Managed Services: Serious Fun

Managed Services: Serious Fun

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Take a tour of Computer Service Partners' network operation center (pictured), and you'll find all the key tools you need to remotely manage and troubleshoot customer networks. Plus, a putting green. Yes... a putting green. It's part of Computer Service Partners' effort to recruit and retain hard-working, talented employees. Here's the story.

Based in Raleigh, N.C., Computer Service Partners has roughly 50 employees. When you find a stellar engineer who truly understands pro-active managed services "you want to hold onto them," says John Kilgore, director of managed services at the company. With that goal in mind, CSP spent roughly $3,000 in extra "upgrades" and "perks" in and around its Network Operation Center (NOC).

The story starts last summer, when CSP began a two-student internship program with Eastern Carolina University. "Having the interns from a college nearby really opened my eyes to what new recruits were looking for in a company culture after they graduated college," recalls Kilgore. "We saw with our own eyes the new breed of engineer that was coming down the pipe and made a decisive action to prepare for the future."

Toy Story

When CSP asked the interns in their exit interview what they wished they had more of during their tenure at CSP, they said “More toys.”

"More Toys?," recalls Kilgore. "We’re a technology company – what else could you want? We couldn’t understand."

But the light bulb came on when CSP began to build out its NOC. Engineers received the typical tools -- PCs, dual-monitors, and Bluetooth headsets. Then the engineers asked for 50-inch LCD screens.

"When the 50’ screens arrived, they were speechless," says Kilgore. "Again we asked them what else they would like. Jokingly, they said, 'A putting green.'  Again we said, 'Yes.' ”

Some of the NOC engineers asked to work from home a day or so a week.  CSP bought them a VOIP phone, a router, and said “Here you go,” recalls Kilgore.

Drawing the Line

Pushing their luck, employees asked if they could play Nintendo Wii on one of the extra 50’ screens during downtime.  Kilgore said, “On your lunch hour.”

"All of this may seem like a lot, but for about $3000.00 we created a NOC team," asserts Kilgore.

Previously, the “team” was scattered around cubicles and sat next to each other sometimes asking each other for help. "There’s been a culture shift here – and it’s a good one," says Kilgore. "We get more done proactively than ever before because of the brain-share.  Now they spend the day closely helping each other and our clients – and it’s a win-win for everyone.  It truly embodies what Managed Services is."

Oh, and about that putting green: The internal record is 21 consecutive putts in the cup. "The NOC staff challenges you to visit and beat it," quips Kilgore. "But be warned they have a lot of pride and practice."

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