Fujitsu and Tieto, discussion on MSPs and changing world of outsourcing

Sami Kallio interviews two MSP representatives in our yearly HUG customer event.

Sami Kallio interviews two MSP representatives in our yearly HUG customer event. Fujitsu UK's Catriona “Cat” MacDonald and Tieto's Janne Kaihila share their insight. Both as Head of Service Desk, talk about topics of:
  • People’s fears of new things, like RBA, AI, ML and Automation.
  • How to turn that into motivation and excitement.
  • How the contracts that customers request, still reflect the old world.
  • Problems of customers data quality and how they effect taking new technology into use.
  • Discussion has changed in outsourcing RFPs, but still the contracts are written in the traditional SLA way, like they are from 1992.
  • Old contracts keep MSPs hands tied, trust between customer and MSP is crucial to change this.
  • Contract periods hampering digitalisation and taking new technology into usage, for example ServiceNow roadmap bring new things, but long 5 year contracts prohibit usage of their new features.
  • New things like chatbots etc are there to help the work of the Service Desk Agents.
  • Agents' teaching the chatbots to handle their mundane repetitive tasks, to free up their own time for the difficult tasks.
  • Service Desk’s role is changing on supporting with IT support tasks into supporting with Business Services of the company’s employees.
  • How Tieto and Fujitsu are changing their offering to be more focused on Employee Experience.
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Welcome to HappyToday podcast. This is a podcast for those who want to improve service experience of internal services. If you use ServiceNow or other enterprise service management system then this is for you.

Sami Kallio: Hi, guys.

Cat MacDonald: Hi.

Sami Kallio: We are in our HUG event today and having this one episode of our HappyToday podcast. I'm here today with Janne Kaihila from Tieto and Catriona from Fujitsu. So I hope we will have a good discussion today. So we wanted to have discussion with MSPs about how you feel about the end user experience and what you have done for that. But let's start first from a bit more personable area. So maybe an interaction. Ladies first.

Cat MacDonald: Oh, okay. Hi, I'm Cat McDonalds. Catriona is my Sunday name that my mom uses. I've worked for Fujitsu for 19 years now and I'm the head of service operations and optimisation across EMEIA, so looking after in region and global delivery service desks, service management, and looking at how the customers engage with us and how we can then take the value back to them and produce the business value. But more important for me and that's say this is the experience that they have.

So I've started as a service desk agent and worked my way up through Fujitsu. So I know what it's like to sit and answer the phone. I know what it's like to get the continuing question coming in, and then how you feel yourself as a service desk agent when you actually solve something. And for me that's one of the key things for our own kind of people as well. So yeah, that's me.

Sami Kallio: All right. Pretty good. Janne.

Janne Kaihila: Yeah, Janne Kaihila. I'm from Tieto and I'm head of the service area, Finland, for the service to services. And actually I have exactly the same background but a bit shorter period. I started 2009 as a service desk specialist. And since then I've changed my position in the company. And I also really... is all about the how the employees, our employees first, especially the specialist can really work best possible way because when they are able to deliver then they we also able to deliver good customer satisfaction and employee experience for our customers.

Sami Kallio: All right. I think you both have excellent background to answer the next question that...

Janne Kaihila: Yeah.

Sami Kallio: Because your role is not easy. So I would start with a really badly place question that, what is the hardest part in your work?

Cat MacDonald: I would say people's fear. So we've talked a lot today about different technologies coming in. So if you take your average service desk agent, they're usually entry level into an organisation, the fear that goes through people when you talk about robotics, when you talk about optimisation, automation, orchestration, AI, machine learning, virtual agents, all this stuff. But they're like, "Where's my job?" That's probably for me is their fear factor, and trying to convert that into an excitement about what the opportunities come with all the different technologies that they can then play with and how they can add different types of skills to themselves effectively.

So for me, that's one of the biggest challenges, is not only the demographic split that we have with our customers. So we have people like me who when I started at Fujitsu Apple wasn't a company, the iPhone wasn't invented. Facebook was still a blink in Mark Zuckerberg mind. And now the whole world's changed. But I'm not an expert. I've got a lovely iPhone. I use it to make phone calls and I use it to send people messages and take photos. What else you do with it is a mystery to me.

So there's a lot of people that we support that are of that age or older who don't even have an iPhone now. They'll have an old brick phone that they can just make calls on. And then you've got the millennials coming through who don't want to talk to anybody. They want to embrace all the different technologies. They want to do it through an app. They want to do it themselves. So there's that challenge as well. It's how you ensure that everybody is happy across our customer kind of base.

Janne Kaihila: And actually I would compliment that with that actually. That also reflects still in the contract level. And basically we are starting discussing about customer experience and end user experience, but actually all the contracts are still reflecting the old world, not looking at, okay, what kind of service which we should be delivering for millennials. So that's a huge challenge. And another challenge is regarding all about automation and robotics is data quality, that even how fancy a robotics you're building... And as an example, we have created a robotic for sending Bitlocker... this activation key for end users with the SMS. Totally useless because customers 80, is having less than half... has a valid phone number there. So not very robotic if the data is not there. So these kinds of challenges in daily life exactly the fear is one of big factor in the service desk. But in the customer interface I will say that the braveness and the trust of actually putting that also on the paper in the contracts.

Sami Kallio: Have you seen any change in the kind of the requirements of customers during the last years? You said that it's still like...

Janne Kaihila: I would say that the discussion has started. For example, it just happened a few weeks back actually, I was seeing one customer, and then we are ending up a contract. So we are now discussing, okay, how we should proceed. And then in this dialogue we are able to... thinking that, "Okay. Should we actually changed how SLS more meaningful of the employee experience perspective?" But still when it comes to the big RFPs outsourcing big deals of... or full scope services, in those ones it's very strictly still coming back old fashion SLAs, and they are connected very strictly then to the, for example, five year contracts.

Cat MacDonald: Yeah. And it's traditional. So we have a lot of customers that have the idea of the new. They think, "I want the digital transformation. I want to be part of that. I want to embrace all that." And then the contracts come out and they were made in 1992 and there's still traditionally about so we have to have a high SLA on telephony. So if you have a high SLA on telephony you drive the behaviour of the customer to telephony. Actually if you lower that and then you increase the satisfaction around the portal and across virtual agents and things like that you actually change the behaviour of the end user.

But the traditionalist in the sense that the contract comes out and they dust it off and they said, "Well, I signed it five years ago and it's still valid today," that's more of a discussion journey I think, and a co-creation kind of thing that we have to go through that so people understand that we're not trying to... traditionally contracts were built to give companies a stick to beat you over the head and say, "You have to deliver this. You have to deliver this." So the trust is really, really important. So you're having a tool that allows them to see completely transparently how their people feel about the service, how much downtime they've had. That is really, really valuable to change that conversation I think. That for me is one of the vital things.

Sami Kallio: Yeah. I think what we have seen there is communication. But of course we talk a lot directly with enterprises. It's like everybody who talks to us is of course really interested on the employee experience, and sometimes it feels that everybody is pointing to the procurement as you trust it. And the customers do the same. It's like we cannot change it because this is what is expected and we need to have something for us. But for us we really hate it because it has tried to optimise the SLAs and KPIs just for one layer of the service, and that just doesn't work. At least that's what we have seen. 

Janne Kaihila: Yeah. My proposal actually would be that we really think that, okay, it makes sense to make, for example, five year contracts or even longer ones. But actually we will take the SLA attachment as a separate which will develop during the contract. Not that we are signing some tight SLAs in the very first... because that's reflects most commonly that situation and that environment, that world. But actually that the-

Cat MacDonald: And it's prohibitive.

Janne Kaihila: We would have a totally different this kind of continuous improvement for SLA documents as such.

Cat MacDonald: It should be matched onto the roadmap. So if you took ServiceNow's roadmap, you look at that and you look at all the cool things that are coming down that if you've got a five year contract that you've built that's still traditional it actually prohibits you from moving into that roadmap environment. It stops you from bringing in RPA. It stops you from bringing in orchestration. So having that kind of review cycle actually means that it becomes far more viable to actually move and not wait until your next procure. Because if you've signed a five year deal, you're then locked into that. Five years later you've missed out on all this opportunity to transform.

Janne Kaihila: Even you would have a very good dialogue and operational meeting, for example, person who is responsible of the customer services or in customising the environment. Even you have the very good dialogue there and you would actually start raising some topics that, "Okay. Should we actually start measuring this and that?" There is no courage to actually go there and let's open that contract, that five year contract, because that's opens up the whole game basically again, and there is not enough courage to make that kind of moves quite often.

Sami Kallio: Yeah. Nobody wants to spend six months to negotiate again. That's understandable, but I really understand the point because-

Sami Kallio: Let's say you have a five years deal. You're using ServiceNow with your customer. The product is not the same. Even ServiceNow would be should be giving you much, much better end user experience only by the tool when it develops, even though the service desk quality would be still the same. There are so many... not only the service desk that is influencing. And of course, it could have transformation. Customer is changing tools all the time. Of course, that influence is still the end user experience.

Cat MacDonald: And the cloud does as well. So moving away from an on-prem data centre, traditional delivery model, into our cloud hybrid environment, then that changes constantly as well. So you have to have everything changing at the same pace, following the roadmaps but also the contracts, being able to kind of reflect that and to have the flexibility in it to take it forward.

Janne Kaihila: That's why I would be very interested to see that actually the SLA wouldn't be an attachment in the contract. It will be a living document.

Sami Kallio: Living PBA. All right. Now, we have heard already today about what will happen maybe to the industry and what is happening with ServiceNow and so on. But what is your expectation in near feature? AI, everybody's talking about. But what is the reality? Chatbots? Is it ready?

Janne Kaihila: I can start, at least in our customer and where I am basically. Well, the data quality is huge challenge there. Another one is the cultural change on the behaviour of end users of utilising a different digital channels than traditional emails and phones, but also the service desk, it's a bit different call centres world comparing service desk when we are supporting customers. Business processes, business application, etc. Contracts can be whatever. So basically the use cases are a bit more complex. So we are actually at this moment putting a lot of effort and focus to actually bringing the Chatbots automate the solutions and machine learning to help the service desk specialist in their work as the combining the human and the robotics together to bring better customer satisfaction.

Cat MacDonald: I mean, I think going forward there will be all... we are already. We use virtual agents now, but virtual agents only work really, really well when you've got humans at the back end teaching it. So you have to have that kind of that the thought leadership through that and how is somebody going to ask a question to get the right answer back. In a conversation it has to be able to use a different languages. Machine translation sometimes doesn't allow to have the nuances of how somebody is actually going to speak.

Cat MacDonald: And so I think from my perspective, people are absolutely vital in that robotic processes as well. If the data is not right it doesn't matter how many robots you've got doing... it's never going to help. But actually it's how somebody follows that process, and it might be written down in one way but actually they do all this stuff as well that nobody ever wrote down. So you have to capture all of that and build that into the robot.

Cat MacDonald: I mean, I made a commitment with one of our customers a year ago that we would remove email as one of the channels and we would remove phone. And she was like, "Oh, you can't do that." And I'm like, "Why would we not?" We should be in a position where we can actually recognise when you've got machines going down from proactive monitoring. We should be able to see when there's cash building up. We should be able to be the orchestration in the background that says, "That machine needs a reboot," or, "That till was not going to work anymore," or this... We should be able to do all that.

Cat MacDonald: So you shouldn't ever be in a position where you need to pick the phone up. But what we should be able to do is support and add value through the other channels, so web chat, through virtual agents, through portal. And I think that we are nearly there, but it goes back to the demographics of the end user environment. It goes back to their behaviours. It's what they're used to. So many people are used to picking the phone up. And I never phone the bank and I don't phone Amazon. I should shop quite happily. But in a work place a lot of people are still wedded to the traditional, "I'm going to pick the phone up because I get a better result if I phone Sami directly and fix it for me here." Actually they would get that same experience through a virtual agent, but it comes to trust. It comes to how that's communicated within their organisation. But I think we're not far away.

Janne Kaihila: Yeah. And basically all that, how I'm seeing at how it's developing at this moment as a service desk role and the specialist work is actually... and what has been my answers to the people when then they're asking, "Okay, am I losing my job?" But actually we are changing the service desk. Meaning that actually when all these kinds of predictive analytics is coming to the workstation environments, so basic IT support goes behind the curtains which turns to be invisible, but actually we are going in the service desk for customer business processes, for example, read the [inaudible 00:15:02] flow management or hotel booking systems or wherever.

Janne Kaihila: So basically we are going to support customer's business processes, and there is so huge amount of data, what you should know then, and that also coming that, okay, you need to have a platform, technology basis which actually provide you the technology to provide value for the customer and users. Because in those processes, again they are still in the first curve of the automation activities and not possibly always as that formal as traditional IT processes. So I see it developing there in our area.

Sami Kallio: I also have been always so worried about the agent's work because it's so... you're taking phone calls from all over the world maybe with whatever IT problem. Customer is angry and you have to know everything. Nobody is like that. Then we have the millennials coming in. When they call they have already checked 10 YouTube videos. So the problem is really, really hard. But that is kind of what they're living now. But I think what you said about how this area is changing I would say that there shouldn't be fear. There should be kind of a hope even there if we really are able with the technology to help them to be...

Cat MacDonald: And they are best people to support the virtual agents. So all our virtual agents are supported by people that used to work on a service desk. So they know how that conversation is going to go.

Sami Kallio:  So you were doing it.

Cat MacDonald: They deal with the back end. Yeah. They do try, my English isn't that good, so it's a struggle. But also over the road... So usually when you had service desk agents come into an organisation, Fujitsu size, they would want to go into technology. They'd want to go into being engineers or to get them into code and all the rest of it. So what we've done is we said, "Well, actually you come in and write robotics." So you go and do the rest. So we put robotic process in their training. They do their own robotic use cases. So they can see all the different things that they would do and waste effort on that were repetitive and doing the same thing time and time again and they go off and get a robot to do that.

Cat MacDonald: We called him Desmond, our robot because RPA I find difficult to say. So Desmond the robot. So they get Desmond to do it. So that gives them more time to spend actually giving value out to the customer because... but there're finding their own use cases rather than somebody coming along and saying, "You need to do that."

Sami Kallio: Guys, the last question. We have now about 30 big enterprises here. So if you summarise what is what your company and you will do in the next year or two to really boost the end user experience? So this is your star moment.

Janne Kaihila: Well, basically we could go through what kind of technical solutions there is about that. I would actually go to the detail of what we just did and where we are taking learning curves. And this is actually something in which details we are actually looking after when we are talking of customer experience. One of Tieto employees was actually studying in university Finnish language and she needed to do of course a thesis. And she did the thesis of utilising foreign language as a support function as... for example, it's commonly known that our biggest customer centre is in Estonia and Finish speaking persons are roughly... Finnish speaking person is roughly half and another half is persons who are not speaking natively Finnish.

So we did the study of does it have influence to the customer service, and we had quite interesting expectations that it might have because there's a cultural differences. There's differences of are you picking what word when you are daily serving the customer. We were recording hundreds of calls and collected that with the Happy Signals data. So we were looking at how satisfied customers are. And then we started analysing call by call and actually it doesn't have any impact of the customer satisfaction. There was much, much more important things where to focus on. How you lead the call, how are you saying, "How can I help you?" et cetera. So it turns actually the behaviour.

And this is just a small example. And now we are taking those output to call coaching methods et cetera. But this is nothing technical as such, but just an example how we are seeing the customer experience and how detailed level we want to deliver the customer satisfaction and employee experience to the better level.

Sami Kallio: So it's about job skills.

Janne Kaihila: It's about job skills, yeah.

Sami Kallio: How about you, Cat?

Cat MacDonald: I mean, I am determined to fulfil my promise to my customer about we're turning the phones off. So we're working towards that. But I think also for me it's using... with Happy Signals it's not just about the desk for me. It's about all the different service management processes that go alongside that. So it absolutely feeds into problem management, into change management, how... So you have a change, it goes wrong, and then you can see the impact immediately because you'll get a dip in the score and it comes back in.

So it's how we take that and then we develop it further across the whole SIEM interface as well. So when you're working in a SIEM world where you've got multiple different suppliers and we'd have to work together and it'd be like, "I'm not sharing anything with you and you're not... " It's making it so that it becomes that transparency. As companies, we've all got unique things that we can do. We've all got really strong areas. We've got areas we're possibly not strong in, but we have to walk to work together to deliver to our customers. And I think that that's the key thing over the next kind of 12 to 18 months for me, is pushing through with SIEM to ensure that we have all the relevant different tooling working together to deliver that overarching kind of delivery outcome based to the end user, to the customer.

Sami Kallio: Guys, this was... We could continue an hour more.

Cat MacDonald: It was fun [crosstalk 00:21:25].

Janne Kaihila: [inaudible 00:21:25].

Sami Kallio: I will thank you guys and then maybe we'll continue this discussion a bit later on today. But thank you very much.

Cat MacDonald: Thank you.

Janne Kaihila: Thank you.

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