“We had to suddenly cope with a lot of challenges: there were worldwide stock limitations, forecasting was a nightmare, there were a whole range of new security issues, and asset management became a major issue. But it wasn’t just about the technology; it was about everything that goes with it.”
Warren Booysens, head of architecture and cloud services at Digital Generation, opens up about how lockdown forced the company to push the envelope of client service. Digital Generation had to give its clients a proven solution rapidly for a raft of new challenges while simultaneously coping with the impacts of the global pandemic.
“Manufacturing plants across the globe stopped production as nations went into lockdown,” he says. “Even when goods were available, travel restrictions, importing and exporting limitations put everyone on the back foot and the result was poor or non-existent predictability. The inevitable result was a major backlog of IT equipment orders.”
Most enterprises experienced the results of a major and sudden shift of workforces to their homes.
“Security was probably the biggest challenge,” says Booysens. Organisations suddenly had their IT assets distributed to hundreds or thousands of remote offices, not physically accessible to the IT staff, on networks that were potentially unsafe, unstable, or with limited throughput and sometimes sketchy availability.
“With the assets permanently offsite for the duration of lockdown, it compounded the challenges,” he says.
Digital Generation, a Dell Titanium Partner, immediately acquired an essential services permit, ramped up physical and personal safety and security protocols to account for the pandemic, and provided clients with information on what packaged solutions were available to ensure their employees could continue to work uninterrupted from home.
“One of the tools that worked extremely well was the catalogues that showed clients everything they would need to transition to working from home,” says Booysens. “And that’s where PC as a service (PCaaS) was so beneficial.”
Digital Generation supports PCaaS, the Dell device lifecycle management model offered in conjunction with Dell Financial Services. It gives clients the opportunity to lease equipment for a fixed monthly fee for the duration of the contract. It provides insurance, maintenance services, antivirus and security software, proactive and automated problem detection, accidental damage cover, and offers preconfigured devices and new devices every 36 months, and more — all without upfront costs.
“Clients can choose their preferred hardware and with ProDeploy they can have them delivered already configured for the user,” says Booysens. “That’s a huge time and cost saver. IT staff can monitor the assets through a single pane of glass. ProSupport means the users get uninterrupted productivity with the flexible payment options. And the devices are responsibly retired and assets recovered at the end of the lifecycle, which ensures good governance and risk compliance for the organisation.”
Digital Generation sources IT equipment, warehousing and peripherals and provides asset management that includes vendor-authorised on-site repairs. It manages the vendor relationship for clients and its service includes certified data destruction.
“A big part of our service was obviously to provide the best possible business solution for our customers. But we also focused on supporting local,” says Booysens. “It’s been a tough time for a lot of people, which is why we sourced desks, chairs and other office equipment from local suppliers. It helped smaller companies keep working through lockdown, which kept people employed and salaries got paid. That’s been one of the most important positives to come out of the global pandemic: the focus shifting back to how important people really are in the equation.”
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