On June 8th 2021, Noord hosted a virtual boardroom in association with Nexthink. The event consisted of a presentation by Martin Hutton, Principal Consultant at Nexthink, and by Darren Wright, who was representing a large multinational company. This was followed by a discussion among senior IT professionals on the evolving role of the Chief Information Officer (CIO).
Martin gave a brief introduction to the Nexthink experience, noting that as a trusted solution for managing digital employee experience, Nethink combines real time analytics with employee feedback and automated remediation. In other words, the company has visibility of the complete employee experience, correlates technical metrics with employee sentiment and proactively improves experience from the established baseline.
Nexthink: A Case Study
Darren then provided his company’s experience of working with Nexthink. With almost 800 site locations across 76 countries and 113,000 computers, his company had outlined some key strategic outcomes for customer experience, namely: improved customer productivity and reduced effort; creating an exceptional support experience; and being the customer advocate. It had also outlined three strategic goals relating to its general operations: effective, efficient support; reduced service cost; and cyber hygiene and security.
In seeking to enact change, the company had based its innovation drivers around analytics (to make decisions based on previously uninterrogated data) and automation (to drive efficiencies and cost reductions). From this, the company had developed a four-stage innovative support strategy. Essentially, this involved a move away from ticket-based IT services and towards proactive response, where teams identify clients’ IT issues before they materialise.
First, to drive change, the company had to ensure that all relevant employees understood the transition from reactive to proactive decision making. Second, there was a need to visualise this roadmap in a way which had value for the teams. Third, there was a need to align the company’s strategic goals and objectives with those of its workforce. Fourth, the company set out schemes to reward proactive thinking and therefore create a positive feedback loop.
Reasons for attending and key challenges
There was a broad range of participants, with representation from the healthcare, education, environment, police and crime, and financial sectors.
In terms of key challenges, it was mentioned that the BYOD policy within one organisation in response to the pandemic had presented challenges, as employees did not want their personal activity to be traced. Hybrid working was mentioned, with one organisation moving to the public cloud, one rolling out wireless connections in its workspaces, and others painting a more complex picture of their estate. Other challenges included leveraging data, keeping on top of the talent pipeline, stressing the importance of assured and sufficient resources for IT departments, particularly during cyber attacks, and driving automation while maintaining governance.
Gaining end user support for new solutions
Darren noted that in enacting organisational change, he had to clearly communicate the need for different ways of working, set relevant goals and essentially give employees no choice but to use the technology. Employees were rewarded for proactively identifying problems and looking for patterns in data. They were also given reassurance that automation does not replace the need for IT teams; instead, it drives down manual labour and helps teams to apply their skill sets where they are most needed.
As previously mentioned, it was decided that the company would set a target for proactive IT support tickets. In other words, the IT team were encouraged to proactively seek out IT problems before they arose, rather than waiting for requests to come in, which reflected a more traditional way of working. Initially, the incident log grew dramatically as the IT team looked under the hood and discovered previously hidden problems. However, once the team had dealt with the backlog of incidents, they were then able to start setting intelligent targets and achieve enhanced efficiencies.
Creating a centre of excellence
Martin raised the suggestion of having a centre of excellence where teams can submit use cases. This allows teams to analyse user feedback from people on the ground, and the use cases can be taken higher up in the business and used as evidence for investment cases.
One participant felt that having a centre of excellence was a good way of pooling skill sets and resources. Another questioned how they could ensure the quality of the data gathered in this scenario. Martin explained that Nexthink takes the raw data from operating systems, and while there are sometimes anomalies, these anomalies still give an indication of underlying issues, which companies can investigate further.
Starting out and building a dedicated team
Darren noted that his company’s initiative had initially involved just one person. While there had been resistance, the company had implemented reward strategies, including by gamifying some of the objectives and pitting different teams against each other to create a fun atmosphere. By doing so, organisations can then build dedicated teams, including a service owner who can implement the technology and run meetings, a personable employee to run campaigns and someone who is willing to spend time going through all end-user suggestions meticulously.
Martin noted that Nexthink had built a value tracker in the form of a basic spreadsheet containing a matrix which showed the effort of fixing an issue and the value of doing so. This enabled companies to pick the low-hanging fruit and demonstrate quick wins, both to users and to senior executives. To ensure continuous value is derived, companies must do this on a regular basis.
Adding to this, Darren underscored the importance of establishing thresholds and addressing these through automated campaigns. The effectiveness of these campaigns could be measured by the level of responses gained.
Setting alerts for anomalies
Martin noted that another application of Nexthink was setting alerts for anomalies. For example, companies can arrange to be notified if a certain amount of data is being transferred to or from a particular location. In that respect, an attendee who worked in fraud investigation stated that as well as putting out alerts, their organisation was trying to train staff and give them greater ownership of the data they were using, which had proven effective.
As a final point, Martin said that Nexthink offers the capability to look at how changes affect different devices. For example, its technology could offer like-for-like comparisons of the effects of different versions of software on CPU, memory and network speed before organisations roll out solutions fully. This saves them time and resources, and accelerates change.