Here’s a fun trip down memory lane… Does anybody remember a conference call where somebody turned their camera on when joining? Back then, it was quite the show of technical prowess. Our calendars had gaps, and we picked up the phone when it rang because collaboration was spur-of-the-moment and not booked in. From the perspective of an IT department, employees tended to work from one office location which made device management – providing a fresh headset, getting a laptop set up for new starters, collecting devices from leavers – a manageable and fairly stable process.
Fast forward to 2020 and we were in the midst of the “great smash and grab” for laptops in the bid to turn office employees into home workers. We cleared desks for monitors, repurposed desktops, dusted off old working devices, and scrabbled to make virtual workspaces/applications work remotely for our teams. Dreams of hardware standardisation faded away, it was a case of get what you can and trying to make it work.
Joiners-Movers-Leavers (JML) functions were put under strain
Supporting the new hybrid working world was like playing whack-a-mole, and coupling that with vastly different employee expectations meant that the JML function of IT Operations teams was, and continues to be under enormous strain. Attracting and retaining talent isn’t just the duty of recruitment anymore. A new “retail-like” experience crept into what was expected from JML Operations. Pressure mounted to deliver engaging, intuitive joining experiences that would stir up that first feeling of “I’m valued” in new joiners.
The reverse of this seemed to be an even bigger challenge, getting equipment back when employees left. The success rates for the retrieval of IT equipment are uncomfortably low. But his should come as no surprise. Co-ordinating couriers is challenging if it’s a full-time role, but almost impossible when it’s an IT team trying to do more with less. That narrow window of compliance when a leaver will help you to retrieve assets is often missed, because retrieval is not IT’s primary function.
“My IT Department feels like a shipping department”
As an End User Solutions consultant this is what I hear all day from our customers – “my IT department feels like a shipping department”. It’s such a massively inefficient time drain, and frustration costs talent. Skilled workers are spending hours configuring devices and chasing couriers. So almost in unison the market said, “I can’t do this anymore!”
We saw this coming. At Softcat, we already had a suite of hybrid working solution services, and in summer 2020 we began scaling these solutions up to meet the increased customer demand. This demand went beyond configuration, deployment and decommissioning services, which we’d normally supply in project or DaaS settings. We needed to prepare for a huge demand for an outsource of JML Operations. This is why we built our Managed Device Lifecycle Service (MDL).
Softcat’s Managed Device Lifecycle Service
With dedicated Service Delivery Management and Helpdesk operatives, our MDL Service is bringing huge swathes of time back to our customers, helping them drive efficiency and innovation through IT in their industry. JML Operations are now just a few clicks from being a slick and professional process for their employees.
What are the benefits of our MDL Service?
The right device, in the right hands, at the right time. Our customers need to be a few clicks away from delighting joiners with a new-start pack – branded inserts, their tech stack, peripherals, even a welcome note from their CEO and a water bottle with the company logo. Whether just a laptop or your fancy design, it’s a few clicks from being there right on time, thanks to our MDL service.
And for leavers – there’s only that tiny gap of compliance where an employee will help their old employer to retrieve their IT goods – there we are, on the doorstep with protective packaging, ready to take the device(s) back to our facility for refurbishment and erasure, ready to be the next joiner’s shiny new laptop.
Carrying out in-field ‘hot swap’ replacements for defective hardware, means that a user is up and running again in no time at all. Our teams will collect the defective unit when convenient, jump on the phone to the manufacturer, triage and co-ordinate the repair job.. This saves our customers precious time and resource at all angles because we utilise our ability to get the workspace to the user quickly.
We’re not stopping there though. There’s much more development to come in this space, where modular service automation bolt-ons bring greater and greater agility – but no spoilers for now. If you’d like to find out more about Softcat’s MDL Service or get in touch with our experts, then please visit our dedicated MDL landing page.