Denis Kaminskiy, CEO at Arcus Global
First thing’s first – I don’t think anyone could have done anything to prevent the level of disruption we are currently facing. No amount of preparation will give adequate protection from a once in a hundred years event. No amount of planning, stocking or preparing was going to cut it. Saying “we are not prepared” applies to almost every country and every business. The honest answer is that it costs too much to be prepared for something so rare and so extreme as this.
So I am not going to join the chorus of voices lamenting the “lack of preparation”. Instead, I want to focus on having more general flexibility, the ability to move locations, recover quickly from disruption, or indeed, have multi-skilled people able to work remotely is a good idea at all times, and should actually cost an organisation LESS than normal operation.
The theory of evolution by natural selection is sometimes called survival of the fittest. Fittest is sometimes mistaken for strength, or physical/mental fitness, but that is misleading. Fittest here simply means ability to adapt and reproduce or grow, in a business context. As in, roll with the punches.
Without sounding self-serving, Arcus has been able to react relatively well during this time. When we started the company in 2009, and were one of the early “born in the cloud” businesses – we have only ever used Software as a Service (SaaS) internally on any major system – Google Apps, Xero, Atlassian stuff, later joined by Salesforce.com (used Zoho in early years), XCDHR, Slack, a few others on the project management side. So for us, the move from office to home was smooth and uneventful, barring ordering a few additional handsets and laptops and provisioning a few more AWS Workspaces desktops to people.
Yes, we did invoke our Business Continuity Plan (BCP)to provide access of devices as above for 10 people or so but we normally work 2-3 days from home per week (for any one individual) so it seems pretty much as business as usual for many.
We have been able to authorise and encourage our staff to volunteer for the national support effort, or spend more time informally helping at home or locally.
There has been an increase of effort from team “AWESOME”, our social activity and culture team, spent on trying to improve the organisational cohesion in times of isolation. Creating virtual quiz teams, MMO gaming, Virtual Poker night, or a Virtual Pub (called the Director’s Head incidentally). All bringing us together, no matter on location.
As our customers have come under massive strain, we have had to also make sure that we supported them as much as possible, with flexibility, sensitivity to their challenges, and a very soft commercial approach. In turn, our customers have responded by being more understanding of priorities.
It has also been extremely heartwarming to see so many of them simply move online with projects, as well as demos, show and tells, and even our sales pitches. We have seen an increase in usage, especially in areas of the business where our automated telephony can make a real impact. Some of our customers expressed their pride of using our solutions – see the picture below from a Knowledge Hub (K-Hub) Planning discussion forum:
It has also been incredible to be a part of the massive national effort to deal with the virus – we have supported some truly groundbreaking initiatives by some ambulance and emergency service providers, and have seen flexibility and decision making speed dramatically improved. Our resilience has been tested but our flexibility knows no bounds. Let’s see what subsequent weeks bring.
About Arcus Global
Arcus Global, formed in 2009 and based in Cambridge UK, is a market leading GovTech cloud company, delivering mission critical technology solutions that enable local authorities and other public sector organisations to transform their service delivery to citizens.
The Software as a Service division of Arcus has developed a platform based suite of Applications for Local Government. Addressing the challenge of legacy technology in Citizen Digital interaction, Planning, Building Control, Licensing, Environmental Health. Arcus has grown to over 30 customers including Folkestone & Hythe District Council, Eastleigh Borough Council and the London Borough of Southwark.
The Cloud Infrastructure Division of Arcus provides Consultancy, Managed Services and Cloud Storage to a large number of Public Sector bodies across Central Government, Local Government, the NHS and the Education sector.
Kate Warboys, Marketing Manager at Arcus Global