Adapting to Sudden Change: T2 Tech Group Transitions Mesa Water District® to a Remote Work Program

Times of uncertainty favor the well prepared. In the face of COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders across the country, Mesa Water District® (Mesa Water), which provides essential water services to more than 110,000 California residents, looked to leverage their best practice IT architecture and operational management model to quickly implement strategies to remotely manage and operate their award-winning water agency.

The Challenge

Mesa Water’s operational staff perform all their day-to-day operational responsibilities from their main headquarters in Costa Mesa, CA. Remote IT services were limited to their field service personnel, remote 24/7 water service monitoring and the capability to work remotely during off-hours or when traveling.

The COVID-19 pandemic required that the organization quickly transition to an almost 100% remote workforce model without disrupting the provisioning of clean, safe and reliable water to their customers.

“Our ability to leverage our existing IT capabilities to support this timely transition was a critical success factor to meeting the challenges presented by the COVID-19 crisis. This was imperative for our organization to continue our key objective of providing clean, safe and reliable water supply to our customers.”

Denise Garcia, Administrative Services Manager, Mesa Water District

The Solution

As a part of their 5-year IT strategic plan, Mesa Water District had effectively collaborated with their long-standing IT partner, T2 Tech Group, to invest in and implement a best practice IT architecture and operational management model in 2015 to support their strategic initiatives.

Together, Mesa Water and T2 Tech were able to quickly – within 3 days – assess how they would leverage their existing IT capabilities to transition their operational model to manage employees, systems, equipment and customer needs virtually. Recognizing the scale and magnitude of such a transition, T2 Tech utilized their hybrid Agile methodology to quickly develop a plan and solution to move the organization’s staff remote without interrupting service to their customers.

The Implementation

Although major water districts across the country were told they would have to wait months for access to laptops due to overwhelming demand caused by the pandemic, T2 Tech leveraged its vast network of IT suppliers and negotiating skills to acquire, within 24 hours, all of the laptops needed to support the entire organization. This accomplishment of acquiring the necessary laptops with standard models and components at a competitive price was a remarkable feat on its own.

Mesa Water and T2 Tech then effectively collaborated to leverage the following critical success factors for transitioning to a remote workforce operating model:

  1. Implementing the necessary policies and processes to enable remote access to Mesa Water IT services by utilizing only company-issued standard laptop hardware and applications.
  2. This enabled T2 Tech to leverage their remote staff IT management toolset to implement a solution to secure, manage, and monitor both the laptop devices and other variables such as the quality of individual staff internet services and data security for misplaced devices.
  3. T2 Tech was also able to leverage its remote staff IT management toolset to provide Mesa Water District staff remote support for their transition to their new workspace and IT devices.

T2 Tech successfully utilized its hybrid waterfall/Agile project management methodology and ability to design and deploy enterprise-capable technology solutions to meet the client requirements within the prescribed budget and schedule.

Daily scrums, end-of-day retrospectives and constant communications with Mesa Water management were required to support the urgent, dynamic nature of this challenge, to provide a safe work environment during this pandemic. Project dashboards were developed for real-time progress tracking of each device as they were configured and provisioned to Mesa Water staff.  As part of this process, each device was properly inventoried, documented and added to the IT operations management and monitoring environment.

The provisioning process was designed to provide orientation and training sessions aligned with their specific department operating procedures. This process was also designed with a no-contact process, safe distancing, sanitizing and taking the necessary precautions for employees to collect and receive training on their new IT devices.

The Results

Following all CDC guidelines, T2 Tech trained half of the company on the new devices in one week, and the second half of the company the following week, allowing the entire organization to completely shift to the new remote work program within two weeks.

Kevin Torf, managing partner of T2 Tech Group, articulated the learnings from this process: “During a transition to a virtual workplace, it’s important for organizations to re-align how the IT department works with and supports remote workers, secures the organization from cyberattacks, and monitors how the IT infrastructure is being accessed. As part of making this transition for Mesa Water District, our team of experts helped their leadership prepare for these challenges and provided the necessary solutions”

Mesa Water has not only adapted its entire business operation to the current crisis but now has a forward-thinking approach to the future of Mesa Water’s workforce, should additional transitions be required in the future. By resisting any shortcuts during the transition to Mesa Water’s remote work program, T2 Tech was able to take the deployment a step further to implement lasting solutions.

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