Blogs

  • A number of companies were represented at the first virtual local HDI Chapter held in June of 2020 meeting including US Bank, TEKsystems, SAIF, Samaritan Health, OSU, Legacy Health, CompTIA, BridgeTech, and Temple University.

     

    Lessons learned

    All organizations had to do quick expansion of work from home programs. Overall, 25% reported the shift to telework required “Hurculean effort” while 42% reported the process to be “easy peasy.” The remainder (33%) classified the work as requiring a “moderate effort.” All agreed that heavy reliance on collaboration tools has helped in the new paradigm.

     Contributions:

    • A significant differentiator for ease of transition to a home workplace was existing laptop inventory and percent of employees who already had laptops.  Some deployed desktops for use at home. Often without wireless cards, these were either cabled or needed external WiFi cards - and education for how to use them.
    • Work environments (specifically a call center) where people shared desks faced additional challenges.
    • Many found procurement of equipment for use with remote work to be a challenge (laptops, web cams, headsets, etc.) One of our members sourced laptops quickly by renting them.
    • Some organizations experienced challenges with VPN capacity. In one instance, ongoing demand is now 3x even the highest historical volumes.
    • Healthcare organizations experienced additional complexities empowering doctors to perform televisits noting challenges spanning from equipment to insurance billing.
    • Defining specific work-streams with different teams was reported to be very successful for one our participants.
    • For several, maturation of collaboration tools had to be fast-tracked. Teams was the most commonly used (83%), though Slack, Skype, Zoom and WebEx were also mentioned. Many expressed that this experience is likely to result in a long-term shift in functionality and usage patterns of the collaboration tool-set.
    • It was reported that bandwidth for video was found to contribute to sound quality issues. Disabling video helped improve audio quality.
    • One organization mailed coffee mugs to everyone in the company with an intent to boost morale. Even cooler – it had the side bonus of encouraging people to schedule “virtual” coffee breaks with each other.

     

    Looking ahead

    67% of participants have started planning for return to work, though none volunteered that their organizations were in a hurry to return to the office. Many acknowledged a potential for impacts to their organization’s financials due to the pandemic.

    Contributions:

    • Most are finding the remote workforce to be productive. In fact, some are evaluating keeping segments of their workforce telecommuting. One is now 100% remote and evaluating permanent downsizing of facility space.
    • Several infection prevention approaches were mentioned as either being in place or considered. Measures included temperature checks, required training, written compliance agreements, workspace and terminal cleaning, mask protocols, and space planning to maximize physical distancing for desks.'
    • One participant said that they are working to establish plans to creatively address situations where folks who visit the IS team(s) but choose not to adhere to mask and other safety protocols.
    • For techs who travel to different desks, one organization is issuing keyboards and mice that can be swapped out before performing work and also promoting use of gloves.
    • Communication will be key to continued efforts. At one organization, the CEO is doing a weekly webcast to keep everyone in the loop on re-opening. Similar communication opportunities are in place at other companies.
    • Many are considering or addressing budget reductions that included careful purchasing, pay cuts, hours reductions, furloughing staff, and requiring use of PTO. One participant’s organization is using a “check out” approach for new equipment to reduce need for ordering.
    • It was noted that there are also some financial savings inherent in the current condition with reduction in in-office perks (team lunches, etc.), reduced mileage expenses, etc.

     

    If you’d like more detailed highlights from the meeting, please  contact us

    Many thanks to all of the fantastic contributions from our "virtual" participants!

     

     

     

  • Our world has dramatically changed over the past 90 days and we’ve had to rethink how we provide and support technology for a larger remote group. Many are also facing the return to “normal” with the re-opening of their locations.

    Join our June meeting for an interactive workshop focusing on what this experience has changed for us and how we’ve adapted.  

    • How did your “Go Remote” plan work?  What could have been better?
    • What challenges did you face and how they were overcome, or are they still a challenge?
    • Keeping your team a team.  If support went remote as well, what worked to keep the band together?

    We look forward to the participation from the various industries - government, healthcare, finance, and others - that make up our membership and meeting attendees.



    Thank you to our meeting sponsors who will be available during our meeting.

    Aisera is the industry’s first AI Service Management (AISM) solution, streamlining a modern approach to service resolution.
    The BridgeTech team brings 45+ years of IT experience to every client, specializing in IT for legal, medical, and other professional services companies.

     

     

     

     

     

     

  • We are excited to announce that Jaya Srinivasan, Security Business Enabling Manager for the State of Oregon, will share a presentation - "3 things a CISO wishes IT Help Desk professionals knew about Cybersecurity" at our next local chapter meeting on December 3rd. Register now!

    Jaya will discuss how the IT Service Desk is at the core of digital transformation in today's interconnected world. Cybersecurity starts at the IT Service Desk, as it is the main interface between IT and the people who are using IT services. But often an effective, efficient service desk is an overlooked asset that supports the greater IT security infrastructure. With thoughtful process and training, each IT Service Desk can be a huge asset to an organization’s high-level cybersecurity strategy to ward off the cyber criminals and protect critical information.

    Jaya Srinivasan is a seasoned technology professional with over 23 years of leadership and management experience in information technology and security. In both the public and private sector, she has progressively held various positions in the fields of application development, database administration, systems and networking, project management, business analysis, IT audit, and information security. She currently works as Security Business Enabling Manager for State of Oregon – Cyber Security Services where she manages a team of Business Information Security Officers. Prior to her current position, she was the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) for the Oregon Department of Revenue. Before moving to Information Technology, she was a cost accountant by profession and has obtained her bachelors, masters and management degrees in Business, accounting and finance. Jaya holds several IT and security certifications, including Oracle, Java, CISSP, CISM, CRISC, CGEIT, PMP, ITIL and more. Jaya is passionate about grooming emerging leaders and is a leadership coach for State of Oregon.