Performance Improvement

IT onboarding at ROCK

Whether unassuming and commonplace or cutting-edge and exotic, the various parts that come together to form organisations’ digital infrastructures are now typically as integral to their success as their employees and the goods and services they offer.

For this reason, when an organisation joins ROCK, it is imperative that the resulting handover/connection process is both smooth and effective. Our goal, put simply, is to enable a seamless switch from prior providers to ourselves – something that is enabled by our dedicated onboarding team.

We spoke to Jane Thomas, our onboarding lead, to discuss how new clients are brought under ROCK’s wing, how we streamline the process, how onboarding typically works and, perhaps most importantly of all, the ways in which she strives to provide new clients with a personalised and affirming experience.

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Kim Aitchison
Kim Aitchison Chief of Staff

As ROCK’s onboarding lead, what are your main responsibilities?

I’d say you can boil it down to two things. Firstly, coordinating the onboarding team and, secondly, to ensure that all new clients enjoy an outstanding experience whilst we undergo the process of getting them up and running.

In terms of coordination, I arrange on-site visits from engineers and all fact-finding exercises. I also correspond with any previous vendors to collect all essential information such as credentials, existing setups etc. all whilst keeping the client informed.

I collect all of the information we need to begin providing our services and do so by liaising with prior providers/vendors, arranging any on-site engineer visits and speaking with the client’s technical contact directly. Additionally – and, I would say, vitally – I aim to ensure that each client’s onboarding experience is exceptional from start to finish. Fact-finding, coordinating visits etc. are important but establishing a relationship with clients and their various stakeholders, keeping them in the loop, allaying their concerns and being personable are also essential to ROCK’s onboarding process.

Could you outline the technical aspects of ROCK’s onboarding process?

The first thing I do when onboarding a new client is liaise with staff across ROCK that were involved in the bidding process and those that will be responsible for fulfilling the service following the onboarding process having finished. We’ll get together and discuss who the client is, what they do, what's important to them and so on. This makes sure everyone is singing from the same hymn sheet and that I’ve gathered all the information I can from in-house sources so the client doesn’t need to repeat themselves.

Following this, I create a bespoke onboarding project for each client and then ensure that I’ve emailed them within 24 hours to introduce myself, welcome them to ROCK and arrange a call with their nominated stakeholder at a convenient time. During this call, I summarise the onboarding process and book in any on-site visits that may be required. This call is then summarised and the notes are emailed to the client. I send a further email, containing a link to ROCK’s information gathering form following this.

This form is used to collect salient information such as the client’s various stakeholders and their contact details, the locations of their offices and whether any employees work remotely. It’s also used to obtain the client’s permission to contact their previous provider. Once I have the information, I update our internal systems, assign stakeholder’s permissions within ROCK’s client portal and, if required, contact their previous provider to start collecting information from them.

Once credentials have been obtained, ROCK commence the process of remotely installing our software across their network and devices. We also undertake a network probe to ascertain information about their infrastructure prior to our on-site visit. Typically, this will collect information about switches, cyber security measures, routers, software etc. The client is then sent an itinerary relating to their on-site visit. This outlines the tasks the engineer will complete on the day including the installation of software, asset tagging, fact-finding and so on.

The engineer that attends will then inform me of any information they’ve been unable to collect and, during a follow-up call with the client, I’ll inform them of this and what we require, while also collecting feedback regarding their visit and providing them with an appraisal of ROCK’s likely activities throughout the first few months of the contract. Again, I send the client a summary of our conversation so that they are aware of what we require, know the ways in which our provisions will be limited until this information has been received and all other salient information.

Following this, the onboarding process is deemed to be complete and the client is assigned to their dedicated and fully-briefed client relationship manager.

You’ll typically be the first member of ROCK that clients speak to after they’ve signed up. Does this affect your approach?

Yes, absolutely. I’m very mindful of the fact that I’m the first person a client will speak to after they’ve joined ROCK. I’m establishing foundations for our relationship from this point onward so make a concerted effort to be friendly, personable and to make the onboarding experience an enjoyable one. I’m naturally a very friendly and talkative person so that comes easily to me, though. I really enjoy meeting new people – and that includes our clients.

In your experience, what deficiencies do you see most regularly regarding client’s existing setups?

I can answer that in one word: backups. Clients regularly come to us with backup solutions that simply don’t consider all possible eventualities. It’s not uncommon for clients to have no backup in place at all, in fact.

Whilst we can’t put an optimum solution in place until we’ve fully audited their infrastructures, we can’t leave clients without backups for obvious reasons. This means that we regularly have to source and implement short-term solutions that are sufficiently robust with very little notice. This often poses a challenge, but I’m proud to say it’s one we’ve risen to time and time again.

What do you consider to be your greatest achievement at ROCK?

I’ve spearheaded a lot of change within the onboarding team. I think I've brought a fresh perspective to existing procedures and vitally, have been trusted to enact change where I think it’s been required and the process is far more effective and, ultimately, quick as a result – meaning clients are much happier.

How does ROCK compare to other places you’ve worked?

I’ve worked in corporate environments before and found that change was always enacted at the top-level. ROCK is different in that everyone is encouraged to share their ideas here –  and there’s a supportive culture that creates an environment within which it’s clear that all opinions are valued.

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