Client interview – David Peltzman – GlaxoSmithKline

From time to time we want to introduce you to some of our clients and ask them about some of the IT management issues that they face. David Peltzman, VP End User Systems and Services for GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) kindly agreed to tell us about end user services at GSK.

David Peltzman is responsible for the PC environment, both hardware and software, for over 100,000 GSK people located around the world.

David and his global team look after the PCs, helpdesk, learning systems, Microsoft Windows operating system, Microsoft Office applications and everything that appears as standard on the PC, as well as supporting all the applications that users need.

What is your biggest concern right now?

David: “GSK is growing rapidly in the Far East. Do we set up a third helpdesk there to service local users? Or can we continue to do everything from our existing helpdesks?’ Until now we’ve kept all our end user service desks in Montreal, Canada and in Barcelona, Spain, Europe. We’ve done this for cultural reasons; we found our employees in the USA and the UK were unhappy if they couldn’t understand the accents when they rang for assistance. However now that we have increasing numbers of staff based in the Far East, we are getting complaints that they cannot understand our accents.”

“Some years ago h2index did a comparative study on helpdesk services for us; it’s so useful that we get them to repeat it every year. These studies showed us that our peers have a large range of helpdesk setups: some have none at all; others have their entire operation based in India; and there are many variations in between. This information is helping us to work out the best solution for our Far East helpdesk.”

“h2index’s annual comparative study gives us a clear view of where we sit and how we are doing when compared with our peers. My finance and operations counterparts are always impressed when I pull out my h2index comparisons: they don’t have anything similar to help them and they are not used to being taught how to manage by IT managers!”

What is going to be the next big hurdle?

David: “What everyone is talking about is consumerisation or ‘bring your own PC’. The excitement generated by tablets, and specifically by the iPad, is something we cannot ignore.”

“We’ve spent years creating a locked down PC environment, with distributed web based services: everything totally standardised. Then along comes this cool proprietary device and we are being swept back into a completely non-standard world. We can try to resist but many of the software vendors are bringing out iPad Apps and our users love them.”

“My team has gathered lots of information about all these new devices and the mechanics of consumerisation. We are also running many small pilot projects but each only has a hundred or so devices. What I wanted to know was ‘is anyone doing any more than we are? Is anyone using 1000s of devices?’ So I asked h2index to do some research for me and they found several organisations operating ‘bring your own PC’ for 1000+ users.”

“This proved to me that although I’m not that keen on the idea of consumerisation, there are enough people doing it on a large scale that it isn’t hype. It’s for real and it’s viable. We don’t know when the tipping point will come. It may or may not happen. But we need to be ready and we need to have a plan. h2index’s study into consumerisation means that I, and the business, are better prepared. That’s very valuable.”