ADIB outsources helpdesk to improve user support

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has outsourced its IT helpdesk operations to Seven Seas.

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By  Matthew Southwell Published  December 31, 2003

Abu Dhabi Islamic Bank (ADIB) has outsourced its IT helpdesk operations to Seven Seas in an attempt to reduce costs and improve end user support. The two year, US$100,000 plus deal will also allow the finance house to focus the efforts of its technology team on initiatives that add value to the bank. The onsite outsourced IT helpdesk is manned by one Seven Seas helpdesk agent and two technical support staff. It replaces ADIB’s existing set up, which consisted of non-technical staff who logged calls and passed them onto the bank’s technology team. This was not only an inefficient use of resources, but it also delivered low end user satisfaction. “We had none technical staff manning the helpdesk and they passed the calls onto the technical staff,” confirms MSMK Rahman, manager of quality assurance & control in ADIB’s IT department. “However, this was not particularly effective because when a user calls for help, they normally want help and don’t want to speak to a non-technical user and wait. The turn around time of this set up was longer and this is why we wanted technical staff on the desk,” he explains. Rather than create a more IT literate helpdesk from its own resources, ADIB opted to outsource the job so its technology team could perform their administrative functions without being interrupted, or spend time adding value to the bank’s IT infrastructure. “We have only a few technical staff who have day-to-day jobs managing the bank’s IT infrastructure. We did not want them to have to cater to the routine helpdesk jobs, which is why we outsourced the function,” says Rahman. As outsourcing within the banking sector remains rare, ADIB’s technology team focused on two key areas when pitching the solution to the bank’s decision makers — the nature of the task it was looking to hand to a third party and the business benefits it would provide. “Two main things persuaded the senior management, firstly, that we were only looking to outsource routine jobs so there was no need to utilise our expert people and secondly that it gave us an opportunity to develop our own people,” says Rahman. “The bank is looking to develop people, so moving the existing staff off the helpdesk and replacing them with others from Seven Seas gave us the opportunity to develop those employees. Those people have now been used in the IT department and another has gone into financial services,” he continues. The Seven Seas team arrived at ADIB on October 18 and had replaced the bank’s inhouse team by November 15. The outsourced helpdesk is being run in accordance with Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices to ensure the bank’s business users get the quality of service they require. “As IT moves into service delivery rather than the traditional technology infrastructure, users want the best of everything, whether it be their cables, hardware and software,” says Rahman. “Support is part of that, so [adherence to] ITIL standards ensures our users have the best support possible,” he explains. The helpdesk uses HP’s OpenViewService Desk software to facilitate end user support. It allows the team to drill down into the bank’s information systems and identify where a user’s problem stems from. Furthermore, the solution logs calls, tracks the action taken and monitors how quickly the support staff turn problems around, which in turn allows ADIB to keep tabs on the outsourced team’s performance. “HP OpenView is very flexible and this means we can work how we want. It also allows us to track the requests, which will allow us to see the problems and the utilisation at the end of the month,” Rahman confirms. Although the reports generated by OpenView were still being analysed at the time of going to press, it appears as if the outsourced helpdesk is already delivering a number of benefits to the bank. For instance, it has removed the costs associated with ADIB employees on the helpdesk and already given the inhouse technology team more time to focus on value add projects. “Although we are still analysing the new helpdesk’s performance in terms of the number of call outs handled and the turn around time, we have found it effective so far and the users have expressed their satisfaction,” says Rahman. To ensure that ADIB continues to reap the benefits of its outsourcing deal, the bank has hammered out a comprehensive service level agreement with Seven Seas that covers everything from staff location to finance and the help desk’s performance. Moving forward, ADIB is examining its technology processes and practices to see if there are other routine tasks it can hand over to a third party and reduce its operating expenditure further. As Rahman says, “the bank is growing so we need more and more people. But, as outsourcing is a growing trend in the market, we now have options.”

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