As modern enterprises grow, so does the complexity of their IT systems in supporting their business activities; something which was recognised by South Africa’s leading systems integrator, Bytes Systems Integration. As a direct result of needing to streamline and improve its customer support operations, and recognising the business’ need to create value added services to its product portfolio, Bytes embarked on the deployment of a progressive IT service management strategy with ICCM Solutions.
What is fascinating about Bytes’ strategic service improvement programme is that it is being pioneered by the Financial Director, Brad Fraser.
Fraser identified a number of new business opportunities within the Bytes Group as well as undertaking a technology review of the service management processes, behaviours and working practices.
Bytes had become aware of its own requirements to rationalise its client support systems. Each business unit had its own way of operating, applications and software, which needed to be incorporated into the combined Bytes infrastructure and supported in a centralised model. This segmented approach had arisen as a direct result of the organisation’s growth strategy through company acquisitions, resulting in a complex IT infrastructure and client support matrix.
Through ICCM’s e-Service Desk, Bytes established a progressive service management strategy. In addition, Bytes also initiated a technology strategy that has helped the company differentiate itself from competitors by creating new services for its product portfolio. As a result, the solution has enabled Bytes to generate new revenue opportunities.
Fraser, an experienced executive, is responsible for the financial direction of the business as well as the operational support systems. This ensures there is a continued focus on value, efficiency and vision, something which Fraser believes he has seen in this project.
He says, “Obviously having an ITIL aligned service desk that operates smoothly is our immediate priority, but we see ICCM’s e-Service Desk being utilised across a number of different business units, effectively streamlining far more processes than we had originally anticipated. Our service management strategy has taken on a new direction which we are delighted to drive forward, particularly as it will help generate new revenue opportunities for the company.
“We have been able to distinguish between ‘incident management’ supported by SLA’s and ‘change requests’, which require additional effort and scoping. This has enabled Bytes to generate revenue from the change requests that were previously dealt with under ‘problem management’. Other revenue opportunities are developing by offering e-Service Desk as a ‘Managed Service’ to existing clients who do not wish to establish their own Service Desks.”
Bringing Together Offerings
The company needed a solution that encompassed and integrated the business intelligence that had gathered. The largest problem was ensuring the management of the clients’ IT infrastructure was correct. Many different business managers needed to be able to use the technology, all with different skills, service sets, needs and priorities.
Fraser explains, “We needed to revolutionise the way our business operated. A number of strategic acquisitions in South Africa led to a range of different systems that had been inherited and utilised without a common approach. In order to maintain a smooth running of the client support systems, it was necessary to overhaul the service strategy, design and continual service improvement processes – and not just to cope with the current requirements, but to future proof.”
During the technology selection, each manager was asked for input into the process and base their decision on the results that could be generated from each solution – not just the technology. Bytes needed a solution that would not only satisfy requirements on a tactical level, but actually solve problems they were thinking about. Nine out of the ten managers voted to implement the ICCM e-Service Desk solution.
At the outset Bytes’ key driver in this service improvement project was the standardisation of its many service desks. In reality ICCM’s offering gave much more than this. Bytes soon realised the e-Service Desk solution offered a return on investment far beyond its original remit.
The solution has enabled Bytes to implement value added services and differentiate itself from key competitors in seven key ways:
• total transparency of service;
• bespoke client support;
• proactive support and disaster avoidance;
• business continuity;
• bespoke SLA agreement levels;
• consolidated view of data and third party information; and
• the use of a portal to up-sell products and services.
By using the solution to its full advantage the company is offering improvements in its service and product portfolios and creating new business opportunities. As a result Bytes will be turning the client support function into a revenue-generating unit, rather than just cost-centre.
This has been achieved by allowing recognition of non-billable calls to billable calls. Anecdotally, the team has found that for larger customers, requests would be generated through the service desk. Previously, requests were undertaken without question because the particular customer was important. The priority for the service team was to keep the customer rather than ensuring the request was justified and could be completed within the service level agreement. Now, each request is logged and, by implementing this process, the revenue opportunities have been identified.
The entrepreneurial spirit of the organisation has also shown through during the process of moving from a cost centre to a profit centre – the business managers are now identifying new opportunities to generate additional revenue streams from the business intelligence obtained through ICCM.
A Return On Investment
Whilst Bytes has seen a return on investment beyond its initial expectations, the hidden gems of the e-Service Desk solution are central to Bytes’ key consideration during its purchasing decision: value.
Fraser says, “ICCM is a beautiful fit; we can literally change almost any parameter and it adapts accordingly, due to the operational platform based on Business Process Management. And it’s not just about delivering service management process deployment, it enables us to demonstrate clear operational business value, efficiency and return on investment. Without a doubt, this is the most effective solution I have ever worked with.”
“Many companies make claims in the market about their solutions but ICCM has propelled our service management, a core business process management function that delivers full business technology integration in line with our requirements and objectives. We’ve benefited enormously across every single business unit.”