We’ve been praising medical personnel, first responders, grocery store clerks, restaurant workers and others for their dedication and resourcefulness as we’ve pressed forward all these months of the pandemic.
But what about the invisible and unheralded work of Information Technology organizations?
IT departments everywhere enabled office workers and students to get their jobs done in the safer environment of home. I’d like to shine a light on the amazing team of employees in the Williamson County’s IT department that enabled the diverse work of the county to proceed during these challenging times.
Richard Semple, our chief information officer, had difficulty singling out only one or a few of his staff of 50 to praise. “There were so many people that did so much great work during this pandemic. We truly pushed the staff to the limit and tasked them with so much, including many things they had little experience with before the pandemic,” he explained.
Many IT staffers had never worked an emergency response or used the new tools IT suddenly had to implement, while others were assigned to unfamiliar technology areas. It was truly remarkable to see an administrative person teaching Microsoft Teams, a GIS professional working on COVID-19 transmission projections or a computer technician assisting with technical issues at COVID-19 testing sites.
The county already owned Microsoft Office 365, with tools like Teams for collaboration and OneDrive for cloud access of files anywhere, but many departments had not yet embraced the technology.
The immediate impact the pandemic brought forced every department to clamber for these tools, required new designs and configurations implemented quickly, and employees trained.