Why AMP insourced its IT service desk

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Why AMP insourced its IT service desk

Staff satisfaction skyrockets.

Finance giant AMP has reported a massive jump in the net promoter score for its internal IT service desk after deciding to bring the function back in-house.

Until late last year AMP - a heavily outsourced operation - relied on its network of partners to manage internal IT services for the organisation.

The result was a spiderweb of systems that gave the company minimal visibility over its IT service desk, and no service catalogue - equating to a less-than-ideal experience for its staff.

The arrangement also limited AMP’s ability to deploy new technologies into its environment at speed.

Faced with an IT service desk net promoter score (NPS) of around -50, coupled with a desire to more quickly adopt machine learning and as-a-service technologies, AMP decided service integration and management (SIAM) was the answer to its problems.

The first step in achieving this vision was reworking its contract with main IT partner CSC, which has provided everything from end user compute to mainframe hosting for AMP since the early 90's.

“We knew that we needed to deal with different macro challenges in the IT space and that things were moving at a [fast] pace and we needed to keep up,” AMP’s head of IT service experience Gabrielle Bancroft told the ServiceNow NowForum in Sydney on Wednesday.

“And as a consequence of that we really wanted to be able to introduce specific vendors and technologies quickly into our environment, and that meant we had to have a platform that crossed all our different service management domains.”

Employee experience was identified early on as a priority, meaning having a service catalogue was “critical”.

“Before we had a bunch of technologies that our providers had in place for us, but for some reason they weren’t in a catalogue - it’s like we were trying to keep it a secret. Like we were saying ‘you can buy some stuff but we’re not going to tell you what it is’,” Bancroft said.

“We needed to build a service catalogue that would make life easier for our employees, and chose to bring the service desk back in-house to make sure we owned and managed that employee experience.”

It settled on the ServiceNow suite of service desk, incident management, problem management, change management, configuration management, service catalogue, and knowledge management products.

AMP decided to go all-in rather than introduce individual tools one at a time, despite advice from others who had undertaken similar initiatives.

“It was important to us that we did all of these foundational processes at once. We went overseas, looked at other implementations, went to the [ServiceNow] Knowledge conference and everyone said they had done one or two processes over two years,” Bancroft said.

“We got all that great advice and ignored it.

“The reason for that is … I believe you get the true value when you get all the components working together. I think you make life difficult for yourself if you do it with disparate tools over a long period of time.

“It might seem harder to do everything at once, but it’s actually easier because you’re not managing multiple tools.”

AMP had given itself a ten-month timeframe to complete the project. It enlisted KPMG as a partner, which provided expertise as well as a “gold build” of the ServiceNow platform that allowed AMP to start with a basic implementation, and decide what to modify from there.

Sticking to a self-imposed rule that the system wouldn’t be customised in any way meant months of “very hard work” to come up with a process that worked across all of AMP’s existing vendors, as well as for any new partners that would be introduced into the environment.

“That’s hard to do because people have been doing things in a certain way for a long time, and they want to go back to the way they were [doing things] before,” Bancroft said.

“It hasn’t been easy, but there are some [results] now that we are really pleased with.”

Top of that list is its internal service desk net promoter score:  the figure has jumped from around -50 to +77, according to Bancroft.

“We’re really delighted by that. What’s enabled us to do that is the fact that we’ve got a common tool that gives us visibility into our systems, and the knowledge base that sits around that, not to mention the brilliant people that actually take the calls.”

The company’s ability to solve tickets on the first call has largely contributed to the NPS - AMP’s service desk is now hitting that metric around 83 percent of the time compared to 64 percent previously.

An equally big change has been the service desk team's ability to now access the status of a ticket 100 percent of the time, compared to zero before.

“Our vendors could see where everything was at, but we couldn’t,” Bancroft said.

“We were running blind, and now we are covered in data.”

AMP has also managed to cut its response time for cyber security incidents down from months to minutes.

Bancroft's key piece of advice for organisations taking a similar route is "go big or go home".

"Implement the core processes at the same time," she said.

"And keep everything as simple as you can; stick to out-of-the-box as much as possible. And follow an agile methodology."

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