utilised in general, day to day use, rather than as a one-off response.
Sometimes this arrives in the form of a critical customer requirement whose priority is elevated and which then becomes a part of a mainstream product. Other times it is as a result of a global event such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Yes, there is barely a software vendor out there who hasn’t sought to find a positive angle about its product in these strange and unsettling times, but often the connection is tenuous to say the least. However, in the case of ITSM, the relevance of integrating crisis management couldn’t be greater.
The pandemic has forced companies to reappraise the bigger picture as to where their staff operate from and how to support them in those – often new – work environments. From a technology standpoint, every element is already in place to manage this “new normal”. The trick here is about adapting how that technology is used to support that changing workforce. As IT has developed over the past two decades, from more ubiquitous – and affordable – broadband Internet to cloud-based deployment, the emergence of self-service portals and the ability to manage a workforce from almost anywhere in the world – even via a smartphone – have enabled IT to operate a flexible, distributed model, supporting the workforce wherever they might be located, from anywhere.
As a result of the needs of post-pandemic hit industry, Sunrise has added a Crisis Management module to its service delivery platform. While this is especially relevant right now, with respect to Covid-19, it is equally relevant to any crisis scenario such as those caused by fire, flooding, earthquakes and other natural disasters, or indeed the result of terrorist activity, for example. It might even be relevant for a simple but marked change in operations, such as the impact of a merger between two companies. But taking the Covid-19 crisis as an example, the software is able to bring together all the relevant areas – such as announcements, contacts, status (e.g. staff that are furloughed), place of work, any data breaches etc – and create points of focus, enabling potential problems to be far more easily resolved, or – better still – avoided in the first place. An example might be that – with basic analysis – it becomes clear that VPN capacity needs to be immediately increased, in order to provide secure remote connections to a new group of homeworkers.
Key to the success of remotely supporting a workforce is to give them access to as much useful information as possible, while making the whole process of problem reporting and solving as simple as possible. Even in an office environment a user is prone to panic in the event of a problem arising which impacts on their immediate work. In a remote environment, that panic is likely to be elevated and the last thing a support team wants – and needs – is to be inundated with emergency phone calls. In a situation, such as during the pandemic lockdown, where a user is forced out of their comfort zone, that potential for panic and resulting costly support requirements is greater than ever. Providing a dedicated, centralised management module then, for such a scenario, makes a huge amount of sense, not simply for that moment in time, but for any similar potential scenario. And in what is an increasingly uncertain world, the only certainty is that there will be more crisis points along the way!