Archive by Author | Steve Rayner

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!

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.

Super users – arise!

We’ve all been there – we’ve gone to book a holiday or shop online, filled in our information and entered credit card details, only for the connection to crash; or we need to update a plug in to latest version of Adobe to open PDFs.

When this happens at home, would you give up if you didn’t understand how to rectify the issue?

No, of course you wouldn’t. You would resolve the problem as quickly as possible, using your existing knowledge of software updates, reconnecting to local Wi-Fi networks or even switching devices to increase speed of response.

However, if we put the same individual in a professional environment with identical issues, using work-issued devices on a corporate network, the trouble-shooting nature of that person drastically changes. The tech-savvy, problem-solving ‘Super User’ that was actively resolving IT issues at home is now a shadow of their former self, relying on help desks, or IT teams, to take charge of the problem.

Why stay in the shadows?

This knee-jerk reaction to ask for help eats into both the employee’s and IT staff’s time. While the problem is being worked on, the user often can’t work, just as the IT team can’t focus on bigger, more challenging issues happening across the organisation.

I fully believe that the majority of employees have the knowledge when it comes to solving basic IT issues. However, many choose to rely on the IT team when in the office – perhaps out of habit or maybe even fear of creating a larger problem.

If an organisation has a group of skilled users and empowers them to address their own low-priority everyday problems, such as resetting passwords and lost files, not only would it increase the productivity of the employees, but also that of the IT team. These ‘Super Users’ should be embraced and encouraged by businesses, allowing IT to reinvest time and resources into other , more strategic areas, such as  cloud enabled technologies and increasing security in an ever growing device driven office.

Empowering your employees

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To enable employees to find their inner super user, organisations must prioritise the development and deployment of user-centric technology to encourage and incentivise employees to act when a problem strikes.

This means giving employees access to the devices they are used to using at home and empowering them with a sense of freedom to fixing problems and not dread. This will motivate them into acting when something goes wrong and quickly move their mind-set away from picking the phone up to call the IT team for help.

The expectation and demand for IT Service Desks are evolving beyond our imagination, creating a distinct need for agile, flexible and innovative solutions to meet rapidly changing business and individual needs.

Modern IT service desks are and will be positioned as the central hub for technological innovation within the workplace, offering and enabling users to empower themselves and their peers. Seamless integration between platforms, devices and applications are a desire for modern IT teams and by integrating intelligent service desk functions, this can be bolstered to maximum potential.

So with this in mind, I am urging management teams to find a way to uncover the Super Users in their workforce and enable those skilled individuals amongst us to step out of the shadows and start acting as they would when dealing with an IT issue outside of the office. That might be by pinpointing those who have a different device for every aspect of their lives, leaning on generation Z employees or just putting people on the spot.

Modern systems are designed and developed with the desire to be as user-centric as possible, as such meaning systems should work consistently and users shouldn’t experience issues of technological downtimes, however we are not quite there yet.

For these initiatives to become the working norm and adopted by all, it is down to the Super User champions in the workforce to drive the technology and functions.  By working together, we can solve trivial IT issues, boost productivity and have a business full of IT superheroes.

Stay tuned for my next blog where I will explore our NGSD proposition in more detail, and the work we have done to create Super Users in organisations such as Hays. To find out more on the work to date, see the full case study here.