The Global IT Team Rallies for Zero Harm and Business Continuity

The Global IT Team Rallies for Zero Harm and Business Continuity

Despite extraordinary circumstances with the COVID-19 pandemic, many of our IPL colleagues have come together for both the safety of our employees and continuity of business operations.  Our global IT team also rose to this challenge during the month of March as many employees transitioned to working from home.

In the first week of March, we started to hear rumors of organizations stocking up on IT equipment.  After speaking with a few technology vendors who spoke of potential supply constraints, IT knew it was time for IPL to act with urgency.

A team was formed in IT to explore needs, options, and risks that may be associated with a transition of our workforce.  What started out as a handful of conversations over the course of a few days expanded into multiple daily meetings and an extensive list of actions by the second week of March.  A number of the IT staff worked around the clock and on weekends to keep the business running while juggling these new requirements.

Using persistence to find the unfindable, we quickly purchased some safety stock of critical networking equipment, PCs, and cellular devices.  The Service Desk then began to urgently configure this equipment, so it was immediately available for our employees who had to work from home for the first time.  When our usual suppliers ran out available cell phones, the team went the extra mile to purchase as many devices as they could from retail outlets (while practicing their physical distancing, of course).

Anticipating that our office workers working from home would require 5x our normal VPN connections and add a lot of demand to the Service Desk, we set about upgrading our VPN systems and building a SharePoint site that would provide helpful technical guidance.  This website continues to be updated every few days with new content. If you haven’t yet seen this site, please be sure to take a look:

A key focus for the team now is our employees’ cyber safety.  With a number of coronavirus-themed scams impacting major organizations around the globe, we have kicked off an awareness campaign with an aim to prevent a cyber-attack at a particularly challenging time.

Throughout all of this, we’ve witnessed various acts of kindness.  As an example, we had some of our IT staff visit their colleague’s homes to assist with technology issues.  In another instance, a staff member provided a stack of rubber gloves to another team member who needed to physically attend to IT equipment in the office.  We’ve also seen a number of instances where employees are learning how to leverage video conferencing and other collaboration tools like Teams for the first time. The Service Desk have used these opportunities to educate employees on how to effectively collaborate with their colleagues while no longer in their typical office setting.

We certainly can’t forget to call out our IT staff who continue to make trips into the office for those technology activities which can’t be performed remotely – like repairing a failed PC.  As you will see in the attached photos, these individuals are taking their personal safety seriously and utilizing both PPE and cleaning supplies while attending to IT equipment.


It’s been amazing to see the global collaboration and collective effort of this IT team as they continue to support the safe continuity of business operations.  To that end, it’s worth noting how we’re all in this together – as is apparent when even our own IT staff have problems with their home Internet and are forced to spend an hour on hold with their local Internet provider.

With a 30% increase in IT support requests in the month of March, we ask for patience as the team continues to manage this increased workload.  As a friendly reminder, you should call the Service Desk if you have a critical P1 issue and email them for everything else.  Also, the next time you get a chance, please take a moment to recognize individuals in the team for their efforts.

As a final thought from your friends in IT.  Provided it doesn’t create stability issues for your home internet connection, we recommend that you try experimenting with sharing your video feed the next few times you join a video conference.  You will be amazed at the difference in meeting quality and effectiveness when you can see and interact with your colleagues as if they are sitting right across the room from you.


Gary Eckman
Sr. Director – Technology Engineering