From outsourced to in-house

In 2002, Herb Schmoll, who was managing end-user services at a global financial services company, got a call from a former boss to join him at Sunbeam Products, and he did, landing at a company that had only recently declared what was then the U.S.'s all-time largest bankruptcy. But Schmoll trusted his former boss, who he had worked for not once, but twice before, and liked the challenge presented to him - to insource user support in two months. In a series of initiatives to reduce costs by about $3 million, IT decided to bring user support services, server and application services and WAN, telecom and AS/400 operations back in-house. For years, the company had outsourced those to Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC). Though the CSC relationship had not been adversarial, IT did expect services to improve after the insourcing, Schmoll says.

In early 2002, Herb Schmoll, who was managing end-user services at a global financial services company, got a call from a former boss to join him at Sunbeam Products. Much to his co-workers' amazement, he made the leap, landing at a company that had only recently declared what was then the U.S.'s all-time largest bankruptcy.

But Schmoll trusted his former boss, who he had worked for not once, but twice before, and liked the challenge presented to him - to insource user support in two months. In a series of initiatives to reduce costs by about $3 million, IT decided to bring user support services, server and application services and WAN, telecom and AS/400 operations back in-house. For years, the company had outsourced those to Computer Sciences Corp. (CSC). Though the CSC relationship had not been adversarial, IT did expect services to improve after the insourcing, Schmoll says.

Hired in late March as manager of end-user services for Sunbeam (now Jarden Consumer Solutions), Schmoll had insourced user-support services by June 1. That effort entailed hiring and training his team (some of whom he picked up from CSC), evaluating and adopting the best of CSC practices (such as a centralized help desk), and selecting basic technology, such as an enterprise-scale incident-tracking tool.

Schmoll characterizes the actual cutover from outsourced to insourced as a "non-event" for employees. They were given mousepads with a new support logo, but that was about the only change they would have noticed, he says. "If someone had a problem, he'd call the same number and use the same extension. He wouldn't know that behind the scenes that call wasn't going to the CSC help desk in Fort Worth, but to our new centralized help desk in Boca Raton," he says.

The decisions Schmoll made regarding the service desk and incident management were in line with the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best-practices road map. For example, for the service desk, he built an SQL-based data repository that let him track and analyze problems and requests - and prepared the way for implementing additional pieces of a services management framework, including problem and change management, both of which were undertaken in 2003.

Schmoll's ITIL work continues, as he works on release management best practices this year and plans on configuration management work as a 2006 agenda item.

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