Customer Success Story

Supporting Offshore IT Service Management Success
When employees of outsourcing and technology company Xansa have an IT problem, help is immediately at hand – often from more than 4,000 miles away. The organisation’s Customer Service Desk is in Noida, 12 miles from Delhi in India, and part of an offshore capability, which Xansa believes sets it apart from competitors. Using Axios Systems’ award-winning IT Service Management (ITSM) solution,

assyst, the Service Desk handles all

IT-related calls from the company’s offices, employees working on client sites, and clients using Xansa equipment. www.xansa.com Industry Sector: IT Benefits Best Practice IT Service Management Exceeding customer expectations with Service Level Management Improved Problem and Change Management Excellent staff morale Improved Management Information Improved quality, flexibility and costefficiency.

Background
Xansa is a UK-based outsourcing and technology company that specialises in delivering business services. With a 45-year history of sustaining long-term relationships and pioneering better ways of working, Xansa drives real and longterm cost reductions and improved business performance. Committed to delivering guaranteed business outcomes through a combination of technology and process expertise, Xansa gives clients across the private and public sectors the freedom to do more. With over 8,600 people in the UK and India, Xansa achieved revenues in 2007 of £380 million. Operating on a 24x7 basis, the Xansa Customer Service Desk is the crucial first point of contact for call logging and incident resolution, using assyst from Axios Systems to handle thousands of incident-raising calls each month. assyst is the world’s most advanced Best Practice-based IT Service Management software solution. Speed of response and problem resolution are vital since Xansa works with some of the world’s best-known brands including Barclaycard, BT, Royal Mail and O2.

Far and away the best solution

At Xansa, assyst was chosen to replace Quetzal as a Help Desk and ITSM solution since it could be rapidly implemented ‘out-of-the-box’ and was developed from inception around IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) Best Practice. In addition, it offers a unique lifecycle approach to IT Service Management through the integration of Help Desk and Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Management, Asset and Configuration Management and Service Level Management processes in a single solution.

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“The Health Check was very worthwhile and interesting. It tackled lots of aspects and opened our eyes a bit more. It was helpful to have someone knowledgeable about assyst on the spot to answer queries.”

Customer Success Story
This consolidation is a key strength of assyst, as it guides the user intuitively through the processes in turn, ensuring a Best Practice implementation every time. In addition to the Xansa Customer Service Desk, application support teams, including those dealing with some non-IT items like the central telephone switchboard, have access to assyst which is also used for Problem Management and raising Requests for Changes. All assets are captured in assyst which interfaces with the company’s personnel database so equipment can be linked to the relevant employees and their physical locations. The assets register covers 15,000 items – everything from individual equipment to servers, link structure items and software. All employees with access to Xansa’s intranet can log their own calls and interrogate the knowledge database using assyst’s web-based self-service companion product, assystNET. They receive an incident number and can log progress against it, giving them closer personal involvement in problem resolution and reducing the Desk’s workload.

Suzanne Slatter Service Manager

assyst – smoothing the passage to India

Using assyst, Xansa in India already provided some first line support before the function moved from England. Today, in addition to the Service Desk, a number of second and third line support specialists are based in the offshore delivery centres, complementing the skills of those located in the UK. According to Ann Smith, former Business Systems Service Manager, problems connected with running a call centre from India have been no greater than setting up a function in another part of the UK. “Moving anything offshore can give teething troubles,” she said at Xansa’s offices in Birmingham. “First, you have to get the scope right. Everyone has to understand who is doing what.” “There have been varying expectations of the level of knowledge which people have, how much they can handle themselves and how much they need to pass on to others,” she went on. “Other than that, the problems, such as interfaces between first and second line support, have been no different from those associated with setting up a call centre anywhere. The fact that it is in India has not made any difference.”

Speaking the common language of quality
“Obviously there are variations in language but within the UK there are a number of local dialects; operating from India just introduces another accent,” said Suzanne Slatter, Service Manager. The move was achieved in stages, with a gradual buildup of resources in Noida easing the transition. Giving the view from India, former Customer Service Desk Manager, Vikas Dureja added: “Technically there are no real challenges since we are connected to a terminal server. I don’t think it makes much difference working from here or anywhere else.”

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Customer Success Story
Back-up systems and use of two different suppliers maximise quality and consistency of the supporting telecommunications network and minimise risks. Xansa puts the accent firmly on quality, flexibility and cost-efficiency. The formula works: two-thirds of revenue comes from client relationships lasting more than five years. Moving employees to India has been cost-effective and is often requested by clients on financial grounds. The majority of Xansa’s clients currently benefit from the Indian capability. “Our clients demand high quality from us because so many of their services are critical,” said Smith, who has been with Xansa for 28 years and describes it as a “great company with a fascinating variety of work.”

Ensuring a quality service
To ensure a consistent high quality service, the Customer Service Desk has Service Level Agreements with internal clients who in turn have their own contracts with end-customers. “They tell us the timescales they’re working to so we know what their requirements are,” Smith explained. In order to support this, assyst for Service Level Management offers an advanced solution to allow Xansa to set up commitments in the form of Service Level Agreements (SLAs). As a result, Xansa can ensure IT service delivery remains closely aligned with their clients’ key business requirements. If an incident looks as though it might breach a SLA, an alert is triggered automatically. Priorities are pre-set on a scale of 1-7 with Priority 1 being a situation affecting multiple users or infrastructure-related. A Priority 2 refers to a user being totally unable to work e.g. a laptop not booting up. Escalation levels are set up in assyst together with response and resolution times. “The assyst solution has acted as the key enabler for sustained annual six figure financial savings by the ability to track assets, their specification and suitability for re-use.”

Taking the healthy option
Xansa has also taken advantage of another Axios service – its IT Service Management ‘Health Check’. This three-day consulting project examined Xansa’s processes and systems, compared them with IT Best Practice and made recommendations for further improvements. “The Health Check was very worthwhile and interesting,” summed up Slatter. “It tackled lots of aspects and opened our eyes a bit more. It was helpful to have someone knowledgeable about assyst on the spot to answer queries.” “Such independent analysis helps insiders see things more objectively because they tend to be too close to day-to-day details,” she added.

“What really clinched the business for Axios was the professionalism of its consultants.”

“The key in selecting Axios was their in-depth knowledge of ITIL in conjunction with their award-winning toolset.”

Benefits
So, what are Xansa managers’ overall opinions on which their Customer Service Desk relies?

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Customer Success Story
“The graphical interface is a strong point,” Slatter answered. “A lot of information can be presented on a single screen and, certainly with the event monitors, you select what information is key to managing your operation. It’s user-friendly.” Rohit Bhatnagar, Service Desk Manager, described assyst as “a product that has been developed around the principles of ITIL, one which offers flexibility to tailor the setup to meet individual client requirements.”

“There’s no way you can cope without a tool like assyst in this day and age, with the volume of calls that we get.”

Getting the right information

Xansa makes use of assyst’s customer survey facility, which is managed by the team in India. Some 10% of calls are followed up with a questionnaire so users can grade the service received and customer satisfaction levels can be monitored. Crystal Reports is used to generate management information “but we’re also happy with the assyst event monitors, used for day-to-day monitoring of SLA performance,” Slatter stated. Managers find the most useful information includes reports on service level targets broken down by priority levels and the number of calls fixed within stipulated deadlines. “We can look at the calls the Service Desk is getting, whether the number is growing or shrinking. The reporting that comes out of assyst is of direct benefit for me, my managers and my customers,” adds Bhatnagar. The Desk also uses assyst to work out average call times and the associated costs. Generally the Desk takes an average of five to ten minutes to resolve a call. It has a target to fix 65% of all calls at first level.

Ann Smith Business Systems Science Manager

“Without

From a management point of view, Smith said assyst “gives us control over all the incidents or requests which are raised and the assets which we own. When everything is lined up properly, at the press of a button you can find out things that are going wrong and be alerted to incidents very quickly in order to put preventative activity in place to deal with them. It just keeps track of everything.” “Without it we just wouldn’t cope,” she said. “There’s no way you can cope without a tool like this in this day and age, with the volume of calls that we get.” Xansa’s own tools have changed too. Its use of the ‘NetMeeting’ facility, for instance, allows Desk employees to take charge of another PC – and fix the problem remotely. “The world keeps getting smaller,” said Slatter. “We’re simply using the best tools we can to get the job done in the most cost-effective way, regardless of location, for the benefit of our customers.”

assyst we just wouldn’t cope”

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