Making remote work possible for thousands

The unsung heroes behind IT

Home office is one of the most important measures in the fight against corona. During the first wave of the corona pandemic in the Spring of 2020, 20 times more employees worked from home than usual. Bühler had to ensure in the shortest possible time that all services are available for home office at all times, securely and in high quality. A challenge that Bühler’s IT team (ITP) mastered with commitment, cooperation, and innovation.

The effects of the coronavirus outbreak have been challenging for ITP: within a few days, they had to enable more than 4,000 employees to work on the computer remotely instead of the usual 200 – without any prior planning. “None of us were prepared for such a pandemic and we had to act quickly,” says Manfred Goetz, Chief Information Officer at Bühler, who immediately put together a task force with the most important IT players. At the end of January, when it became clear that the factories in China would remain closed after the Chinese New Year’s celebrations, the alarm signals in Europe went off as well. The challenges that demanded immediate action came in thick and fast.

 ITP Team Bühler Uzwil

A digital rush

“Due to the incredibly high number of new users, new firewalls had to be put into operation quickly at the locations in Zürich, Wuxi, Bangalore, Minneapolis and Joinville,” says Herbert Fritschi, Head of ITP Operations. “In medical terms, we performed open-heart surgeries on the running infrastructure, without causing any disruption to the users,” adds Fritschi. Moreover, the ITP team had to issue the necessary licenses to all users quickly and unbureaucratically.

Support for all

However, the challenge was not overcome yet by distributing the pressure on the Bühler network and securing access. “It was clear that our employees would have a great need for support and that several waves of inquiries were coming towards us,” says Martin Tschupke, IT Service Center Manager. These waves hit the Service Desk with full force. On some days, three times the number of calls and tickets were received. At some point, 12 instead of four agents, including apprentices from Uzwil and Braunschweig, were working for the Service Desk to ensure that there is enough time for customers to have their questions answered in a sustainable manner. This is another challenge that the ITP team has overcome with extraordinary dedication despite high pressure and stress. “The cooperation worked very well, and we’ve achieved really good results and received a lot of positive feedback despite the high volume of enquiries,” says Tschupke.

With commitment and team spirit

“The decisive factor in meeting this challenge was reliable global communication and coordination with all ITP employees and IT managers at all locations,” says Mario Henseler, Head of ITP Workplace Service. After all, the ITP team serves around 12,000 users worldwide in over 100 locations, with IT applications. "I am proud of our global ITP team. All employees and teams involved have shown extraordinary commitment and a great team spirit. I would like to extend my gratitude and heartfelt thanks to everyone involved," says Manfred Goetz. This situation has shown that the existing IT infrastructure can cope with such loads, and that employees can rely on It, as well as they can rely on reliable service and support even in crisis situations.

 

Sandro Eicher Sandro Eicher, Team Manager IT Service Management & Projects Funktion
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