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BDP Gets All Employees Working Remotely in 48 Hours During the COVID-19 Crisis
How BDP enables 1,350 employees to work remotely with Splashtop
Alistair Kell, principal and head of information technology and processes at BDP, explains how during the COVID-19 crisis, his company — an international, interdisciplinary practice of architects, designers, engineers and urbanists — got all employees working remotely in 48 hours with Splashtop Remote Access Solutions.
When COVID-19 hit, BDP looked at several options to enable employees to work from home. The sense of urgency, as well as the size of their team and the software employees needed to work efficiently, made this quite the challenge:
Hardware needs: Would employees have a personal computer they could connect from at home, or would they only have a BDP laptop?
Keeping the current infrastructure stable: How could BDP keep everything stable while ensuring there were no unnecessary changes to the company underlying infrastructure?
Urgency and cost: How could BDP deploy quickly without incurring an unreasonable cost?
Due to all these concerns, BDP believed that the whole process to go remote would take at least two or three weeks of turmoil in getting ready. However, thanks to BDP’s IT team and Splashtop remote access solutions, it didn’t take so long.
“Within 48 hours of announcing that staff might choose to work from home, the process was as smooth and seamless as anyone could ever have hoped for.” – Alistair Kell
We considered other products but Splashtop offered a competitive solution that allowed enterprise level management and Multi Factor Authentication. Splashtop allowed us to leverage the powerful, prebuilt machines we had in place with users accessing their regular desktops.
Alistair K., Principal and Head of Information Technology and Processes
The Challenge: Enabling remote work when COVID-19 shut down studios
When COVID-19 first appeared, BDP had to shut off its studios in Shanghai and Singapore for some time. This led BDP to consider several options for remote access and prepare ahead of time before all their offices were forced to close.
“From a staff base of approximately 1,350 in 16 locations around the world, we already had 650 laptop users who could all connect into the BDP network using Microsoft Direct Access, allowing day-to-day working from any location,” said Alistair Kell, Principal and Head of Information Technology and Processes at BDP.
While this system worked successfully for most of the software BDP employees used, it did not work for Revit, a software that helps architects and professionals work together. Revit did not work well with multiple connected users: low performance, high latency and lag in 3D interactions.
In addition to Revit, BDP had over 400 separate software titles that needed to be installed on each user’s machine if they were to use them to work remotely. “It would have been an impossible task to install all these natively as many did not work at all when off LANs,” said Kell.
The Solution: BDP takes their company remote in 48 hours with Splashtop
Splashtop Business Access allowed BDP employees to remotely access their work machines as if they were sitting in front of them. So, there was no longer a need for natively installing any software on the laptops, and remote work could be enabled faster.
BDP originally purchased 100 licenses on a Thursday evening and used all of these for initial testing across all locations by the following Monday. This allowed BDP to test various scenarios, get the configuration right, and better understand the management console.
BDP then began a wider rollout, increasing licensing to 600. The in-house IT team deployed the Splashtop receiver to all machines and had staff in each location matching employees to machine IDs and supporting registration to Splashtop, while a central group aligned users to their work PCs.
To streamline the process, BDP prepared simple guidance given to all staff with more orientation and training given to the IT help desk. This whole process took one week, and once BDP announced that it needed to go fully remote, it took only 48 hours to take the company remote.
Results: Enabling 1,350 employees to work from home
In the end, BDP found in Splashtop, the solution they needed for enabling 1,350 employees to work from home.
The firm had considered other products, but Splashtop offered a competitive solution that allowed enterprise-level management and multi-factor authentication.
BDP is now using Splashtop Business Access across all locations from Toronto through the UK, EMEA, India and China.
Founded in 1961, BDP is the 2nd largest architect-led firm in the UK, with over 16 locations globally and 1,350 employees. BDP has a leading track record in all major sectors, including health, education, workplace, retail, urbanism, heritage, housing, transport, leisure, public safety and energy utilities. This includes the restoration of the UK Houses of Parliament.