Back in January of 2020, we began to watch with wary interest as the news trickled out of China about their ‘local’ health incident. With the shrinking world and the expanding global economy, there were murmors around our office about what it might mean for us. Hindsight being what it is, those watercooler conversations with their hypothetical scenarios all seem pretty quaint now, as we enter into the dog days of summer with no end in sight to either the heat or the seemingly incessantly escalating predictions of doom. Like all our Oklahoma businesses, we had to grapple with the rapidly moving goal posts of public response. But, perhaps unlike many of our Oklahoma business neighbors, we were pre-positioned to thrive in the evolving American workforce. The week before Oklahoma Governor, Kevin Stitt, began rolling out lockdowns we had already initiated a full remote workforce shift. We knew that our client base of small and medium sided Oklahoma businesses would be required to shift to a remote workforce and we didn’t want to be hammered with calls and requests for remote worker setup while our team was still shuffling into position.
Some of our staff have been providing IT support for long enough to remember when remote work meant saving documents and emailing them to co-workers for review. A few of us have been providing IT support long enough to remember when mobile hotspots were still the ‘technology of the future’. But for many of our Oklahoma based IT Helpdesk Support Techs, a life without WI-FI, Highspeed connectivity and instant full-duplex communications over VOIP or live video streaming simply has never existed. The technology that we have sold and supported to Oklahoma small and medium sized businesses for so many years just meant that, with a few hours notice, our team was able to grab a few items from their offices and transition fully and seamlessly to our new ‘temporary’ work from home offices. Things moved so quickly. On Wednesday we were taking about the possibility of a remote work shift. That very next night we had a 7pm phone call with the team, went remote the next Friday and that was, let’s see…a lot of Mondays ago now.
Those first few weeks were a cacophony of urgent telephone calls for technology needs. Everything was urgent. Everything had to happen yesterday. In one sense, that’t just a normal day in Tulsa Oklahoma IT Managed Services Consulting. But, in a much more real sense, in this case it actually had to happen immediately. The urgency was real. Calls came into our Tulsa IT Helpdesk asking for:
– Expedited SSL VPN license purchase and configuration on Dell Sonicwalls
– Configuration of Sophos VPN connections
– Configuration of Remote Access on Macbooks and Macbook Pros
– Clarity on if they might still be able to run that Windows 7 laptop securely from home
– Ways to measure their workforce productivity
– In some cases, folks were literally taking their entire Levono or Dell Desktop computers home to use remotely over VPN.
– Clients got serious about IT Collaboration using tools like MS Teams or Zoom.
Some clients who had antiquated phone systems that had been ‘working’ with judicious application of duct tape and patience were finding themselves unable to scale their resources and have them work remotely. This meant several on the fly emergency phone system migrations. We found ourselves porting phone numbers, rolling out out Cloud Based VOIP Telephone solutions, shipping VOIP headsets around the country and configuring VOIP PBX routing from the business phone systems to apps installed on personal cell phones, whereby employess could use their personal or company owned cell phones but have the Office Phone system features including extension routing, call recording and cell phone number obscurity all in place.
Yes, that’s just a normal month in the Oklahoma IT Managed Service Provider industry. The difference was that this was all happening at once, across most of our outsourced IT client base. And as word got out, as it often does, that we were getting stuff done that the other folks couldn’t, the calls just kept coming. There were a few weeks where we just stopped looking at performance metrics. Everyone just kept their head down, kept swinging, kept pushing and kept providing the IT Support our clients needed. When the calls began to normalize, we found ourselves looking at a new IT landscape. Clients were beginning to see the power and the leverage that these remote workforce tools presented them with. The game is changing. The tools are more powerful than ever. Nomerel answered the call when COVID came calling, like, actually answered the phones and returned the emails. We got it done then and we are getting it done still. Give us a call and let us show you how we can help you leverage the tools out there to maximize your return and productivity.