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Unisys Revamps End-User Computing Offering With Enhanced End-User Experience

As part of its Analyst Day, Unisys provided NelsonHall an update on its end-user computing services activities.

The company is aiming to enhance its end-user experience, de-emphasizing its traditional service desk approach and aiming to add alternative channels for connecting end-users and support personnel.

As part of this initiative, the company is spreading the usage of its Tech Cafés. Tech Cafés provide largely onsite technical assistance in large sites (over 1k users). Key features of Tech Café include:

  • End-users can schedule appointments with Tech Cafés, as opposed to waiting for onsite support personnel to come to their desk
  • Available spare parts
  • Provisioning of a spare computer while PCs are being repaired
  • Providing concierge services for specific equipment, e.g. video conferencing.

Key clients of Tech Cafés include Unilever.

One of the major end-user initiatives is its self-service portal, which Unisys offers through its software product VantagePoint. The objective of VantagePoint is to reduce incoming calls by pushing self-service. VantagePoint's features include:

  • Communication channel: chat and video conferencing based on Microsoft Lync
  • A knowledge management base, reporting procedures for solving issues. Unisys highlights it has created the documentation with end-users in mind with step-by-step instructions. The KM also includes access to YouTube for tutorials
  • A service catalog and workflow engine for ordering PCs or applications. This also includes automated password reset and ticket status display
  • Mobile device management and telecom expense management.

VantagePoint is accessible on PCs and mobile devices. Looking ahead, Unisys is looking to expand end-user interaction channels to include Twitter.

The company is also working on expanding its Resolver offering, largely a Level 1.5 sitting between Level 1.0 for catch and dispatch and L2 for more technical activities. The objective of L1.5 is to reduce work backlog for L2 support and help work on pro-active monitoring and maintenance. Unisys argues that L1.5 reduces time to solve simple tasks and therefore increases end-user satisfaction.

Along with this customer experience effort, Unisys is also involved in several activities to reduce the level of incoming calls. This includes rolling out usage of analytics around ITSM tools (BMC Remedy, ServiceNow or its own BMC Remedy-based Edge IP). The company is collecting data around incidents and route cause analysis with the intent to provide proactive maintenance. An example of this approach is when Unisys rolled out PCs for a client and later identified that a certain percentage of PCs had a specific issue with hard drives. The company proactively replaced hard drives that showed signs of potential failures, based on ITSM data analyses.

Another important move is Unisys’ role-/persona-based approach. The company is taking a role-based approach for providing certain support levels. Examples of persona include road warriors/mobile workforce, VIPs, administration personnel and office workers. Unisys argues that its role-based approach helps expanding from the traditional one-size-fits-all approach (along with VIP service) for support services. For each persona, Unisys is to associate a number of mobility options, access to applications, and CPU uses. To formulate this approach, the company relies on methodologies and discussions with end-users, businesses and IT as well as deploying agents sitting on end-user PCs to identify and measure application, CPU and network needs.

Also, as part of PC roll-outs, Unisys is working increasingly with PC manufacturers to have images (OS and applications) of PCs preloaded, fully or partially on the PC, before shipment.

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It is interesting to see that the phenomenon of IT consumerization has largely failed under the BYOD form. This is true especially in Europe where demand from end-users to select and maintain their own PC/devices has not materialized and where different tax rules in different countries have made employee allowances somewhat of a complex issue.

Nevertheless, an outcome of such IT consumerization has largely materialized into a self-service approach. While self-service actually shifts work previously done by IT support to end-users, it is increasing end-user satisfaction with end-users taking over responsibility for basic tasks such as email resets, and overall being more active with tutorials and access to incident status.

Nevertheless, productivity gains remain a key objective of support offerings. The creation of L1.5 service desk, along with self-service usage, also frees up the time of more expensive personnel found in L2 support. Along with this, the wider usage of chat as opposed to phone is also increasing productivity, with support personnel being able to handle more end-user enquiries simultaneously than through phone. Chat will also drive further offshoring of work to India, with lack of English accent proficiency becoming less of a problem in written interactions, as opposed to voice discussions.

The good news is that productivity improvement is also driving interest in proactive maintenance and early identification of issues, based on ITSM data collection and analysis. This will also help reduce the volume of incoming calls and interactions.

Finally, the persona approach of Unisys has close links with desktop virtualization, whether through VDI or SBC. The role-based model is very attractive on paper. However, client acceptance has remained fairly limited at this point for desktop virtualization. That is not to say that occasional deals will not happen: Unisys has won a very large desktop virtualization contract with a large European utility, which potentially could involve up to 100k end-users with a high desktop virtualization ratio. Yet, examples of such contracts remain rare.

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