2020 was, and 2021 continues to be, challenging years due to COVID 19. The impacts of the pandemic are still far reaching and continue to reverberate around the world. Political turmoil, skyrocketing unemployment, plummeting interest rates, and wild stock market fluctuations all contributed to the uncertainty of technology in the public sector,
as well as the day to day life of the average individual.
It was during the height of the pandemic in 2020 that Estrada Consulting, Inc. (ECI) celebrated its 20 year anniversary. As with most firms and organizations, ECI had to make several rapid transitions during this period to keep pace with the ever changing public sector technology landscape. However, ECI took these challenges in stride and immediately implemented COVID safety protocols, moved their entire office staff to a remote environment, and developed an approach to public sector clients to help them
achieve immediate goals.
Technology demands in almost every aspect of life from education to medicine, cellphones to streaming video, shopping to dating, increased rapidly and required not only massive modifications to applications, but hardware as well. Online tools and services, remote access and workspace, telecommuting and contact-less interactions suddenly became mandatory and industry across the spectrum scrambled to meet this new paradigm. IT departments had to meet not only a vast increase in their online user base, but upgraded software and hardware to accommodate a newly evolving remote world.
ECI has weathered many challenges, including two recessions and several technology downturns in its twenty year history serving public sector clients. And while there was a significant contraction of public sector business, as budgets were slashed and projects were slumping due to the initial public reaction to COVID, the expansion experienced when the wheels of government finally began to crank faster to meet the demand of remote and online services provided a much needed infusion of city, county, and state contracting.
State departments were rushing to implement online services, which created a dramatic rise in system expansions, enhancements, modernization, and legacy system migrations. The increased demand were tall orders for public sector organizations with already strained budgets. Even though funding for these emergency modernization projects was happening across all verticals, prior projects in the pipeline needed to be completed, and systems had to be adapted before upgrades and additional services could be added. These in-process projects ate into new funding streams. Public sector IT managers had to not only balance competing priorities, but implement entire systems rapidly. It signaled an unprecedented growth in IT and ECI moved quickly to adapt to the change in public sector procurement requests by ensuring the right skills and resources were ready to meet the increase in demand. It's interesting to note, that as the impacts of the pandemic began to level off, public sector IT contracts became smaller in scope and budget, but the volume of service and support requests increased. RFO/RFP’s with a duration of less than 1000 hours of support became common.
Where there were challenges, ECI saw an opportunity to provide the experience and services needed to deliver many of the vital online and remote services that were required across many organizations. By being an agile, small business, ECI was flexible enough to adapt to changing consultant and contracting dynamics, engage in the increase of smaller state contracts, while also having the resources and experience to serve larger projects and technology demands.
During the height of the pandemic, ECI was able to add more consultants, recruiters, and management staff to it's employee roster, including ECI's newest executive Dan Krown (Program & Project Management Practice Manager), to meet the demand of these new government service requests. ECI also implemented new procedures and policies to ensure rapid remote deployments and experienced staff to fill the increased demand in specific technologies. ECI is, and continues to be, a robust public sector technology organization and industry leader for consulting services on the West coast and across the country. While the COVID pandemic continues to create challenges, ECI stands ready to meet those challenges with skilled consultants, advanced technology experience, and a determination to provide the best IT services to public sector clients.