In this interview with Damian Bowen, Director of IT & Client Support Services at NTT DATA we discover the challenges, highlights and benefits of becoming certified as a ‘Business Led’ service desk, and what the team have achieved as a result of Service Desk Certification.
Tell us a bit about NTT DATA and its objective
“NTT DATA is a global SI which consistently delivers quality IT Services to our clients. NTT DATA UK is in a state of continued growth and its largest service offering in Europe is its IT Infrastructure Service and IT Managed Services across multiple industries including Public Sector, Manufacturing, Retail, Telco & Media and Financial services.
The Shared Service Operation Centre (SSOC), which includes our Shared Service Desk and Shared Service Delivery Team sits within the IT Infrastructure Service and is focused on giving an excellent support service to our UK and European clients ensuring that we deliver a highly engaging, value added customer experience. As well as this, the SSOC is seen within NTT DATA as a key part of client development and our growth plans by assisting in expanding the NTT DATA footprint within clients.
NTT DATA’s objective is to grow from 10th largest SI to top 5 within 5 years, through the quality of the solutions it develops and the support we provide from the SSOC.
The SSOC’s objective within this is to continue to deliver a solid support service, continuously innovative the service we provide, constantly looking for ways to add value to clients and through this become a trusted partner to our clients and gain more business.”
How many customers do you have and how many users are supported by the service desk?
We have 35 external customers of various sizes, for first line support our smallest customer is a firm of solicitors with 30 users, our largest is a German Automotive company. Due to the nature of our business, our best estimations are we support circa 18,000+ end users. However, for some of the 35 clients we only manage 2nd line and up.
How big is your service desk, where is it located and how many incidents does it address each month?
We have a combined Service Operations Centre of 12 people, operating out of our Birmingham office, the core service desk is four 1st Line Analysts, four 2nd line Analysts and four Service Delivery Managers. We provide complex application and infrastructure support with an average of over 1000 incidents per month through our portal, and up to 50 high priority incidents which are raised direct by phone from authorised personnel within our clients. We try to be flexible and work to the specific demands of the client.
When did you decide to pursue SDC and what challenges did you hope it would help overcome?
We decided to pursue the SDC programme in 2014 when we decided to perform a self-assessment after coming through a programme of changes to get the team ready to meet the business challenges NTT DATA had set. We felt ready for the internal challenges, however we wanted to measure ourselves against the wider industry and other Service Operations and felt that the SDC programme was the most relevant, comprehensive and professional way to do this.
What were the highlights and difficulties you encountered during the journey?
“Fortunately there were not too many difficulties, however we failed the pre-assessment which was actually a good thing for us, as we then took the time to make sure the whole team understood the standard and the effort required before embarking on it in earnest My advice to anyone considering SDC would be to talk to other participants before you start to ensure the demand on resource it takes to undertake SDC properly is fully appreciated, as we found this preparation ensured we got maximum benefit from the exercise without over-stretching the team.
There were numerous highlights, achieving a 3 star at first audit (after failing the pre-assessment), to then being upgraded to 4 star. The main highlight for us was post SDC, realising that SDC had given us a framework to take the level of precision and quality we had instilled in our people and our processes to become embedded in our culture.”
How was your experience working with SDI?
“Superb! The first audit was obviously a challenge because we didn’t fully comprehend the volume of detail that was been measured. We found the SDI auditors were there not only to measure us against the standard, but to also understand our business and be part of our growth journey.
The report helps develop an improvement plan that can be measured against the industry. The auditors were engaging and inspiring and a total pleasure to deal with.”
How have your staff benefited since going through the SDC programme?
“The staff feel like they are more in control, they are allocated ownership of key processes which has empowered them to deliver and manage improvements. The principle of the standard has helped us give additional responsibility to the team and they are reaping the recognition and improved sense of self-worth that this gives them which to me is one of the key benefits of this process.”
How did you measure the success of the project and what results did you tally?
“We specifically wanted to measure success based against our scores in each area. The continued improvement of our scores through the pre-assessment, initial audit and surveillance audit, was how we decided to measure both success and continued improvement, which is embedded in our culture.
Whilst we have a CSI plan we have found it useful to have three key aims which are used on a daily basis and which everyone contributes towards and which all team members are aware of, these are:
What other non-measurable benefits have you observed?
“Professionalism. Although this is arguably measurable in the increase in positive feedback we have received from clients. The team have always operated in a professional and focused manner, however now it seems to be at an even higher level. It would be worth noting that the SSOC has the youngest average age of any team in the building and they have worked hard to earn the respect of some very seasoned IT professionals around them.
The other key benefit for the team (as every one of them was involved in SDC), is the confidence that it has given them through industry recognition that they are excellent at their job, the internal congratulations on achievement of the award and their own sense of self satisfaction.”
Did the SDC programme meet the objectives you set?
“100% – there is not much more that I can say, I wanted to understand where we could improve and how we could make the improvements. I wanted to whole team involved and to feel they had an impact and to understand why SDC was important to them and their role. However most importantly I wanted to build confidence in the team, through improving their capabilities, which makes for happier more effective staff and a better service to our clients.”
What future plans do you have for the service operation?
“Our vision has always been to be recognised by our Service Delivery peers as World class. This is absolutely where we want to go next with Service Desk Certification.
For NTT DATA, we have an objective to grow our service operation by two fold in the next 12 months. As part of this we will integrate with other teams within the business to provide additional services which will also allow us to meet our business objectives of growing the capability of NTT DATA in the UK. And I can state, with complete confidence, that the SDC standard has and will continue to help us towards this goal.”
Ed: Want to know more about Service Desk Certification?