'I've never seen buy-in like this on any project' - the IT solution providers making a difference amid COVID-19

Doug Woodburn
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Resellers and MSPs are lending their expertise and resources to some groundbreaking projects during the pandemic. CRN catches up with two of them in this Zoom In special

Two IT solution provider bosses lending their skills and resources to help during the COVID-19 crisis have spoken about the positive impact their efforts have had on staff morale.

Talking to CRN during a Zoom In special, Jason Holloway said his firm - mobile security provider Bridgeway Security - had "turned on a sixpence" during the pandemic to set up Phones for Patients, a not-for-profit providing used phones to hospitals and care homes.

Holloway was joined on the call by Andrew Allen, whose technology advisory firm, Aabyss, is donating significant compute power to help find a cure for COVID-19 through the [email protected] project.

Both spoke about how their respective projects have helped to galvanise staff during an extended period of lockdown and self-isolation.

Holloway said Phones for Patients has brought the Cambridge-based outfit's team together "in a way that no other project has".

"There is a collaboration and a buy-in that I haven't seen across any other company or project I've ever been involved with," he said.

"Some of the staff have made personal donations of significant amounts into this project to buy second-hand equipment to facilitate the delivery of devices to hospitals and care homes. We've seen them drive to hospitals to arrange pick-ups and collections. It's been astonishing to see how the whole team has rallied around the cause."

Allen said he began donating spare server power to [email protected] - a distributed computing initiative aimed at finding a cure for COVID-19 - partly as a way to bring his team together.

"The culture we have here is that people want to be here because they make a difference," he said.

"And now we can make a difference again. We set about donating significant compute resources that we have and now we're in the top five per cent of contributors to the project, globally."

Allen urged other IT solution providers to consider donating spare compute capacity to the project.

"Visit the foldingathome.org website and, as technology advisors, make sure you've got the available resources as well. Don't just kill your operations by donating resources you don't have," he said.

"Do it responsibly, but absolutely get involved. It's really easy and you could either do it on a single PC, or a server farm, or across both of those things. Every little bit makes a huge difference and that's the fundamental principle of the [email protected] initiative.

"I've got neighbours who are sewing PPE together and making masks. There are so many ways people can get involved. Look at the resources and skills you have, and do something that makes a difference. When you do that, and collaborate with your own team, that brings people together."

Holloway also put out the call to any industry peers looking to support Phones for Patients.

"We have a website phonesforpatients.uk and individuals and companies can donate devices to the project if they so wish," he said.

 

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