The international customer-engagement company LivePerson has decided to completely shift its work procedures and adopt a full work from home (WFH) model in the face of COVID-19.
In a concerted effort, the company’s IT infrastructure was migrated over to Bezeq International’s new Data Center facility "Afek".
Launched this year, the Data Center is prepared to welcome additional companies switching to WFH model.
The conceptual revolution during the COVID-19 era, which has transferred the workforce to remote activity has not really surprised the heads of the LivePerson, a U.S. high-tech company. After all, this is a corporation that creates digital platforms designed to connect between service providers and end-consumers and to provide software services to help transfer the organizational system to the use of online tools. As you have probably noticed, this is one of the most sought after commodities in 2020 (the company recorded a leap of tens of millions of dollars in its share value on the NASDAQ).
Based on the global changes, and the concern regarding the outbreak of a second wave, the Company has decided to take a revolutionary step, which in the future will be talked about as an awareness-changing process: Forgoing their real estate and moving over completely to the online work of their employees from remote points. The Company’s Israeli branch, which employs more than one quarter of the organization’s global personnel and operates its largest development center, was selected to be the first in line. The lease agreement for the giant complex spanning 6,300 square meters in Raanana’s high tech park was ended at the end of June and the Company decided not to utilize the real estate option to automatically renew the contract.
“This is a decision that was reached two and a half weeks before the end of the quarter,” explained Yuval Matalon, CEO of LivePerson’s Israeli branch, “Taking into account that this is a very complex matter, but on the other hand, if there’s an organization that is built to work remotely, it’s us, so we decided to take action.” In a decision to take action immediately, LivePerson implemented one of the most challenging processes a high tech company has ever dared to undertake: To disconnect the IT network and move it to DATA CENTER. “Beyond the entire organizational framework that we decided to shut down with the offices, the most significant step was to transfer our server room – a very complex matter with more than one hundred physical servers and everything that this involves, in terms of IT and information security".
The destination selected for the move is the new Afek Data Center, Bezeq International’s fifth DATA CENTER that was opened this year in Rosh Ha’ayin. Bezeq International was selected to implement this process from A to Z. “This is an enormous process, which we needed to execute in an unprecedented period of time,” said Eran Barak, Director of the Enterprise & Strategic Customers Group at Bezeq International’s Business Solutions Division, “Within one week, we executed the precise planning of every aspect of this complex process. At the end of one week, based on Eastern Standard Time, we launched the transfer project. We started the work on Saturday night, our time, at 22:00, and the next day at 19:00 the entire LivePerson computer room was already transferred to the new DATA CENTER in Rosh Ha’ayin. The employees from Berlin, New York or Seattle who connected to the network on Monday morning didn’t even notice the difference, but for us, these were 21 consecutive hours of work without a minute’s break".
Efficiency and an Annual Savings of NIS Five Million
Even before a decision was made to cancel the real estate lease and move over to a remote work platform, LivePerson conducted a survey among 1,300 employs worldwide. More than 70% of the employees said they were satisfied with the new work arrangement dictated by COVID-19. Working from one’s home office, it turns out, has its advantages that no open space in a glass building can provide. It saves them precious time on the roads, helps reduce the earth’s pollution; and most importantly, it protects them from contagion that lurks in every corner (or at least enables them to avoid working with a mask, and let’s admit it, that’s a lot).
Beyond the built-in advantages for the Company’s employees, the transition to remote work is also good news for the Company itself. A rough estimate indicates a savings of NIS 5 million per year from the cancellation of the Raanana lease. And this is just the Israeli office. In Seattle, the company’s staff have already been told to start packing, because the Israeli model is soon to arrive at their office; Bottom line, the organization hopes to save between 12 and 15 million dollars per year, by doing away with the real estate expenses.
“This is not about saving money,” Matalon explained, “Because we have already announced that every cent that the Company saved will be invested in the employees: by supplying them with equipment that will help them work from home, bonuses and improving their conditions.” For example, the Company is discussing a series of bonuses that may equal a salary pay check, as well as a 25% discount on participation in the leasing expenses (another expense that will be significantly reduced upon the transition to working from home).
By the way, Matalon was appointed by LivePerson to head up the team to design the work methods for the company in the future – both in the immediate term, in which Coronavirus is keeping us hostage in our homes, and in healthier times, in which the world will open up, but the remote work format will remain in place.
“In the world, there are many companies that work remotely,” says Matalon, “But at no stage did we look at what they are doing as a model for action. From our viewpoint, the idea is to create a unique work format, due to our belief that in the future, we will serve as a model. The basic idea is to create a flexible hybrid work system, in which work is conducted remotely, but the moment we can once again come in contact with people without becoming exposed to infection, the goal will be to hold work meetings and joint activities".
Data Center with End to End Service
“I assume that one of the reasons that LivePerson has felt confident enough to embark upon such a dramatic process in such a short period of time was its familiarity with Bezeq International and with our capabilities in executing projects of this scale,” says Eran Barak. “The people at LivePerson knew that they were embarking upon a very complex campaign and they must partner with someone who would be there from the stage of turning off the switches and dismantling the computers in Raanana until the business returned to functioning at the DATA CENTER.
According to Eran Barak, the advantages that a communication and integration company such as Bezeq International brings to this complex process is on a number of levels and provides a holistic solution to the customer’s complex needs: “Of course, our new Data Center meets the strictest international standards. We provide a state- of -the -art technological infrastructure and we also meet the highest TIER 3 standard for the supplementary systems, such as electricity, air conditioning, security – and that’s not all.”
“The main aspect of this project is that Bezeq International is not only a DATA CENTER. We also provide the largest telecommunication and internet service in the country. We are an integration company engaged in computerization,IT and information security.. Co-locating at Bezeq international Data Centers, our customers can obtain connectivity to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, via Bezeq International's submarine network which is based on three (3) separate routes and terrestrial connectivity with different operators in the neighboring countries. When a company such as LivePerson gives all its sensitive data to an external institution, they need to be 100% certain that everything is conducted in an optimal manner.there is no other company in Israel that can provide a comprehensive solution that even comes close to what Bezeq International can offer large companies in this field.”
“We had a crazy adventure,” summarizes Matalon, “Throughout the process, we thought of scenarios of the things that could go wrong and how to overcome these problems, but I have to say, the professionalism at Bezeq International was extraordinary. Everything they implemented worked according to plan, and when we completed the transfer, we could go to sleep peacefully after many stressful hours. Our network has been set up at the DATA CENTER in Rosh Ha’ayin and everything works perfectly.”
* This information was provided by Bezeq International, Israel’s largest telecommunications company, providing end to end IT solutions, which recently opened the Afek DATA CENTER.
For additional information:
Senior Project Manager ,Bezeq International