Tips To Handle A Digital Transformation Project Emergency

Emergencies can occur at any time, even if that means a snowstorm walloping the region just as your digital transformation project reaches the rollout phase. Depending on the emergency, your team might have trouble communicating with stakeholders, maintaining power and internet services, or simply getting their hands on the hardware needed to keep the project going.

To help maintain forward momentum on your digital transformation initiative, we compiled some tips your team can use to deal with the unexpected and ensure the continuity of project activities.

Know your partners. It’s prudent to maintain a comprehensive list of vendors who may need to act if your network or jobsite experiences a problem. That includes everything from the local power utility company to your failover datacenter provider. Because time is a primary factor in an emergency, your list should be centrally stored for easy access and include names, email addresses, phone numbers, and each vendor’s areas of responsibility. This will go a long way toward avoiding delays.

Keep communicating. Even a relatively localized emergency such as a power outage could make your normal communication channels inoperable or unreliable. With so many team members working remotely these days, you may think you have your communication bases covered, but take the time to evaluate your plans and look for potential gaps. If a cellular outage means people can’t use their mobile phones inside the main building, for example, consider installing wireless access points so those without a dedicated desk phone can still make calls using Wi-Fi. You want to develop strategies that cover both redundancies as well as alternative methods of communication.

Stay safe. If your team is in an area where evacuation might be necessary—tornado hot spots, wildfire zones, etc.—develop a plan to protect your coworkers and your project. Start by working with your health and safety team to distribute emergency procedures to anyone who may need them. Next, understand where delays could occur if certain stakeholders can’t safely visit a rollout location for a few days or weeks. You may also need to identify alternative accommodations for traveling vendors or team members who are safe near an evacuation zone but, because of the situation, are unable to stay where they were originally booked. 

Protect your systems. Most of your technology infrastructure is probably shielded from lightning strikes and power surges. If your digital transformation project’s components are not yet covered by those protective measures, look for ways to mitigate potential risks. Can a standalone uninterruptable power supply keep your new servers going if an electrical outage hits before the final installation is complete? Or perhaps a low-bandwidth link will be enough to support your new system’s core functionality if your internet connection goes down. When digitizing analog data or processes, prioritize the assets and workflows that would be most affected by an emergency. That could mean expediting the upload of old paper records to ensure that a local flood event doesn’t damage the data before it can be transferred into a digital format.

Budget appropriately. For project teams working in areas where inclement weather or other emergencies are known to occur, there are some steps you can take in the budget development process to bolster your digital transformation project’s defenses. If your implementation is scheduled to occur during the height of hurricane season, look at your contingency options to keep things on track. Can you pay an upcharge to roll out the cloud version of your system first and delay the on-premises portion? You may also need to consider budgeting for expenditures incurred due to delays you simply can’t avoid.


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