Archive | December 2016

Telling the NGSD story

Last month, we had the privilege of attending the 25th Annual IT Service Management (ITSM) conference in London. It was great to see so many energised service management comrades at the event, where we delivered a keynote presentation on Computacenter’s Next Generation Service Desk (NGSD) solution that we deployed with Hays recruitment. This was the first time presenting at the conference and it certainly lived up to expectations. I co-presented with Simon Gerhardt, who was the main lead on the NGSD project and acts as the IT Operations Director at Hays Recruitment.

As a leading recruitment services company Hays is dependent on the productivity of its employees, and with technology playing an ever-increasing role in streamlining the recruitment process, employees’ IT queries and issues need to be dealt with quickly. To give users greater choice about when and how they engage, we worked with Hays to help digitise their IT support through NGSD. The solution offers an online portal and intuitive mobile app which allows employees, to obtain a user-centric experience with anytime, anywhere IT support and a wealth of knowledge banks to self-serve their own IT issues.

We had a strong attendance during the presentation itself and it was great to see a wide range of engaged, seasoned professionals in one room, all willing to listen and pose questions. During our presentation, I detailed some common trends around service desk demand as well as workforce expectation in relation to technology, that allowed us to illustrate the vitality of intelligent service desk’s in modern organisations. We drew on a variety of research studies and customer feedback reports, that uncovered statistics such as 53% of employees are frustrated by a lack of flexibility in working practices and 41% of workforces will consider moving to a new role if they don’t get the support they require. Simon Gerhardt, did a great job illustrating the tangible impact that NGSD has delivered for Hays Recruitment.

It was fantastic to be able to relive some of the challenges, successes and outcomes of the NGSD project with Hays, to an audience completely unfamiliar with the solution itself.

A key highlight in the delivery of the project that raised eyebrows and encouraged positive feedback was focused around the implementation timeline. In the early stages of the project, we conducted a one day hot-house with the internal members of the Hays development team, that played a big part in the rapid implementation time of the project. By having a collaborative approach to the solution design and the onboarding process for the wider workforce, it fast tracked a number of weeks of traditional planning, meaning NGSD went live on time, in just eight weeks.

As well as implementation timeline, the lack of disruption to working norms during the implementation itself, stood out as a notable crowd pleaser. NGSD can integrate seamlessly into any IT service management platform, which removes a major challenge when transforming the key system of engagement for a given workforce. The existing platform that the employee interacts with remains unchanged as the underlying platform is being updated to the NGSD solution.

This means that no disruption is caused from the integration of the solution, maximising productivity and eliminating IT downtime.

Don’t take my word for it, Barclay Rae Interim CEO at ITSMF UK said when he awarded Computacenter with the SDI Best Managed Service Desk award – “The three finalists all demonstrated mature service desk operations plus excellent customer engagement and relationships. What marked Computacenter out was their practical focus on innovating for their customers’ customers. Their ‘next generation service desk’ showed how MSPs can lead for their customers and the industry by driving through solutions and innovations that deliver direct customer experience and continual service improvement. This is a great example for the MSP community”

I would certainly recommend all service management professionals to attend the ITSMF event, it is an excellent platform to meet with and network across the industry.

See you next year!

An Update from the 2016 Graduates

Welcome to the 2nd edition of the Projects Practice Graduate Blog. A big thank you to Will for sharing his experience of his first few weeks at Computacenter along with many of the useful tips he gave us regarding how best to utilise our time here at Computacenter. The rest of the Graduates are now coming to the end of their rotations and the time has certainly flown by. I think we would all agree a lot of information has been taken in (usually in the form of a slide deck). Nonetheless it is fascinating how far we have all come since starting four months ago and scary that in just over 2 months we will become fully fledged Project Co-ordinators.

Looking back it seems as though we’ve been to almost every area of the company now. When Will last posted we had just completed our two week rotation with members of the Solution Sales team. Since then we have been exposed to many other divisions within the business. Given that our time rotating around the organisation is coming to an end, and Christmas is fast approaching, I’d like to take a look back and highlight some of the most valuable experiences I’ve come across so far. I have undoubtedly grown my knowledge of the company, have a understanding of how we deliver IT services using the Tempo methodology and have built up a network of very helpful people to make my transition into working life that bit smoother.

Firstly I have to mention our Technical Resource Group (TRG) rotation. This was a really enjoyable experience where we got to take apart a laptop, visit customer sites and present our findings in the form of a gameshow. However taking a key board off a laptop proved a step too far for one of the Graduates as the keyboard lost some keys in the process…

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Nevertheless it was great to get some hands on experience and feel what it’s like for the CC engineers who are constantly fixing and repairing products under increasing pressure from customers. Furthermore visiting customer sites was very impressive. I got to visit the likes of Eversheds and UBS to get a real feel for the projects that were going on there. To give a bit of background on myself I’m from a small village in the heart of Northern Ireland and am used to waking up to an array of fields and cows, so seeing some of these offices really was remarkable and I look forward to working alongside different customers in the future. Finally Bhupendra Hirani decided to keep things interesting by setting us the task of presenting TRG BrowzaPlus collateral in the form of a game show. This was definitely a twist on the end of rotation task but one that was clearly welcomed as some of the ideas were very creative, including the ‘Million Coin Drop’ and a mash up from one team including ‘Who Wants to Be a Millionaire’, ‘Countdown’ and ‘Split or Steal’. Unfortunately no real money was to be won but chocolate made for a good substitute prize.

Another highlight of the programme was the Consultancy rotation where each day we were introduced to a new technology tower. During this week we all put our technical hats on and attempted to digest some of the information regarding the technologies CC are currently delivering. I feel we all coped well with the technical detail and as a result have an understanding of how these technologies are changing the way we work. It has highlighted the movement towards a digital workplace and workforce. From Cloud computing to virtualization we had our brains stretched but we came out the other end better for it and wait with anticipation to get involved in managing the delivery of some of these technologies in the future.

At present all the graduates are currently on their PPO rotations. I can speak on behalf of all to say this is something we have each been looking forward to. It presents a wonderful opportunity to start to apply some of the invaluable skills and tips we’ve learnt from moving around the business to a real life situation. I’m currently on the Hays PPO account where it’s been great meeting the team situated there and I have recently completed my first piece of real project work! I genuinely can’t wait to throw myself into the project over the next few weeks and welcome any challenges that will be thrown my way. The PPO rotations are a great stepping stone for each of the graduates to prepare us for becoming PC’s at the beginning of February.

Thank you for taking the time to read my blog, I hope you found at least some of it interesting. I would just like to finish by reiterating that my journey through CC has been absolutely wonderful. The help and support I have received along the way has been second to none and I couldn’t have asked for a better transition into the industry. That’s it from me, thankfully, the next blog will be brought to you Angela Vane.

 

 

 

 

Amazon GO – “Technology evolution / retail progression or ……..”

Just when things look like they may stay the same, they change…

Amazon recently launched its first checkout and employee free retail site in the America as a natural complement to the existing Amazon web and mobile shopping experience. Products can be purchased via the existing Amazon web or mobile app and collected without Amazon employee intervention in the store. Or purchased in store from a limited selection based on a wholly store based experience with no in store Amazon employee oriented human interaction. This really is an example of digitisation “plus” at work where the historical customer buying cycle of instore person to person interaction with additional onus on the integrity of the financial transaction at the end of the cycle, has been reengineered to become a fully technology enabled experience.

Self-scanning checkouts in retail started the trend and are now somewhat accepted (if at times still challenging to use), but the human option for person to person engagement remained a key element of the instore experience based on the importance of cash collection and a customer satisfying end to the retail interaction. But could this be a “reset” of the customer retail purchasing script delivered in one swipe by the completely new Amazon retail approach. The Amazon experiment or pilot may signpost with tangible evidence the changing state of the workforce where system driven automation may augment or totally replace person to person engagement.

The Amazon GO launch has delivered a degree of shock and awe to both customers and the industry in equal measure and whilst much of the discussion has focused on the impact on jobs, i.e. the detrimental human labour effect, it further signposts the ever increasing importance of information technology in our professional and social lives. Secure wireless networking, high definition cameras, advanced AI, big data and analytics, IOT sensors and the sheer volume of IT elements required that must work in harmony with zero failure is immense. With the end result, promotion of the IT system from technology to augment human actions & intellect to a mission critical platform fundamental to both the business and customer experience. ‎Via this new IT persona, failure, downtime or system breach is no longer an option – for any reason. Tomorrow’s user is already here today and deems a “Digital Me” experience, the only experience – the amalgam of imagination, technology and process allows that to happen.

Whether you are a supporter or detractor of this fundamentally new approach to retailing, the innovation and bravery of Amazon must be admired as the pilot of anything new of this style may suffer from the usual first mover teething challenges (shrinkage, reliability, miss set expectation issues). However, this really is a new dawn for the use of new technology, IOT and actionable AI in a real world customer centric environment. Personally, irrespective of the success or not of this Amazon initiative I have no doubt other retailers will be seriously considering this new customer engagement mode as the potential within is clear for all to see.

In my option human intelligence will NEVER be replaced by IT based systems, but standardised, repeatable human activity that can be automated and “systemised” certainly will be.

Forward now looks very very interesting

Until next time.

Colin W

Twitter: @colinwccuk

Chief Technologist – Computacenter UK: Networking, Security, Collaboration