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Driving Improved Incident Management and Resolution for a Law Firm

Legal | Network Infrastructure Services – Support Services

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A law firm selected TEKsystems® Support Services to strengthen its Service Desk and Desktop Support services by ensuring cross-collaboration across the company’s IT organization.

The client is a law firm that serves corporate clients in a variety of industries, including energy, healthcare, entertainment, media, advertising, real estate and financial services. In addition to legal services, the organization also provides services such as government relations, public affairs and consulting through its other business divisions. TEKsystems has supported this client since 2000.

Service Desk support is important to keeping any organization running smoothly and maximizing the value of technology investments. The Service Desk ensures hardware and software are functioning properly, allowing end users—the employees—to do their jobs without interruption. But with technology changing as rapidly as it does, it can be challenging to manage a Service Desk over time, ensuring all hardware and software updates are iteratively captured and Service Desk staff understand the evolving nuances.

Although new software releases and upgrades are meant to benefit the user and the business as a whole (through benefits such as faster speed, enhanced quality of services and increased overall efficiency), coincidentally, keeping the Service Desk at pace with technology can actually disrupt the business. For example, consider an organization releasing an enterprise-wide Microsoft Windows upgrade. The high volume of users affected by this transition could likely create a spike in incoming calls to IT support, and the Service Desk personnel may not know how to resolve a common and reoccurring issue tied to the upgrade. User downtime is a direct result, lowering employee productivity while the issue goes unresolved.

For organizations in the legal space, eliminating user downtime caused by Service Desk issues is critical. There is a sense of urgency tied to every issue, whether it be a pressing court deadline or other time-sensitive legal matters, and Service Desk personnel need to be mindful of the timelines they’re working against. The Service Desk team needs to clearly understand what the impact of the issue means to the user and getting their job done.

To maximize the value of a Service Desk for any business, including deadline-driven law firms, support services teams need to be consistently aligned with technology’s evolution by following industry best practices such as ongoing training, process documentation, cross-collaboration and knowledge sharing across a business’ entire IT organization.

iManage, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Outlook, Microsoft Word, Various hardware

In 2010, an integrated legal services firm was experiencing a number of issues related to its internal Service Desk support. The Service Desk was in a state of complete disorganization due to:

  • High turnover of Service Desk personnel
  • A lack of continuity between the client’s Service Desk, Desktop Support and other departments within the IT organization such as operations, the server group and the applications group
  • A lack of visibility into service quality and resolution rates and no way to measure performance

All of these issues made it difficult for the client to understand why their Service Desk wasn’t achieving to desired service standards. The lawyers—who are billed hourly—were extremely frustrated with the poor customer service from the organization’s broken Service Desk and were tired of dealing with the interruptions it caused. Recognizing their core business is providing legal services, the client sought an IT services partner with Service Desk expertise to come in and build out a solution that was going to address the dysfunction of the Service Desk and course correct.

With several projects in the pipeline, the vendor of choice needed to be able to scale appropriately; and given an inconsistent inflow of Service Desk issues, it was essential that the partner of choice could quickly respond to ebbs and flows of incoming service issues. For example, if there was an issue with Microsoft Exchange, the volume of calls to the Service Desk would dramatically increase. The client was not equipped to handle issues driven by any significant point of change in IT—the type of changes that would drive call volume to its peak. Lastly, because there is heightened sensitivity associated with legal matters, external legal support services experience was a priority quality in the client’s IT services partner.

Initial Needs: Service Desk Support

At the culmination of these challenges in 2010, TEKsystems’ Support Services practice was engaged to deliver support for the client’s Service Desk, whose coverage spanned approximately 800 users across the entire organization, including lawyers and internal employees (e.g., finance, human resources, administrative support). We recruited and onboarded a dedicated off-site 24x7x365 Service Desk team. We conducted training, implemented documentation and knowledge transfer and created service level agreements (SLAs) when transitioning from the client’s existing Service Desk team to TEKsystems’ team, which ensured minimal disruption of services to users. During this transition period, TEKsystems worked with client leadership to monitor and evaluate resource performance, validate service levels and drive consistent and stable support. We achieved a steady state of service by offering ongoing performance improvements.

Evolving Needs: Desktop Support

Meanwhile, the Service Desk and Desktop teams were not effectively integrated and as a result, created confusion and inefficiencies. For example, the Service Desk team would escalate an issue to the Desktop team, but the Desktop team would have no visibility into the problem and begin troubleshooting from scratch. This disconnect would go both ways, where the Desktop team would escalate an issue to the Service Desk team, who would then try to resolve the issue from the beginning. Ultimately, there was no continuity, communication or knowledge sharing and management between the two groups.

In fact, the client realized all of its IT teams, including its Desktop, Server, Storage, Development, Engineering and Telecommunications teams, weren’t collaborating as well as they could be in terms of incident management and resolution. Collaboration is critical in incident management and resolution. The client needed a partner that could not only solve problems as quickly as possible, but also identify trends and proactively provide data back to teams so they could course correct within their particular organization to prevent the same problems from continuing to happen; therefore, lowering call volume before it even happens.

Given the fast-pace, time-sensitive work environment at the law firm, the client realized that addressing this lack of cross-collaboration would be necessary in order to drive efficiency within its IT organization. Through our successful Service Desk partnership, the client was confident in TEKsystems’ ability to consistently provide high incident resolution rates and exceptional customer service. In 2013, we were tasked with developing a comprehensive Desktop Support solution as a natural extension of our long-standing Service Desk support. The client sought our partnership and expertise to facilitate seamless integration across the client’s support teams directly responsible for front-line support and end-user satisfaction and drive increased collaboration, consistency, efficiency and subsequently, improved ticket resolution.

We would implement a co-managed approach to initiate our Desktop Support solution; this would enable a seamless transition with the client’s existing Desktop practices. TEKsystems would be responsible for oversight and management of the Desktop Support organization, working with client leadership to refine service level expectations and deliverables. Upon gaining a deep understanding of the client’s Desktop Support requirements, TEKsystems would then absorb responsibility for the entire Desktop Support function.

TEKsystems’ Support Services practice would deliver Desktop Support that adheres to industry best practices, including development and maintenance of a unified knowledgebase, delivery of weekly status reports to the client, and cultivating training programs and documentation to drive employee adoption of new technologies. Through greater integration, accountability and oversight, our support would help improve resolution times and the overall quality of service to end users.

Since our initial Service Desk engagement began in 2010, TEKsystems Support Services has proven our value to the client, who has continued to increase the scope of our partnership over time. Not only have we continued to manage 24x7x365 Service Desk support, but we’ve also ramped up the number of resources dedicated to the client, taken on Tier 2 support on the Service Desk and successfully absorbed the Desktop team.

Collectively, the teams are comprised of as many as 20 people, including eight off-site Service Desk resources based out of our Baltimore Solution Center and 12 Desktop Support resources. The client now has a dedicated, collaborative support services team, delivering consistent high-quality service to its users thereby improving user productivity and satisfaction across the organization. In terms of measurable successes, our Desktop team regularly achieves 80 percent SLA attainment, while the Service Desk team regularly achieves more than 95 percent SLA attainment. Additionally, our Service Desk resolution rate consistently averages 80 percent or above.

Notably, when TEKsystems absorbed ownership and management of the Desktop team, legacy client employees remained part of the client’s Desktop Support. Co-management of TEKsystems and client employees required careful attention and diligence on our part, as we were held accountable for the deliverables and SLAs of the entire Desktop team. Having a mixed employee base is both a unique and complicated situation; we’re responsible for the overall management of the entire team, including the client’s employees. It’s important to be sensitive to the needs of the legacy employees, while also making certain they’re delivering up to TEKsystems’ quality standards. To address this, TEKsystems works closely with the client’s HR and IT leadership to help us manage legacy employees and ensure the team as a unit continues to deliver up to the SLAs we’ve committed to.

Through our involvement, the client’s Service Desk and Desktop teams now have greater collaboration and continuity, and therefore are better positioned to quickly resolve problems and restore service to end users. A Desktop Support person can now pick up a call and know exactly what is going on and where the issue is in terms of resolution, and likewise for Service Desk support. This cross-collaboration is conducive to creating a warmer interaction with end users. As a result, problems can be solved faster and more efficiently, interactions with Desktop and Service Desk teams are more positive, and the user experience and satisfaction has improved.

Ultimately, by improving the quality of the client’s Desktop and Service Desk support, TEKsystems has been able to improve the productivity of its valuable internal customers—the lawyers, and maximize the value of its IT support.

We have been able to achieve long-term success because of several key intangible factors:

  • Long-term value. Because the client is in the legal space, there is an elevated sensitivity toward issues and speed is critically important. Our Support Services practice entered this partnership to strengthen the client’s existing Service Desk team. Over the course of this multiyear engagement, the client took notice of our ability to consistently deliver value and exceed expectations. It’s because of this that we were trusted with additional responsibilities including Tier 2 and Desktop Support.
  • Communication. Understanding the client’s needs and expectations is a top priority for the TEKsystems team. Since the beginning of the partnership, we have stayed abreast of the client’s challenges, needs and goals related to incident management and resolution. Keeping open lines of communication and ensuring the client is informed throughout the engagement has enabled us to manage to their expectations and consistently deliver quality service.
  • Flexibility. Notably, because this partnership has lasted several years, technology has evolved and changed significantly. The TEKsystems team has provided greater value to the client because we’ve been able to handle increased technologies over the course of the engagement. We have continued to deliver improved first call resolution rates because we’ve been able to support more technologies. Not only have we been able to support a wide range of technologies, but also from a depth perspective—we have a rich understanding of the different technologies.