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Velocity Smart Collect™ transforms the business performance of IT Managed Service Providers 

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The world has changed a great deal for IT Managed Service Providers (MSPs) in the last few years. While the request for innovation from customers and the commoditisation of Workplace support services was prevalent before the pandemic, the seismic shifts to customers' offices and the rise of remote working caused by the pandemic, have put even further pressure on IT Managed Service Providers. Margins are tighter than ever and IT MSPs are struggling to adapt their business models to keep up with radically different demands from customers. 

The Challenge  

Everything is digital, except Workplace Support 

 Pretty much everything which IT MSP’s deliver has become simpler over the last ten years, with that overused expression of “everything has moved to the cloud”. From data centres and servers to application management and deployment, even to automated dev-ops activities, mostly things are now largely automated, repeatable, and able to be support autonomously or remotely.  

 Everything it seems, except the provision of local Workplace “desktop support”, which is still largely a manual and labour-intensive activity. For the last 40 years, it has been provided by local support resources, working in each customer office, providing support of employees’ laptops and equipment, and solving problems from configuration issues to hardware failures. 

 And while some of this workload, including device management and application deployment, have been automated, and some support is now handled by remote service desks, the job of local onsite support is still a labour intensive and costly service to provide. 

The labour-intensive cost of onsite support 

 This onsite support is expensive to provide for a 8am-6pm working day, and is only provided in most businesses Monday to Friday. You want to provide the service 24/7 for, say, a factory or airport? The cost suddenly skyrockets – to guarantee the provision of 1 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) resource for 24 hours requires 5 resources (3 x 8 hour shifts, 1 person additional for sickness, 1 person for training and annual leave coverage).  

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 Worse, the service provided by onsite support resources is often the most complained about by customers. Overworked support staff, who can often only resolve between 6 and 10 requests per day, buried away in a dark corner of a building, are often struggling with the demand from their customers, who are frustrated about having to queue for help, or chase the support resource around the office looking for assistance.  

While this is one of the most manual labour-intensive service offerings provided by IT MSP’s, it is also one of the services pushed hardest on price by customers with the highest expectation of service delivery quality. The market is intense, with lower cost MSP’s selling service cheaper, reducing margins for everyone, with the larger MSP’s now leaving this hard-fought marketplace behind, seeking the easier profits of cloud based digital services. 

The IT Asset Management problem 

 One of the key activities which makes up the day-to-day work of local IT support is “IT Asset Management” - the delivery and collection of IT equipment to employees; even in this day and age, this makes up a swapping 20% to 40% of onsite support resources time. Despite the sizeable part of the local support resources time, very little innovation has been delivered to help improve how these activities are provided. 

 In fact, an employee’s request for new IT equipment still takes 2.9 days on average to deliver. Those expensive highly-trained IT support engineers are spending up to 40% of their precious time, acting as mail-room guys, and providing a time-consuming service that doesn’t meet the needs of modern businesses. 

 In the 1990s and 2000s employees used to take their work, IT (laptops and mobiles) home to enrich their homelives,  but by the last decade, this trend had been reversed, with the technology and apps used by every one of us surpassing the quality of services we were being provided by our employers.  

The Arrival of Amazon Hub Locker 

 An example of this came in 2015 when Amazon launched “Hub Lockers into shopping centres and offices worldwide. Suddenly customers could collect their orders, when and where they wanted, all with the ease of the normal Amazon app.  Amazon_Locker_05

 Business leaders around the world looked at this Amazon idea and saw in them the innovation they had been looking for from their workplace support IT MSP partner. 

 So IT MSPs started looking for a Smart Locker solution that could help deliver the innovation and performance improvement needed to enable them to compete in this increasingly competitive market. 

 Chocolate bar vending machines had been in offices for decades, and manufacturing companies had been experimenting with smart lockers for several years. So surely, implementing Smart Lockers should be a relatively easy task for the world's greatest IT service providers….  

 IT Support Smart Lockers proved difficult 

 However, it was soon apparent that implementing a Smart Locker with its own stand-alone additional application to manage the delivery and collection requests, caused more work for the overstretched onsite support resources, while only offering a “post box” drop off location for IT equipment.  

 The range of equipment request use-cases that most modern organisations have, from borrowing ad collection loan equipment to browsing items for immediate collection, just wasn’t possible. 

 And beyond this, because the Smart Locker’s application was stand-alone, the IT MSP teams had to “swivel chair” request ticket information from their IT Service Management (ITSM) platform, like ServiceNow, to and from the Smart Locker application. 

 Many tried to find Smart Locker manufacturers with an Application Programming Interface (API) to connect the Smart Locker to ServiceNow, but these APIs generally came with limitations of what information could be shared, in which direction, and introduced yet more technical debt, by creating an interface which needed retesting every time the ServiceNow platform was upgraded. 

 So forward-thinking IT MSP’s realised that the only real solution to really deliver the potential of Smart Lockers to digitise workplace support was to find a Smart Locker solution provider with a true ServiceNow integrated solution. 

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So the stage was set, MSPs who found a ServiceNow integrated Smart Locker could dominate in the Workplace support market, while MSPs who do not find a solution to this problem, and quickly, would be destined to be left behind.   

The Business 

One such global MSP had spent nearly three years and around £200K on trying to adapt standard locker manufacturer solutions and their API to connect to their ServiceNow platform. 

Due to the pressure from clients and the universally recognised nature of the problem for all MSPs, the prize of solving it was a big one. A working ServiceNow integrated Smart Locker would increase competitiveness, win rates, and enable them to deliver a suite of end-to-end IT services that, for the first time, combined physical and digital services in the most cost-effective way possible.  

A new term has even been coined to describe this new expectation in solutions - ‘phygital’. For the use of digital services to deliver physical products, a phygital strategy needs to be  instant, connected, and engaging if it is to be successful.   

So the stage was set, MSPs who found a ServiceNow integrated Smart Locker could dominate in the Workplace support market, while MSPs who do not find a solution to this problem, and quickly, would be destined to be left behind.   Screenshot 2022-04-13 at 16.47.44


The Solution  

 After years of searching and several trial and error projects, MSPs are choosing to partner with Velocity Smart Technology to leverage our Velocity Smart CollectTM  Smart Locker and Vending solutions - specifically designed for Enterprise IT which automates IT Asset Management processes, workflows, and controls.   

As the world's only ‘Built on NowTM ServiceNow certified application for Smart Lockers, Velocity Smart CollectTM integrates directly into each customers’ own instance of ServiceNow. Not only does this provide instant sync in their existing service, but it also offers a complimentary option for asset request fulfilment without changing existing processes and workflows.   

The solution provides no technical debt, no external systems to manage, and no complex training or adoption activities to support staff or end-customer employees. All customer data, business rules and processes are safely and securely kept on the customers’ own systems. This also supports rich data reporting and enables full asset life-cycle audit trail management automatically.   

Velocity Smart Collect™ is specifically designed with MSPs in mind, it was the first-ever Domain Separated “Built On Now” application, enabling secure deployment across different MSP customer accounts.  Velocity Smart Collect™ also supports integration to MSP Shared Instances of ServiceNow, often used by MSPs to manage a number of clients with consistent services and request portals. 

With out-of-the-box use-cases like Item Request, Item Return, Break-Fix integrated into customers’ own Incident Management process, as well as Borrow and Return (loaner) options, the Velocity Smart CollectTM app delivers on the vision and results MSPs have been looking for so long for from their Locker and Vending solutions.  

All of these application features are supported by Velocity’s global logistics, delivery and support model, which enables MSPs to provide consistent enterprise-scale Service Level Agreements to their customers. 


The Results 

Four Global MSPs which are currently using Velocity Smart CollectTM are receiving several positive outcomes and benefits, including:   


The ability to provide a single consistent global service model for their customers (without having to select different solutions and locker providers in different regions) 


Up to a 20-point increase in Net Promoter Score and CSAT for like-for-like tickets compared to traditional fulfilment approaches  


Request fulfilment speeds of over 95% faster than traditional manual delivery – which can significantly help reduce average Workplace ticket resolution SLA 


Increasing win-rate through deal innovation and pricing or cost reduction opportunities.


IT Teams are saving between 20-40% of effort in managing IT Assets and Peripherals, which releases capacity to perform higher value and transformational activities.  


The ability to change support models: 

1. Introducing 24x7 replacement equipment models
2. Saving resources or increasing customer value. 
3. Converting dedicated resource locations to courier only sites. 

Introducing “Innovation” to existing customer accounts – leading to increased contract renewals.

The MSPs also benefit from the innovative “eco-system” design of Velocity Smart Technology. MSPs are able to influence the Velocity Product Development Roadmap, which releases around four new versions of the Velocity Smart CollectTM App every year, including new features and, use-cases, along with new products including Power and Ethernet lockers and Velocity Smart Kiosks™. 

 The leading MSP partners that have adopted the use of Velocity Smart CollectTM as the preferred way to manage IT Assets and peripherals now mandate the solution in every one of their customer bids that contain end-user IT support services.   

  Velocity is delivering to MSP customers in Energy and Utilities, Manufacturing, Security and Defence, Aerospace, Nuclear, Healthcare, Medical Supplies and the Automotive industries, across Northern and Latin America, Europe, South Africa, Nordics and the APAC region.