Maintaining DCC services during the COVID-19 crisis

Kevin Ashley | 31 March 2020

Users of our online services, particularly DMPonline, are understandably looking for reassurance that we are able to maintain them during the worldwide COVID-19 crisis, and the associated restrictions on movement currently being applied in the UK. I set out here some of the measures we've taken, and the planning that has gone into them, to enable us to continue to offer the level of service you expect from us.

We do not expect there to be any significant impact on our ability to keep the service available and to continue to respond to customer requests in the coming months. The technical infrastructure on which DMPonline relies is housed in dual data centres and regular exercises have been conducted in the past to simulate loss of access to these, and to the buildings from which we normally work. Those
exercises have made the rapid transition to fully remote working much smoother than it otherwise might have been.

All DCC staff are used to periodic remote working and are therefore equipped to continue working from home. Like many other workplaces, we are making more frequent use of virtual meeting systems to ensure we keep in touch and continue to function as an integrated team, and we're also continuing our regular collaborative meetings with our co-workers at the University of California Curation Center.

There will be some effects that you may notice. Our development capacity is currently reduced somewhat and this will mean that items on the development roadmap will take longer to reach production than would otherwise be the case. In addition, secure deployment of fixes and new developments to production servers require additional steps when working remotely and this also means that some things will happen a little more slowly than we would normally expect.

We're seeing an increased number of requests to our helpdesks which also means replies may take longer than usual, but you can still be assured of a response. As always, we encourage you to do this by email whenever possible. For DMPonline, please email dmponline@dcc.ac.uk. For general enquiries, please email info@dcc.ac.uk. Helpdesk telephone numbers have been redirected, but the mechanism for handling them is not as flexible as we would like so email is preferred.

We sent communications to the DCC associates list and others earlier in March,  when we took the decision not to hold any in person for at least the next three months. Some events we had already scheduled are moving online; others are being replaced by different online events with similar themes or aims; others will be postponed or cancelled. Announcements about each are being made as the new arrangements are being put in place.

All DCC activities and services are currently robust; we do not expect the situation to change in the medium term. If and when this position changes, you can be assured we will keep you informed.