UPDATE: Supporting Customers When Only ‘Essential’ Services are Permitted
Since my last blog, we have seen a further tightening of restrictions of movement in several parts of the world as governments ramp-up efforts to limit the spread of the coronavirus.
Shelter-in-place orders and social distancing measures remain critical to flattening the curve, and we strongly support measures that safeguard our customers, partners, employees and their loved ones.
At the same time, as I have written before (see below), many of our customers rely on our products and services to support and enable critical business operations, and they often request our presence on-site to resolve issues.
Now, we potentially face situations where we must review each of those requests in relation to local government directives.
I wanted to use this update to advise on our protocols for making such decisions:
First, as is always the case, we will aim to resolve issues using remote services and smart hands (where our experts advise local staff how to troubleshoot) wherever possible.
Second, if remote support or smart hands are insufficient to resolve issues, we will review work requests for criticality with our leadership before sending staff on-site.
We currently define a ‘Business Essential’ site request as a Severity 1 or 2 outage (directly impacting production or significantly impacting customer service respectively) and/or a customer request to upgrade systems and services, or to add capacity, that would be similarly critical to maintaining business continuity.
In instances where requests do not meet this threshold, where local Government directives preclude our staff to visit on-site, and where other remediation solutions are available to our customers that do not require in-person support, the safety of our teams will take precedence. We will not unnecessarily expose our employees, customers or partners to risk that can be avoided.
I know many of our customers are facing the same difficult decisions every day now, and they are choosing to act in the same way that is true to their values. We stand with them.
For decades, Hitachi Vantara customers have counted on us to do everything within our capabilities to ensure the continuity of their business operations. While much has changed in the world around us in recent months, this core value proposition remains unchanged.
We are here for you, and always will be.
03/18/20: UPDATE: SUPPORTING OUR CUSTOMERS DURING ‘SHELTER-IN-PLACE’ ORDERS
All of us at Hitachi Vantara have been saddened and concerned by the continued spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Our thoughts are with those directly affected by the virus, and with everyone working hard to prevent its spread, and to treat its victims.
Since my last blog on March 12 (see below), nations, states and local authorities have issued orders asking their populations to remain at their places of residence. These so-called ‘shelter-in-place’ orders are designed to slow the spread of COVID-19 by limiting community transmission.
While Hitachi Vantara wholeheartedly supports such measures to protect the health and safety of our employees, customers and partners, we also appreciate they these orders may spur concerns about our ability to deliver the products and services we provide.
We will continue to monitor developments very closely, but we currently remain confident in Hitachi Vantara’s continued ability to provide onsite support for our customers, while taking all appropriate health and safety measures.
Thus far, COVID-19 orders recognize that certain individuals should be allowed to perform or receive essential services or perform essential business or government work. The ordinance in San Francisco, California, for example, exempts “Businesses that supply other essential businesses with the support or supplies necessary to operate.” Similarly, most European orders also appear to permit the continued operations of essential businesses.
As such, we will continue to do all in our power to deliver the high-quality services you have come to rely on. We understand that data centers and data infrastructure are the lifeblood of the global economy. Digital transformation initiatives are similarly critical to the success and vitality of many customers and partners. We are proud to play our part in helping customers maintain the continuity of their business operations and transformation efforts during this challenging time.
If you have questions about support or service, please do not hesitate to reach out to your account manager, partner manager, service delivery team, or contact our Global Customer Service and Support Organization online, or at +1.858.225.2095.
03/12/20: KEEPING OUR CUSTOMERS, EMPLOYEES AND PARTNERS SAFE DURING THE COVID-19 OUTBREAK
Like every global company, Hitachi Vantara is closely monitoring developments with the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak that was officially classified a pandemic by the World Health Organization this week.
Hitachi Vantara’s Business Continuity function, which reports to me, is leading our response to this unprecedented challenge. This is a team that practices regularly to prepare for scenarios such as this, and I’m proud of the work they are doing to safeguard our community.
Our primary priority is to ensure the welfare of our customers, employees and partners throughout this outbreak, and we are closely following guidance and implementing recommendations from the World Health Organization (WHO), U.S. Department of State, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
What action is Hitachi Vantara taking in response to the COVID-19 outbreak?
While local laws in some countries preclude Hitachi Vantara from receiving information about employee health issues, for countries where data is available, no employee working at a Hitachi Vantara site or at a customer site is known to have contracted the coronavirus that causes COVID-19. However, Hitachi Vantara has activated its Global Pandemic Preparedness and Response Plan, which is designed to help us respond efficiently to events that might cause disruption to our customers and stakeholders. (You can read an overview of our Business Continuity Management Plan here).
How is the COVID-19 outbreak impacting Hitachi Vantara employees?
To date we have implemented travel restrictions to prevent non-essential travel, and prohibited travel for employees to and from some locations. We have also asked employees to work from home in geographies where the virus is spreading in the community, and we have increased our IT capacity to allow all our employees globally to work remotely. We also have postponed or canceled our participation in events and conferences and postponed our own customer and partner events.
We have further adopted a multi-pronged strategy to inform, support and protect our employees including regular communications via intranet, poster campaigns and email. Our facilities team has initiated steps to increase janitorial cleaning and maintain very high hygiene across all our workplaces. We have also provided masks, hand sanitizers, temperature checks at some of offices, and we are prepared with deep cleaning options should that become necessary.
How is Hitachi Vantara supporting customers through the outbreak?
Hitachi Vantara digital infrastructure products, solutions and services support critical business operations for many of the world’s leading businesses. We support customers every day, as we have done for decades, and we will support them through this challenging period.
- We are committed to ensuring customer safety at their places of business – At this time, we are advising all Hitachi Vantara employees who have flu-like symptoms to avoid attending work or customer locations, in line with government and WHO guidelines. We are further advising any employee who believes they may have the virus to self-isolate at home, and to seek medical attention as needed.
- We remain responsive to our customers’ needs – Our Global Customer Service and Support Organization remains ready on a 24×7 basis to work with our customers and partners to meet their service requests and support requirements. Hitachi Vantara’s remote and virtual service capabilities will ensure we remain able to provide services and support even when attending onsite becomes impossible. Customers can count on us to take a ‘smart hands’ approach that delivers the high-quality service they count on from us, while protecting our customers and our staff.
- Our supply chain and product availability have seen minimal impact to date. – Hitachi Vantara has sufficient inventory of products available in all key geographies, and we have not experienced any interruption to our supply that would impact our ability to meet forecasted customer orders in the current quarter. Out of an abundance of caution, stocking levels at our Distribution Centers have been increased for high volume items. However, going forward into next quarter, we are seeing some increased product lead time as well as transportation capacity reductions. We are actively working with our freight forwarding partners to mitigate reductions in airfreight capacity. Note, that should we experience any transportation interruption at a single hub, we can ship items from any of several global distribution centers in the United States, Europe and Asia to support customers worldwide. To ensure we are prepared in the event that the COVID-19 outbreak persists for a longer period, we are actively engaged with the preparedness of our critical suppliers.
- Our Customer Insight Center Remains (Virtually) Open – A visit to our Insight Center in Santa Clara, California is a key means for many of our customers to learn about Hitachi Vantara’s latest products and solutions. We recognize that many customers may be unable to travel to California at this time. Accordingly, effective immediately, we are offering virtual meeting options from our Insight Center so that we can continue to help you solve pressing business and technology problems, and unlock new opportunities. To request a virtual meeting, please contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Learning programs are now available online – We are proud to help our customers acquire the skills they need to manage their digital infrastructure. However, we appreciate that many customers may be unable to attend Instructor Led Training (in-person) training. Accordingly, we are making all of our training available online in virtual formats. If you have questions about training classes, or would like to enroll in an online training course, contact us at email@example.com.
We are grateful for the collaboration, partnership and support of our customers, employees and partners every day.
We are especially focused at this challenging time on supporting the continued well-being and safety of our employees, our customers, and our partners.