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Managing and Coordinating Multi-Year Support for the Consolidation of Legacy Service Desk into a Single Centralized Work Site

Legal | Support Services

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The client, a leading global business law firm serving over 30 countries, had service desk facilities dispersed across multiple locations and was struggling to manage this support across the various sites. For this initiative, TEKsystems consolidated all service desks to a single service desk and provided management support.

The client stands as one of the world’s largest business law firms, with over 4,000 lawyers providing legal support to multinational, Global 1,000 and Fortune 500 enterprises.

A strategic service desk is made up of high-quality IT support resources that have the right technical and communication skills, and are a strong cultural fit within the organization. Strategic service desks—that are comprised of quality people and are integrated into the organization’s overall operations—help reduce the cost of IT support and improve service to customers.

Organizations aim to optimize their IT service desk function, as increased efficiencies can yield a big return. When service desk teams are managed as strategic assets within an enterprise, significant improvements can be achieved including faster incident resolution rates, optimized user productivity, positive personal experience, and increased customer satisfaction. Ultimately, these improvements create a better end-user experience.

Competing with the need to capitalize on IT efficiencies is the reality that businesses are also trying to accomplish more with less. The expectations of service desk support remain constant, while traditional desks cannot keep up with end-user demands. And as a result, the reputation 

Level 1 support across all North America and Mexico End User environments including: all shrink wrap and proprietary applications, laptops, desktops, printers, scanners, iPads, peripherals and mobile devices, Incident Management Tool, Remedy, Call Distribution tool, I3 Interaction

Following the acquisition of another law firm, the client maintained its service desk operations as a decentralized business function, where its primary service desks—one in Baltimore, Md. one in Chicago, Ill.—were responsible for resolving IT issues within the scope of their designated geographies. This was contrary to the way the merger was handled across the rest of the organization, as the client took on a more holistic approach to conducting day-to-day business.

The client, a leading global business law firm serving over 30 countries, had service desk facilities dispersed across multiple locations and was struggling to manage this support across the various sites. For this initiative, TEKsystems consolidated all service desks to a single service desk and provided management support. merger was handled across the rest of the organization, as the client took on a more holistic approach to conducting day-to-day business. The client understood that it is industry best practice to operate with a single centralized service desk to ensure quality control and consistency of this support, and sought a partner to help move operations to a single facility in Baltimore, where corporate IT operations were also located. Yet, several hurdles made it a challenging on taking:

Pausing service desk operations would be risky for the business’ bottom line, so incoming requests would need to be addressed during the consolidation. It would be critical to ensure continuity of support was maintained and no service was interrupted throughout implementation. Additionally, the quality and content delivered would need to be consistent for every request, before during and after the service desk was centralized, and careful transfer of knowledge would be required.

Transition of Analysts:
In order to streamline the client’s service desk operations, personnel would need to be consolidated. It would be impractical to relocate service desk analysts from the Chicago facility to Baltimore, so these individuals would need to be offboarded. The positions held by dedicated employees with long-standing tenures at the organization were no longer necessary. The client would need to reposition those who would be affected by the centralization, and the Baltimore facility would need to ramp up its analyst support in order to account for the gaps.

Limited Issue Exposure:
Separation of IT support meant that the types of issues analysts were tasked with resolving were dependent on location. For example, the newly acquired entity in Chicago was focused on accounting and IT services, so naturally, incoming service desk tickets from that office were related to those services. Likewise, the Baltimore facility provided IT service desk support for general operational issues related to items such as finance, Microsoft Office, etc. As such, analysts were limited in terms of the types of issues they were equipped to resolve.

The support services TEKsystems’ proposed included: streamlining its service desk support to a single location that is integrated with the client’s corporate IT department, in order to ensure consistency of solutions and capitalize on existing resources that can be repurposed. While the need for a centralized service desk was evident, the approach to achieving it required careful planning and diligence:

  1. Introducing the Concept and Implications: Inform existing Chicago service desk analysts that the service desk function was being moved to Baltimore. Personnel affected were not being terminated; rather they were being repositioned in the firm. TEKsystems would go to the Chicago office to speak with these individuals face to face to communicate this shift in the company and address any concerns or potential negative backlash.
  2. Analyst Listening: Gauge reactions to the transition of the long-standing service desk process. TEKsystems would facilitate qualitative focus group research to listen to and understand how employees are talking about the plan, highlight their concerns and define their expectations.
  3. Information Gathering: Given the service desks were previously decentralized, there were best practices, processes and insights that were unique to each office. Effective knowledge transfer was critical to the success of the centralization project. TEKsystems would collect proprietary information and tribal knowledge by dedicating a period of time to visiting each office and recording this knowledge for incorporation in subsequent curriculum development.
  4. Curriculum Development: Leverage learnings from the initial phases of the plan to guide the development of a curriculum for educating service desk analysts who would be sourced to the central facility. Utilizing findings from on-the-ground discussions with existing analysts, TEKsystems would shape a robust curriculum for the central facility personnel; this would ensure the training would be designed with analysts frame of mind, and importantly that the client’s proprietary knowledge—compounded across all previous service desks—would live on into the central facility.
  5. Onboarding: Equip existing analysts who would remain in the role with the knowledge needed to handle requests that were previously specific to the Chicago facility analysts. In tandem with this, identify, educate and train new analysts on both Chicago and Baltimore service areas. To do this, TEKsystems would be fully responsible for sourcing additional support in Baltimore. We would then allot a 10-week period to teach service desk analysts at the single location the curriculum and share proprietary tribal knowledge.
  6. Ongoing Project Management: To drive continuous improvement and optimization of the new site, its operations should be closely monitored over time. TEKsystems would provide an on-site manager to manage the analyst team on a daily basis, handle end-user escalations, and analyze incident trends and attainment of service levels. The manager would also act as an on-the-ground point of contact for the client’s leadership and corporate IT department. This in-depth transition plan would enable the client to seamlessly unify its service desk support.

TEKsystems was selected for this engagement for several key reasons:

  • Proximity to New Site. The client’s centralized service desk location and TEKsystems’ corporate headquarters shared the mutual location of Baltimore, Md. Working with a partner who is geographically very close to the new site appealed to the client, as it would offer them tremendous flexibility. TEKsystems resources including service desk analysts could be easily deployed to the client’s facility with little notice, if needed. Additionally, the client could leverage TEKsystems’ Baltimore Solution Center as a business continuity location; should any unexpected events ever occur deeming the new Service Desk facility unavailable for use, with the flip of a switch calls could be diverted to
    TEKsystems’ office.
  • Unmatched Management Coverage. TEKsystems management could be leveraged at both the Baltimore and Chicago locations. Our team would work hands-on throughout the transition process, from closing down the Chicago operations to ramping up the Baltimore space. The same TEKsystems managers would facilitate the entire process, ensuring continuity and consistency.
  • Experience with Time-Sensitive Subject Matter. The prospect of engaging a partner who has worked for law firms in the past was attractive to the client; there is a level of urgency associated with the environments found at law firms, and the client sought a partner who understood that heightened sensitivity. TEKsystems has extensive experience providing parallel support services for countless clients, including those in the legal sector.

A centralized service desk was successfully established within the client’s 10 week timeline. The client’s service desk support saw increased efficiencies and improved expectations were set for incident escalation from the service desk to the client’s IT department.

At the commencement of the initiative, TEKsystems provided an on-site delivery manager to manage the transition on a daily basis, identify areas for improvement and keep open communications with client leadership. After the transition was complete, efficiencies were being met and the service desk was stable. As a result of this stabilization, a layer of management was removed and the delivery manager shifted his tasks over to a full-time supervisor.

TEKsystems took full ownership of hiring decisions for the new analysts to join the Baltimore facility. When the facility went live in 2004, a total of 15 service desk analysts and two team leads were sourced by TEKsystems. Developed collaboratively with TEKsystems and the client, the service desk curriculum captured Chicago best practices, which the Baltimore office was not previously responsible for. To account for these knowledge gaps, all analysts were required to go through the onboarding and training process. Our selection and onboarding contributions were proven successful,as both the tenure and knowledge of service desk analysts has increased.

Additionally, service level agreement metrics have been monitored monthly since 2004 under TEKsystems oversight; this monthly trending data was helpful in identifying improvements that could be made pertaining to service levels. Importantly and of client priority, end-user customer satisfaction and resolution rates have seen increased attainment.

Throughout this initiative, relevant stakeholders were taken into consideration as noted by our listening exercises where we spoke with those Chicago analysts who would be most affected. Utilizing this hands-on collaborative approach proved successful, as we were able to successfully transfer knowledge to the central facility while maintaining harmony within the company. Those representing the acquired organization, who were once analysts at the Chicago facility have come to terms with the client’s solution for its service desk and are happy with the reconfiguring of its operations.

The following three pillars can be accredited for the success of this initiative:

  • Dedicated Support. While the migration itself required a high level of expert oversight, once the centralized facility was mobilized, ongoing monitoring and management of the site was equally important. The client needed guidance and support in tracking the progress of the new facility to ensure its operating procedures were continually improving. TEKsystems provided an engagement manager who worked with the client to integrate the two Service Desks; from there, ongoing daily management was provided on-site in Baltimore.
  • Collaborative Partnership. It was critical that the knowledge and best practices learned by the Chicago analysts was retained, even though the analysts themselves were going to be moving into roles outside the Service Desk. The client needed a partner who could handle the sensitive situation of talking with those individuals—who were being offboarded—and collecting actionable insights and feedback that would inform the curriculum for new and existing Baltimore analysts. TEKsystems did just that. Our team was on the ground in Chicago, talking with those affected by the acquisition and desk migration. Focus groups and in-depth discussions before the transition enabled us to learn their concerns, collect best practices, and effectively transfer that knowledge to the Baltimore facility; learning sessions were also held after the new facility went live, allowing us to see that the Chicago team was happy with the outcome.
  • End-User Focus. The business model executed by law firms relies on end-user productivity; low productivity equates to less billable hours, subsequently, hurting the bottom line. As a result, the client had articulated that end-user satisfaction and productivity was a high priority outcome desired from this initiative. TEKsystems recognized this need. We conducted focus groups to listen and understand reactions and concerns Chicago end-users had, mitigate those concerns, and adapt our curriculum for Baltimore old and new end-users based on these learnings.
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