Archive | June 2016

An update from our 2016 Associates

In the spirit of alternating between Service & Sales associates, and following Bryony’s blog earlier this month, I now have the chance to get you caught up on what the Sales Associates have been up to.  For anyone that has met me, my approach to telling this story will come as no surprise, we are going down a sports route!

Jessica closed off by talking about her rotations with Inside Sales, Bid Management & her Sector, TMT & Retail. I would like to take the opportunity to echo her comments in particular with respect to Bid Management.  I too had the dawning realisation that I was owning and driving a bid for a real customer!  Scary stuff but to pull out this blog’s first sporting reference, punch bags are all good, but you learn a lot when you take one on the jaw!

ali

This leads me onto one thing I feel compelled to do, June saw the very sad passing of a legend, icon, champion, and visionary in and outside of the ring.  Muhammad Ali is somebody I spent a lot of time watching over the last 10 years, and the world is a less talented place today than it was last week as I write this.

My blog will cover off three recent experiences the programme has given me; my time in sector, returning to my old department, Group Partner Management, and sharing the opportunities at Computacenter with university students.

Spending time with different Computacenter people, at numerous & varied customers has been a really insightful learning opportunity.  Not only is what our customers do very different, the ways in which they work, the people we engage with and their goals and objectives are equally if not more different!  The Associate programme is a great platform in allowing you to experience these differences and get an appreciation of the intricacies and nuances to overcome in the sales role. Much like the NFL quarterbacks of today, the small gaps they throw into, all the while being chased down by 300+ lbs defenders, selling is complex, with lots of moving parts. It’s making sure they all come together on time, that’s the key.

quater back

My most recent rotation took me back to Group Partner Management where my Computacenter journey started.  This allowed me to really push myself into new areas of the technology stack.  Workplace coupled with Unified Communications stand out to me as areas in which I really grew my understanding.  I really appreciate the effort the teams made to help us as a cohort meet with both the GPM specialists, and the partners themselves.  Equally, it’s always nice to see my former colleagues and catch up, however I’m not sure my ankles will ever look the same after one particular 5 a side session, you know who you are!

red card

The recruitment process for the 2017 intake of Associates is about to begin.  I had the real pleasure of joining Nathan & Lowri from the Service Management programme at my alma mater, Nottingham Trent University, for their graduate careers day. It was hard to believe we are already six months in!  We spent the day selling to students the great opportunities here at Computacenter and got really some really positive interactions from students throughout the day, and we look forward to seeing some come through the recruitment process in the coming months. I am excited to be helping the next group of Associates through their programme, joining team Computacenter!

The programme is really flying by, up next, our presentations to Kevin James & senior sales management before heading out to grow our understanding of the Solutions business.

Next up we’ll be hearing from Priya.

Promote business champions to lead technological adoption in your workforce

In my last blog, we began to uncover the value a super user can bring to modern working environments and the need to bring these unknowing super users out of the shadows. Modern IT service desks should be the central hub for technological innovation within the workplace and empower users with the knowledge, technology and support they need. This will allow your workforce to solve their own day-to-day IT issues and champion wider innovative solutions throughout their career.

A recent example of where this has worked is with Hays Recruitment who wanted to provide employees with a broader choice of engagement channels to interact with IT service teams. This was in a drive for increased productivity enabled through the minimisation of system downtime. Hays has historically been positioned as the leading digital recruitment agency, being the first in the industry to adopt truly digital recruitment selection and placement. Revenue generation at Hays is dependent on the productivity of its 2,200-plus UK sales consultants, and with technology playing an ever-increasing role in the selection and placement of client’s, employees’ IT queries and issues need to be dealt with quickly.

At the end of 2015, Hays became an early adopter of Computacenter’s Next Generation Service Desk (NGSD) solution. The NGSD offering was well positioned to manage the business needs of Hays, providing a consumer-like, user-centric experience with anytime, anywhere IT support and knowledge delivered via an intuitive online portal and mobile app.

Although the NGSD solution can be integrated and laid on top of existing infrastructure, the success of the solution was not simply a golden bullet. Instead, Computacenter and the team at Hays needed to create a desirable business environment that would encourage the whole workforce to truly understand the capabilities of the technology, adopting the behaviour into their working norms. In order for this to take place, we offered a new approach to service desk deployment asking internal employees to agree, nominate or suggest business champions for each team, division or office.

The business champions are a perfect depiction of Computacenter’s overall approach to solution deployment, focusing on customer-centricity. The champions’ involvement in the concept formulisation stage are a vital aspect of the success of a modern service desk deployment, as they can tailor internal communication and drive behavioural change, whilst integrating unique capabilities that will benefit their internal workforce. Stephen Gerhardt, IT Production Services Director at Hays believes this was a key to its success, “The business champions helped drive the piloting and testing phases, and remain a great conduit for feedback from the user base.”

Through implementing the solution, a number of success factors were achieved including:

  • 60% of IT support transactions at Hays Recruitment now happen online
  • An average of 1,180 web chats and 370 self-logged incidents per month
  • Hays does not display or offer the help desk phone number anywhere within the Hays ecosystem, replacing that with an NGSD widget
  • Staff outside of the UK can log an incident at any time instead of having to wait for the service desk to open at 7am

By providing relevant and responsive support 24 hours a day, Hays are able to maximise the time that staff spend on revenue generating activities, which helps to drive profitable growth. The user-centric support experience will also contribute to greater staff retention and satisfaction moving forward.

Service desks have been involved in business operations for decades and have been doing a reasonable job at coping with operational IT service issues. By bringing exceptional user experience, combined with popular consumer features and a fully engaged workforce, an effective and streamlined service desk will transform productivity and efficiency whilst encouraging innovative developments in workplace technology. This enables the service desk and the workforce itself to move from an operational technology to a enablement experience, in relation to driving change and hosting innovative solutions.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will explore the implementation techniques that allow the NGSD proposition to differentiate itself from market norms. To find out more on the rapid implementation that we rolled out with Hays, see the full case study here.

An update from our 2016 Associates

First of all I would like to thank Hollie for the previous blog.  The Services University was a great day and I’m sure everyone else enjoyed it just as much as I did.

I can hardly believe that I have already been at Computacenter for almost 5 months.  Everyone said the time would fly by and believe me it has.  It seems like only yesterday that we arrived, in our new suits, on January the 11th.  When I said to my friends that I was becoming a Service Management Associate, I got a sea of blank faces.  Even now I’m not sure they really know what I do!  I think this is down to the fact that you can never really know what day you are going to have when you turn up at the office.  This is what I really like about this job.  The variety.

So before I carry on to tell you about my time so far at Computacenter, I will tell you a little bit about myself.  Prior to starting at Computacenter, I lived in both Germany and the Netherlands before completing my degree in London.  I recently returned from a 5 month backpacking trip through Asia and Australasia.  So stepping into the Associate Programme was certainly stepping into the unknown!

But one of the really great things about working for Computacenter is you don’t necessarily have to have an IT background.  All of us Service Management Associates have varying degrees and backgrounds from History to Geography.  But this doesn’t hinder, rather enhance discussions and conversations.  It is also nice to know that you are not the only one who is learning about the difference between Linux and Unix or Mainframes and Iseries.

TFL logo

All of us Service Management Associates are now on our second Home Account Rotation.  We have all been placed on varying accounts.  Myself on TFL and others on accounts such as NHS Worcester, UBS and VISA.  Although these are all very varied accounts, I think all of us would agree that it is nice to be getting our hands dirty and learning more about what it will be like to become a Service Manager at the end of the Associate Programme.

I have really enjoyed the time that I have spent so far on TfL.  I am able to get involved in the day to day events that take place on the account.  From the daily service reviews to implementing new reporting methods.  It is great to feel part of the team and put some of the theory that I have learnt into practice.  Even though I am on the same account for a couple of weeks I am still learning from different areas, from the scheduling function, to the engineering function and also from different service providers on the account.

How could I complain whilst working in a location with this for a view?!

view

Whilst talking to other graduates on similar service management programmes this afternoon, I realised what an opportunity we have with Computacenter.  We are lucky enough to be able to rotate around not only different accounts but also different areas of the business, meaning 18 months down the line when we become Service Managers, we really do understand the internal processes.  We are able to learn from all of the people that we meet and build those all-important relationships for the future.

We have one week left on our home account rotations, before moving on to our Commercial and Governance Rotation.  I am looking forward to learning about a new area of Computacenter and how this will help me in the future.  Furthermore it will give all of us Service Management Associates a chance to work together again.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, next month we will hear from Alex Griffin.

 

There will never be “silence” in the information security world – nor should there be !!

“There will never be “silence” in the information security world.”

As the world at large reluctantly accepts digital data flows are fast becoming as important as air (ok, that’s stretching the concept slightly but it’s not completely outlandish), protection of those data flows becomes as important as protecting any other key to life. But every day new threats appear, new security challenges become apparent and our attempts to keep them at bay continue to look futile.

Today news of a Stuxnet clone has surfaced that seems to expose links to the now infamous malware that affected SCADA industrial control systems – how long it has existed or evidence of compromise is unknown. IBM researchers have discovered increased coverage of the mobile banking malware Marcher, thus increasing the target landscape of unsuspecting mobile users who may succumb to fictitious notification of funds availability. And the ever present curse of zero day, is again top of mind with Trustwave researchers highlighting as many as 1.5 billion unpatched devices may be vulnerable to a recently discovered Microsoft exploit.

I have highlighted just a few of the ongoing public announcements of security threat and compromise, a full chronicle would be never ending as new information appears in real time minute by minute. Emotionally, some may deem defence against attack a battle that cannot be won with strong evidence to support the point but that is potentially an over simplification. Fundamental security principles and good practice, no different from those applied in non-information technology arenas will help thwart attacks, increase awareness and visibility of an attack in process and accelerate remediation after attack (plus signpost future steps to realise better defence).

I started this outline with a view there will never be “silence” in the security world and for me long may that continue. Both users and organisations should adopt a state of ongoing vigilance, zero complacency and never believe the security problem is solved or the battle won. By getting the basics right, improving understanding of known good states, increasing visibility and measurement of the changes of state from known states (or the highlight of unknown or inconsistent states) and a pragmatic approach to defence based on prioritisation of the “noise” beyond the silence will help to drive positive security solutions rather than signify problems.

Want to know more, keen to rethink security – visit the Computacenter team at Infosec Europe at Olympia London from Tuesday 7th June to Thursday 9th June, stand #E295. We look forward to hosting you and will have a team of business and technology aware security specialists available to discuss security impacts – your way. I hope to see you there.

Until Infosec at Olympia

Colin W

Twitter @colinwccuk

Chief Technologist: Networking, Security and Collaboration