Comptroller of the Currency benchmarks IT to improve customer service

Thursday - 10/3/2013, 10:33am EDT

Ask the CIO - Oct. 3, 2013

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When employees of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency need technology help, they can't wait for a call back. The Treasury Department's bureau examines banks and other institutions, and time is of the essence.

That's why Ed Dorris makes customer service a top priority.

Dorris, the chief information officer of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency, said a major goal for his organization is to provide "hassle-free" technology.

"We've taken a hard look at how we provide hassle-free service as well as one of our fundamental goals of our strategic strategy is to reduce the burden on our customer, the examiners. We want to give them more time to do their job," Dorris said. "We do that primarily through operational excellence. We focus on a couple of key cornerstones here. One is optimize our processes. A process can be complex dealing with tier one or tier two service or it could be our patching. We rely on Lean Six Sigma techniques and practices. We benchmark with other organizations to get the leading practices that they've employed. We don't reinvent the wheel."

One of the practices that is having a significant impact on the idea of operational excellence is the customer surveys the CIO organization runs.

Dorris said the annual survey is based on a random sample of customers and focuses on the tools, the products, response time and services from the CIO's office.

"We take back the responses and develop action plans, which are very informative," he said. "It's based on empirical data, but the most value comes out of the comments, the narrative that are provided by individuals in the headquarters and across the field. We need to hear the voice of the customer. What do they need? When do they need it? How do they need it? That allows us to set our direction, our priorities."

One area that customers said needed work was the technology helpdesk.

Dorris said the most recent survey's overwhelming response was examiners wanted to get their problem solved with the first call. They didn't want to have to wait for a call back because they were on the road and moving from bank to bank.

He said OCC has integrated its tier one and tier two helpdesk to simplify and improve the process.

"We've also implemented metrics," Dorris said. "We are tracking things like cycle time, first call resolution, dropped calls and call waiting periods, and we can really see where we are performing and meeting the customer's needs, versus where we need to increase resources, improve our knowledge based articles or tweak our processes."

Dorris is taking a similar approach in other areas of his mission.

For example, OCC consolidated data centers from three to one, and at the same time updated the management and technology that is used.

Dorris said he visited other organizations to learn how best to implement the data center.

"It's a lights out facility. We have no staff on site. Everything is done remotely through our network operating center. We do send staff out there on a scheduled basis to do upgrades requiring physical moving of servers. It's a big change for us," he said. "It really has allowed us to address some of the expanding or big data needs coming out of Dodd-Frank and other initiatives in terms of having the power we need, the floor space, the connectivity and then the redundancy."

Dorris said OCC will release a request for information in the coming months in preparation for a solicitation for improved and expanded disaster recovery capabilities.

"We are doing a business impact assessment on the critical business needs, like restore time objectives. We are working with the executives and business units to define what that is," he said. "We also will be moving forward looking at options around disaster recovery whether it's a managed service or similar to what we do with our data center, where we look for a facility and lease that facility, and run the disaster recovery center with our in-house resources."

Dorris said OCC also will be finalizing its strategy for using mobile devices on the agency's network. He said OCC has piloted a mobile device management system by hosting it internally and through an industry service.

"This is something we probably will source in the cloud," he said. "We will finalize what our MDM solution is and there probably be some level of competition around this. We also will be rolling out the next generation of smartphones beginning toward the end of this fiscal year. The one thing we are focusing on is the architecture that can accommodate any scenario whether the device is provided or you bring your own device."

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