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Managing and Maturing Support Desks for a Leading Aerospace Organization

Manufacturing | Managed Services Offering, Network Infrastructure Services – Support Services

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A leading aerospace organization partnered with TEKsystems to manage and mature its internal support desks.

The client, a large aerospace company and leading airplane manufacturer, supports U.S. and allied government customers in 150 different countries. The client offers a wide range of products, including commercial and military aircraft, defense and communication systems, weapons, and satellites, and provides customized services to major U.S. agencies such as NASA. The client has partnered with TEKsystems since 2002.

“Do more with less” is an age-old saying that holds true now more than ever in today’s fast-paced world. Efficiency is king; finding opportunities to cut costs without sacrificing quality is a vital component to any successful business. Companies are constantly looking for ways to stretch their budgets farther in every facet of their business while delivering the same, if not better, levels of quality and service. Many organizations are turning to outcome-based services, such as managed services, as a means to drive better performance, cut costs and foster greater accountability.

Managed services solutions offer organizations freedom to remove themselves from the minutiae of daily operational responsibilities and focus more on strategic initiatives and projects affecting the business. These solutions also allow for more transparent, fixed-pricing models that can help organizations stabilize budgets and achieve long-term savings.

Company service desks are one popular business entity moving toward an outcome-based service model because of the high metric-oriented nature of the service. With clear-cut performance metrics, this model makes it easier to track and improve efficiency compared to more traditional management models. In addition, when service management is outsourced, organizations have defined service level benchmarks to measure performance and success against and weigh the overall accountability, progress and effectiveness of their third-party partner.

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After recently making changes to company leadership, the client, a leading aerospace organization, was given the unique opportunity to have fresh eyes assess its internal business operations and determine areas for cost-saving improvements and innovation. One area of business that leadership identified was their internal support desks, specifically their operator services, application service desk and service request management support desk.

The client’s support desks served as points of contact to answer internal employee and partner manufacturer questions, provide technical support and disseminate relevant news pertaining to the company. Since 2002, the client had partnered with TEKsystems to augment their existing IT team and staff the support desks. Over the years, we ramped teams up and down quickly to meet business demands and served as a trusted advisor to deepen and improve the level of quality provided by the support desks. We consistently met all service level targets set by the client and regularly received positive customer feedback.

Though the client’s current staffing relationship with TEKsystems was extremely successful and efficient, the desks were operating under a time and materials model with no precise division of accountability. Additionally, depending on the client’s business cycles and our need to scale teams to meet demand, budgeting for such fluctuations proved to be challenging for the client.

Leadership recognized that moving their operator services, application service desk and service request management support desk to a managed services model, and transitioning ownership to a third party, would allow for improved business operations, a fixed-pricing model and greater accountability. In addition, establishing clear service level penalties tied to outcomes would further incentivize delivery of high-quality services and allow the client to better measure performance, return on investment and overall efficiency. A managed services model would also allow the client to focus on large, more strategic initiatives and decisions impacting the entire organization as opposed to being concerned with the support desks’ day-to-day business operations.

The client wanted to partner with a strategic, long-term managed services provider with proven support services experience and the ability to provide continuous improvement and metrics. It was also important that the provider be equally invested in process efficiency as much as the customer experience. An ideal partner would subscribe to industry-leading best practices, such as ITIL®, HDI and ISO, and be able to effectively lead core support teams, on site or off site, while seamlessly facilitating the client’s business and IT goals. Additionally, the client wanted a partner that could ramp up resources quickly to meet the demands of changes in the business environment.

Already having a deep, long-term staffing relationship with TEKsystems, the client was very familiar with the high level of service we provided and our ability to consistently meet service level agreements (SLAs) while staffing the support desks. Aware of our robust managed services offerings and dedicated Support Services practice, the client asked TEKsystems to propose a solution to transition their support desks to managed services. Partnering with TEKsystems as the incumbent would be ideal because of our well-established knowledge of their unique environment and support desk operations, and our proven ability to consistently provide high-quality resources.

To transition the client’s operator services and support desks to a managed service model without disrupting any business processes, we proposed a three-phased approach customized to meet the client’s specific needs and business schedule. Our approach would not be focused on the removal and re-creation of existing services, but the continuation of successful service delivery.

First, over the course of six weeks and during the transition phase, our team would assess the current state of the support desks and subsequently outline a detailed transition plan to mitigate risk and service disruptions. Next, as part of a three-month optimization phase, the three distinct teams would migrate to the new model while being optimized to effectively continue to achieve newly set SLAs. Finally, after all three support desks had been fully transitioned to managed services, over the next five years we would provide continuous improvement year over year and cost evaluations every other year going forward to ensure we were striking the right balance between cost and service quality.

Under this new model, we would establish service level targets and penalties that would improve the client’s ability to gauge support desk efficiency and drive a lower overall cost of operations. We would provide the client with weekly, monthly and quarterly data reports to include mutually agreed upon key performance indicators, such as average speed-to-answer times, abandon rates, incident resolution, data quality, time to process and attrition.

The client selected TEKsystems as its managed services partner based on our commitment to industry best practices, consistent delivery on existing SLAs, institutionalized knowledge of the client’s operations and their confidence in our ability to successfully transition the support desks with minimal risk and at almost no additional cost.

TEKsystems seamlessly migrated the client’s operator services, application service desk and service request management support desk to a managed services model over the course of four months with limited disruption to business operations. By taking full ownership of all three support desks, we were able to effectively and efficiently deliver high-quality, outcome-based services, allowing the client to focus on more strategic decisions impacting the business rather than focusing on support desk operations.

There were several inherent risks we considered during the transition. Unexpected attrition could have impacted our ability to deliver seamless and high-quality service. To mitigate this risk, our team communicated with the client throughout the transition process at both the support desks’ team and individual level.

Incomplete knowledge transfer between the client’s subject matter experts could have had financial ramifications and impact the overall level of service provided by the support desks. To avoid these setbacks, we worked with the client to identify a project sponsor who served as our single point of contact, helped enable clear lines of communication between the client’s existing personnel and across internal team members to include the TEKsystems’ transition team, and assisted in outlining and agreeing upon new processes and practices. To further aid in knowledge retention, TEKsystems offered full-time employee status to approximately 25 percent of the existing resources, which ultimately helped bolster both customer and employee satisfaction. We also established clear resource retention plans that included clear promotion and career path opportunities; COPC, HDI and ITIL training; and certification programs.

Under the new fixed-pricing model, fluctuations in resources no longer impact the client financially. Newly established SLAs were set in place to align with the client’s overarching business goals and continued high level of service. The table below highlights some of our service achievements to date.

 Support Desk

 Service Level Attainment

Actual Achievement

Operator Services

  • Target average speed to answer of 15 seconds
  • Target average abandon rate of no more than 5 percent
  • Averaging 10-second speed to answer
  • Averaging abandon rate of 2.5 percent over the last six months

Application Service Desk

  • Target incident resolution rate of 65 percent
  • Target average speed to answer of 60 seconds
  • Achieving an incident resolution rate of 68 percent
  • Achieving 20-second speed to answer

Service Request Management Support Desk

  • Target defect-free tasking and management of service requests of 95 percent
  • Target time to process of 95 percent within two business days
  • Achieving 97 percent data quality
  • Achieving 99 percent time to process

Because of our expertise and results-driven performance, the client continues to work with TEKsystems Support Services today to oversee their support desk operations. As a long-term, managed services partner, we continue to provide performance and cost evaluations to ensure continuous improvement and innovation and alignment with the client’s overall business goals. We will routinely evaluate and adjust our communication plan, process tools, technology enhancements and SLAs to continue to provide the client with the highest level of service while delivering flexible and cost-effective solutions.

  • Accountable partnership. TEKsystems is committed to providing the client with the highest level of consistency and service as we grow our partnership to deliver outcome-based services. Since 2002, the client has relied on us to deliver high-quality staffing solutions to meet their business objectives and they are confident in our ability to continue to meet and exceed their expectations as we transition to become a strategic, managed services partner.
  • Support services expertise. TEKsystems has had a dedicated Support Services practice for 14 years. Our proposed and executed three-phased managed services solution was founded by clearly defined delivery methodologies based on years of past field experience, lessons learned and industry best practices. Drawing from our deep expertise, our team was able to craft an effective communication and transition plan to drive consistency and superior performance while minimizing disruptions to business operations.
  • Extension of client. Understanding the client’s environment and having pre-established knowledge of their operational business process were critical to our ability to successfully deliver on this engagement. With relationships with more than 81 percent of the IT workforce, we were able to assemble highly qualified personnel who were culturally compatible and fit seamlessly into the client’s environment—much as if the client had hired these individuals themselves. In addition, formal training programs and clearly defined career paths help increase knowledge retention amongst teams while reducing attrition.
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