Managing timelines for a network deployment is a challenging task during the best of times. All components and configurations must work in sync to avoid delays. Trying to hit an ambitious schedule in a pandemic adds even more complexity, taking IT teams into unchartered territory.

One global banking customer of Orange Business Services was in the middle of a network deployment project and could foresee that the pandemic spreading across the world would cause disruption for some months. However, it was determined to keep the deployment on schedule if at all possible. The complex project, comprising new components and a network refresh, included switches, firewalls and wireless connectivity.

The bank’s IT team, together with Orange engineers, needed to come up with an innovative workaround to enable the project to continue in the face of COVID-19. This was a big challenge with most countries locked down, the bank’s global offices closed and all its knowledge workers telecommuting.

Managing network changes remotely

Due to lockdowns, all physical deployment activity ceased, designated mandatory by governments. Orange and the bank’s IT team needed to find a way to prioritize all deployment activities remotely to keep the schedule on track, despite a global health emergency dramatically disrupting the business world.

Orange instigated an innovative way of utilizing Cisco Webex to carry out complex configuration changes remotely, working very closely with the bank’s IT team. The engineers at Orange logged onto the bank's IT teams’ laptops remotely using Cisco Webex and managed these configurations for the new network devices and services from afar with full security compliance.These intricate changes would normally have to be carried out in person by an engineer onsite. With physical site visits banned to avoid spreading COVID-19, this inventive workaround ensured that the network deployment project continued uninterrupted.

In addition, Orange arranged for warehousing costs to be waived on 128 access points that will need to be installed and mounted physically when lockdowns ease. This took the pressure off the bank’s IT teams who were working 24/7 to deal with pandemic-related issues.

Going the extra mile

When COVID-19 hit and countries started rapidly locking down, it looked like it was going to severely delay the bank’s new network infrastructure deployment plans. By thinking out of the box and taking a collaborative approach with the bank’s IT teams, Orange has kept the project on schedule against all odds. The bank now has a new, agile network infrastructure delivered on time to take it to the new normal.