Having a business continuity plan in case an internal emergency occurs is vital to any reliable software service provider. In fact, they should also have a similar policy in case of any unexpected shifts in the external environment.
Having a certain set of procedures in place for these types of situations helps software companies mitigate potential risks and allows their customers to feel at ease about their projects. That’s why it’s crucial to know what to look for when selecting an IT partner during uncertain times.
COVID-19 mitigation policy: what to look for
Companies should foster transparent communication – based on trust and mutual respect – on a daily basis, in order to lower stress levels within their teams, as well as between the teams and their clients. The coronavirus pandemic, with all its restrictions, is stressful enough as it is, so it’s important for companies to do everything they can to make both their employees feel as comfortable as possible in their workplaces – as well as their clients within any new and ongoing partnerships.
Hence, before you start a cooperation, it’s a good idea to see if your potential IT partner places special emphasis on any of the following areas:
Remote work policy
- A solid software development company should provide its employees with all the necessary equipment required for work. This not only includes obvious pieces of hardware, such as computers and monitors, but cameras as well, so that they can stay in touch with employees visually, to help maintain high levels of engagement.
- Having a set of tools for remote collaboration and communication is equally significant, since this enables a flawless and efficient workflow.
- Plus, the company’s managers should establish clear daily and weekly schedules to ensure structure and organisation.
- And last but not least – ask if the company has clearly established ground rules and expectations, so that everyone knows their roles in the remote configuration. This is important in terms of avoiding potential confusion and misunderstandings.
Actions within the IT department in order to ensure work continuity
- A remote work environment requires an enhanced level of security. The IT department should make sure that the connections between the company network and any mobile solutions used by the employees are safe.
- Employees should have their laptops configured for work and they should also have access to mobile Internet in case their cable broadband subscription plans are insufficient.
- Also, check to see if they’ve set up a remote infrastructure for network traffic and that everyone is provided with the tools they need for remote support.
Communication with clients
- Information is king. That’s why consistent and clear communication between a company and its clients is so relevant. Customers should be kept up to date about how their projects are progressing and be informed of any changes that are likely to occur. This has always been essential in terms of trust and reliability, but now it’s even more important than ever – the clients have to be sure that everything is moving in the right direction. And it is the IT partner’s job to guide them safely through any disruptions.
- Moreover, your IT partner should value your feedback and monitor your degree of satisfaction.
Special policy in case of COVID-19 infections within the company
- Safety comes first, so your IT partner should have an established set of safety procedures in case any COVID-19 infections occur within the company. These procedures should protect both the infected persons and anybody who has been in contact with them, and should be strictly followed by all parties involved.
- Not only that, any reputable company should be able to provide you with a list of all the recommendations and requirements that they have for employees who test positive for COVID-19, and it should include a period of self-quarantine.
Disinfection and office safety procedures
- The biggest concern for employees who still need to physically be at the office on a regular basis, or at least from time to time, is the office cleaning process. Every workplace should be regularly disinfected with dedicated cleaning supplies. If you think you will need to meet your partner in person at their offices at any point – don’t hesitate to ask about these details to ensure that you are cooperating with a company of the highest standard.
- Plus, they should have specific guidelines related to:
- wearing disposable gloves,
- where and when face masks are required and how to use them properly,
- first aid procedures for COVID-19.
And the most crucial point here is that these rules and procedures shouldn’t just exist on paper. A company has to take responsibility for educating their employees, raising awareness, and making sure that everything is clear and all rules are followed accordingly.
BONUS: Check your potential partner’s NPS
If you want to see how your potential IT partner (or any other software provider) has been doing lately, you can just check their Net Promoter Score (NPS). It’s been a while since the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, so companies have been operating in this new normal for quite some time now – just long enough to receive their first evaluations and reviews. Their NPS will give you a general idea of how likely the company’s clients are to recommend their services to others, and in turn, how they have proven themselves in these challenging times.