Visa Europe has rolled out Computacenter’s Next Generation Service Desk product to its entire workforce of 3,400 end users, and in only three months from conception to implementation.
As any IT manager knows, helpdesks can be a huge drain on time and resources, and a tightened up strategy can be a massive ongoing advantage.
At Visa Europe, there was also the matter of its 3,400 staff being spread over 25 European locations, most relying on simple telephone calls in order to solve even the most rudimentary IT problems.
David Sherry joined Visa Europe as head of IT in December 2014, and immediately saw an opportunity to improve mobility.
“I picked up corporate IT, and essentially we identified we needed to invest more in in order to better equip our work force and make them more efficient and productive, but also accommodating different needs with working away from a fixed location, to allow them to use a different device and means of working,” he tells Computing.
“We wanted to create a step change in work force IT, and it was just as we were defining the strategy for what that meant in terms of mobility and achieving outcomes that we came across a next-generation concept that was absolutely aligned with what we wanted to achieve.”
With an ongoing relationship with Computacenter existing since the late 2000s, Sherry found that signing up for the Next Generation Service Desk (NGSD) wasn’t a huge decision to take. He decided to forgo a tendering process and become a day-one customer for the new, web-based service desk product.
“In the 21st century, [our existing support system] seemed to be ripe for improvement. I thought was a good fit and signed up to be launch customer.”
Sherry defines “next generation” in NGSD’s case as “looking at the digital age and how needs have changed” when designing a service desk product.
“A service desk in most people’s minds is associated with an issue, and generally one that is invoked by the phone,” he says.
By comparison, NGSD has a focus on self-help, partly through the medium of knowledge articles.
“Essentially, [aspects of NGSD functionality] are self-help, hopefully enabling [users] to resolve the question themselves, with some capabilities in terms of resetting the password which can be quickly responded to, rather than creating a ticket for someone else to work to,” explains Sherry.
NGSD received an influx of 1,700 IT queries to the portal on the very first day of launching – a huge percentage of a staff of 3,400, and instantly proving the business case for its adoption.
“Online interactions went from zero to 40 per cent, as a change of behaviour from placing the ticket on the phone versus using the portal,” says Sherry.
“In terms of behaviour, that’s some shift in a very short space of time.”
Some 200 of the day-one interactions also came in the form of live web chats with the support team, which is provided as part of a managed service contract with Computacenter. It quickly led to a drop in phone calls of 25 per cent.
Sherry cites the speed “from hothouse to operating systems exploited by such a high number of employees on day one” as “a surprise” to him.
He is full of praise for the delivery management he benefited from with Computacenter.
“It was very much hothouse, agile,” he says, citing work with “champions” who were assigned for the project and followed it for the next three months until completion – and instant adoption.
Visa Europe is in the process of being acquired by its parent company Visa. Sherry says he’s “not well-geared to talk about” whether the successful NGSD deployment may find wider adoption in the new, bigger company. Visa is also in the process of overhauling its mobile device real estate, as well as continuing to update its strategy to let workers build productivity in remote working locations.
“We believe that we need to have a mobility strategy that allows employees to work as effectively from home as in a regional office,” explains Sherry. “We are about to refresh our mobile devices. It’s more likely to be CYOD [choose your own device] than BYOD, allowing the employees to adopt whatever device they like – likely to be BlackBerry, iPhone or Android,” he reveals.
When Computing asks Sherry if he’s particularly wary of Android’s ongoing poor reputation for security, his reply is polished. Will Android be secure?
“It will be if it’s offered,” he states.
“We would never consider it unless we had complete confidence that we were deploying it for the right reasons. But it depends on what you were going to enable and what you were going to control. If it was CYOD versus a personal device, that’s a key differentiator.
“But in order to offer it, we’d need to have complete confidence in order to allow that to happen.”