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Extending a deal

Parmalat Canada had been using an outside provider for help desk services, but when the contract ended it turned to a long-time VAR partner and added to that relationship

One of the food service industry’s best-known suppliers of milk and butter is hoping to smooth out its IT issues by putting more resources on the service desk of its Canadian operation.

Parmalat Canada is expanding its 10-year relationship with CCSI CompuCom with a three-year deal to provide onshore support.

Since February, the two firms said, CCI CompuCom has been handling some 700 calls a month, with an average response time of 30 seconds.

The deal includes support in both English and French on a 24-hour basis year-round.

Mississauga Ont.-based Parmalat Canada, a subsidiary of the Italian dairy producer and distributor, operates 19 facilities and employs approximately 1,200 users across the country.

CompuCom, which is headquartered in Dallas, is a managed service provider that made a significant foray into Canada two years ago when its corporate parent, Platinum Equity, purchased General Electric’s IT Solutions unit for an undisclosed sum.

It has a staff of 6,000 across North America in seven offices, including Calgary and Mississauga.

Praises Canada
CCSI CompuCom vice-president Karen Jenks said prior to the GE ITS deal, the company operated help desk facilities in Dallas and Arizona, but because of the quality of staff here has since migrated some of the work in Arizona to GE ITS’s old location in Mississauga.

Parmalat Canada had been working with Hewlett-Packard Canada for the last year, but when the contract came up the company issued a request for proposal to test the waters, according to its IT manager, Vince Campanelli.

CCSI CompuCom made the cut not only because of its existing relationship with Parmalat for other IT services, including the purchase of hardware and software, but because of its ability to retain help desk staff in Canada for five or more years, Campanelli said.

“They really stress the development of their agents,” Campanelli said.

CompuCom is using a product called Clarify to manage the service desk requests, providing first-level support for IT issues with its legacy system, Microsoft applications and the SAP system Parmalat installed three years ago.

If issues can’t be resolved by a preliminary investigation, they are dispatched either to Parmalat’s own staff or other CompuCom staff.

Starts with workshop
Jenks said CCSI CompuCom typically conducts a “service definition” workshop with clients before a service desk engagement begins, where both parties agree on what is handled internally and what is not.

“Those parameters are then documented for the help desk analyst and reviewed,” she said.

Parmalat first started working with outside providers on its service desk shortly after it began the SAP implementation, Campanelli said. At that time the peak call volumes were around 900, but since starting with CCSI CompuCom they have been reduced, he said.

“We didn’t even tell our users we were making this transition,” he said. “But we’ve already heard from them that the service has improved.”

CompuCom has been aggressively hiring in Canada since the GE ITS deal, Jenks said, and has been pleasantly surprised by its success in hiring help desk analysts for the Mississauga location.