105th meeting marks historic milestone – first fully virtual sessions in nearly 50 years
UNICC’s Management Committee, the organization’s governance body, met last week marking a historic landmark: the first-ever fully virtual meeting. The Management Committee, comprised of representatives from forty Partners, shares responsibility with the UNICC Director for key decisions, providing guidance for UNICC’s strategic direction and approving the Centre’s budget, financial reports and services rates. They typically convene in a UN Agency headquarters location with some members participating virtually. In the midst of the novel Coronavirus pandemic, UNICC invited attendees from diverse time zones to two, two-hour sessions using Microsoft Teams on Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 April 2020.
The sessions covered statutory business including the transition to a new Chair and Vice Chair of the Board. UNICC Director Sameer Chauhan welcomed new Partners, presented new service offerings, shared recent audit certifications and updated the Management Committee on the organization’s progress on UNICC’s Transformation Plan approved in the 102nd session. UNICC’s financial growth was discussed, with remarks on the organization’s healthy state with the increase in contracts and contract values last year.
In addition, a successful UNICC Transformation Plan was marked with progress across almost all workstreams, including developing new capabilities, optimising the organization, building strategic vendor partnerships, deepening UNICC’s Client focus and strengthening the organization’s cultural values.
UNICC response to the COVID-19 crisis
In addition to business as usual, the Management Committee sessions addressed the organization’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite it having strongly affected each of the countries of the five UNICC office locations (Brindisi, Geneva, New York, Rome and Valencia), UNICC acted fast to invoke business continuity plans so as to fully support, with 100% of its staff teleworking, its Clients and Partner Organizations without missing a single beat.
A Crisis Management Team was established in late February with representation from all offices, as well as HR and Communications. All staff and consultants participated in a test for remote working and UNICC ensured business continuity capabilities for all critical functions such as the UNICC Service Desk, managed and shared services’ infrastructure, computing and network systems as well as the Common Secure Operations Centre.
UNICC, as the go-to ICT solutions provider for the UN family, collaborates remotely as a rule, with its business and technical teams working from diverse locations with Clients, contractors and strategic partners spread across the globe. Moreover, teleworking has been part of the UNICC HR policy for several years.
UNICC’s rapid reaction to the pandemic and its teleworking culture allowed it to achieve 60 % of staff and consultants teleworking by 10 March and a 100 % by 16 March, aside from technical staff supporting some critical managed services. Local Essential Staff teams were also established in all locations to go into the offices for technical, administrative or business continuity reasons.
UNICC has stepped up throughout the crisis to support all managed and shared services, deliver ongoing projects in addition to a significant increase in workload for our Partners, including ensuring teleworking tools can sustain an increased number of simultaneous users.
The UNICC Management Committee typically meets twice a year. With the world still working out the new normal and the excellent results achieved through this virtual meeting, it is still to be determined whether the next meeting will be physical or fully virtually. In the meantime, UNICC will continue to support Clients and Partners and help them fast-track their digital journeys, so the UN’s mission, now more critical than ever, can continue.