“The use of digital tools is growing”

zetcom is adapting to the current situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19). Dominik Gertsch (Head of Sales and Marketing) explains what this means for customers and employees.

Dominik, how does zetcom experience the current situation regarding the coronavirus?

We experience it much like many other colleagues and industries around the world. As a company and software service provider, we ask ourselves what this means for our customers and our markets. And as an employer, we are taking all the necessary measures to protect the health and safety of our employees. We are currently reducing business trips and appointments with customers to the bare minimum. We ask our customers and partners for their understanding. We are now holding many meetings and customer projects virtually. This suits our customers as well, because they too are affected by travel restrictions. Our employees are also very comfortable with it.

Does zetcom notice any differences in the affected countries?

Basically, we are not yet widely represented in the countries where the coronavirus initially spread very quickly. I am thinking here of Italy and China. In countries such as Germany, Switzerland and the USA, the responsible authorities have reacted similarly, albeit with a slight delay. We are monitoring regional conditions and acting accordingly to provide our customers and employees with the best possible information and support. Many of our clients have temporarily closed their public spaces until further notice.

What changes are customers preparing for?

Our customers include museums and collections. For them, the focus is on the visitors. But visitors remain off now. Overall, this is a very difficult time for the arts and culture community. Internally, our customers are trying to remain operational. Though the museums are closed to the public, many of the users of our software continue to do their jobs. The work goes on. They maintain data and drive the digital management of their collections. Some of them are working remotely and with virtual tools. In many places, this means that daily operations are shifting completely offsite and online. The use of digital tools is growing.

What precautions is zetcom taking?

The requirements of local and state authorities are changing from week to week. We are adapting to this in order to be able to react quickly. Current information and transparency are very important for our customers. That is why we provide information via newsletters and in direct consultation. We support customers who have tight deadlines for their projects and we have other customers who are putting tasks on hold. In both situations, as an IT service provider, we maintain ongoing work and speed up as necessary. For this purpose we use video and telephone conferences or online training. Another area we are reviewing is planned events. We have just postponed our user conference to autumn, which we had originally planned to host with customers in Lucerne in March. In view of the situation in Switzerland, this was a necessary precautionary measure.

What are the most common questions customers are currently asking?

Customers ask us to set up virtual project rooms and meetings. In this way, ongoing projects can be continued. Here we bring our customers as close to our software as we do in a physical meeting. Customers also ask us which infrastructure and hardware we use for virtual meetings and whether we are compatible with their infrastructure. Other customers ask us to extend existing licenses of their zetcom software, as they are currently shifting their resources to working remotely. More users are now accessing the software.

Are your customers prepared for virtual meetings?

There are differences. Due to their IT infrastructure, not every customer has the necessary access rights to use meeting tools such as Microsoft Teams, Skype or Zoom. For other customers, these tools are already integrated. Overall, however, the trend is clearly towards virtual collaboration.

How can customers best exploit the current exceptional situation?

One of our customers is currently using freed-up time and resources of his experts to accelerate the in-depth recording of art collection objects and then publishing the data to their public-facing website. This work extends the digital offering to the public while the physical spaces of the galleries are unavailable.

How does zetcom support this customer?

First, we temporarily increased the number of user licenses for the MuseumPlus software to enable the increased work on the customer side. The customer’s task force then requested an adjustment of the user interface. An additional field for online object descriptions should be added to the MuseumPlus data field catalog. Our software allows configurations like this without any problems. This enabled us to provide the customer with a suitable working tool very quickly.

Services like this are only possible with healthy employees. What preventive measures does zetcom take for its employees?

This is an important issue for us. We take every precaution to protect the health of our employees. In our branches we comply with the requirements of the state authorities. We are currently asking our employees to work in the home office. We are also providing solutions for employees who must look after their children at home because schools and childcare facilities are closing. We now conduct all meetings virtually. Overall, we notice that our internal work environment and IT environment are well prepared for all of this. We have previously worked virtually and in flexible remote forms.

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