Page 1 | VOLUME 11.4 | VOLUME 11.1



SERVICE DESKS Benchmarking to help push service desk delivery to the next level

PUBLIC SERVICE NETWORKS How PSN can help deliver significant benefits to the public sector


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Socitm urges local authorities to improve mobile experience


Evidence of large and growing numbers using mobiles to access council websites means swift action is needed to improve their experience, says Socitm’s latest briefing. In The mobile experience: some feedback from council websites Socitm reports on results from its Website Performance service which, since January 2013, has been making its pop-up survey available to people using mobile devices. The Socitm survey shows that the percentage of visits from mobile devices averaged 27.4 per cent of all visits for the first five months of 2013, with January recording the highest numbers to data at 28.8 per cent. Comparing responses from mobile and desktop users to the Socitm survey shows that visitors are 16 per cent more likely to use their mobile device for finding information than their desktops, but are 12 per cent less likely to use it for any one of five types of transaction (eg making a payment). In terms of the user experience, the findings are clear: visit failure is on average 13 per cent higher when mobile devices are used, with visitor satisfaction on average 11 per cent lower. Up to 20 per cent of mobile survey respondents say they will not use their mobile devices again for accessing council websites.


ICO issues heavy fine to NHS Surrey; European Commission guides on supplier dependence; Ordnance Survey reaches new heights with OS Terrain 5

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105 PSN

PSNGB’S research into senior public leaders’ top challenges and priorities highlights how PSN could deliver much greater efficiencies across the public sector. Neil Mellor and Howard Inns explain



Daniel Wood of the Service Desk institute looks at way sto benchmark performance to find out how good your IT support service really is EWORLD EVENT PREVIEW












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NHS Surrey faces hefty fine after patient data found on resold computer The Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) has fined NHS Surrey £200,000 after more than 3,000 patient records were found on a second hand computer bought through an online auction. The data was left on the computer which was then sold by a data destruction company employed by NHS Surrey. The company, which had been engaged since March 2010, was supposed to wipe and destroy old computer equipment – a service which it carried out free of charge with an agreement that they could sell any salvageable materials after the hard drives were securely destroyed. NHS Surrey were made aware of the breach at the end of May, when they were contacted by a member of the public that had bought a second-hand computer online only to find that it contained details of NHS Surrey patients. Once the organisation had collected the computer, it was found to contain confidential personal data and HR records, including patient records for around 900 adults and 2000 children. Reclaimed computers After NHS Surrey had been made aware of the problem, it managed to reclaim a further 39 computers sold by the trading arm of its data destruction provider. Ten of the computers were found to have previously belonged to NHS Surrey of which three still contained sensitive personal data. The ICO’s investigation found that there was no contract in place with their new provider, which clearly explained the provider’s legal requirements under the Data Protection Act and failed to monitor the destruction process. It also mislaid the records of the equipment passed for destruction between March 2010 and 10 February 2011, only confirming that 1,570 computers were processed between 10 February 2011 and 28 May 2012.

The data destruction company was unable to trace where the computers ended up, or confirm how many might still contain personal data. Stephen Eckersley, ICO Head of Enforcement, said: “The facts of this breach are truly shocking. NHS Surrey chose to leave an approved provider and handed over thousands of patients’ details to a company without checking that the information had been securely deleted. The result was that patients’ information was effectively being sold online. “This breach is one of the most serious the ICO has witnessed and the penalty reflects the disturbing circumstances of the case. We should not have to tell organisations to think twice, before outsourcing vital services to companies who offer to work for free.” NHS Surrey was dissolved on 31 March 2013 with some of their legal responsibilities passing to the NHS Commissioning Board. The board will be required to pay the penalty amount by 22 July or serve a notice of appeal by 5pm on 19 July. The full penalty amount is eventually paid into the Treasury’s Consolidated Fund. The ICO has produced guidance explaining how old IT equipment containing personal information can be securely destroyed in compliance with the Data Protection Act.

European Commission guides on supplier dependence The European Commission has published a policy to help public bodies avoid dependence on particular ICT suppliers – so-called supplier ‘lock-in’ – in a move which it says could save the EU’s public sector more than 1.1 billion Euros a year. Recommendations include working with standards - rather than specifying a single ICT brand, tool, system, or product – when procuring ICT systems. The commission says the report is intended to help officials responsible for both long-term planning and purchasing of ICT systems and services. READ MORE:

Ordnance Survey reaches new heights with OS Terrain 5 Ordnance Survey has released a new height product depicting the shape of Great Britain’s landscape in both grid and contour formats, OS Terrain 5. Presented as a Digital Terrain Model (DTM), OS Terrain 5 adds the third dimension to analytical applications such as flood risk assessment and infrastructure development. OS Terrain 5 will be updated quarterly, with detail enabling a range of practical uses across business and government, the agency says. The the product has adopted open source standards including GML and XML. READ MORE:

File storage tools blacklisted

95 per cent superfast coverage by 2017. Amyas Morse, head of the National Audit Office, stated: “The rural broadband project is moving forward late and without the benefit of strong competition to protect public value. For this we will have to rely on the Department’s active use of the controls it has negotiated and strong supervision by Ofcom.”

More than half (54 per cent) of local authorities have blacklisted staff use of consumer file storage tools and services such as Dropbox, according to a survey of council technology use by cloud collaboration platform providers Huddle. A further 17 per cent of councils only allow use of these tools for specific business cases or projects, the survey found. However, with the Bring Your Own Device trend gathering pace, more than half (56 per cent) of the councils surveyed said staff can access government content on their own device. Of these, only six per cent allow access on approved devices; 18 per cent allow access to restricted personnel only, 11 per cent only allow access for non-restricted content and 8 per cent only offer access to email.

BROADBAND Superfast rural broadband two years behind schedule A government programme to make superfast broadband available to 90 per cent of premises in each area of the UK is currently expected to be delivered nearly two years later than initially planned, the National Audit Office has reported. The Department forecasts that the programme will complete its rollout 22 months later than planned. Only nine out of 44 local projects are expected to reach their original target of providing 90 per cent superfast coverage by May 2015. The delay is partly because gaining approval for the project under EU State aid rules took six months longer than expected. The governmment now aims to secure delivery of the rural broadband programme by December 2016, as well as

News in Brief












2013 is a turning point in the development of the Public Services Network (PSN). Savings have been made through network rationalisation, better value network services and more effective procurement. Compliance with and connections into the PSN are on the increase. PSNGB want to accelerate that progress whilst illuminating the real purpose of PSN – as the platform for more radical change that enables better, more cost effective and sustainable public services. A combination of transition deadlines and sector commitments are compelling public sector organisations to gain PSN certification, select service providers and to connect to the growing PSN. So there is little surprise that the PSN is starting to gain momentum and magnetism as the route to access shared resources and collaboration partners. Early adopters are connected and there has been a marked upswing in commitment from across the public sector, in particular from the Health and Justice sectors. And as the plans published on the Cabinet Office PSN website show, the major Central Government departments are already well advanced with their own transitions. TRAFFIC GROWTH A further strong push towards PSN is the requirement for all organisations wishing to continue using GSi/GCSX services,

Written by Neil Mellor and Howard Inns, PSNGB

PSNGB, the industry association for PSN Suppliers, recently initiated research into senior public leaders’ top challenges and priorities, aiming to articulate how PSN could help address these and deliver much greater benefits across the public sector. Neil Mellor, director, and Howard Inns, research programme leader, elaborate

A further strong push towards PSN is the requirement for all organisations wishing to continue using GSi/GCSX services, such as secure mail relay, under the GSi Convergence Framework (GCF) to connect to those services solely through PSN by the end of March 2014 such as secure mail relay, under the GSi Convergence Framework (GCF) to connect to those services solely through PSN by the end of March 2014. With 588 users of GCF services, this marks a significant watershed in the programme and, as they exercise their new choice of PSN connectivity provider, an impending growth of traffic across the Government Conveyance Network (GCN) – the core of the PSN – as data is passed between competing service providers. It’s also essential for user organisations to gain their PSN certification – the Code of Connection or ‘CoCo’ – without waivers or exemptions before connecting to PSN. This transition to PSN is worth putting into perspective as its emerging scale, proven capacity to save cash today and the much greater transformational potential it holds are essential to unlocking far greater efficiencies

in future. PSN is actually shaping up to be a factor of 50 to 75 times larger than the old GSi (Government Secure Intranet). To visualise that, think of it not as just fixed links between Whitehall departments or set of spokes connecting Local Authorities to a set of central applications but as a single, ubiquitous conduit shared by millions of people delivering public services. It’s shared environment based on common standards to keep costs down, with appropriate levels of security where they’re needed and with access to a rich choice of inter-changeable services and content from an open and competitive marketplace of providers. Customers are making immediate cashable savings by shifting from multiple duplicated networks to a common network, often including a range of local or regional partner organisations. The Unicorn !





PUBLIC SERVICE NETWORKS " project, bringing together authorities in Surrey and Berkshire is one case in point, replacing up to forty networks with one, connecting at least 20 public services and saving £5.25 million in the process. A further good example is in Cambridgeshire, where the regional PSN has resulted in savings of 50 per cent, more than £1m pa, based on what it would have otherwise spent on networking. There are many other powerful instances of regional aggregation and savings, including those in Staffordshire, Yorkshire & Humberside, Dorset, Kent and Hampshire to name but a few. The initial business case for gaining the compliance tick in the box, consolidating and connecting is compelling. But if there are strong reasons to achieve PSN compliance and connection in the short term does is follow that the intention and capacity is there to capitalise on those first steps into PSN to tackle bigger challenges? POSITIVE CHANGE Gaining the initial PSN ‘tick’ is important, but PSNGB believes that the real opportunity lies in thinking beyond this. It means understanding the potential of PSN as the common link that can facilitate positive changes in the way that people and services work, realising savings well beyond network costs, creating greater efficiencies from collaboration and resource sharing and enabling improved economic and social outcomes at both local and national levels. It’s a point made clearly by the National Audit Office (NAO) in recognising that early savings, whilst important, can be unsustainable in the long run and that service innovation and change are needed to generate sustained efficiencies and better services. To quote from a recent NAO report: “This is the greatest challenge for PSN - to sustain cost saving whilst articulating the much greater economies and sustainable public service improvements that must be built on PSN.” It requires that PSN be exploited not just as a set of network connections, but as a platform for innovation and public service transformation. Again in the words of the NAO, it means moving to “ICT solutions that reform public services and the way that government works”. This brings with it a new set of challenges. Beyond the not inconsiderable task of setting standards, maintaining compliance and smarter procurement, exploiting PSN demands that we tackle the process, people and management challenges of aligning different organisations to collaborate and co-deliver public services. To explore this potential, PSNGB commissioned original research from Kable, interviewing 25 senior public sector executives during March and April 2013. The research looked at the top priorities and challenges facing leaders in public services, highlighting in particular the role of collaboration in addressing

PSNGB event in Leeds

At the local level, budget challenges were augmented by local needs, particularly in maintaining services and coping with both levels of demand and the requirement to create local employment and growth these issues and hence the potential for the exploitation of PSN to deliver benefits and efficiencies much greater than its early dividends in cutting communications costs. It was no surprise that the top challenges were linked to budget and resource constraints, strongly flavoured with change and uncertainty in the face of increasing demand for services. RESOURCE CONSTRAINTS Understandably, budget and resource constraints topped the list of challenges unprompted. However, the consistent underlying message was that the potential of short term cost savings had been exhausted and that more transformational change was needed to meet the ongoing challenge of delivering better services for less money. One CEO commented “we find ourselves in times of great financial difficulty where the demands on services are increasing and need to find new ways of doing things”. Others noted “we simply won’t meet the current and future demand if we carry on the same as we do now… our major priority has to be new service models” and “we have done the easy savings [and] more difficult savings and we are left with fundamental changes”. At the local level, budget challenges were augmented by local needs, particularly in maintaining services and coping with both levels of demand and the requirement to create local employment and growth. In the words of one CEO “the biggest challenges are around a growing population and

bringing in more employment to the area… [whilst] balancing the books and being able to define a sustainable role for the authority as there is a massive regeneration agenda and community leadership role.” Overall, responses pointed strongly towards the need for innovation and change to reconcile sustained savings with maintaining and improving services. Leaders were focused on actively prioritising services and investigating new operating and service delivery models for greater efficiency. 60 per cent indicated that they were exploring these new business or service delivery models, though to date, relatively very few organisations had started to implement them. PRIORITIES Quotes from the leaders questioned illustrate their priorities, as this representative sample shows: “The priority is unchanged from what it always has been… how best to improve the quality of life for the people in my area” (CEO). “Identifying opportunities to modernise and to reduce our operating cost“ (Chief Exec). “Focus on improving on efficiency… where there used to be separate council and police front office, now there is one” (Chief Constable). “Our key priority is protecting those most vulnerable, but it is also trying to grow our local economy and deliver services as effectively as we can” (CFO). Our research highlighted that senior leaders’ challenges and to some extent their priorities !



Advertisement Feature Written by Steve Ingall, head of Consulting Services, iCore




After working on several SIaM projects, Steve Ingall of iCore believes we are seeing more right sourcing but the management issue is the same: how does the IT department retain control? In an extract from his publications, Steve looks at best practice for SIaM and if it can deal with today’s challenges Over recent years there has been a realisation that the large, long-term IT sourcing relationships that organisations have had for many years, are no longer effectively serving the needs of the business. The explosion of e-commerce and digital services means that IT is now fundamental to the whole business strategy, not only managing the back-office and the production line but now providing the new sales outlet as well. RETAIN ACCOUNTABILITY As a result of these changes and increasing consumerisation of IT devices and user experiences, organisations are turning more and more to multi-vendor (or “tower”) sourcing arrangements, exploiting new and specialist technologies, moving the internal IT department from technology focus to service and business focus. The CIO and the IT department must retain accountability and control over the full scope of all IT services and to do this they are turning to a Service Integration and Management Model (SIaM) to move from technology focus to a more business service focus. FACE-OFF Under a SIaM model, the IT department retains the accountabilities for the delivery of service, owning all aspects of strategy, governance, policy and finance; but they want to be able to pass responsibility for service delivery to the service providers directly, letting the providers maximise their own working practices and technologies to better service the customer. The SIaM Model can be used to provide the right level of governance and direction, acting in an assurance capacity and will typically also include the service desk. The SIaM function will have to face-off to the retained organisation ensuring that it is



looking after the best interests of the business and, at the same time, face-off to the service providers ensuring that they are able to perform to their optimum capability. As a consequence, the image of the mythical god “Janus” is often used to portray the SIaM function. In order to know whether a SIaM service capability would be right for your organisation you need to understand what the current situation is and what the implications would be internally and externally if your organisation moved to a SIaM Model. An understanding of the current issues across the people, processes, tools and service delivery will help identify gaps and overlaps, and define options for addressing these issues. SIaM Blueprint from iCore provides a quick way to undertake this assessment and move forward. SIaM OPTIONS There are options for how the SIaM function can be implemented, and there are pros and cons for each of these. Firstly, this can be retained by the IT department; second

Option one – Retained by the IT department (retained). Pros: Organisation retains more direct ownership and control. Cons: Lack of necessary skills in IT department. Option two – Retained but augmented with specialist SIaM resources (augmented). Pros: Retained ownership and with experienced resources/good practice. Cons: More costly than option one. Option three – Outsource to an independent SIaM specialist (independent). Pros: Complete independence and experienced SIaM provider.

In order to know whether a SIaM service capability would be right for your organisation you need to understand what the current situation is and what the implications would be if your organisation moved to a SIaM Model option is an augmented version of option one (retained but with some contracted in specialist subject matter experts); thirdly, it can be outsourced to an independent third party; and fourthly, it can be given to one of the incumbent service providers. In iCore’s opinion, these options are in the order that we think they should be considered but, as with all journeys, it is often the starting point that dictates the route to be taken, in this instance what the current sourcing landscape looks like. Looking generically, then, the primary pros and cons of these options could be:

Cons: Could be costly and may lack business knowledge. Option four – Use an incumbent service provider (incumbent). Pros: Should have service awareness and may be easy to “uplift” existing contract. Cons: Lack true independence and may be challenged to collaborate with other providers. There are more pros and cons, and traps to avoid, so to work out which approach is best for you, contact iCore’s SIaM Services. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0207 464 8883



PUBLIC SERVICE NETWORKS " were reasonably consistent, particularly within sectors, hence was a broad appetite for shared service delivery and collaborative activities. More than half viewed collaboration as essential and all respondents recognised the need for collaboration in service delivery. For example, “[Collaboration] is crucial and will be even more so as we move forward” (CEO), “[Collaboration] is absolutely vital and there is still significant opportunity in spaces between services we can fully exploit” (CEO). However, the specific types of collaboration and shared activities varied from organisation to organisation, even within the same sector, depending on their particular political, economic and social environment. There was real recognition that collaboration was hard and leaders’ experience showed that success depended on finding the right partners. The criteria for success here were determined more by shared vision and complementary capabilities than necessarily geography or sector. As a result, whilst local collaboration tended to be preferred, mainly because of shared environmental factors, the potential for national collaboration was also of interest. ENTHUSIASM AND CAUTION Given the frequent cross-organisation nature of service delivery, collaboration regarded as essential by over half the participants. The challenges were well recognised too, perhaps reflecting some of their more salutary past experiences. Consequently leaders’ quotes tempered enthusiasm with caution and the difficulty of realising joint working and shared resources in practice. The more circumspect acknowledged that whilst collaboration was an important tool, it had to be productive. One CEO commented that although “potentially an important part of the tool kit… collaboration is not just about partnering with other local authorities… there is a real danger of it becoming a trend [that] may not be to their benefit in the long run”. Another CEO noted that “it is not a silver bullet for all issues nor should it be scoffed at”, with a further commenting that it was “very challenging to do, it looks good on paper but it does take a lot of blood, sweat and tears to make it work”. Health respondents uniquely mentioned the mixed messages around collaboration and competition within their sector, noting that; “collaboration is really important… [but] one week we will be hearing all about having to compete with each other to provide better services and the next… that we have to collaborate to achieve savings”. Asked whether current shared service

PSNGB believes that PSN needs to progress fast from compliance and connection to exploitation and transformation. There are some early examples of how this can be achieved, but much more remains to be done delivery initiatives were meeting original expectations, respondents were generally positive, but with some caveats. A common view was that it’s hard work and successful shared approaches need detailed preparation and analysis, with time required first to get agreement and then deliver results. Understandably, relatively quick wins were pursued first, one CEO noting that “they are getting more difficult. We first picked [those] that would deliver the most and quickest first and we are now striving to do the more difficult things”. Leaders had to try innovative ideas out, scale what worked and cut those that didn’t early, one CFO commenting “they are delivering what we expected them to. We did a lot of work before moving forward… [there were] others where we pulled the plug [if they] would not deliver. Another CEO stated that “the ones we have completed [met expectations], but there are others we have explored but that have not reached fruition”. Advance preparation was clearly a success factor; according to one CEO “we put a lot of effort on the business case at the beginning… we look slow at starting, but it definitely pays dividends at the end as you get what you were looking for.”

PSNGB s believe eeds Nn that PS ress fast to prog mpliance from conection to and contation and exploi rmation transfo

BARRIERS Potential barriers to collaboration were noted, though these were not seen as a reason for inaction. A common barrier was different definitions and interpretations among participants, with the example given of one project that failed because the criteria used to define ‘vulnerable’ varied. Likewise partners needed look beyond their own local needs and to reconcile different views. Not only must collaborators share a common view of the issues and outcomes, but they should also have balanced and proportionate shares in the benefits. One CFO noted that they gained relatively little financial benefit from sharing because they already had a lower cost base than their partners. Risk aversion was also cited, with large, game changing initiatives requiring upfront investment seen as too risky. Consequently none of the participants identified existing

radical transformations and where the need to explore new operating models was recognised progress still at the exploratory stage. PSN is taking off and the case for gaining complying, consolidating and connecting is strong with cashable savings genuinely being delivered. Given the overriding objective within government to reduce public spending, the near term pressure will remain on cost cutting, de-duplication and the commoditisation of ICT. PSNGB shares the NAO’s concern over the sustainability of savings derived from rationalisation and price erosion alone. Our research indicates that maintaining and increasing savings will demand more collaboration within and between public sector bodies. It will demand determination to address the tough but rewarding challenges of realising new ways of working and innovation in public service delivery. Greater and more effective alignment of different organisations, sometimes with different goals and cultures, to collaborate and co-create public services looks like the only route forward for organisations that have done all the cost cutting they can. The “fundamental change” and “new ways of doing things” we identified mean redesigning public services from the outside in, starting with the citizen and replacing old processes, changing systems, re-aligning the way people do things and giving them the tools to work more flexibly and quickly. It means joining up, working closely and sharing resources rather than protecting or competing. Above all it means openness, agility and innovation as the keys to delivering better services in the face of unlimited demand and shrinking budgets. PSNGB believes that PSN needs to progress fast from compliance and connection to exploitation and transformation. There are some early examples of how this can be achieved, but much more remains to be done. We plan to illustrate how PSN-enabled public services could be delivered, quantify the potential benefits, explore what needs to be done to bridge the gap between this vision and the current state and to continue working with senior leaders to communicate the findings and to help bring about change. # FURTHER INFORMATION PSNGB exists to provide a forum for its members, and promotes innovation, discussion, development and the exchange of non-competitive information within its membership. For further information visit



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Service Desks



As head of research at the Service Desk Institute, the questions I’m asked most often are not: How do I motivate or retain staff ? or How can I improve my service desk’s processes? The questions I’m asked most often are: What are the industry average call answering times?, How many incidents will 1000 end users log every month?, How do I know if our 10 per cent call abandon rate is above or below the industry average? In a way, perhaps it is not surprising that I am asked this question so often. Inherent within in all of us is a desire to understand how good we are, for all of us compare and contrast ourselves with others and organisations. The craving to compare and contrast is not unique to the IT support industry, but I feel that the desire burns even stronger within IT support organisations because sometimes they can feel isolated and siloed, and lack way markers and indicators to guide and assure them that they are indeed doing a good job (one that is at least comparable to other organisations within the same sector). Another reason for the burning desire to

Written by Daniel Wood, head of research, Service Desk Institute

Service desks attract and collect huge volumes of data – a logical reason for the burning desire to compare and contrast performance. So why not use it to see how good your service desk really is, asks Daniel Wood, head of research at the Service Desk Institute

compare and contrast performance is that service desk’s performance, is to track and service desks attract and collect huge volumes trend your own service desk’s metrics over of data. Every interaction is recorded and this a period of time (I refer to this as internal creates masses of data – therefore the desire benchmarking – comparing benchmarks with to utilise this data to better other service desks is external benchmarking). understand your service Internal benchmarking is an incredibly desk’s performance is powerful tool and - combined with is t I completely logical. elements of selective quantitative o t nt The data is all external benchmarking and importad that in n there to be used, qualitative work – can provide a t s under pport sphere so why not use a true picture of your service u it to see how desk and its performance. the IT s comparing good your service l l hen i w w s, you desk really is? WHY 65.879 PER CENT OF statisticlikely be Unfortunately, STATISTICS ARE WRONG most g apples direct comparisons The above figure is completely n between service facetious, but it does demonstrate ompari anges c desks and support an important point about the to or organisations are emphasis and credibility we place virtually impossible, for on statistics. Whilst it is not my intention numerous reasons that I will to start a debate on how statistics should extrapolate below. However, that is not to say be measured, recorded and utilised, it is that benchmarking is a futile exercise, but it important to understand that in the IT support is one that should be used with caution and a sphere when comparing statistics, you will high degree of hesitancy. most likely be comparing apples to oranges. An alternative solution, and one that This means that it is dangerous to invoke can really help to drive and improve your direct comparisons with other service !




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IT SUPPORT " desks based on metrics alone. I’ll use this real-life example (I was asked this exact question this morning) to demonstrate what I mean. The question directed to me was What’s the industry average for how many calls should we expect for 1000 end users on a weekly and monthly basis? This appears to be a quite a reasonable question, indeed I’m sure many service desks would love to know the answer to this as it would aid immeasurably in their planning and resource allocation (amongst others). Being able to plan in advance would be a definite boon for Service Desk Managers and Team Leaders and additionally it would let you know how busy your service desk is compared to others in the industry. Unfortunately an industry average measure for calls received does not exist; some of the reasons for this are: Organisations have end users with different technical skills (consider the fallacy of comparing data from a company involved in technology and one where it’s been struggle to stop people using pen and paper). The better end users’ technical knowledge and skills, the less likely they are to log calls; Service desks might not be as well regarded by some organisations as others – if end users don’t like contacting the service desk then this organisation will have a lower support call volume; Hardware and software is likely to be very different across organisations – it is fair to compare the call volumes for an organisation with brand new tools and technology to one that is working on 10 year-old PCs? And if so, should we take this into consideration in our calculations?; And lots and lots of others including: staff turnover rate – are there lots of new starters, does this generate high call volumes? Is it easy to contact the service desk? Are calls logged in the same way, or do we differentiate between support calls and calls for contact details? What about the complexity of the calls – are they taking a long time to fix hence your lines are always engaged? DANGEROUS COMPARISONS Above are just a few examples of why direct comparisons of metrics and KPIs are dangerous, as it is very likely that we’re not comparing apples with apples. Taken as gospel, any industry average for the number of support calls could be very damaging. You might see it as a good sign that you receive fewer calls than other service desks, but what if the reason for this is because your end users had such a low opinion of your service that they saw you as a last resort? On the other hand, perhaps your calls are much higher than the average – does this mean you need to provide end users with extra training or implement a self-help solution? The answers to these questions could be true, but they should not be prompted by incorrect information, the type that is created by industry benchmarks – the true source of improvement lies within ourselves and our support organisation.

Service Desks


The best way to benchmark your service desk is to benchmark internally. It may appear that this seems like a worthless endeavour – how can you know how good you are if you are only competing against yourself? The answer is that you compete against your previous performance, pushing and driving to improve results month on month and year on year That being said, industry benchmarks do still have their place in the support industry. For anyone who is starting to get to grips with measurement they provide a useful indicator of what you should be measuring and provide some ballpark figures. Knowing what metrics other service desks are utilising can point you towards some important measures that you had not hitherto considered. Used with caution and with careful consideration afforded to the fallibility of industry averages, industry benchmarks have their value and their place but are not a sound basis for decision making or improvement initiatives. For those, we need to look a little closer to home.

INTERNAL BENCHMARKING The best way to benchmark your service desk is to benchmark internally. It may appear that this seems like a worthless endeavour – how can you know how good you are if you are only competing against yourself? The answer is that you compete against your previous performance, pushing and driving to improve results month on month and year on year. To do this, take a picture of all of your metrics and KPIs (call waiting, resolution times etc.) and write them down as an average for the last month. Then do the same next month, the month after and so on. Very soon you’ll have data that is trending, and after a year !



IT SUPPORT " will have there any identifiable ways that the g Knowin rics some pretty service desk can use its knowledge et m t comprehensive to improve the way that people a h s w e desk c results. Now work? When qualitative work i v r e s look at these is combined with internal other tilising can measures and benchmarking it creates a are u u towards o compare them very solid foundation for y t poin important to a year ago continual service improvement e som s that you and they will initiatives (CSI) to help push the e tell you in what service desk to the next level. measur t hitherto o direction your n had red desk is heading, CONCLUSION conside and you are now in a Benchmarking is a vital part of service position to set goals and delivery, but it is important that it is targets and ensure that the used in the right way. Benchmarking against data is trending towards the goal. The very industry standards has value, but much best service desks have been doing this for a greater returns will be experienced when long time and it has aided immeasurably in benchmarking against your own standards. their ability to identify improvements, ensure If you have recently implemented a new that they have sufficient resources, and build change management process then you will business cases for additional expenditure. be able to see whether this has improved On the subject of internal benchmarking, service by examining your metrics and it is essential that service desks include looking at the trend of your data. If metrics qualitative measures to complement the have improved as a result of the processes quantitative measures. Useful qualitative work you have implemented then celebrate these includes interviewing customers to gauge achievements with your organisation – it’s their thoughts and opinions concerning the the only way they’ll truly know that you are service desk; going out into the organisation’s committed to improving service for their end user population (floor-walking is a good employees and increasing productivity. # way to do this) and understand more about IT is used – what are end users’ concerns or FURTHER INFORMATION complaints? How could IT be improved? Are

Service Desk


About the author Dr Daniel Wood is an experienced analyst on all matters concerning IT business management and is committed to helping support organisations realise their full potential through the sharing of ideas, knowledge and best practice. In his capacity as a best practice auditor, Daniel has worked with some of the UK’s largest public sector bodies and has advised leading blue-chip organisations on driving business improvements through better use and understanding of the potential of IT. Daniel is currently Head of Research and Publications at the Service Desk Institute, Europe’s largest IT service and support organisation.



Company Profiles


Take action so you’re not Avoka Technologies: the next data-loss headline creating digital experiences for government Government organisations are Computrace: “It is a significant required to comply with strict data protection laws. When a data breach occurs, you are expected to respond immediately to safeguard your community’s personal data and ensure compliance. When a computer goes missing, so does its data. Absolute Software has been providing government organisations with solutions to manage and secure all their devices since 1993: Absolute Computrace allows you to respond if any device is missing or stolen, if data is compromised or if the status of a device is unknown – safeguarding public information and allowing you to comply with regulations. Ian Lawrence, technical services manager at London Borough of Camden, said of Absolute


benefit because of the peace of mind it gives us. The critical point is public perception: if a laptop is lost or stolen, we can say it was password protected, it was encrypted and we can remove the data, and even have the means to recover it. Being able to demonstrate you have in place this level of protection is key.” Absolute’s technology provides a constant connection to all computers in your deployment. If removal is attempted, the technology rebuilds itself so you can continue to track, manage and protect your assets. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0118 902 2000

Avoka’s solutions make it easy for citizens to do business online with UK government agencies. Avoka eliminates paper forms to deliver all-digital self-service experiences while significantly reducing operating costs. The Cabinet Office’s Transactions Explorer reveals that 1.28bn transactions are processed yearly throughout UK government offices. Avoka’s solutions can transform these high-stakes transactions into digital experiences that empower citizens to transact whenever, wherever and however they want – via desktop computer, tablet, smartphone or kiosk. Avoka helps government agencies encourage more citizens to do business online, increasing citizen satisfaction and reducing calls to customer centres. The “design once, deploy everywhere” Avoka Transact solution delivers an online experience where citizens complete applications,

fill out and sign documents, open accounts and more. Avoka Transact also provides the data integration and workflow processes to take government front offices digital, and gives government agencies the power to improve field worker productivity with intelligent mobile data collection applications. Avoka Transact can be procured direct or via the G-Cloud CloudStore. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0203 514 8556

CTG knows G-Cloud and can take you there

Specialist training is an investment not a cost

CTG is proud to be part of the G-Cloud iii framework, offering services in the Infrastructure as a Service (IAAS) and Specialist Consulting Services (SCS) categories. CTG’s Cloud Migration Service team has a proven track record in both the development of new cloud services and the migration of clients away from their existing locally deployed application solutions to new, cloud-based services. CTG operates in both the private and public sectors and is a particular specialist in all aspects of information disclosure and business transformations in highly regulated environments. The company provides custom, secure information disclosure portals ,delivering workflow automation and self-service between public sector departments, law enforcement and the private sector. Over the past 10 years, CTG’s systems and business processes have managed over 1.5 million

Computeraid specialises in Microsoft Office, Sage Accounting and Adobe Creative Suite training and offers a range of commercial training options, consultancy, special offers and funded courses. Training can be in the form of “open” scheduled courses in Cardiff or Swansea, company specific programmes or training at your place of work across the UK. Training is hands-on and tutor-led by business-focussed experts. Courses are tailored so organisations get what they require from well-targeted training sessions. The company caters for all levels of ability, from getting started to developing VBA and SQL projects. Upgrade training is a particular strength. As an “Investors in People”

disclosure requests from UK police forces, local authorities and other government agencies. This experience, coupled with the company’s track record in UK and international healthcare service provision, places CTG in a unique position to offer the public sector focused and economically competitive solutions via the G-Cloud iii framework. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01189 750877


company, Computeraid has been training people to make the most of their computers since 1988. As a British Computer Society accredited examination centre, it can ensure delegates can benchmark their skills to national qualifications. Computeraid has had major contracts with large public and private sector organisations in the UK, including local authorities, NHS trusts, the Department of Transport, DVLA, UK Intellectual Property Office, Finance Wales and the Office of National Statistics. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 01792 610550

Software that powers the boards of top brands and provides the solution to reducing the cost of governance It is a challenging time for local government, as council’s struggle against a background of austerity to improve service delivery and respond to the public’s demand for greater transparency, while simultaneously reducing spending. The public sector is responding to this and has begun to find radical new ways of working, to ensure savings are achieved without compromising on core values. The introduction of new structures and changes to the way local government operates, such as delivering services through partnership, collaboration and commissioning, provide challenges for managing risk, ensuring transparency and demonstrating accountability. At this time, it is crucial that standards of governance are maintained. With 63 per cent of respondents in the eShare governance survey 2012/13 stating that their costs associated with governance, risk and compliance (GRC) have increased, the conflict with reduced spending is clear. The increase in expenditure related to GRC is a product of the rise in the importance of good

governance. But with reallocation of resources and reassessing your current methods, it is possible that governance can be managed efficiently and cost effectively. In fact, 82 per cent of eShare’s survey respondents believe that getting good governance practices in place will lead to long-term reduced costs. Governance software is already widely adopted within the private sector, as companies recognise the importance of transparency to their stakeholders. By utilising this software within the public sector, board members are able to securely

Will PRISM kill the cloud? Not if you use PretaGov CMS SaaS PretaGov designs, builds, and maintains secure, fully supported websites and mobile apps for government agencies. Every PretaGov site ensures: flexible solutions that meet your needs every time; one hundred per cent open source SaaS in a private cloud. Do as much or as little design or backend input as you like, working to your budget. UK data sovereignty and data privacy: PretaGov UK is hosted in UK-based, tier 3 data centres. No other country can take your data. The company complies with the Data Protection Act. Watertight website security: The company chose Plone, which has the best published security record of any CMS. Comprehensive support when you need it with guaranteed response times. Guaranteed uptime even with traffic spikes as provided by geo-redundancy in UK data

centres. Enhanced citizen engagement: advanced analytics, social media integration, real-time engagement and accessibility compliance. PretaGov has worked with more than 35 government clients in health, transport, emergency services, local government, and community services. It understands the needs of government clients and has a record of delivering innovative solutions under tight deadlines. PretaGov is offered via the G-Cloud Services III Framework Agreement. Look for the company in the Government CloudStore.

GT Products


access all their governance resources (such as documents, guidance, meeting packs, decisions and risks) from a central location where they can collaborate at anytime without needing to be in the same room as their fellow members. With budgets being squeezed, the reality that governance software can help to reduce the cost of GRC will be appealing to those who hold the purse strings. Managing governance online means a reduction in paper and printing costs. It also eliminates the cost of distributing and couriering meeting packs, while reducing the issues caused by late or amended papers that require last minute updates and redistribution. Even the procurement of such software has been streamlined, thanks to the G-Cloud initiative. We may be living in austere times, but that shouldn’t lead to a compromise in standards of governance. Dedicated software will ensure your department is run transparently and efficiently, saving administration time and costs. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0845 200 7829

Open architectures: more choice, reduced cost LinuxIT’s Open Architectures Readiness Assessment now endorsed by HMG is helping public sector organisations to benefit from reduced costs, whilst complying with government open standards. It’s about innovation, collaboration, reuse and adaptation, which is revolutionising the way government procures and consumes IT and services, whilst reducing the burden on the taxpayer. This widely adopted assessment is extensive in its investigation into the viability of Open Source Software and provides organisations with targets for immediate costcutting and on-going operational

efficiencies. Delivered with a money-back guarantee, this service has already identified hundreds of thousands of pounds of cost-savings for public bodies. LinuxIT is an IT Services company with an unrivalled record in deploying best practice Linux and Open Source Software. Employing expertise and reference architectures amassed over 14 years. LinuxIT works with public sector organisations in their use of Linux and Open Source Software for their mission-critical IT systems. To find out more, give LinuxIT a call or find them on G-Cloud. FURTHER INFORMATION Tel: 0845 606 3002




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Government Technology 11.4  
Government Technology 11.4  

The Business Magazine for Government Technology