Published on 27-Oct-2011
Validated on 03 Jun 2013
"We have maintained service levels at 99.2 percent or more. That’s amazing, considering we conduct 18,000 calls [in North America] per year. " - Joseph Salamon, director, global third-party maintenance operations, NetApp
IBM on-site maintenance and technical support services enhance NetApp customer satisfaction
With an average of 1,500 service calls per month, NetApp needed a highly proficient, responsive third-party maintenance provider to support its products and customers located throughout North America.
In a four-month period, IBM Global Technology Services – maintenance and technical support identified and trained 1,100 technicians whose performance exceeded the 95 percent service level agreement.
· Achieves award-winning, scalable North American service support, attaining a 99.2 percent service level agreement rating · Uses a single vendor model for greater service consistency, ease of management and a 40 percent cost savings · Uses multilevel channel training solutions for greater customer support, productivity and process efficiencies
Improving storage performance and efficiency was the basic premise behind the first NetApp product offering in 1992. Nearly two decades later, NetApp is recognized as one of the industry leaders in the data storage market. Today, the company employs approximately 10,000 people, offers more than 60 data storage products and boasts a loyal, worldwide customer base.
Conquering the challenges of exceptional growth
Success, rapid growth and the accompanying service and support challenges became a double-edged sword for NetApp. The company’s customer base was too large and geographically dispersed to successfully establish a cost-effective, in-house service group. NetApp recognized that efficient delivery of high-quality maintenance and repair services was best left to shared resource providers. The company created its global third-party maintenance operations organization to selectively choose the best service providers. NetApp invested significantly in extensive training for each of its vendors’ nearly 1,100 field technicians that provide on-site care for its most valuable asset: its customers.
Increasing support efficiency by shrinking the number of service providers
As the company’s support strategy evolved, the NetApp global third-party maintenance operations had as many as 42 shared services providers around the world. Vice President of Global Support Operations for NetApp Bruce Shadmehri describes the challenges: “It was obvious that we had to make a drastic change in this part of the business. Our customers were unhappy about support, our costs were too high, and internally we were hemorrhaging. trying to manage too many vendors. We knew we had to create the right organization, design the right cost model and consolidate our vendor base for both NetApp and the vendor to become efficient.” To reduce its number of service providers. NetApp chose IBM Global Technology Services – maintenance and technical support, which was previously responsible for 10 percent of its service delivery as the company’s sole North American services provider.
Yielding notable success by merging technical resources and product education
Transitioning to a sole service provider was a calculated risk. IBM maintenance and technical support identified more than 1,100 resources that were expeditiously trained by NetApp to service NetApp hardware. During the preparation for consolidation, the IBM and NetApp teams soon recognized that more extensive NetApp product and service training was essential to ensure quality support to customers. Using feedback and guidance from IBM, NetApp took its global third-party maintenance education programs to a whole new level. In four months, IBM successfully transitioned the multivendor support environment to an IBM shared services environment—a remarkably brief transition period. The flawless transition was recognized by the IBM National Competency Center, earning the team the coveted Global 2007 Project of the Year award for superb handling of the complex service transition.
Today, NetApp continues its heavy emphasis on product training. “We have launched a training organization and developed several hands-on programs to extensively train every field technician. We deliver different levels of certifications and training. We’re pushing the skill limits of the field technicians,” states Director of Global Third-party Maintenance Operations, Joseph Salamon. NetApp conducts on-site technician refresher training every two years for each IBM service representative. The company invested in a web-based virtual classroom that provides technicians with quarterly training and access to the latest NetApp product maintenance and repair updates. “We significantly invested in an in-house system and infrastructure called Net2. Through this infrastructure, NetApp is able to deliver a set of customer-specific work instructions to each technician before they go on-site,” Joseph Salamon explains. “The tool reinforces our training. Technicians know exactly what part they’re replacing and are required to follow step-by-step graphical instructions delivered by the Net2 system.”
Earning huge returns on relationship investments
NetApp viewed its IBM contract as more than a service agreement; it was an investment in a strategic, long-term relationship. NetApp relies on IBM expertise to run its services business. The reduction in service providers and the extensive investment in training and systems infrastructure by NetApp demonstrated the company’s commitment to the relationship. NetApp was so impressed with the successful IBM engagement that it adopted the service provider education models worldwide.
The current contract requires a minimum service level of 95 percent, with predefined corrective actions associated with underperformance and bonuses tied to exceeding the goal. In contrast, previous vendors’ contracts had an 80 percent service level agreement goal. Joseph Salamon describes the time response objective ratings achieved since its relationship with IBM: “We work very close with IBM and continue to invest significantly in systems and IBM field personnel training. As a result, we have maintained service levels at 99.2 percent or more. That’s fantastic performance, considering we conduct over 18,000 dispatches with approximately 1,100 field technicians [in North America] per year.” Joseph Salamon continues: “There are definitely lots of benefits to vendor consolidation. IBM provides scalability and mass coverage that is hard to match.”
Generating industry recognition through customer satisfaction
In 2010, the response time objective performance of NetApp garnered the attention of the IT industry. The third quarter CIO Insight 2010 Vendor Value Survey1 ranked NetApp as the number one company for meeting service level agreements. The survey measures how US organizations perceive the value of their IT vendors’ product and service offerings and the overall satisfaction with the support these vendors provide. According to Joseph Salamon, the company’s relationship with IBM and joint commitment to customer success contributed to NetApp being recognized for outstanding customer service. In fact, NetApp extended its IBM contract well in advance of the scheduled expiration date. Joseph Salamon concludes: "I’ve used IBM to deliver break-fix services while at several different companies, and I always been happy with IBM performance and commitment to partnership.”
For more information
To learn more about the IBM Global Technology Services - maintenance and technical support, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: ibm.com/services/maintenance
Products and services used
IBM products and services that were used in this case study.
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