Government department streamlines by outsourcing

The Canadian Department of Justice has found that outsourcing some of it’s IT needs has allowed it to focus more on its core competency – law.

Linda Holmes, director of the informatic services division for the Department of Justice, said by outsourcing some day-to-day operations to Compaq Canada, a portion of the staff was freed up and realigned to other positions.

“It’s helped us to focus more on how technology could support the business of law,” Holmes said. “We’re trying to develop IT as a business partner.”

She added Compaq has a role in this through their quality management process, in which Compaq would suggest new software or solutions that would be helpful to the operation of running the Department of Justice.

Mike Roach, client manager, professional services, Electronic Business Management Solutions at Compaq Canada, said what the company is providing is an alternate service delivery model for the IT backbone infrastructure of the department across the country.

Compaq provides a call centre service, desk side support, and network and service support for approximately 50 servers.

Roach added that this service also provides a break-fix component where a non-functional PC, whether it’s a Compaq or not, can be replaced through Compaq’s on-site spares inventory.

“We provide an accelerated level of service for those that are identified as critical. We provide an asset management service that includes the use of SMS software. We provide capture information about user profile information for that piece of hardware,” he noted, adding they also offer ad hoc professional services. He described those as anything that fits in the scope and intent of an alternate service delivery model.

Holmes likes the optional services, which include technology refresh.

“That’s the option to lease PCs or servers from Compaq. That was quite useful for the year 2000 exercise,” she said. “We also have the option of training, anywhere from one-on-one to classroom training.”

David Paget, special policy advisor at the Department of Justice, is very enthusiastic about the service, which went live in January 1999.

“One very good feature is that they have remote access, so if I give them permission on a particular problem I am facing, the person has remote access to my desktop. It’s almost as though they were in my office working with me,” Paget said.

Some of Compaq’s staff are in the Department of Justice building. “There’s very good co-ordination between people at the phone centre and people here on site,” he said. “If the phone person concludes that a technician really has to be here, then it’s usually within a few minutes that the technician arrives.”

He noted speed of response is very important to the user. He has been using the service quite a bit, as he learns more about the computer systems he works with, and other employees seem very pleased with the service.

“I like that the staff I deal with have an attitude of genuinely wanting to help,” Paget said. “What I’ve found is that if the question is really basic, they are very patient and pleasant. If the question is difficult, and they don’t have the answer at hand, I sense that it’s a joy for them to research and track down the answer.”

He also noted the department has been upgrading over the past year and a half, and the transition went a lot more smoothly because of Compaq’s help.

Roach explained part of the system upgrade was to switch from Microsoft Mail to Exchange.

“We provided training in Exchange, Windows and Outlook. Whatever was needed. It’s an end-to-end solution to provide not only call centre services but the implementation of a new software office automation environment for them,” Roach said.

He added that the call centre provides monthly statistics about the number of calls that are place and the number of calls that are resolved.

Holmes noted Compaq’s call centre has exceeded the department’s service level metrics every month. “They must answer all calls by the third ring, or they must resolve 75 per cent of the problems in 15 minutes or less 95 per cent of the time.”