Perspectives THE LATEST NEWS FROM PLAN-NET
to our Summer 2012 issue of Plan-Net Perspectives packed with the latest news, views and updates from across Plan-Net.
We hope this newsletter finds you well and that you’ll find what’s been going on across Plan-Net over the first half of this year of interest. 2012 Focus 2012 started with a focus on Plan-Net’s mission to be the Service Provider of choice for those organisations that demand tangible competitive business advantage from their IT. Reflected in our refreshed website we’ve been concentrating our efforts on our defined portfolio of IT Support and Consultancy Services and have been successfully imparting the benefits of our Managed Service, Co-Sourcing, Managed Sourcing and Outsourcing Services and our IT consulting credentials to businesses across London and beyond. Demand in the Legal Sector There continues to be growing demand and interest in our legal dedicated 24/7/365 Shared Service Centre based in Central London, the only UK based legal dedicated support service in the market, and Plan-Net is in advanced stage of negotiations with a number of well-
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known law firms to join our existing legal clients already enjoying the efficiency and productivity benefits of the service. On the service delivery side we’ve invested in the Centre’s disaster recovery capability and in our team of legal IT support specialists based there. Service Update Plan-Net’s on-site teams, Operation and Service Delivery Managers continue to support our clients by consistently meeting or exceeding Service SLAs & KPIs, and delivering Service Improvement Programmes. We’ve seen a significant increase in remit across our key accounts and we are delighted with the growth we’ve seen in our newest clients from the finance, legal and media sectors. Our Consulting team has also been hard at work on IT projects across the areas of Strategy, Information Security, Service Management and Infrastructure for both new and existing clients. So whilst no business is being helped by the poor economic backdrop, Plan-Net is showing growth by applying the principles of
fit for purpose and efficient services delivered with clear and identifiable value for its clients. All the best for the rest of 2012, Adrian, Jerry and Richard. Plan-Net Directors
INSIDE PROGRESS PAGE 2 The latest client updates and projects at Plan-Net.
PERSPECTIVES PAGE 3 What we’ve got to say on the world of IT & Business.
PEOPLE PAGE 6 Getting to know the people across Plan-Net.
PARTING COMMENTS PAGE 8 Other news from Plan-Net.
Perspectives | summer 2012
RBS extends Plan-Net’s Supplier Status for another 2 years.
Plan-Net teams up with legal client Davenport Lyons to speak at the National Outsourcing Association Conference Following our successful IT Outsourcing Partnership with law firm Davenport Lyons and the great work the Plan-Net team has been doing there since May last year, we’re not only pleased to publish the full case study on our website but also to be invited by the NOA to speak at its 25th Anniversary Conference at the London Film Museum this Summer. Andrew Priest, Partner at Davenport Lyons and David Tuck, Principal Consultant at Plan-Net will be hosting the session on Strategic Leadership. Visit the Plan-Net website for more information.
Great news for Plan-Net and our teams at RBS, and testament to the good work we’re doing there that the bank has awarded us with two further years on its preferred supplier list. Our teams across the country continue to grow and strengthen and we welcome new Delivery Managers, Justin Whyley and Martin Odell to lead the way. Justin has taken no time in making headway up in Kegworth, implementing a number of intiatives including an outof-hours Service Clinic for client and employee contacts to share ideas and suggestions as to how Plan-Net can continually improve our service. We look forward to delivering even greater value through our Managed Sourcing Service at RBS in the second half of the year.
New Managed Sourcing Customer in the Banking Sector
Plan-Net helping Flight Centre win more business with ISO27001 audit preparation
We’re pleased to announce a major new client in the banking sector. Whilst we can’t publicly announce our client for confidentiality reasons, we’re thrilled that since signing the bank at the start of 2012, we’ve been providing Managed Sourcing for roles varying from Programme Managers to Business Analysts.
Plan-Net has been working to help the well-known travel company meet the requirements of the ISO27001 Information Security standard. Flight Centre was keen to embark on this project in order to be in the best position possible to win further business with airlines and travel companies and to demonstrate to existing clients, government travel procurement frameworks, partner & 3rd party suppliers that the company follows good practice.
It’s a great a win for us, extending our footprint even further into supporting the finance industry.
Head of Consultancy at PlanNet, Dave Cowan has been guiding the IT team at Flight Centre to ensure the right level of Information Security policies and processes are in place and being correctly followed. Flight Centre successfully passed Stage 1 of the audit last month.
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We really couldn’t get away with a Summer 2012 newsletter without an Olympic pun could we? Plan-Net has been helping a major government regulatory body make sure it is fully prepared for the Olympic Games. As it is encouraging its employees to stay at home during the games, it is vital for the organisation to guarantee staff can access their business tools and continue to work from home. Plan-Net was brought in to review the organisation’s Citrix remote-working infrastructure. Our consulting team carried out detailed security and performance testing, identified any outstanding risks and made recommendations on how to improve the infrastructure to ensure operations continue to run smoothly.
IT Strategy for Epilepsy Society Plan-Net’s relationship with the Epilepsy Society goes back a number of years, having helped the charity with various infrastructure projects from Exchange migrations to virtualisation programmes. This most recent piece of work was in the development of its IT Strategy & Governance. The charity wanted to ensure that it had a suitable plan in place for the development of its ICT systems over the short, medium and longer term and enlisted Plan-Net to help shorten the strategy setting process. Technical Director Adrian Polley was the lead from Plan-Net helping the charity to formulate its strategy. Part of Adrian’s contribution was a requirements document for purchasing on-going third level infrastructure support and subsequently assisting the charity in choosing the supplier.
BYOD – The view from the IT Service Desk - By Nick Fenton, Team Leader at
As part of the strategy setting process, Adrian held a series of workshops across the organisation covering every aspect of IT, from business continuity and disaster recovery to new media and mobile strategies. The charity now has a comprehensive guide that will hopefully allow it to be as robust and efficient as possible.
Health Check on Government body ready for the Olympic Games.
Plan-Net, working on-site in a managed service environment at the IT Service Desk of a financial client in London.
Bring-Your-Own-Device (BYOD) has become both a buzzword and a potentially valuable way to improve business productivity. With the push generally coming from the top, there is pressure on IT to accommodate the use of smartphones and tablets for work purposes. However, securely integrating new devices within the business environment is not without its challenges.
Appreciate the Risks Before allowing BYOD there does need to be an element of planning, especially in ensuring the appropriate level of security. What end-users sometimes fail to appreciate is that with the introduction of personal smartphones and tablets, the security of information which passes through these devices is at risk. It is much easier to hack someone’s personal device rather than their company-approved laptop, and it’s more likely to be stolen or lost too. 3
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Perspectives | summer 2012
“This is also a good opportunity for IT staff to learn and practise new skills, get to know new systems and make their work more varied.” Whilst there are measures available to wipe data from a device remotely after it has been lost or stolen, there is still the risk that the information has already been seen, copied and used for fraudulent activities. Breaching the Data Protection Act can result in hefty fines that can put pressure on the company’s financial position, and it could also damage the most important thing – its reputation. BYOD & the Service Desk A BYOD company policy can create new challenges for the IT Service Desk and, therefore, it’s important for the team to be well-trained in all the new devices and operating systems in order to deliver a good level of service. There is also inevitably a period of assimilation when a new BYOD policy is introduced and the IT department needs to collaborate with and educate end-users. On the bright side, it’s a great opportunity for IT staff to learn and practise new skills, get to know new systems and make their work more varied. It will ultimately increase their expertise and value. Take it Slow Generally speaking, it is a good idea to introduce BYOD slowly. For instance, at the financial client I work for in a Managed Service capacity, we have initially allowed users to access their work email on their personal iPhones and iPads. However, in terms of document handling, users can only read and
send documents, but cannot save or modify them on their personal device. Now that this first stage has been rolled out and is running smoothly, we are looking to allow document editing once we are confident all related security risks have been addressed. Business Benefits Companies shouldn’t avoid BYOD policies just because of the technical complexity or security issues involved. The advantages they can enjoy may well outweigh the risks. BYOD can create savings as fewer company phones and laptops may need to be purchased and it can increase productivity as staff are always able to work when they are out of the office. BYOD Demand Why is it that employees in certain sectors are so attracted to the prospect of being able to use their own devices for work? In the financial sector in particular, it’s not difficult to guess. Professionals in this industry work long hours, often need to communicate across different time zones and must react quickly to events in order to stay competitive. Their personal and professional lives are intertwined and, for them, separate devices can not only inhibit productivity but can have a direct impact on their business and personal profitability.
smaller organisations. There is also an argument that BYOD is driving cloud services as the cloud reduces the device-based security risks. All in all, BYOD can bring many benefits. A policy where employees can use their own devices for work purposes can serve as a way to improve business productivity. However, the need for careful planning and adequate security measures should not be underestimated.
“BYOD can bring many benefits, but needs careful planning and security measures to be adopted correctly.”
The Future of BOYD In the future, BYOD is likely to increase, and we could see some environments entirely populated by employee-owned devices, although perhaps this is more likely to occur in start-ups and
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Friend Suggestion. Facebook, the unlikely ally for the humble PC By Adrian Polley, Technical Director at Plan-Net
Whilst the dust has settled on Facebook’s IPO, the debate around the social network’s valuation certainly hasn’t. Of course, what something is worth is primarily a factor of what someone is prepared to pay. However, people like something concrete on which to make a valuation, and unfortunately Facebook’s price seems based on the prediction that it will grow revenues and profits massively in the next few years. To justify its price, Facebook really has to start making big bucks. Yet, despite speculation of future revenue in its social graphs and personal profile databases, right now, Facebook makes a comparatively small amount of money through revenue share agreements with app developers, and the majority from acting as an advertising platform. Nothing else. In light of the IPO, the press has been highlighting Facebook’s slowing revenue growth and drawing our attentions to its debatable advertising models
including Sponsored Stories. Besides the moral and privacy arguments of Sponsored Stories, it also happens to be Facebook’s only form of mobile advertising available. And that’s the big issue. As those accessing Facebook on their mobile have come to expect free and instant communication, the social network is struggling to present effective advertising without really annoying the user. There just simply isn’t anywhere to display them. Given this challenge of mobile advertising and its pressure to deliver serious profits, Facebook might find a new friend in the passé PC. The image of the poor PC has been suffering for some time. HP, one of the largest producers, even announced that they were pulling out of the PC market before making a dramatic about face, and there are plenty of stories that with the move to mobile technology, the PC is dead. But that can’t be true. Mobile devices are great and have brought us new ways of working – but they’ve not really replaced
our need for PCs. Anyone who thinks a standard office is going to move wholesale to tablets and other mobile devices in the near future doesn’t really understand how most businesses interact with their software. However, for Facebook, the PC has lots to offer over its smartphone and tablet counterparts. Speed, storage and importantly screen space, where advertising can unintrusively co-habit (well, it’s less annoying anyway) alongside our personal social networking activity. So, at least in the medium-term, Facebook has a vested interest in ensuring that there’s still a place for PCs amongst its users and is likely to want to try and increase our 10.5 billion minutes (according to zdnet.com) we spend a day on its website over its mobile application. If that’s a combination of limiting the functionality of the mobile app or giving us more reasons to visit its website, it’s all good news for a potential resurgence of PCs. Hmm, how’s the share price in Dell looking these days? 5
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Perspectives | summer 2012
Flying the flag of sorts at EC Harris The IT Crowd: Service Desk Analysts: Nuno Torpes, Kate Marshall, Paul Ford & Service Desk Manager, Andrew Hardwick
Introducing the Plan-Net SERVICE-desk for UK, Europe & North America Operations of EC Harris By Andrew Hardwick, Service Desk Manager
In 2010, Plan-Net was awarded the contract to provide a Managed Service Desk for EC Harris, one of the world’s leading Built Asset Consultants.
This has led to the customer describing the service provided as “exceptional”. EC Harris provides services to a number of large profile organisations across many different sectors, such as transport, energy, and public across the globe. The Plan-Net Service Desk provides IT support to EC Harris staff based within the UK, Europe and North America which currently covers over 2,000 end-users. The desk operates Monday to Friday, 8pm to 6pm and deals with all 1st line issues. Average monthly call volumes are
approximately 2500 contacts per month with a high proportion of calls being directly resolved by the Plan-Net team. Based in the Manchester office of EC Harris, there are 4 members of Plan-Net staff based on site which include three Service Desk Analysts and Andrew Hardwick as Service Desk Manager. Nuno Torpes was previously based on another Plan-Net desk supporting Intercontinental Hotels Group in Burton-On-Trent. On the technical side, the team provides 1st line support on all Microsoft Office applications and operating systems, Enterprise Vault and Adobe Reader. They also deal with certain Service Requests such as password resets, folder permissions and software installs. All calls are logged into EC Harris’ Service Management tool, Sostenuto and the ACD system is
provided by Mitel. Work is on-going between EC Harris and Plan-Net management to broaden the scope of the services provided to deliver even greater benefit to EC Harris and increasing the percentage of calls fixed at the desk. The SLAs required by the customer are, as usual, very tight and demanding. However with hard work and dedication by the team, the service has continued to go from strength to strength and constantly over-achieves on all SLAs. A series of SLA changes have been made to deliver enhanced service to EC Harris as part of a Continual Service Improvement Plan. This has led to the customer describing the service provided as “exceptional”. Credit indeed for everyone involved with the EC Harris account.
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Getting to know Jay Khera, Plan-Net Service Desk Analyst.
Jay po ndering over a Can he new pro fix it? blem… Yes he can!
With over ten years’ experience in IT, Jay arrived at Plan-Net nearly two years ago to take on a role of remote desktop support for Plan-Net’s client, The RBS Group. Based at the EMEA Service Centre in Kegworth, Leicestershire, Jay spends much of his time diagnosing software issues and assisting users with general connection problems. He also travels to various RBS sites diagnosing hardware issues and assisting users with all types of IT issues. Jay works on supporting desktop, messaging and specialist RBS applications. Since starting at Plan-Net, his role has extended to site support including rolling out desktops across Kegworth and supporting other RBS sites in Edinburgh, Cheltenham and Newcastle under Lyme. Jay recently won the RBS Service Centre Recognition Award for the quality of his site support and in particular for his work on Power Downs across RBS sites in Bristol and Birmingham, which goes to individuals who go above and beyond their normal role. He
was also recognised with a PlanNet Achievement Award for this work too. He recently passed his Windows 7 exams and is about to embark on ITIL training. Outside of work Jay can be found at the gym!
What’s the hardest part of your job? I hate giving up on tickets. It’s really frustrating when a problem beats me.
What do you enjoy most about your job? I really enjoy working and getting along with my team members and the variety of the role. Every day, I’m doing something different and talking to someone different. And, depending on how much you want to vary your work, you have the choice to pick up different tickets. I’m learning continuously.
What qualities do you think make a great IT support professional? I would say being approachable and a good team player would be some vital qualities and having a “can-do” attitude to anything which is put your way. Also exceeding customers expectations and having a good reputation as a capable engineer across all parts of the business. 7
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Perspectives | summer 2012
Finding the Best
Another year, another two IS0 certifications.
Something Plan-Net is very proud of is our ability to find the very best talent to work for us, so we can in turn, deliver our clients the high levels of service they require. The successful formula is something we’ve developed over our 20 years sourcing skill for the most demanding client environments. It involves a dedicated team of in-house professionals who work closely with our support and consulting teams to ensure we select candidates with the right backgrounds. Our other great strength is our well-established selection process. We have meticulous processes set-up for background and capability checking and employee screening to make sure we only source the very best.
We successfully achieved another year’s certification in both the ISO9001 Quality Management & ISO14001 Environmental Management standards. This might be a good time to let you know Plan-Net Perspectives has been printed on eco-friendly FSE certified paper.
We love recycling so much; we’ve got our own super-hero. By day Miss SuperRecycler goes by the guise of Michaela in the admin team.
PLAN-NET POLITICS Not all of our clients are based in London, but the city does have a substantial influence on Plan-Net. Therefore, we’re pleased to have joined the London Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) in order to be more involved in the policies and politics that shape London & UK business. Adrian & Richard have already been debating with the Minister for
London C hamber of Commer at Plan-N ce et’s HQ
Pensions & the deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party so far. We were also delighted to host one of the LCCI events at our historic HQ, Hamilton House.
DELIVERING GREAT SERVICE
NOTE FROM THE EDITORS:
Plan-Net’s commitment to quality is enhanced by our aspirations to constantly improve our service through the continual delivery of various initiatives and service improvements. These initiatives are developed and mutually agreed between the Delivery Management at Plan-Net and our clients to ensure our services are not only fit for purpose, but are also driven to evolve in line with the strategy of our clients. Our tailored solutions have seen Plan-Net retain long term client
We hope you found this Summer 2012 issue of Plan-Net Perspectives interesting and informative. It’s something we want to continue with to keep PlanNet’s clients and contacts updated. We would really appreciate any feedback you may have as to how to improve the content and delivery of our newsletter. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what you liked and what you’d like to see more of and we’ll try our best to sort it. Thank you for reading.
relationships, with increased client confidence in our abilities to offer ‘best in class’ service techniques. This confidence has encouraged the growth of our Services across our target sectors.
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