IT companies are on high alert and have put contingency plans in place, letting staff go home as the Queensland flood crisis deepens.
Express Data managing director, Ross Cochrane, said the company’s first priority is staff safety and security. The Milton-based office, which has 12 staff, has been shut down.
While the office is not flooded, the roads in the Milton area have been closed off and the area evacuated.
“It’s an hour-by-hour situation. Our main concern is staff safety. We’re fortunate that our staff can work remotely and access systems to be able to communicate,” Cochrane said.
“With regards to customers, we have diverted all lines, using IP telephony, to relocate resources to other states. If customers are looking for system support we are diverting them to the appropriate people in Sydney and Melbourne. We’re doing everything we can to support the channel in Queensland.”
And while he stressed it is a trying time for Queenslanders, Cochrane said the company is well prepared thanks to its strong efforts in business continuity planning.
“We have in place the ability for staff to work from any location – we have secure portal access, good access to applications and a strong level of support.”
Cochrane said the company is supporting the appeal for financial assistance by the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
“The channel, by its diverse nature and coverage, will be able to help people get back to normal,” he said.
itX marketing manager, Paul Sadler, said its Brisbane CBD office staff are working remotely. The branch is located in the middle of the CBD and not next to the river.
“Our branch is open for business from a reseller perspective (i.e. no change to phone numbers, emails etc.) but our staff are working remotely,” Sadler said.
“Compared to some of the other distributors – like the ones in Milton and Ipswich – we’re in a good location and not in danger.”
Due to the threat of floods, the IPL Milton office was also evacuated this morning and remains closed with Brisbane staff working from home.
"Dealers can still be assisted as all phone numbers are through head office in Sydney and staff here will help with any enquiries," said a spokesperson. "IPL has been liaising with its QLD dealers to begin developing plans to assist dealers with the uplift in services and equipment requirements expected as a result of the floods."
The IPL head office phone number for dealers is 02 9667 7000, or they can phone the QLD number 07 3114 8700 and be directed to Sydney.
Meanwhile, Data#3 marketing and alliances general manager, Mark Phillips, said its Toowong headquarters and primary warehouse/distribution facilities located in Darra, were not directly affected by flooding, but many staff and their personal properties would be directly impacted.
“This is our primary concern at this point in time as we are a big family,” Phillips said. “As a result, we have closed operations in both locations to allow for our people to take the necessary actions to ensure their loved ones and property are safe and to evacuate if they are in the areas that will be most heavily hit in and around the Brisbane River.”
Phillips said it was fortunate enough to have excellent remote/mobile access to business systems that can allow people who can, to continue to work as necessary.
Data#3 has three distribution facilities across the country, and if required customer orders/ stock can be rerouted. “This should minimise any disruptions to the business but things could change at any stage as the situation is still yet to peak,” he said.
Ingram Micro has also closed its Brisbane office in Toowong.
“Everyone’s working from home. We’re still operational and we’re able to divert email and phone calls where necessary to other branches like Western Australia,” Ingram Micro marketing director, Grant Cleary, said. “In the meantime, we’re still receiving and processing orders, but we’re not going ship in the meantime, until we find out more.
“Our first priority is the concern for reseller partners and the Queensland community. We will do anything we can to help our resellers during this difficult time.”
SureBridge IT managing director, Rick Brown, said it hasn’t been affected directly, but all 40 staff had been sent home.
“We’re in Taringa, which is fairly high up, but what we’re waiting for is the ramifications of all this,” Brown said. “Once these floods clear, there’ll be a fair bit of recovery work that needs to be done. We’re devastated about what’s going on and many people don’t have resources and that’s what we’re concerned about.”
Anittel’s Brisbane two storey offices were also evacuated.
Anittel CEO, Ilkka Tales, said the staff had attempted to move as much as possible to the second floor.
“The river has come up pretty quickly,” Tales said. “We’re not too sure yet whether the building will be flooded, but police have evacuated us as a precautionary measure.”
Fellow Queensland integrator, D2K, has also been heavily impacted by the floods.
Managing director, Matthew Drane, said the Rockhampton business had been affected the strongest, with some customers losing their entire building.
“I couldn’t even see the roof of the building on one of our oldest clients,” Drane said. “Another one of our current clients, a large farming provider, has the whole office go underwater.”
The long term impact on the D2K business will be significant, Drane added.
“The problem is that many of these areas have been declared a natural disaster zone, so unless you have flood insurance, which is very expensive, the cost of this disaster will be significant,” he said.