SIMCAC Recap: Pandemic Preparation Webinar
Last week we SIMCAC held a webinar focused on Pandemic Planning and the impact on our member base. While the event was planned and promoted in a very short period, the timing could not have been more relevant. With companies across the country creating plans for what-if scenarios, the SIMCAC board thought it was prudent to get the chapter talking.
The call was hosted and moderated by chapter Chairman, Mike Huthwaite and it included a discussion with Shola Oyewole (VP of Digital Innovation at United Therapeutics) and David Tamayo (CIO at DCS Corporation). The conversation also benefited from planning contributions from Michael Cannon (CTO of Stafford County) and Lawk Salih (VP of Technology from ICBA).
The webinar began with recognizing that the session was a safe space for all participants to ask questions, garner advice, and provide transparency with judgement or recourse. The goal was for the chapter to help each other.
As the discussion progressed, our panelists brought forward some of the challenges they faced in their organizations around planning for a large percentage (if not all) of the workforce to move to a remote status. We learned that most organizations are centralizing communication to staff, with information being culled from committees or management groups to provide clear direction. However, while the content of these communications where agreed upon in groups, we found that the actual dissemination of directions came from one person, such as a C-Level executive or HR staff.
Another key discussion point was how critical it is that organizations look at all functions and how they would be handled in this new remote work world. While most companies had staff that had worked remotely at least some percentage of the time, moving a majority of the workforce remote simultaneously would present new challenges. Discussion centered around functions that required physical presence or specific physical assets, such as check printing, product manufacturing and shipping, etc. We also heard some great advice from David and Shola, such as splitting shifts in manufacturing facilities to ensure limited exposure, or making prepayments in common amounts for payroll, or repetitive vendor invoices to reduce the need to have onsite staff.
We talked about scalability of infrastructure and licensing. We reviewed the criticality of planning documents and written process/procedures. There was a good conversation around Office 365 and reducing the burden on VPN resources when accessing cloud applications.
In the end, it was great to see so many SIMCAC members working together, offering suggesting, and heading advice from peers.