The locking down of operations - in a move designed to minimise further spread of Covid-19 - naturally created a ripple effect across the city-state as businesses clambered to ensure remote working capabilities during the two-month period.
Operating in the eye of the storm was Computer Guys, a premium IT support services and maintenance specialist housed in the Alexandra region.
“There was a sudden surge of enquiries from customers requesting remote capabilities,” recalled Julian Ma, founder and CEO of Computer Guys. “A key challenge was in moving many end-users to remote platforms that didn’t previously have remote capabilities, especially before the introduction of movement restriction by the government.
“You start to realise how much you miss the physical interaction between people, it’s human nature. It’s also been difficult to deliver our usual services onsite as businesses are instructed to work from home.”
Founded in 2010, Computer Guys has evolved from a one-man show to a 50-strong team of employees serving over 200 customers. The provider offers expertise in technology management, disaster recovery and risk, in addition to project management, IT auditing and VOIP services.
“No businesses have been spared because of Covid-19,” said Ma, when speaking to Channel Asia. “The impact arising from the pandemic is either direct or consequential due to movement orders and temporary business closures.
“Thankfully, the impact on our business has been minimal despite experiencing a slowdown in new business. This is attributed to the subscription business model we have adopted along with an emphasis on cloud technology which has allowed Computer Guys to continue operations and support our end-user customers remotely.”
Since the outbreak, the business has been operating almost 100 per cent remotely, in alignment with circuit breaker protocols issued by the government. Key offerings during this period include secure and remote end-user access, in addition to the remote monitoring of software and hardware systems, back-up services, software patches and even hardware delivery through courier services.
“This approach has helped us remove the requirement of onsite deployment to critical issues only,” Ma added. “We only render to businesses who are essential business under our care.
"The pandemic caught many traditional businesses without remote working capabilities by surprise, meaning we had to quickly move to offer Covid-19 support solutions that were simple, holistic and low cost to help businesses continue operations remotely.”
According to Ma, this included incorporating Microsoft Teams and tools from SolarWinds to bolster support provisions.
“Partnering with companies such as SolarWinds which provides remote management tools for systems have helped us be ready for this crisis,” he explained. “With the tools, we are able to work remotely without needing to be onsite for most of our support and continue to help the companies under our care operate during these moments of crisis.”
In looking ahead however, and despite the encouraging easing of restrictions, Ma acknowledged that challenges remain for the Singapore market.
“One is derived from the economic impact onto our clients and whether customers have the capability to invest and transform into a digitalised organisation after being hit," said Ma, referencing customers in tourism, events and advertising industries.
“The second challenge is around continuing our progressive improvements, remaining operational and ensuring tight communication with stakeholders under the assumption that most businesses will continue to operate remotely in the mid to long-term.”