Learndirect transforms technical service desk

Skills and training provider Learndirect is fixing technical issues in just minutes after launching a new technical service desk to support learners and remote tutors.

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Skills and training provider Learndirect is fixing technical issues in just minutes after launching a new technical service desk to support learners and remote tutors.

The solution supports 11 agents at the company’s technical service desk, which is located in its Leicester office and launched last June. It supports learners both at the company’s physical centres and online and deals with technical problems, for example if a course isn’t loading or password issues.

More than 10,000 people log onto Learndirect every day and it trains roughly 20,000 apprentices every year. It has helped to train more than four million people and 75,000 businesses since it was launched in 2000.

Previously employees were able to deal with simple queries but, if using a particular browser or operating system, they couldn’t replicate the issue themselves, so they had to pass on more complex tasks to employees based at their office in Sheffield.

“That was more expensive for us and from the customer’s perspective it is much better to get it fixed straight away”, service delivery manager Alex Panizzi explained.

Service desk solution

She said: “Regarding the service desk, we told Damovo what we were trying to achieve, they designed and put together an appropriate laptop-based solution with different browsers and operating systems, and then implemented that for us.”

The solution consists of an HP laptop environment using VMware Workstation, which allows agents to switch between multiple operating systems, enabling them to replicate end-users operating environments and diagnose issues more effectively. It also uses Windows Deployment Server which allows rapid deployment if there’s a laptop failure.

Panizzi added: “Learndirect has a long history with Damovo and it’s one of our strategic partners. They started a five-year contract as our overall managed service supplier in 2010. They provide the thin clients that the service centre uses, the telephony, web filtering, all the standard things you’d expect from an end-to-end managed service”.

Looking to the future

With the contract due to come to an end in a year, Panizzi said: “We’re starting to think of what we’ll do afterwards, and chatting to Damovo.”

She explained: “For Learndirect as a whole, because we’re providing learning through technology, we want to be at the forefront and innovative side of things. Rather than just go for whatever technology we fancy, we look at the business requirements, chat with suppliers, and go with the partnership approach.”

Learndirect, which was set up by New Labour to improve workforce skills, merged with training company JHP Group in December 2012.

Panizzi said: “This made us much bigger and now we have a much stronger presence around apprenticeships rather than just English and maths. We have a dual delivery model of physical centres and online learning at home. It’s flexible depending on what kind of learner you are and how you like to study.”

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