Desktop outsourcer brings help desk in-house

Bucking a trend that is key to its own business livelihood, an outsourcing contractor on NASA's seat management contract is bringing its helpdesk operation back inhouse to improve service for its federal customers.

Bucking a trend that is key to its own business livelihood, an outsourcing contractor on NASA's seat management contract is bringing its help-desk operation back in-house to improve service for its federal customers.

Intellisource Information Systems Inc., Vienna, Va., which provides desktop services to about 14,000 NASA employees at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland and the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., has consolidated its computer help-desk services into its own facility at GRC. Intellisource has ended a subcontract with CompuCom Systems Inc., Dallas, for help-desk services and is now operating its own single help desk, called the IntelliCenter.

"To better integrate the help desk with the enterprise approach, it made sense to have our own infrastructure," said Tor Opsahl, vice president for Intellisource's Aerospace and Enterprise Services Division.

Intellisource was awarded a $14 million contract as part of the Outsourcing Desktop Initiative for NASA in October 1998 to provide services at Goddard. The company also has been providing for more than 15 years similar services at GRC, which will be included in the ODIN award slated for July 2000, said Mark Hagerty, ODIN program manager for NASA.

That contract also will include services at NASA's Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif.; Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va.; and Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., for a total of about 17,000 seats, he said.

ODIN is a 10-year initiative to enable federal agencies to privatize their desktop computing environments, and it is expected to generate $4 billion to $13 billion in business during its lifetime. Seven vendors were chosen by NASA to compete for work at 10 of the agency's centers and at other government agencies.

Intellisource's new 24-hour help desk at GRC will help the company expand its services and make better use of its resources as it manages more seats, Opsahl said.

Since the early spring of 1999, the number of ODIN seat orders at Goddard has increased about 10 percent to 15 percent, he said.

The company plans to compete for the ODIN contract that covers Glenn, Ames, Dryden and Langley, he said.

Bringing the help desk in-house at Intellisource already has worked to NASA's advantage but does not give Intellisource any additional leverage for future ODIN awards, Hagerty said.

"The help-desk service was suffering a bit at Goddard in the past with the subcontracting arrangement," Hagerty said. "Now [when you call the help desk] you talk to someone with corporate knowledge who is using the same software."

Opsahl said Intellisource's biggest difficulty when using CompuCom for help-desk services was integrating the help-desk systems with those used by ODIN customers.

To monitor service quality, the IntelliCenter uses a proprietary system for tracking and maintaining accountability of all service actions, including service requests, sales orders, problem management and customer follow-up.

About 20 people work at the help desk, Opsahl said, but that number will grow as more customers use ODIN.

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