How Colas ISS has responded to remote working during COVID-19

by James Blender

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Like everyone else in the world, Colas ISS has been affected by COVID-19. Our team first started working from home in mid-March. This was an easy decision for us to make. While seeing each other in person every day is a big part of the team spirit we have built, safety is a core value at Colas and allowing the risk of someone being exposed to COVID-19 was not worth the benefit.

Technologies Used

  • Cloud-based VoIP phone system
  • Microsoft Azure
  • Microsoft Teams

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Some forward-thinking decisions in the past have helped make this transition possible. Most important for us working remotely is our ability to stay in touch with our internal customers. Over the years we’ve implemented several technologies that allow our mostly centralized IT team to support customers that span the continent, from Alaska to Georgia and Quebec to California.

Several years ago, we moved to a cloud-based VoIP phone system which is now allowing us to continue to take customer support calls using either a client installed on our PCs or a mobile app. We’ve also embraced Microsoft Teams as our company-wide collaboration tool. This allows video meetings between our team members and with our customers. We may be apart, but it’s still important to see the smile with the laugh. It’s an unwritten policy at ISS to always have your camera on since we started working from home. This keeps us connected and goes a long way to maintaining team spirit.

Years ago, we made the decision to start moving our traditional collocated hardware to the cloud. We entered a partnership with Rackspace to host our production workload and have been using Microsoft Azure for our non-production environments. Having moved everything to Rackspace and Azure means that this is no longer our worry. We can safely work from home, knowing that our partners are taking care of our virtual hardware. Likewise, we’ve embraced many cloud platform software services such as Microsoft 365, ServiceNow and SAP SuccessFactors. The decision to move to the cloud has alleviated many of the complexities of supporting the business from home.

Colas ISS has definitely been disrupted by COVID-19, both personally and professionally. However, our forward thinking and team response to this crisis has enabled us to continue to provide excellent customer service and maintain system uptime for our customers. We’re proud of our work thus far and will continue to hold ourselves to these high standards for the duration of this crisis and beyond.