A look behind the scenes at some of the technology keeping the Company-X team productive.

Company-X continues to trade through the COVID-19 pandemic, asking its team of nearly 60 software specialists to work from home.

Company-X continues to offer software development services and support to clients in New Zealand as well as exporting them overseas.

The Hamilton-based software specialist provides essential software development services to clients in the primary industries, public safety and national security, transport and logistics, utilities and communications sectors.

Company-X co-founders and directors David Hallett and Jeremy Hughes shut the company’s office doors at Wintec House, Hamilton, on March 21 and asked their team to work from home after the New Zealand Government announced a four-level COVID-19 alert system. Their decision pre-empted the Government’s decision to lock the country down on March 26.

“We’ve embraced the philosophy of working from home since we founded the company in 2012,” Hallett said. “It’s helped us build a highly competent team of the best and brightest software specialists from around the world. We’ve got team members who work in Hamilton, the Greater Waikato, across New Zealand, in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States and Thailand.”

Company-X’s hiring strategy means it is not limited to hiring a team that lives in the region.

While many of the Company-X team often work from home, a number usually work from the software specialist’s office in the central business district of Hamilton.

“We provide everyone with their own laptop so that they can work from wherever they like,” Hughes said.

“The Company-X team uses a suite of the world’s top technology to stay connected with each other and collaborate on a range of diverse projects. The collaboration tools we choose are always specific to the situation and the client.”

Remote working technology infrastructure embedded in Company-X enabled the co-founders and directors to host a company-wide meeting immediately after the move home with most of the team participating. The only team members not to attend were ones involved in video conferences with clients across the globe.

The team video conference has become a weekly event in the company’s calendar.

“It’s a chance for the whole team to check in with each other and catch up, much like they might in the office,” Hallett said.

“We’ve also introduced a happy hour on a Friday. The sole purpose is team connection and socialisation.”

WORKING FROM HOME: Company-X co-founders and directors David Hallett (top) and Jeremy Hughes are working from home with their team.

Company-X software architect Rachel Primrose is part of the company’s infrastructure team whose job it is to ensure that the whole of the company has the right technological tools for every job.

As well as using some industry-specific solutions to enable software development, Company-X uses a variety of more general technological tools that could be deployed in any business regardless of sector.

“We use Google Hangouts Meet, part of G Suite, for video conferencing,” Primrose said. “This enables video and voice calls for up to 100 participants. The best thing about Hangouts Meet is that it runs in the Google Chrome browser on desktop and laptop computers, so no download is required if you already have Chrome. Apps are also available for Apple iOS and Android devices.”

Company-X also uses Cisco Webex videoconferencing for some projects because it has greater capacity and more functionality.

“Cisco WebEx is a great tool for large meetings, supporting up to 1000 audio participants,” Primrose said. “It also has worldwide dial-in options. The real magic with WebEx is the hardware - the meeting room devices detect sound and zoom in on the person speaking.”

”As well as Google Hangouts Meet, G Suite also includes Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive for business and enterprise. It's a low-cost entry to document editing and online collaboration for small businesses from one person upwards because you use your own domain for email, for example, john.smith@companyx.nz. We started with this in 2012, and it has grown with Company-X whilst remaining a cost-effective solution”

The Microsoft’s Office 365 office productivity suite, rebranded to Microsoft 365, is essential at Company-X for the creation of documents and collaboration among the team.

“It’s Microsoft Office, but online,” Primrose said. “Microsoft 365 includes email client Outlook, Word, PowerPoint, Excel, SharePoint and document storage in OneDrive. There’s no need to run Exchange or SharePoint servers. You can purchase licenses to install the suite on desktops and laptops, but you don't have to, you can edit documents in the browser.”

Company-X uses Slack for collaboration between its team members with different channels for every project.

“We use Slack because it's a defacto standard for developers, and others are playing catchup with features and the user interface.”

READ MORE: Why Company-X has always believed in working from home