As the first quarter of 2013 comes to a close and we approach our Safe Systems National Users Conference (NetConnect), I would like to take the opportunity to highlight some of our ongoing initiatives in client services and what I feel are key ingredients to our current and future success. Over the past few years, Safe Systems has been fortunate to have a great deal of growth and we are diligent to remain focused on exceeding our client’s expectations every day.
Our Engineer Team
If you are around me long enough, you may overhear me say “you are only as good as the people you surround yourself with?” In business, this could not be more true. And in our client services department we value our people as are our biggest assets, as this is a critical part of our company culture and service delivery.
I have been involved with recruiting engineers for over three years and I have to say the Information Technology (IT) market is the most competitive it has been since the Internet boom. We continue to adjust our recruiting strategies to make sure we continue to employ the best engineers.
Perhaps you find yourself asking, “Why should I be concerned with Safe Systems’ recruiting strategies?” It’s a fair question. As the technology partner to our clients, we see our company as an extension of their financial institutions, and we are committed to providing the high caliber of service they are accustomed to receiving. To do this, we have to continue to be competitive in the recruiting arena and ensure we are continually improving our team. I’ll take this opportunity to provide a brief overview on some of the things we are doing to ensure we are keeping your network in good hands:
- Introduction of a year-round Internship program
- Enhancing our brand at several Universities via:
- IS/IT college advisory board participation
- Attendance to campus career fairs, classroom/society meetings and various social events
- Ongoing research of IS/IT colleges and we are attending new career fairs each Spring/Fall
- Our Leadership Team
A successful team is a product of a strong leadership team. I believe that our accomplishments as individuals are a direct result of many mentors who have personally invested countless hours in us. I would venture to say that you cannot have one without the other.
This is especially true in client services. At Safe Systems as strive for a “promote from within” culture. In fact, several of our senior management members and middle management members were formerly engineers. As we continue to grow, we are making the investment to add additional layers of mid-level management in our engineering departments. This is a key strategy that will help us maintain the quality of our services by allowing us to:
- Measure contract adherence and operational effectiveness- Monitoring important measures of quality service delivery such as Service Level Adherence (SLA), response times, resolution times, etc.
- Manage engineer development and training initiatives- Additional managers allow us to stay engaged with our engineers via regularly scheduled staff meetings, etc. The management team also oversees the formal onboarding of new analysts and tracks their progress on various training initiatives.
- Oversee process adherence and make continual improvements-We are continually refining processes such as our tiered support model, professional services installations, managed services implementations, maintenance of managed services for managed devices, etc.
A Scalable System
Let’s take a moment to look at an analogy that will help me clarify importance of “a scalable system.” In football, a team is successful when it has three critical pieces that are interdependent- talented players experienced coaches and an effective, executable a game plan or systematic approach of challenging their opponent. Similarly in business, recruiting, leadership, and a dependable method or system are essential to providing the services your clients need.
Since joining the company in 2005, I’ve witnessed several operational changes, and I take pride in saying that each time we make a change, we do this as a result of our customers’ feedback. We’ve undergone several enhancements over the past couple years that we believe will enable us to continue to grow and maintain the same level of business our banks are accustomed to. Some of these improvements include:
- Engineering departments have combined into one consolidated Network Operations Center (NOC)- This includes all managed services, support services or network support, and professional services.
- Tiered support model- This is our systematic approach to addressing all of your support needs regarding managed services or network support. A brief overview of the system includes:
- NOC Coordinator
- Tier 1: New tickets are addressed by this team
- Tier 2: Escalated tickets are addressed by this team
- Tier 3: Consulting team
A Culture of Innovation
One of the things that originally attracted me to IT in college was the fact that it continually evolves, requiring those who are in the field to constantly evolve with it. To remain competitive you must stay abreast of the changes, be willing to change, and embrace learning these new concepts.
These items are critical to any business organization but it is especially important in the IT industry. In client services, we pride ourselves in always being willing to change for the better and this is certainly an important part of our culture at Safe Systems. As a client, it should be encouraging to know that we are always on the lookout for new ways to utilize technology to better serve you. I’d like to elaborate on some things we are doing to improve our services:
- Introduced development-focused leadership to our Managed Services team that focuses on innovation
- Introduced full-time positions geared for automation/innovation
- Leveraged scripting technologies to automate service maintenance and network troubleshooting
Last and certainly not least, the most important contributor to our success is you, our clients. In a reference to my previous football analogy, you are our fans. You are the reason we continue to grow and it’s your valuable feedback that allows us to continue to prosper as your technology partner. We value your feedback to enhance everything we do, and as a result, we have developed several ways to capture it. Some of these include:
- Confidential support surveys
- Confidential project implementation surveys
- Client Services Management Team
- National Users Conference with included user feedback sessions
These are just a few of the things that I consider to be key contributors to our current and ongoing success. I hope by reading this article you have a better understanding of the things that we are doing to continually exceed our banks’ expectations every day.