Crisis Management Consulting and Transition to Remote Work for an IT Company
The Customer is a US-based international IT services provider with 700 employees.
Due to a critical situation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Customer needed to move their employees to remote work within a week. The Customer had several challenges related to the transition to teleworking:
- Partially paper-based document management (e.g., legal and financial documents).
- Discrepancy of digital tools used at the company.
- Data security concerns.
- Lack of effective remote employee productivity assessment.
The Customer required a fully functional and safe digital environment for all company employees with necessary hardware and effective collaboration, content management and communication tools. The Customer didn’t have available in-house resources to manage the transition in a short period.
The Customer commissioned ScienceSoft to provide crisis management consulting services, including performing the company’s transition to remote work. The scope of ScienceSoft’s services included:
To enable timely and effective crisis response, ScienceSoft’s team analyzed the Customer’s current business processes and assessed the eligibility of the company’s employees to remote work. 10% of the employees were defined as key resources, which should continue to work from the office. They included several employees who handled legal paperwork, IT support staff who enabled remote access to local servers, and a team responsible for transportation and courier services. The rest of the employees were to move to remote work in two stages within a week.
Remote environment preparation
ScienceSoft’s team enabled stable access to the Customer’s internal infrastructure and cloud-based resources via Cisco AnyConnect VPN. The team provided guidelines for the Customer’s IT support staff on proper VPN configuration and internet channel. Since many of the Customer’s internal resources were accessible exclusively from the office, our team adjusted external access policies.
Collaboration and productivity tools optimization
ScienceSoft’s team reviewed the digital tools used by the Customer against new remote work conditions. The Customer’s employees used Confluence and SharePoint for document storage, Jira and Microsoft Project for project tracking, and Skype for Business, Slack and Microsoft Teams for collaboration. To enable the consistency of the Customer’s digital environment, ScienceSoft’s team suggested sticking to Microsoft tools. Since many live business processes relied on Jira and Confluence, our team prepared a plan for a smooth transition to Microsoft tools in the long run. The team suggested using Microsoft Project for project management, SharePoint for content management and Teams for cross-company collaboration, leaving Skype for Business as a backup tool.
Document lifecycle digitization
To reduce the amount of paperwork, ScienceSoft’s team suggested digitizing document management and introduced tools for managing e-documents and digital signature. The team integrated DocuSign with Office productivity tools to enable full automation of a life cycle of documents like contracts and work orders.
ScienceSoft’s team carried out full-scale vulnerability assessment and penetration testing of the Customer’s infrastructure. Based on the results, our team elaborated security guidelines related to access to the cloud and office environments, requesting and approving access rights, and more. These guidelines were published on the corporate internal portal.
To enhance the security of the Customer’s digital environment, ScienceSoft’s team blocked access to sensitive internal resources from the outside VPN and introduced additional security scanning of accessible resources. Our team also helped encrypt hard drives of workstations that employees took home from the office as well as activated the User Access Control feature for all remote workstations for better protection.
To enable the Customer to effectively track remote employee productivity, ScienceSoft’s team implemented a set of dedicated Power BI reports, such as timesheet reports, project status reports, web and app usage reports. These reports enabled the company’s managers to see the full picture of employee activities and their working hours on a daily basis, track progress of projects on a daily or weekly basis, and more.
ScienceSoft’s team conducted training on the overall smoothness of remote work and its security and compliance aspects. Our team also created guides on advanced capabilities of Microsoft Project, Teams and Power BI for the Customer’s employees and conducted training on using these tools.
The Customer had 60% of the employees moved to telework within 2 days and the next 30% within a week, which had no impact on the company’s business continuity. The Customer also obtained a functional and secure working environment across the office and remote employee workstations.
Digitizing most of the legal and financial paperwork allowed the Customer to reduce the load on courier services as well as decrease related expenses. New reporting functionality helped create full visibility into remote employee working activities and effectively monitor employee productivity. The consistency of digital tools used by the company’s employees helped accelerate business processes and improve collaboration.
Technologies and Tools
Cisco AnyConnect VPN, Office 365, DocuSign, Microsoft ADFS, Citrix ADC, RADIUS server, BitLocker, VeraCrypt.