IAG staff form Gen-i team

A Wellington-based online support team set up by Gen-i employing staff from insurance firm IAG New Zealand is likely, in time, to service other customers.

A Wellington-based online support team set up by Gen-i employing staff from insurance firm IAG New Zealand is likely, in time, to service other customers.

The systems integrator initially established the group, which has 16 employees, to support a five-year, $40 million outsourcing contract it signed with IAG in August. As part of the deal IAG’s 14 IT staff were transferred to Gen-i. IAG is the new name for NRMA, which owns State Insurance.

“We want them [the former IAG staff] to focus their knowledge and skills on getting us up to speed with IAG, but in the medium term we would want to use their resources across other customers,” says Gen-i’s general manager of infrastructure, Peter Finch.

The group will work with Gen-i’s Auckland online support group of 60 people, which remotely monitors and administers IT infrastructure for about 30 customers, the biggest of which are Air New Zealand, the Department of Corrections and IAG. The company has installed an NEC-based voice over IP network between the two sites. Gen-i also intends to use the online team to support Australian customers, the main one being IAG Australia.

The new team is being trained on Computer Associate’s Unicenter and the CRM system Vantive, which is used for logging customer calls and service requests. Staff are also undergoing training in ITIL (IT Information Library) — a framework for systems management that originated in the UK.

Gen-i has operated an online group in Auckland in four years, which started out as a helpdesk and call-logging centre. It became more sophisticated with the advent of tools from Unicenter which allow it to install software agents on the customers’ equipment. Finch says the online group has two major functions – to provide helpdesk and call centre services and “proactive” systems ad-ministration.

Finch says apart from supporting the IAG contract, the new Wellington-based group provides a degree of diversity and resilience should anything happen in Auckland. “The online group supports a range of customers from a central point. Now we can balance the workload across the second hub to provide business continuity to customers.”

Traditionally IT outsourcers put staff on site at a customer’s data centre or their own data centre. Finch says the advantage of remote management is the outsourcer can start supporting the customers’ equipment immediately.

“There’s no need for them to move their equipment. Some of our customers have their equipment at Telecom’s trade support centres in Auckland and Wellington. They like it that way because they’re physically close to the network and its vendor-neutral.”

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