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Efforts in Response to a Simple, Compelling Request

by Dell on April 5, 2010
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Efforts in Response to a Simple, Compelling Request

Would Dell donate 50-100 notebooks to help establish a Haiti command center in Miami to coordinate the outpouring of community volunteer aid efforts?

Within minutes Michael Dell gave the green light, although we sensed even then that this was likely to be much more involved than simply shipping a few PCs. Ten frenetic days later, an empty office in Miami was transformed into a fully functioning command center, bustling with activity and powered by donated Dell hardware running Dell provided software/solutions. What follows is the story of a dedicated Dell team drawn from across the company who overcame numerous hurdles to meet the deadline and make this a reality.

Jan. 17 (Sunday) – Deb Bauer is designated the point person. Deb reaches out to Lars Jensen and others to set the gears in motion, and remains in constant communications with the White House throughout the day to begin the planning.

Jan. 18 (Monday) – A Dell team works through the day with the White House team to assess, advise, and define the optimal IT capability. As these discussions evolve, the initial request for notebook computers begins to morph into an integrated solution that includes overall design and set-up, file management, software, servers, storage, switches, and power cords. That evening the order is placed with the factory, and the team works to expedite the process.

Jan. 19 (Tuesday) – The equipment arrives in Miami, and the Dell team coordinates with the White House on installation and logistics.

Jan. 20 (Wednesday) —Additional Dell team mates arrive on site to start staging and deploying the hardware. By day’s end, all of the hardware is unpacked and successfully tested.

Jan. 21 (Thursday) – The team learns that the promised office furniture from another source would not be coming, and there was a critical shortage of office supplies. The White House team asks if Dell can help. Deb contacts Dell Facilities and within the hour they locate excess furniture (including 100 folding chairs and dozens of tables) and office supplies. That evening these items are en route to Miami. Meanwhile, the team spends the day helping the relief team design and build a database for the volunteers. By the end of this day, 75% of the hardware is deployed (but sitting on boxes awaiting the Dell furniture shipment), the network infrastructure is installed and tested, and the servers are racked, stacked, and installed with the OS image.

Jan. 22 (Friday)– The furniture shipment arrives and the full set-up begins to come together. But the relief team discovers that they need additional tables and chairs to accommodate the expected number of volunteers, and Deb works to solve that problem. With the IT environment now nearly complete, the remaining bottleneck preventing full deployment is internet access. The Dell team breaks for the weekend to wait for connectivity to be established.

Jan. 26 (Tuesday) – Another Facilities team sources additional excess furniture and arranges for transportation through a carrier at no charge.

Jan. 27 (Wednesday) – After a full day of work to complete the remaining tasks, the center is up and running. The deadline is met and the center is open and meeting the critical need to aggregate and track potential volunteers, help get people connected, provide grief and trauma counseling to the local community, and most importantly, they are ready to provide sustained support for the months and years of recovery work ahead.

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