SI Roundtable: How To Keep Business Moving During COVID-19
PSA held its first webinar on COVID-19 and how it’s affecting systems integrators on March 24, 2020. Bill Bozeman moderated and Darryl Keeler, Christine Lanning and Terry Rivet, all from PSA’s Board of Directors, served as panelists. Bill shared the following quote:
The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy. Nothing worthwhile is easy. Your ability to overcome unfavorable situations will provide you with time to demonstrate your true strength and determination for success.
-Martin Luther King, Jr.
While systems integrators work in a variety of markets, many of the issues they face are the same. Below are some tips shared by the panelists and how to navigate these challenging times:
- Appoint a single point of contact for all communications from your company. During times of crisis, a lot of questions arise from customers, vendors, employees and even the media. Log questions in a shared document and allow the appointed communication contact to provide answers. This keeps consistent messaging across all channels.
- Perform contingency planning. Create a 30, 60, 90-day plan to give your company guidance on how to proceed. If needed, suspend operations at your company while you put together your plan. Create a reverse accountability chart which includes what would your staff look like with a 50% reduction in revenue.
- CASH IS KING. Keep a close eye on your company’s spending. Consider adding a COVID-19 line item to your expenses and keep track of all spending related to the coronavirus. Establish communication with your banker to see whether your existing line of credit can be extended if needed. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Understand your options. Consider looking into an SBA loan and what that would mean for your company. Be smart and be prepared.
Q: Has supply chain disrupted your services?
A: Not at this time
Q: Have you been denied entrance to any facilities? How did you handle it?
A: While supply chains are still intact, continue ordering equipment and wait until you can get back onsite. With businesses closing or working remotely, virtual tours are a great option to keep things moving when available. Don’t send anyone into a situation they are not comfortable with.
Q: How are you communicating with employees and how are you supporting them in maintaining mental health?
A: Hold weekly meetings with your team. Check in and ask them how they are doing. Give them the opportunity to share questions, concerns and even suggestions. Keep everyone informed as you learn more information. Consider offering unearned PTO for employees feeling an onset of symptoms. Be calm for your employees, customers and community. Offering services to your employees is also helpful. Set up a communication board where employees can voice concerns and ask for help. Who needs daycare? Who needs food? Who needs delivery services? Appoint someone from your team to manage these needs.
Q: How do you respond to employees who don’t want to go onsite?
A: Accommodate. Move employees to a different site where they are more comfortable, especially if it’s an employee you want to keep. Be aware of delivery and installation schedules so that in the event of cancellations you can keep business moving.
Q: What cybersecurity measures have you implemented for staff now working remotely?
A: Implement dual authentication and VPN. Consider getting your company ISO 27001-certified when you have the chance as well.
We will be hosting a second Systems Integrator Roundtable in the coming weeks.
Please submit questions or concerns regarding operating during COVID-19 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
A NOTE FROM SIA
Please keep in mind the current DHS Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers is guidance and not a requirement. The purpose of this letter is to ensure the guidance becomes state and local policy. The memorandum states “Accordingly, this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself. … Response efforts to the COVID-19 pandemic are locally executed, state managed, and federally supported.