By Klavs Andersen
When DSB outsourced parts of their IT to NNIT, the service request processes were put to the test. Dialog and two targeted projects have subse- quently put the process back on the right track.
”We have obtained some processes and an under- lying governance structure that works. The end users and the IT organization receive the services they request with the required quality and at the agreed time. Consequently, the end users and the IT organization feel that NNIT is able to provide a better service and this results in less concern and a higher degree of satisfaction in our organization,” Bente Hasgard Olesen, IT Operations and Security Manager at DSB, explains.
After having outsourced parts of the IT operations to NNIT, DSB experienced a number of problems with the handling of Service Requests. It was, therefore, necessary to find a formalized way to make service orders with NNIT. This resulted in two projects: Customized Service Requests (CSR) and End User Service Requests (EUSR).
”We had already agreed on a framework for service requests in our contract. The two projects should focus further on the design and implementation of the processes,” Bente Hasgard Olesen says.
Previously, the end users filled in a form and submitted it and the form would be caught by the employees in the IT department. In connection with the outsourcing to NNIT, the employees were confronted with a brand new tool and another way of doing things, and this required a bit of training, Bente Hasgard Olesen explains:
”We expected that it would work seamlessly, but it quickly became clear that training in the use of the tool was required. We, therefore, purchased a course to make the employees more familiar with the process and also got the
Remedy (ITSM) tool tuned to make it more user- friendly. The course has led to a higher degree of confidence in the new way of doing things,” Bente Hasgard Olesen explains.
The reason for the CSR project was that DSB found that it was difficult for NNIT to meet their expectations regarding the more complex Service Requests. The main problem was that DSB’s orders to NNIT were unclear with regard to the job content and time of delivery.
A customized service request may, for example, be the setup of a server or copying of a database from A to B. The job should typically be performed at a given time because it is part of a test and this requires information on how to set up the database and which operating system to apply. Therefore, there is a lot of important information to be specified in the order.
”We knew that some of the arrows were pointing back in our direction, but we also estimated that the process and the tools did not support an optimum process on our part. We had a number of failing projects with jobs that were not performed as expected,” Bente Hasgard Olesen explains and adds:
”This made us aware that we had to pay closer attention to this area. We needed to be better able to adapt our mutual expectations. So we had a dialog with NNIT where we reached a common understanding that this was a project that called for change on both parts”.
DSB and NNIT then implemented a number of workshops relating to the challenges that should be dealt with. The project went on for almost a year and many of the employees from DSB as well as NNIT were deeply involved in the process.
The aim was to make DSB able to send jobs to NNIT in a form where both parties were completely aware of the mutual expectations in relation to the delivery date and quality. Moreover, a KPI tool has been created for DSB to measure if NNIT actually does provide the required services.
”There is now less concern regarding the projects and we avoid the management escalations that we had before,” Bente Hasgard Olesen points out.
The CSR project resulted in a consolidated process and a mutual adaptation of expectations. Before the launch of a job, DSB and NNIT have a dialog to reach a common understanding of the job and the required delivery. Moreover, it is possible for DSB to prioritize the jobs so that NNIT knows the importance of a particular job in relation to the deadline. At the same time, the number of employ- ees with DSB who are able to make orders has been reduced from 150 to between 50 and 60 employees, typically project managers and sys- tems managers. They have received targeted training in the processes and the order tool is being fine-tuned on an ongoing basis.
”Our IT staff and project managers have become much more satisfied. They see that the process is working and that we adapt our expectations.
Today, it is quite clear to them what the deliveries consist of,” Bente Hasgard Olesen emphasizes and adds:
”Our model may not be exactly suited for other organizations, but there are still some generic and fundamental aspects to it. When it is cut the way we have cut it, with NNIT performing the infra- structure jobs, fixed processes regarding the handling of Service Requests are necessary in order to have the best cooperation between the IT department and the supplier”.