Enterprise Service Desk Provides Critical IT Support to Veterans Affairs
Every day, more than 500 GDIT employees answer the call for the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), providing on-demand, 24/7/365 IT support to more than 500,000 VA personnel and contractors nationwide. Since 2018, GDIT has provided essential technical and Enterprise Service Desk (ESD) tier 1 support and continuous access to systems and records to front-line doctors and nurses, claims, benefits and memorial staff, and other professionals and contractors serving America’s veterans.
The VA’s Journey to a Managed Service
The VA ESD receives an average of more than 55,000 calls per week. Making sure those calls are appropriately routed and resolved quickly and efficiently is key. To do it, GDIT consolidated 12 VA service desk facilities down to a Single Point of Contact (SPOC) ESD model, co-located between two Integrated Technology Centers (ITCs) in Barbourville, Kentucky, and Bossier City, Louisiana.
This move significantly improved the user experience. It was a transformational effort for the VA in that it involved reimagining the way its service desk should work. These efforts provided cost savings and efficiencies to VA as well as bringing highly skilled, cleared talent from our cost-effective regions of the United States.
Surge Support to Enable Telework
At the height of the COVID-19 crisis in spring 2020, average call volumes to the VA’s ESD surged by 30,000 calls per week. To manage this increase and to continue to support the mission, the GDIT VA ESD staff performed 4,800 hours of overtime in two weeks – the equivalent of 50 additional employees.
The more than 500-person workforce also transitioned to 100% telework while supporting VA employees working remotely, managing all of the access, security and troubleshooting that comes along with a remote-working environment.
Constantly Innovating and Excelling in Performance
The VA ESD Tier 1 staff has consistently outperformed several of its service level agreements (SLAs) with a 98.5% satisfaction rate and a 99.37% Tier 1 first-call resolvable rate in 2020. It responds to over 99% of VA self-service portal issues in one business day.
The team has also dramatically enhanced the customer experience, an overriding and essential objective of the program. The VA ESD utilizes ServiceNow to create incident records, triage, manage its knowledgebase, and troubleshoot basic issues related to end users’ desktops, user access, network access, and printing.
For the VA, GDIT is constantly looking to bring innovation. We introduced robotic process automation (RPA) to further drive self-service within the VA to create additional cost savings and resource efficiency. GDIT has also provided the VA with an alternate means of network authentication, helping ensure it can self-service lockouts while still maintaining the same level of expected security.
Additionally, we adopted a “shift left” methodology that progressively moves calls into the VA ESD from higher to lower tiers. The ultimate goal is to resolve most end-user questions and issues at self-service Tier 0. To do it, we use ServiceNow to collect and analyze tickets and create knowledge articles that are stored within the platform and accessible to the team.