Mental health for all should mean ‘all’

The 10th October is World Mental Health Day and this year’s theme is ‘mental health for all’.

After the year we have had I think that theme is very appropriate as the effects of social distancing, lockdowns, not seeing friends and family, not being at school as well as the loss of friends and family have all had a huge impact on our mental health.

More and more people will suffer mental health issues

A report by the centre for mental health published this month states:

“Nationally, in England, the model predicts that up to 10 million people (almost 20% of the population) will need either new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the crisis. 1.5 million of those will be children and young people under 18.”

Mental health in the younger generation

When we went into lockdown my biggest concern was actually my children’s mental health.  Whilst we traditionally concern ourselves with whether or not our children are happy, we rarely stop to think about their mental health.  In fact, it is not a topic you usually associate with children.

But they have had to deal with so much that is new to them in 2020:  lockdown, school closures and social distancing.  I have never spent so much time with my children stuck inside the house before, especially at this age.  They lost so many social interaction opportunities with anyone else outside of our immediate family, and on top of that they have experienced home schooling with yours truly as a teacher!

My children are still quite young so the impact on their mental health may not be the same as older children who will be more aware of what is going on in the world.

  • 11 years old children have missed out on graduations or prom as they move up to secondary school.
  • In addition to missing out on school events, 16/18 year olds have had the uncertainty of important exams and University places to consider.  All of these are hard enough at the best of times.

For any parent struggling with how to support their children during Covid I highly recommend  One of their articles said:

We carried out a survey with 2,036 young people with a history of mental health needs between Friday 6th June and Monday 5th July, a period in which the Government announced measures to ease restrictions, including the target for schools to reopen to all students in the Autumn term.

The results reveal that:

  • 80% of respondents agreed that the coronavirus pandemic had made their mental health worse. 41% said it had made their mental health “much worse”, up from 32% in the previous survey in March. This was often related to increased feelings of anxiety, isolation, a loss of coping mechanisms or a loss of motivation.
  • 87% of respondents agreed that they had felt lonely or isolated during the lockdown period, even though 71% had been able to stay in touch with friends. 
  • Among more than 1,000 respondents who were accessing mental health support in the three months leading up the crisis (including from the NHS, school and university counsellors, private providers, charities and helplines), 31% said they were no longer able to access support but still needed it.
  • Of those who had not been accessing support immediately before the crisis, 40% said that they had not looked for support but were struggling with their mental health
  • 11% of respondents said that their mental health had improved during the crisis, an increase from 6% in the previous survey. This was often because they felt it was beneficial to be away from the pressures of their normal life (e.g. bullying or academic pressure at school)

I’m quite lucky.  My children’s primary school sent out information during the pandemic about how to support children’s mental health.  They have made plans to celebrate World Mental Health Day at school by asking children to wear a yellow accessory.

The school has held discussions about feelings, mental wellbeing and coping mechanisms.  More schools should be including this as part of the education they provide.

But this level of support shouldn’t be limited to just whilst we are living with the pandemic.  What’s more  carers and parents should have easy access to resources that can help them to better support their children at all times.

Mental health issues in parents

I had a conversation with a friend during the lockdown who was struggling with home schooling her daughter.  When she told me that she would get into arguments with her daughter and that it was hard to juggle home schooling with her own work, I offered the following advice:

“Focus on her mental health and your mental health. Catching up with work and schoolwork might take a few months but it will take years for your mental health to recover.”

My friend described a sense of release.  She was relieved that she wasn’t alone in feeling like she had been feeling. My response to her was, “I didn’t want to force him to learn when he wanted to play, I didn’t want to argue with him to sit at a table, he was already going through so much change.”

She has since thanked me for sharing my experience. It helped make the rest of their lockdown a more pleasant experience. It’s so easy to forget when under pressure what is important and what can wait.

Many parents have described the feeling of inadequacy that comes from reading social media posts from other parents. It can easily seem like they have the perfect life – they were having an amazing time and doing super cool things with their children. It is easy to feel like I wasn’t ‘doing enough’ too.  Unintentionally or not, posts can have a negative impact on our mental wellbeing.  The knock-on effect is that it doesn’t help the children either.

Once children start nursery or school, they are typically away from us 7-8 hours a day.  During lockdown, I suddenly had to get used to having the children around 24 hours a day.

My children have gone to nursery from the age of 1.  The transition to working with our children at home has been difficult.  I am lucky that I have a role that is relatively flexible and a great employer.  The first thing our Divisional Director did issue a message to all staff about working under lockdown conditions.  He explained that we were entering unchartered territory and that we shouldn’t feel bad about children or pets interrupting our calls – something that definitely happened to me.

This was invaluable guidance, because at a stroke, it took the pressure off everyone working from home.

I cannot imagine how people cope if their employer is less understanding or if you were in a role that requires you to be at your desk during set hours.

I am fortunate that I already had a home office.  I have heard stories of parents working around the children in the kitchen or even the living room, or even taking turns at using the only workable table.

Covid must be one of the most stressful times we have ever had to experience.  Trying to combine entertaining the children and find time to home school older children will have affected so many parents.

Mental health in frontline NHS staff

We all know what these heroes have done and continue to do during the crisis. And as much as the applause, retail discounts and the public gratitude means to them, I cannot begin to think what they must have been going through mentally.

I watched the BBC documentary Surviving the Virus: My Brother & Me and although I was aware this has been hard for the hospitals and their staff, it was an eye-opening experience watching the documentary.

The helplessness that they all felt, the uncertainty of having a job where you no longer have any control, seeing all that grief it was enough to bring anyone to tears.

You have to feel for the admin teams struggling to get PPE, medical equipment, manage staff and avoid burnout. There is not enough clapping that can be done for these heroes.  But what I worry the most about is how this will have affected them mentally.

How easy will it be for them to get the support they need?  When will it really dawn on them what they have been through?  This is trauma and it can take years to manifest.

The British Medical Association carried out research in May. It found that one in five doctors feel they do not have access to the help that they need.  45% of doctors are suffering from depression, anxiety, stress, burnout or other mental health conditions relating to, or made worse by, the COVID-19 crisis.

It is essential that support is put in place for the NHS staff. Not just for now but long term.  Therapy is vital but also support for time off, some flexibility in working, and also other support methods.

There are of course many more vulnerable groups such as those living alone, the elderly and those that have been shielding.  Then there are the mums to be who have had to go to medical visits alone.  Some have lost babies and had to deal go through this with no one to hold their hand.

Patients with other illnesses have also suffered, as have their families.  The list goes on, I have only looked at 3 groups.  Every single person has suffered in some way.  Some may have found a way to get through and others may have struggled more.

Access to therapy has been limited over the past 6 months.  Ditto for medical support.  So, what can businesses do to help their employees?

How are your employees coping?

We have a workforce that is largely working remotely.  Some people will be thriving and others not doing so well. There needs to be some way to check in with people.  A questionnaire might work well in the absence of physical check-ins.

A lot of virtual events sprung up, especially during the early part of lockdown but the world of work has not moved on with most people still working from home.  More team/company events are still required so colleagues can still feel connected to each other.

Some employees that must attend their place of work may also be struggling due to using public transport. They may be worried about safety when working inside a building and alongside other people.  We shouldn’t assume that they are okay just because they are back in the workplace.

Are mental health services such as a mental health first aiders available to staff?  Is it available without any judgement or stigma if employees choose to use the service? Is the availability of these services clearly signposted across the organisation on the intranet?

These services should be confidential and easy to access.  The NHS support and charities are really struggling with the sheer volume of people contacting them.  Could employers help ease the burden by offering their employees more assistance and thus reduce the burden faced by the NHS and charities?  There are some great resources for organisations offered by the charities and they are always happy to talk in more detail about options.

  • Mind has lots of useful resources of how your organisation can be prepared to help their employees that may be struggling. Training for mental health first aider and and e-learning courses are also available.
  • Mind has lots of useful resources of how your organisation can be prepared to help their employees that may be struggling. Training for mental health first aider and and e-learning courses are also available.

  • The mental health foundation also has lots of information around supporting mental health at work. The PDF has lots of useful information about different ideas that can be used to create a mental wellbeing programme and advice.
  • Acas – the workplace expert in the UK. Acas has a framework for positive mental health at work which can be downloaded.
  • The mental health foundation also has lots of information around supporting mental health at work. The PDF has lots of useful information about different ideas that can be used to create a mental wellbeing programme and advice.
  • Acas – the workplace expert in the UK. Acas has a framework for positive mental health at work which can be downloaded.

If your organisation doesn’t offer much in the way of support, maybe you could suggest some ideas to the right people in the organisation, how you feel things could be improved.  There is a lot of information out there regarding the support available to organisations. The above links are a good place to start.

How I deal with stress

In several of my previous blogs I have talked about the role that exercise plays in my mental health.

I consider myself to be very fortunate to work at an organisation that focuses on this quite heavily. At Computacenter, they have provided access to a Community Online resource that features lots of online content that is delivered live every Thursday and is also available on demand.

There are many fitness, well-being and mindfulness sessions to name but a few.  It goes much further than that – there are sessions for children of all ages, and you can dip in and watch as many or as few as you like.

A happier employee is a more productive employee.  We should all be looking out for each other at time when we have never been so far apart.

After all, mental health support should be open to everyone, and the more people that receive support, the better off we will all be as a whole.

What to do if you’re struggling with your mental health

If you are struggling with your mental health and need to talk to someone the following charities can help, please do reach out to them and don’t suffer in silence:

How Personal Do You Want to be With Your Bank?

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) celebrations that took place on 6th October 2020, we shared a number of blog posts which showed our approach to customer experience.

While the day might be over for another year, we’re continuing our programme with more insight into how and why we put the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Does your bank delight you, exceed your expectations and provide you with a secure house for your hard-earned income?

Or, have you switched in search of a better experience?

In today’s world we expect banking for free with products and services that are super quick to take advantage of and require minimal effort. Customer experience is very much at the forefront of banking strategy and has been for some years now. However, banks recognise that to remain relevant in today’s market they must look at capturing our attention with broader lifestyle offerings.

It is no longer enough to be offering advice on which bank product best suits the customer. In today’s world, it’s about helping people achieve their financial goals, understand where to spend more and where to spend less.

Let’s start by summarising some of the new opportunities and challenges banks face.

The regulators are paying more attention to customer complaints with a view of problematic product sales practices, and therefore banking CEO’s being called up by governments to justify their behaviour. In addition, measures such as Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will apply across Europe from September 2021, enhancing security and preventing fraud.
So, how do Banks continue protecting customers, and at the same time, demonstrate that “ease-to-do-business” experience that we all crave?

Immense Opportunities

Firstly, with a combination of client data, superior analytics and multi-channel opportunities, banks possess a wealth of knowledge. This knowledge enables them to increase the ‘moments of truth’ that deliver proactive insights, helping customers make the right choices more quickly and easily. Customers like having multi-channel choices (web, mobile app, phone, in-branch), however, they become irritated if when buying they are asked to change channels, in other words begin an on-line process then asked to ‘go to branch’.

For most banks, processes and technology will need to adapt to provide a consistent experience across channel and departments.

The power of artificial intelligence (AI) continues at pace as we take advantage of the data now available to personalise and contextualise interactions, improving processes and giving the impression of a more human interaction without humans. Having said that, organisations realise there is a balance, and human engagement can be modelled on a highly available basis without the specialist ever leaving the office.

Human actions to digital – technologies are evolving from Alexa and Siri type responses to more personalised accents and pronunciations and will become more common place in time.

Superior Personalisation

Delivering personalised experiences is nothing new to the banking sector. It’s has been a cornerstone for marketing activity for decades. That said, expectation is higher than ever before – according to Salesforce, 62% of consumers expect companies to adapt based on their actions and behaviours.

In addition, the study found only 47% of consumers believe they are receiving this level of personalisation today. This is one area some of the smaller and emerging banks are taking advantage.

Two examples:

Bunq, a Dutch international mobile bank introduced ‘Freedom of Choice’, a world first. The freedom to choose what happens with your money, where your deposits are held and how they are used. Bunq claims that no other bank in the world lets you choose what happens with your money. They also pride themselves on an online 5minute sign up to access services.

The bank is run by mostly by young IT specialists and not traditional bankers.

In Spain, BBVA has an app feature called Bconomy, which helps customers set goals, save money and track their progress. It also provides the ability to compare prices on things like groceries and utilities. Another experience feature is the ability to compare spending to similar customers to see if their financial activity is on track.

In just three weeks, Bconomy had half a million users.

That superior personalisation doesn’t necessarily mean providing lots of choice either, it’s about having the right ones. Overall, less choice for customers is clearer and cheaper for any business. For example, one car manufacturer includes full spec on all cars, you may think this is expensive, however costs of multiple production lines and ‘stop-start’ to fit different variations is very expensive.

These examples are certainly appealing to many however for organisations to thrive in decades to come they must weave customer centric experiences into every aspect of their organisation focusing on human centred design. Success will depend on anticipating customer needs and making engagement a pleasant experience.

So, what do banking professionals think?

One customer experience professional working in a large European bank shared their insight into the challenge of balancing customer experience investment with the drive for profitability, something they have worked hard to bring the benefits of customer happiness and financial success.
Being clear on a CX vision and mission with the branding of being a ‘Loveable Bank’ is something they are proud of and have metrics and action to continually improve.

One such example is the ‘butterfly effect’ whereby some 150-positive employee/customer success stories have been captured and promoted. Another example is where employees are brought together to create a ‘Channel Squad’ focused on providing seamless and consistent experiences, whatever a customer’s preferred way of banking is.

Finally, IT plays a vital role in merging technology improvement with CX. For each IT project a ‘one pager statement is generated to outline; 1) how many customers are affected, and 2) what is the likely impact either positive or negative, and if negative what mitigations need to be identified.
Another Banking IT professional spoke about similar challenges in striking a balance of managing costs whilst providing safe and secure banking for clients, and indeed how CX initiatives drive a supporting strategy for maximising customer satisfaction.

Measuring CX is a key factor for the bank and their IT functions, focusing on newer insights from generation topics and social responsibility sources. These are now more widely considered when digitising business, and therefore, how better to connect with clients.

For IT specifically employees are now able to provide ‘real time’ feedback regarding their technology procurement or issues, enabling a much swifter response and connection with the User. The outcome of such enhancements builds trust with employees and demonstrates that the business cares about them personally.

Final Thoughts

There is an emerging realisation that the future of CX in banking isn’t about banking at all, it’s not about account products and mortgages, it’s more about lifestyle choices. Traditional benchmarking against other financial institutes is no longer as important. Today’s banks are looking to benchmark against organisations selling similar experiences and lifestyles as them from other sectors.

For example:
• Hallmark cards output is greeting cards, but they market ‘Expressions’
• Harley Davidson’s product is the motorbike, but they sell ‘Freedom’
The outcome of a banking experience is helping customers ‘achieve financial goal’s’. Customer-centric thinking organisations look at achieving outcomes for customers that relate personally, and therefore become more relevant and valuable to retain customer for the longer term. So…do you want to be more personal with you bank?

Further Reading

Strong Customer Authentication
Managing a customer experience transformation in banking
Customer experience key to the future of banking in 2019

Why CX Is The Key to Unlocking Growth in Your Business

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) celebrations that took place on 6th October 2020, we shared a number of blog posts which showed our approach to customer experience.

While the day might be over for another year, we’re continuing our programme with more insight into how and why we put the customer at the heart of everything we do.

Across all businesses and industries, the “experience economy” now features in every interaction we have.

Differing from services which are delivered on demand, experiences are revealed over a duration of time. Customer Experience (CX) is a perception driven by a simple equation.

CX = The observed performance that a customer has with a supplier, minus their expectation.

CX is not an easily measured operational KPI, but it plays a significant role in overall customer satisfaction and a customer’s choice to spend their money with you.

Research conducted by McKinsey & Company in 2016 showed that for every 10% increase in customer satisfaction a company can increase revenue by 2-3%. So how can you affect CX during interactions with your customers?

Focussing on just a few factors – Time, Convenience & Transparency – can help to make a big impact in your customers experience and therefore, customer satisfaction, potentially netting you greater revenue and encouraging growth.

If you think about these 3 factors in a real-life situation, you can see the affect they have on experience quite easily: say you have received a new laptop, either through a personal purchase or through your workplace and upon unboxing you have trouble logging in for the first time and getting started. After trying a few things yourself, you need help and decide to
call a Service Desk.

The first hurdle you encounter is that you cannot easily locate the phone number. Once you find it, you are immediately placed on hold for ten minutes without so much as a greeting. After speaking to several different people, back and forth on phone calls and spending hours troubleshooting your issue is resolved.

Everyone you dealt with was polite, friendly and genuinely did their best to help you, yet you still come away having a tainted experience.

How could this experience have been better?


We humans are an impatient bunch. The average person starts to get impatient after waiting just 10 seconds waiting for a webpage to load, 17 seconds in a queue for service (though this increases to 5 minutes if the queue is for the bar), 13 minutes waiting in traffic, or 24 minutes for food to be delivered to our table from the time we order. And spare a thought for your friends…we’ll only wait 18 minutes for a friend to return a call before we get annoyed.

In a world that demands almost instant results for everything from food to foreign policy, a good business must keep wait time to a minimum. This includes everything from delivery of products, key projects and services to returning that email query or phone call.


Keep it simple, stupid… you’ve heard it plenty of times before, and you seek out convenience in your own life, but how often do you test your customer’s journey for convenience?

Companies are often organised into silos, and each customer journey can
cross multiple siloed functions in a single transaction or interaction, adding complexity and complication.

Take the time to understand the full end-to-end view of a typical customer journey and how their journey maps across your organisation. Then, take steps to ensure that everyone involved understands your customer’s needs, the role they play in delivering positive CX, and consider how the journey could be simplified further.

Think Uber Vs Black Cab; Contactless payment Vs writing a cheque. What processes can you simplify to drive a great customer experience?


Transparency is one of the greatest drivers for customer satisfaction. This shouldn’t be surprising, we’ve all been there: interacting with an in-store or call centre employee, an estate agent or salesperson and felt the frustration of being talked around in circles while they evade a direct response to a question or tip toe around some poor product functionality.

As a customer it is frustrating at best, but at its worst, it can create disdain and mistrust. When we lead with transparency, facing issues head on, magic happens.

Interestingly, when it comes to online purchases, an overwhelming 82% of us go straight to negative reviews, bypassing the 5-star ones in favour of reading the 1,2,3 and 4-star reviews to see what those experiences were like.

The fact is customers know that there is not generally a perfect product and
are able to accept that if they know up front what the likely issues are.

Here are some suggestions for how you and your teams can incorporate more transparency into customer experiences.
• Be open about flaws
• Own mistakes
• Design and service with empathy
• Ask for honest feedback and be open to receiving it

By incorporating transparency into CX, you can help build better, longer-lasting relationships, enhancing the experience and as a result, positively influencing customer buying behaviour.

If we think about our earlier real-life example, the experience you had as a customer would have been dramatically different if the phone number to call was clear and easy to find and the detail of your issue was collected at the start of the call using Integrated Voice Response (IVR), reducing the need for multiple interactions and reducing wait times. By focussing only on convenience and time the customer experience can be transformed dramatically.

While focussing on Time, Convenience and Transparency will enhance CX, getting to know your customers, and understanding the order in which they prioritise these will provide the best possible results.

Success in building great CX requires constant iteration, testing and learning. Taking the time to really know your customer and reacting to live feedback from them is often the difference between good and great customer experience, and therefore that decision to spend money with you.

Further Reading

Understanding Customer Experience
Linking the Customer Experience to Value

Why Government Customers are Just Like Holiday Makers

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) celebrations that took place on 6th October 2020, we shared a number of blog posts which showed our approach to customer experience.

While the day might be over for another year, we’re continuing our programme with more insight into how and why we put the customer at the heart of everything we do.

It’s worth reflecting, at a time when government guidelines and decision-making are having such a huge impact on the travel industry, what part these direct and indirect interactions with government agencies e.g. Foreign Commonwealth Office, Passport Office, Border Force etc. are having on the holiday maker experience.

What onward effect could this have on long term behaviour when it comes to taking holidays abroad?

The lines between customers of government and private sector organisations are becoming blurred and we are becoming more demanding of the experience we get.

In my early career I worked for a tour operator, selling mainly summer package holidays at the budget end of the market where it is very easy to misjudge expectations. To start with, my success was determined by ability to quickly relay key information about the package and calculate the correct price. All that information could be found in the brochure, but our task was to navigate that better than direct customers and the travel agencies.

For many customers that was enough, and decisions were made swiftly, holidays secured, hopefully enjoyed. But I soon became aware of the significant repeat business as callers asked for specific colleagues by name i.e. who they’d dealt with year after year.

I wondered what they did differently.

It came to three things, which have served me well in various roles throughout a 20-year IT career journey, beginning at the service desk, helping people navigate their IT effectively.

• They were carefully noting and keeping a track of the customer’s journey from initial call, to processing the booking form, to the issuing tickets and, if possible, their arrival in the resort with local representatives. It was a question of ownership and proactivity long after putting down the phone.
• They learned that there was flexibility in the processes. If decisions taken that moved outside ‘the rules’ were done openly and consultatively, then it was possible to, for example, alter normal departure dates; change the length of stay; squeeze one more person into an accommodation; or upgrade it after a few days.
• They understood who needed to be part of those decisions, so no surprises occurred, and how to communicate what was done at the time. No internal conflict, everyone wins together.

Customer experience in government and public sector

This was a relatively small company. I now work in a world where the potential interactions and touchpoints are vast, the systems complex. Most recently, I’ve been helping drive positive experiences for customers in the retail, media and public sectors. It is the latter that seems to be ripe for a Customer Experience (CX) revolution, specifically government.

The machinery of public sector institutions takes this complexity to another level. In an article last year Forrester reported that ‘the need to upgrade the government customer experience has never been more urgent’, and that this hampers mission success.

The recent pandemic and emergency response must take this to yet greater heights, and companies with business to business relationships in government departments should recognise it as an opportunity.

In a McKinsey study, it was shown that in almost every country, reliability and simplicity – not speed – are the top drivers of government customer experience. We don’t need our passport to arrive quickly, but we do want it to arrive before we must depart.

In other words, we want our needs to be understood and met. Don’t misjudge expectations.

So, when I talk about government customers, I reflect on my own journey as a UK citizen renewing passports, buying a house, giving my kids an education, checking tax issues, accessing health services, but I also consider the people my company supports in their endeavours, working for government departments to generate those services.

If we seek to understand their personas, their specific needs, and the judgements they inevitably make based on the values of their own organisation, we stand a greater chance of ‘helping (them) succeed in a way they feel good about’, which is a thought I took from a book I was recently introduced to as a guide for aspiring sales people (Khalsa, 1999).

Successful outcomes in government such as increased trust, achieving missions, meeting budgetary goals, boosting employee morale are all determined by the effectiveness of the people working across silos and outside partners to keep understanding and meeting or exceeding their expectations.

People who feel good and succeed, come back year after year, having derived value from services and wanting to buy more.

In that sense, where agencies listen to customers, enable and equip their frontline employees – who increasingly need to be attracted into the sector – with both the systems, and empowerment to provide calculated flexibility and proactive advice, then they can also enable life dreams for their customers – us!

In a digital age, success for companies like mine is to recognise our current and future contribution to that and keep it firmly in mind so we can jointly succeed and feel good about it – just like when we go on holiday.

No longer should engaging with government be a chore or something to be feared, it should be playing a supporting lifestyle role.

As this CX message pervades agencies and they evolve, so IT providers need to be ready to support their customers in pursuit of these aims through digital enablement of the journey – allowing them individually to make connections and have a chance to recognise the impact they are having on our lives.

If we first understand their touchpoints through the journey; secondly find a way for increased flexibility through bureaucracy; and thirdly engage and openly communicate to the right people both inside and external to our own organisations, then success and happy travellers are mutually successful rather than exclusive. We disrespect our government customers, and ourselves if we think of them any differently to holiday makers.

Further reading

Our Focus on Experience

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) on 6th October 2020, we will be sharing a number of blog posts which highlight our approach to customer experience, ensuring the customer is always at the heart of everything we do.

Today is Customer Experience Day, a day that celebrates all the teams that genuinely care for customers and make great experiences happen.

Never more so than now, in this ‘unprecedented time’ (had to get that word in here!) has customer service and experience been so important.

This is not an opportunistic moment to reflect and pull out examples of where and how we’ve delivered great experience. A relentless focus on experience should be embedded into the fabric of an organisation, into its culture and the behaviours that are demonstrated every day; something I truly believe that is inherent in our values here at Computacenter.

In the services industry, providing exceptional customer experience has been important for many years, but in more recent times we’ve really seen it coming to the fore as a key business issue. The requirement has evolved from specific focus on customer service during a transact phase, to become a holistic issue.

It is for this reason that I cited Experience as a key trend to focus on in a recent blog post and that it now is a fundamental pillar of our strategy. It is critical for success in the modern competitive landscape.

Classic Perspectives on Experience

A focus on experience can be critical in the ‘war’ for both talent (internal) and the consumer (external).

Let me explain the two contexts to which these relate:

  1. The ‘internal experiences’ of colleagues and staff who use the IT resources of an organisation as part of their purpose to support their customers or their business. We’ve seen over recent years with the growth of the notion of “Digital Workplace.” There is a clear connection between great internal IT experiences, enabling people to collaborate and work flexibly, to employee satisfaction and benefit.
  2. The ‘external experiences’ focussed on the end customer, and their experiences in interacting with your organisation. At the very simplest level this requires the business to provide friendly, intuitive and engaging services, digital or physical, in order to attract and entice consumers. In such a competitive landscape, consumers are often afforded the luxury of choice when it comes to where and how they spend their money, and the tolerance for failure or unappealing
    services is incredibly low.

Broader Perspectives on Experience

Considering experience as a more holistic issue, consideration of experience solely from an engagement touch point is no longer

Aligned to the 4 trends (Velocity, Vulnerability, Sustainability and Experience), there’s now a much tighter connection between what organisations do, and why and how they do it.

With increased awareness towards key topics such as Sustainability, Diversity and Inclusivity that ultimately form part of a consumer or partner’s evaluation of an organisation.

Having the best online retail presence, the best mobile app or the best customer contact centre are great assets, but are severely compromised if people do not buy in to the business, its values and how it goes about its business.

We’ve seen many examples in recent years of media worthy stories about corporate activities and behaviour, that have fundamentally damaged
consumer trust and confidence, regardless of the quality of the products or service experiences that they offer.

There are many approaches for understanding and measuring customer experience, both internally and externally. Measures such as Net Promoter Score (NPS), or Time to Resolution (TTR) are now common, as are other mechanisms to capture user feedback such as surveys.


Shaping The Modern Employee Experience

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) on 6th October 2020, we will be sharing a number of blog posts which highlight our approach to customer experience, ensuring the customer is always at the heart of everything we do.

The employee experience has changed dramatically in the past few months, and while some employees are returning to their place of work, the employee experience is different than before Covid-19. There are rules and restrictions to comply to and, for those that work in an office, many are only returning to their workplace part-time.

There have been many articles written about the employee experience post the Covid-19 lockdown, outlining the so called “new normal”. I recently read a Gartner article on “The Modern Employee Experience,” based on a survey of nearly 150 HR executives and 3,000 employees worldwide in 2019. The content is interesting and, although it was written before the Covid-19 pandemic, it is still relevant.

The recommendation is that it is vital that an organisation has a shaping approach to increase employee experience and therefore realise the associated benefits. These benefits include employees being more likely to stay at their current organisation, higher performance and thus, increased probability that the goals of their employer will be achieved.

The Gartner definition of shaping is “an approach to improve employee experience satisfaction that focuses on influencing and improving employees’ feelings about their overall experience using psychological, motivational and social principles.”

There are three core elements to shape how employees feel about their experience.

Calibrate Expectations

A Workstyle Analysis provides the information that an organisation needs to calibrate employee expectations. It captures the voice of the employee, what their experience is today and what they want their experience to be. From the information gathered, common personas can be identified that tailor the experience for groups of employees that work in similar ways. 8 common user personas have been identified to help calibrate individual needs and expectations, and the analysis will also identify if there are bespoke personas relevant to that organisation.

Using these personas organisations can ensure the right people have access to the right resources, boosting user productivity and satisfaction. Taking a more individual approach to workstyles gives users the agility and technologies they need to excel in the digital workplace. It enables an organisation to be able to communicate which of the employees’ expectations will and will not be met, thus calibrating their expectations.

As part of a workstyle analysis Computacenter talked to more than 80 members of staff at a UK health care provider to understand their IT challenges and requirements. Five core workstyles were identified with a different range of devices recommended for each one. This improved the employee experience while increasing patient care, boosting staff productivity and lowering IT support costs.

Some of the information gathered from employees about their experience is subjective. Some employees may state that their “PC is slow”, but how do you measure and calibrate a subjective statement such as “my PC is slow”?
The End User Analytics (EUA) service monitors the performance of devices and applications, providing a view into an employee’s work experience, and quantifies what is impacting their experience. This analysis can be done at an individual, location or departmental level.

Using the data captured by the EUA tool the performance of the employee’s device and applications can be tracked over time to
understand the trends and their impact on the employee experience.

This is especially useful when implementing changes as it enables the organisation to quantify what impact the change had on the employee.

This allows all aspects of employee experience to be calibrated with them.

Personalise Their Day-to-day Experience

Employees want to be able to choose a way of working that is convenient for them. Some employees may want to speak to someone to be assured their incident is known and being progressed, others may prefer to log issues electronically.

AssistMe provides intelligent user support services to empower employees to personalise their day to day experience. Employees can raise incidents or request services via multiple channels for example voice, instant messaging, email, and achieve this from their PC or an app on a phone or tablet.

Users also need to be nudged to try new services. It is vital to make sure that the maximum employee experience is delivered from the investments made in improving employee experience. User Adoption services maximise the employees experience of new services.

Successful user adoption enables employees to be empowered to make the most of the technology in their hands. They will feel that their needs have been directly addressed.

By the end of March this year Computacenter had migrated all their 16,000 users to Microsoft Teams. The target of enabling 70% of employees to work from home was significantly surpassed, with 90% eventually enabled.

At the heart of this success was the User Adoption Framework, ensuring that the facets of communication, training, enablement and support met the needs of all the different end users within the company. And when circumstances changed with the onset of the global pandemic, the company showed great agility in adjusting to meet the changing requirements – such as adapting office-based education and enablement to be delivered remotely by Teams, or the provision of “Working from Home” and “Good
Meeting Etiquette” tips through company webinars.

Feedback from users exceeded expectations, with hundreds of staff
reporting a significant improvement on quality and functionality.

Positive Memories

Organisations must respond quickly when things go wrong and reinforce positive employee experiences. When things go wrong the flexible, personalised, convenient support services provided by Assist Me, with always available, expert assistance, anywhere, at any time provide an employee experience that results in positive memories.

At Eversheds Sutherland their employees have been empowered with multi-channel end user services from its Next Generation Service Desk for all 60 offices around the world, including web chat, 24×7 telephone support, onsite Tech Bars for face-to-face support and 1,200 self-help knowledge articles.

When employees are back at their normal place of work Digital Signage provides an excellent way of displaying reminders of what has been done and how experiences have changed. For employees working remotely there are many applications within the suite of services that can be used to remind employees of their change in employee experience. Whether it is a quick Yammer post, a survey in Forms, a video update in Stream or a meeting in Teams or a Teams Live Event.

Creating a positive employee experience

To deliver a modern employee experience Gartner recommend organisations should shape their employees experience by
calibrating their expectations, empowering them to personalise their day-to-day experience and making their experience memorable.

Computacenter have the services to enable positive employee experiences that live long in their memory.


Group Service Take-on: Managing Successful Change To Enhance Customer Experience

As part of Customer Experience Day (#CXDay2020) on 6th October 2020, we will be sharing a number of blog posts which highlights our approach to customer experience, ensuring the customer is always at the heart of everything we do.

Our customers are facing unprecedented demand for a change in how IT services are delivered to their users. Transitioning a customer from a legacy IT provider to a new IT service can have many complexities and unforeseen challenges.

In this article, we share two Service Desk examples where Computacenter have adapted and delivered new services, with customer experience very much at the forefront.  

Implementing a new dedicated Service Desk in Cape Town

This service desk had to support 28,000 end users across 500 locations and provide a new portal to enable multi-channel service access, aimed at improving the end user experience.

Three weeks prior to the planned cutover date of 1st April 2020, Computacenter had to design, implement and test a new home-based infrastructure solution to enable all the Service Desk staff to work remotely from home. This was the first time that Computacenter had ever implemented a home-based working solution for a dedicated IT Service Desk, and it was successfully implemented on the planned cutover date.

Key to success:

  1. Diligence and flexibility – Computacenter’s ability and foresight were cited by the customer as ever-changing working patterns became a fundamental project success factor.  
  2. Seamless transition – Service levels exceeded expectations right from the onset with customer stakeholders praising Computacenter’s interactions throughout the process resolving challenges collaboratively and with the User experience headlining the outcomes      

User experience continues to be enhanced with use of the Self-Service functionality – including access to Knowledge articles, web chats with desk agents and self-logging of incidents has increased since the cutover. 

Cutting over a new virtual Service Desk and Service Desk Portal

The second customer example required remote working for the joint project team from the design stage through to implementation into service, with no impact on timescales.

Computacenter cut over a new virtual Service Desk and Service Desk Portal (in South Africa, Spain and Malaysia) for 5,000 users across 23 countries in five languages (English, French, German, Business Chinese and Italian) with the Major Incident Management service, as a “big bang” Go Live. Change Management followed one week later in August 2020.

Key to success:

  1. Intelligent adaptive design – Computacenter’s ‘hothouse’ approach to engaging customer stakeholders with the outcome to agree simple IT service interactions for users attracted positive results
  2. Highly collaborative – Joint service readiness testing was comprehensive and complimented by Computacenter’s structured approach to controlling scope through Change Management.

The elapsed time for the project was ahead of schedule enabling early adoption. The average daily percentage of self-service contacts made by end users has already exceeded target.

Streamlining the onboarding process for Service Desk staff

In the last year, Computacenter has streamlined its onboarding process for new Service Desk staff.

Further opportunities for simplifying the tools, technology, testing and integration required for our transitions are being investigated. We have recognised that the way in which customers work will not return to how things were prior to the pandemic. 

Therefore, in order to enhance end-user and customer experience we need to continually adapt to help our customers manage change as seamlessly as possible. 


3 reasons why consumption-based IT is the future

Consumption-based IT is not just a fancy word that companies use on the slides of a presentation about innovation. It is a future model for organisations around world that want to lower IT costs, maintain control over security and compliance, and still enjoy the benefits of expanding their operations to public cloud services.

The COVID-19 outbreak has demonstrated that companies need to be prepared for anything. Organisations were already facing several difficult challenges and finding solutions has suddenly become much more urgent. We often hear that flexible and agile companies will survive this crisis and can even become stronger as the competition is struggling. But what do you need to develop these important characteristics of future-proof organisations?

Consumption-based models are still new, but they are rapidly gaining popularity. Hewlett Packard Enterprise was the first to introduce such a model: HPE GreenLake. Since then, the company has been working with customers to add new capabilities and make IT-as-a-service available to businesses of all sizes and all industries.

So, what are the benefits of a consumption-based IT model?

1. You pay only for what you use

Hearing this sentence might sound logical. In fact, why should you ever pay for something that you do not use? Yet many organisations are spending money on capacity they do not need. Overprovisioning is a common practice when dealing with an uncertain future, but modern companies cannot afford to spend huge budgets on IT without seeing the short-term benefits of their investments. The CIO of an organisation needs a fast return on investment if he or she wants to verify expenses.

A consumption-based IT model does not require capital upfront. Costs can vary depending on what you need and use. These models are usually monthly subscriptions that can easily be modified or cancelled. This gives companies flexibility to deal with IT budgets. Overprovisioning is not necessary because extra capacity is always available when needed.

According to research conducted by Forrester Consulting and commissioned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HPE GreenLake as a consumption-based IT solution leads to 30% capex savings due to the eliminated need for overprovisioning. Imagine how many resources you can use to drive innovation in your organisation …

2. You get faster value from IT projects

Speed has become essential for companies that want to flourish in a changing world. So if the IT department is slowing things down, it can be very frustrating. In the past, it could take months to properly deploy a solution. Thanks to consumption-based models in a hybrid world, it now takes only a few minutes before you can start using software and tools.

Consumption-based models give organisations the ultimate freedom to choose from a wide range of readily available technologies. They offer pre-packaged options to speed up implementation, but you can also request a new solution whenever you need it.

The same research by Forrester Consulting states that HPE GreenLake has reduced time-to-market of deploying global IT projects by 65%. Consumption-based IT models not only save money, they also deliver faster value

3. You retain control of sensitive data

Most organisations understand the benefits of a public cloud environment, but data and applications often cannot be migrated due to security and compliance issues. A hybrid environment is the only solution to enjoy the financial benefits and flexibility of a public cloud service without sacrificing control. Whatever you do, you are always pulling the strings to manage performance, latency, risk and cost.

Consumption-based models will also increase the productivity of an IT department. Because these solutions simplify IT operations, your people can focus on more valuable tasks than routine jobs. They can think about innovation and experiment with technologies that will ultimately benefit both your customers and your organisation. Forrester Consulting’s research about the effects of HPE GreenLake has calculated that IT productivity increases on average by 40% when reducing the support load on IT.

Other important but less quantifiable benefits of consumption-based models include access to the latest technology, reliability and transparency with growing workloads and business requirements, improved security, and improved business productivity due to fewer system outages and faster application performance.

Do you want to discover the benefits of a consumption-based IT model? Computacenter has the expertise and skills to introduce HPE GreenLake in your organisation.

Please visit our website for more information

Why companies are shifting to IT-as-a-service

Fast access to the software and solutions you really need. This has become the cornerstone of any successful organisation. Many enterprises need to keep their IT budget under control, but they also require a swift response to changes in order to continue doing business. The answer is to run IT as a business rather than a fully controlled department. IT-as-a-service has the ability to shift depending on the needs of an organisation.

We live in a very different world than ten years ago. Most of us did not have a smartphone, and the word ‘tablet’ wasn’t automatically associated with a mobile computer. Since then, the emergence of these devices has changed every dimension of our society. There is nothing in our lives that is not connected to the internet. For almost every problem we have a digital solution at hand. This digitisation has been very challenging for businesses and entire industries, but there is always one clear winner: the customer.

Customers have an abundance of choice in products, services and even the way they interact with a company. Just a few years ago, a digital interface was a nice thing to have for a brand. Today, businesses simply cannot survive if they don’t provide their customers with digital solutions. Digital transformation is part of the short- and the long-term strategy of almost every company in the world. It changes operations and processes in all departments of an organisation. Digitisation runs like a thread through every business model.

Simplifying IT

Every decision now ultimately leads to one department: IT. The boys and girls that we used to run to with our hardware issues are now at the centre of every operation. Speed and flexibility have become the most important words in a company’s dictionary. That is why many enterprises are frustrated when the IT department is unable to keep up with their demands. They want fast access to software and tools, but it often takes a long time to deploy solutions within an organisation’s infrastructure.

Simplifying IT is probably the most common challenge for modern enterprises. Customers want to be served in no time and companies expect the same from IT services. To keep up with demand, IT departments also spend a large part of their budgets on overcapacity. It is impossible to predict the future and they don’t want to risk shortages. Overprovisioning is costing companies a small fortune. Chances are that this extra capacity will never be used, so you can probably imagine better ways to spend this money.


The features of IT-as-a-service are simple: it offers companies much more choice, it allows them to pay only for what they use, and they get access to solutions much faster. This also changes the role of the IT experts in a company. They no longer need to focus on routine jobs anymore just to keep the light on but can shift their attention to finding innovative solutions that benefit the customer and the organisation.

Another important advantage of IT-as-a-service is the fact that companies can better predict their IT costs. Models usually work with monthly fees, while subscriptions can be easily adjusted or cancelled. As the business grows, scaling becomes easier without additional costs that often come as a surprise.

Organisations are also struggling to move their applications to a cloud environment. Many companies cannot migrate all data and applications to the public cloud for security and compliance reasons. However, IT-as-a-service can introduce you to a hybrid environment where enterprises enjoy the best of both worlds. It brings the benefits of a public cloud experience to the on-premises infrastructure of organisations.

Moving to IT-as-a-service can be a challenge for organisations but will ultimately provide the speed and flexibility to thrive in a changing world. Processes and operations will become more efficient, while creating the resources for companies to meet their customers’ needs. Who knows what the world will look like ten years from now? One thing is certain: we must be prepared for any change that comes our way.

Computacenter is a trusted IT partner of several organisations. To simplify our customers’ IT, we propose HPE GreenLake. This is an IT-as-a-service offering that brings the cloud experience to your on-premises infrastructure.

Do you want to know how this solution can help your company too?

Please visit our website

On-premises or public cloud: how do you choose?

Almost every organisation in the world is aware of the benefits that the public cloud has to offer, but most of them still prefer an on-premises environment for their workload. They weigh the advantages of a public cloud solution against the risks and decide that security and control are too important to give up. However, the question should not be what to choose, but how to ensure that you can enjoy the best of both worlds.

The public cloud has convinced enterprise leaders in all industries. According to a survey by 451 Research, commissioned by Hewlett Packard Enterprise, a staggering 97% of more than one thousand questioned IT decision-makers think the public cloud is a positive experience. Despite this clear belief in public cloud solutions, many enterprises keep their workload located on an on-premises infrastructure.

Even when they decide to shift to a public cloud, they often return their data to a private environment after encountering the many pitfalls of this new world. Not every organisation is the same, so choosing the right cloud environment can be different for every company. That’s why we must look at the main benefits and disadvantages of private and public clouds. Which path is the right one for your organisation?

Public cloud

We start with the public cloud. Why are so many enterprises convinced that shifting to the public cloud would offer them amazing benefits that could transform their business?

  • Organisations need to keep their IT budget under control. Especially after the COVID-19 crisis, cost-efficiency will be an important factor in all business decisions. But IT is also more than ever the backbone of any organisation. A public cloud solution enables companies to simplify their IT and pay for what they use. In a private environment, businesses often invest in more capacity than what they need, just to be on the safe side.
  • To keep up with changes, organisations should be able to respond quickly to trends and developments. In an on-premises infrastructure, IT often slows down the business. It can take months to deploy a new solution and this is an eternity for a modern company. In a public cloud, resources are hosted on the premises of the service provider. Enterprises can access new resources whenever they want.

Public cloud environments are saving organisations time and money, both essential ingredients to flourish in this rapidly changing world. On the downside, you can only enjoy the full potential of the public cloud if your company is willing to give up control over security and compliance. It is no surprise that those are the most important characteristics of an on-premises infrastructure.

Private cloud

The lack of control in a public cloud environment already makes it clear why companies continue to work with a purely private infrastructure, although this is by far the most expensive option.

Some organisations have no choice but to run their applications locally:

  • In a private environment, organisations are in control of all data. They decide where this information is kept, who has access and how it is used. Privacy concerns and strict regulations are important reasons why companies hesitate to shift data to a public cloud. Especially if your enterprise is operating in a highly regulated industry, you need an extreme level of control over your assets.
  • Sensitive information should always be handled with care. This is no guarantee when data is stored in a public cloud environment. Your organisation would depend on the cloud provider to ensure the security of the data. In some sectors, such as the banking industry, the sensitivity of data is simply too important to risk security issues. Ultimately, the loss of data can be much more expensive than missing out on the financial benefits of a public cloud solution.

Security, compliance and privacy are the main reasons why companies want to retain control of their data. It is of course frustrating that they have to miss out on the profit and flexibility that a public cloud computing model would offer them. So what if we tell you that there is a way to enjoy these benefits without giving up control?

Hybrid cloud

Many organisations already use a multi-cloud approach. This means that they are running more than one private and/or public cloud solution. An even better strategy is migrating to a hybrid world. This would allow you to shift applications to a third-party public cloud environment and keep specific data or tools within a secure on-premises infrastructure.

A hybrid cloud solution provides companies with the control they need to ensure security, privacy and compliance, and it still gives them access to the financial benefits and the flexibility of the public cloud. Especially if your company is using a lot of sensitive data, a hybrid cloud can open a new world of opportunities. It ensures faster, simpler and more cost-efficient IT while your IT department is still pulling all the strings. A consumption-based model that focuses on your needs allows you to pay only for what you use.

To discover how your company can benefit from a hybrid cloud solution, you can rely on the expertise of a trusted IT partner. Computacenter introduces its customers to HPE GreenLake as an effective consumption-based model. Do you want to know how you can also benefit from this solution?  

Visit our website