For many, 2020 is a year that can’t be over soon enough. With a new year on the way and an undoubtedly challenging year behind us, it is time to look back and take stock. There is no question that the challenges of the year have been many and daunting, but there have been triumphs, too. Triumphs for our partner businesses and institutions who have so far endured 2020’s worst challenges. There have also been triumphs right here at BITS, where a combination of teamwork, persistence and drive has allowed us to be a part of our clients’ resilience this year. Join us as we look back on a tough year that we’ve overcome together.
Facing an Unprecedented Challenge
The rise of COVID-19 brought with it a rise in telecommuting across the globe. This need for a change in the professional landscape came seemingly overnight, but making it happen was much easier said than done.
“We take pride in being proactive,” said Kevin Lackey, account executive for BITS. “We monitor and manage systems so they don’t crash. I like to say it’s a lot easier to put on sunscreen to prevent the sunburn than it is to apply aloe after you’ve been burnt, but we couldn’t do that with COVID-19.”
Providing remote capability to our clients meant far more than providing laptops for employees without them. It meant establishing virtual private networks (VPN) and providing VPN licenses so that our clients’ employees could safely access their work files and programs. It meant improving security and threat protection, data protection, backup and more. Some would work from home and find they weren’t working on compatible versions of software. Some found their servers were too slow to support the new demand.
BITS was there to provide support and solutions every step of the way, and not only for its clients. BITS personnel had to help many fellow Beacon employees transition to remote work as well.
“In March, we had to move all of our customer’s operations from on-premises to virtual literally overnight so that their respective businesses could continue to function,” said John Scaramuzzo, Chief Operating Officer and Senior Vice President of IT Services. “We did this while getting our own operation functional in a remote environment as well. It’s definitely a challenge getting a remote help desk set up!”
Of the many challenges faced by the BITS team, one of the most difficult was coordinating efforts to meet this massive new demand.
“We had to attack everything differently,” said Lackey. “Let’s say we had to get 100 people ready to work remotely in a week; how would we prioritize these projects? How much bandwidth does our team have to set up VPN licenses? Laptops were going like hotcakes in April, often back-ordered as far as six weeks, so we had to figure out how to stay ahead of that.”
The recent inclusion of project management services into BITS allowed for an organized, unified effort between all of BITS’ moving parts. This provided clients the benefits of being part of Beacon’s larger Project Management Office. Having dedicated project management ensured timely and efficient delivery of services, as well as providing a single point of contact for checking project statuses, asking important questions and more.
“Being able to contact a project manager who is in charge of the deadlines is huge,” said Bradley Burton, project manager for BITS. “It gives the client an update on where all things are, but it also lets them know that we are actively seeking to hit targets set at the start of a project. They’re never left hanging or wondering where things are. There’s no break in the communication.”
This freed up our IT technicians and system administrators to do what they do best. With some careful coordination between project management, account management and BITS’ expert technicians, results began to take form.
“The techs are where the rubber meets the road, and Caleb Pruitt, our services manager, is the traffic director,” said Lackey. “When projects came in, he saw things from a technical perspective, and we had to understand his team’s bandwidth. The level of coordination was beautiful.”
Coming Through for Our Clients
The success of BITS and our clients this year wouldn’t have been possible without the relationships we’ve built over the years. For many at BITS, it was about coming together for each other and our clients.
“When things started going down in March and April, I figured this year could go one of two ways,” said Lackey. “I worried people would shut their doors and we would lose those close client relationships, but—knock on wood—it didn’t go that way; we were needed. More importantly, we could help.”
That pride in accomplishment and gratefulness for our clients’ success has been echoed at every level of Beacon. Reflecting on Beacon’s 22 years in the Triad, Beacon CEO and Senior Vice President Mark Dirks couldn’t be more proud of the BITS team.
“The true culture of a company comes out in times like these,” said Dirks. “I’m just so proud of how the BITS Team met the challenge to care for our customers. Our technicians had to go to client offices to help during a very scary time as COVID-19 emerged. They were ordering computers like crazy, setting them up and getting them out to customers. They even set up a process so customers could drop off and pick up equipment outside our offices to minimize contact.”
Let BITS be your partner in adapting to even the most difficult digital transitions. The BITS team is here for you. Get in touch today to discuss your digital operations goals.