Published on September 30th, 20101
How LEGO rebuilt IT support
An IT support consolidation project has led to LEGO creating a globally adopted system for managing internal processes, learn how it unfolded here.
LEGO has grown from a small carpenter’s workshop to a modern, global enterprise that is now the world’s fifth largest manufacturer of toys and largest manufacturer of construction toys. Its IT support operation looks after 5000 staff, managing 60,000 incidents and 5,500 changes per year.
LEGO was one of the first organisations in Denmark to implement a help desk solution in 2002. Prior to installing assyst from Axios Systems, four systems were used to automate processes for:
- Changes in development
- Changes in IT infrastructure
- Asset Management
- The general Help Desks.
In 2004, a strategic decision was made to combine the four systems into one application, and ITIL was seen as an ideal framework to do this effectively.
Lene Dueholm, director of project and administration support at LEGO, explained the decision to introduce ITIL and assyst to streamline operational efficiency and service availability. “We wanted to consolidate these four applications into one to reduce our maintenance costs and Total Cost of Ownership (TCO). Integration between the four systems was already costing us too much time and, with the business rapidly growing internationally, it was becoming increasingly difficult to import data from one system to another. Besides, we wanted to enforce ITIL processes, and thereby common procedures, throughout the company”.
Another challenge was to consolidate the multiple help desks, located in Denmark, Mexico, USA, Czech Republic, Hungary and the UK, which offered support locally, into one single service desk in order to ensure an improved and more transparent overview of all incidents. Additionally, to further management of 16,000 assets, a comprehensive, federated CMDB (Configuration Management Database) had to be put in place.
“To avoid favoring one of the existing systems, we kick-started a project to choose one system that would best serve all of our requirements”, Dueholm continues. “We needed to consolidate the four systems without losing the benefits each of them offered. The solution had to be flexible enough to be maintained without increasing the IT headcount, and at the same time be aligned with ITIL in order to offer effective control of all the processes.”
Creating a global service desk was seen as the necessary means to provide the rapidly growing business with a pro-active service. This involved creating a single, central point of contact between the end-users and IT department to achieve a consolidated view across incident, problem, change, asset and configuration management processes. After extensive research of various vendors, assyst by Axios Systems was chosen as the most flexible and configurable platform with the lowest TCO.
Consolidated service desk
One of the main aims of this implementation was for LEGO to create a single global service desk to serve end-users in their corporate offices worldwide. Currently LEGO has offices in 34 countries, all of which are served by 6 local first line support centres. Local support specialists register the calls in the same system and have access to a single knowledge base. There are two global support centres, located in the US and Denmark, which handle calls from territories where LEGO has no local support, and are also responsible for escalations and major changes. Second and third line support is managed by the team in Denmark.
As a result of this consolidation, incident resolution times have been reduced significantly, and the first line resolution rate has increased. By using Axios’ assystNET self-service portal, LEGO gave its business users the ability to log their own incidents and track the progress of their resolution, thus reducing the workload of the service desk. The web interface is available to users in their local language. By offering a single point of contact, LEGO simplified the interactions between the end-users with the IT department, which in turn improved communication, business productivity and overall customer satisfaction.
For the IT staff, the consolidation reduced the number of routine calls they received, thus providing them with a more varied and interesting work environment, and creating further opportunities for career development. Team work and communication have improved and staff retention has increased, which for LEGO has resulted in a higher Return On Investment (ROI) for staff training.
Implementing a comprehensive CMDB provided LEGO with excellent visibility of IT assets and all software licenses globally. In order to keep the database up-to-date, auto-discovery is run twice a day and the information is imported into the assyst CMDB through the CMDB gateway. This provides LEGO with accurate information on all IT assets, which has led to significant cost savings through improved equipment utilisation and license portfolio management.
The assyst CMDB is also widely used by the finance department for financial planning and managing costs. All costs relating to Configuration Items (CIs) are registered in the assyst CMDB – including the employees’ mobile phone bills, which are logged manually in the system against the corresponding telephone. As a result, finance has a comprehensive overview of all equipment-related costs, providing them with a solid foundation to forecast future costs.
In addition, LEGO has the opportunity to reduce costs through more efficient use of technology and resources, such as using assyst to manage changes within its SAP application.
“With assyst we can provide our business customer, in this case the SAP team, with stability and required availability levels of the SAP application. All changes to our SAP solution are handled by assyst,” explains Dueholm. “We manage the full lifecycle of changes from request, through to approval, implementation and review. This has provided us with better visibility and control over changes and has reduced the timescales for implementing changes.”
Multi-level workflows have been developed in assyst to manage the change process, providing LEGO with a proactive, automated and integrated approach to minimize business risks. They also enable better assessment of costs for proposed changes before they are incurred.
“We have also implemented service desks for facilities management and HR, using exactly the same assyst application as IT. Now the facilities team is equipped with a system which helps them manage the building maintenance.”
Local service desks for the facilities functions in Denmark, Mexico, US, Hungary and the Czech Republic all use assyst, which has been configured to manage maintenance requests. The requests are registered in the system and assigned to the relevant department. All maintenance activities carried out are logged against the request, enabling the facilities team to track the progress and run reports on all activities related to a specific request or building.
The HR service desks that serve LEGO employees globally are located in Denmark and the US. Any questions that an employee might have – from allowances to holidays and company cars – can now be logged through the self-service portal or over the phone. The questions are routed to the corresponding department and answered by the local HR team. The employees are then able to track feedback and current status of their requests. All of this is managed within the assyst system.
“The aim of our project was to consolidate four different systems into one single application, in order to gain more control and have a clearer view of all IT processes. For us, it is extremely beneficial to have incident, asset, configuration and change management consolidated into one tool – it saves a lot of time and money.
“Another important benefit we have achieved is transparency. Having one single system in place provides us with an overview of our IT infrastructure and environment. We now all speak the same language and feel that we have chosen the right solution to achieve all of these goals,” Dueholm concludes.