A Service Desk Implementation Journey: The On-Site Discovery Process

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Having conducted nearly hundreds of new client service desk implementations over the years, the one constant to a successful transition and meeting the scheduled “go live” date is continuous collaboration with the client’s IT management team. In addition to that, having a detailed project plan with timelines is essential to charting our progress and making adjustments along the way. New implementations start with a kick off meeting, generally via conference call, with stakeholders during which we discuss expectations and an overview of tasks. It is not until we conduct the week-long discovery on site at the client’s location that the more productive, labor intensive aspects of the process take root. Working side by side with the various IT departments provides us with the best insight into the client’s internal operations. We gather current state information including the technology environment; we identify roles, document processes and workflows, and relay the data to our development team in order to integrate with our ITSM platform. Essentially, the onsite discovery is about keeping the client engaged in an ongoing transitional dialogue that provokes follow up questions and ensures no deadlines are missed.

Recently, ABS Team Lead Daniel Guinto and I conducted a discovery for a new Minnesota-based client along with the channel partner who had brought us the opportunity. To keep headquarters posted as to the unique aspects of our daily activities, I put together the following mini journal summarizing our first few days on site.

The client recently moved into a new corporate office and was still in the middle of installing and configuring the entire infrastructure so, in the interim, IT support was operating in a reactive, interrupt mode. We met with their VP of IT who had been hiring additional staff to support the business growth. He was thrilled to hand off the support to ABS which will free up his time to focus on more strategic initiatives.

Next, we met with their Director of Infrastructure who will be assisting us with the workflows for developing the Service Catalog as well as the IT Manager who was designated as our primary contact for the long term. Having recently transition from another business unit, the IT Manager is still learning the internal processes and also very eager to work with ABS on the development of the Service Catalog and workflows.

Members of our channel partner’s sales and solution delivery team were also on hand to learn specifics of how ABS will be supporting the client going forward as well as to witness firsthand the specific tasks that are executed during the implementation phase.

It’s important to note that most of the support contacts will be coming from overseas offices in India, China and Japan, but they expect North America to grow as they hire more sales representatives to expand their market.

On discovery day two we focused on the business processes, business applications, and Level 2 support. Although every new client is unique, there were indeed some commonalities with a previously implemented client that had also shifted internal support from a now unaffiliated business unit and were building their own IT organization from scratch. As a result, they were receptive to our guidance on how Active Directory (end user groupings) and printers are typically setup in addition to advice on hardware procurement and asset tagging.

Daniel Guinto adds, “The client’s management team was encouraged by the fact that our recommendations were drawn from, not only previous client implementations, but with our development and infrastructure teams providing that additional level of expertise. As a result, they felt secure that they were making informed decisions about best practices often while Hector and I were in the room. So, even in a service desk outsourcing context, our network consultants offered tips on how to structure their Organizational Units within AD as well as integration options within our ticketing system.”

For clients with various global business units, the implementation process may be executed incrementally with site visits and project plans developed separately as part of a scalable service desk solution. Given the winter we’ve had so far in the Great Lakes region, I’m looking forward to conducting the next on site discovery, hopefully in a more exotic, warm weather locale. How’s Madrid this time of year?