How to organize technical support in 130 cities around the world for 4,000 employees. Playrix experience

We are in Playrix since 2015, we have switched to a system where employees can choose for themselves where it is more convenient for them to work – in the office or remotely. When everyone switched over to telecommuting last year, our successful experience with teleworkers was a huge advantage for us.

In this article, we will tell you how to organize remote technical support and provide users with IT equipment in 130 cities around the world – from Vladivostok in Russia to Santiago in Chile.

Provision of equipment

Each new employee of the company on the first day of work receives a workstation fully equipped with the necessary equipment – it can be a system unit or a laptop and all the peripherals necessary for work. If an employee works remotely, we prepare and send a set of equipment to his home address, if not, the workplace will be waiting for him in the office. And this is how our office and typical workplaces look in open space:

When choosing a configuration, we focus on the company’s standard so that the characteristics of the equipment meet all the requirements of the project, position and tasks of the employee.

We keep the standard up-to-date, regularly updating, adding new and researching new items on the market. In addition, our team constantly works with equipment vendors and receives new items for testing before choosing a specific model.

I will give as an example our minimum a kit that we offer to any beginner:

  • two monitors with a diagonal of 24 “or 27”;

  • laptop or system unit (i5-i7 at least 8th generation, 16 GB of RAM, SSD 512 GB) or similar in performance to a MacBook. As a rule, we change the generation of processors immediately after they enter the market, here is the lowest current version of the processor used in the company, the minimum amount of RAM and SSD;

  • office UPS;

  • set keyboard + mouse;

  • Webcam;

  • headset;

  • cables, chargers, stands, etc. optional:

  • Graphics tablet;

  • smartphone or tablet to view builds.

A standard day for our admin begins something like this, we prepare the equipment for sending:

As it was said in one famous film, “the code is just a set of instructions, not strict laws,” and our equipment standard is only a guideline. At the start of work, an employee does not always know what equipment he may need. Therefore, as soon as there is a need for something additional or above the standard, then we carefully study it, involve an employee manager and issue the necessary equipment or make targeted purchases, if the need is really urgent.

Additional features

We are not limited to sending equipment and any consumables only from our offices. If a remote employee needs equipment or consumables that are not in stock or their delivery will be long and unprofitable, he can independently purchase everything he needs on the spot. And the company will compensate for the amount spent – for this you only need to provide checks.

In this case, we will additionally discuss purchase options and advise on characteristics or models.

Preparation and dispatch of equipment

We pre-configure all issued equipment, install the OS and all the necessary programs. I would like to note that we use only licensed products and make sure that all employees of the company comply with license purity. If we do not have the required software or license, it is enough to submit a request, we will consider it and offer the available alternative or purchase what you need.

We have automated the device preparation process as much as possible and use WDS (Windows Deployment Services) for this, so we have no problems with parallel preparation of a large number of equipment. We are ready for any challenge and provide the beginners with prepared equipment in a timely manner. Well, our logistics service will quickly deliver this equipment to any location of the employee in the shortest possible time.

Of course, in the process of working with a large number of remote employees, mistakes and difficulties occur. There was a case when the usual shipment of a MacBook lasted for two months – all this time we corresponded, exchanged documents, until, finally, the equipment reached its new owner. If a mistake happens on our part – for example, we sent a locked laptop to the user – then it can be easily corrected by delivering a replacement by taxi and taking coffee and breakfast from the office with you. So we will solve the problem of the user, and we will cheer him up. At the same time, it is not difficult for us to equip employees from Yakutsk, Nakhodka or even Australia.

Escort

Working with a large distributed team leaves its mark on the options for remote support. The company has many employees in different cities and countries, where IT administrators are not always available, so it is the remote online user support that is a priority for us.

Here we will not be original and say that we use the most standard tools for remote maintenance. If there is a problem or a need for equipment, the guys create an application on the employee’s portal in the “Service” section, where you can find any template you need, including those related to IT. Filling out the application takes a few seconds, and you can describe the problem in your own words – the duty officer, upon receiving the task, will clarify all the missing information.

On the same portal there is also an assistant – our chat bot… This is a pop-up widget where you can ask a question and quickly get an answer or a link to an article from the knowledge base to find the information you need on your own.

The chatbot helps us to quickly answer typical questions, advise users and solve simple problems without making an application.

Repair

What if my corporate equipment needs maintenance? We have several options for choosing an employee:

  • transfer / send equipment to the office, where our IT administrator will be able to carry out preventive maintenance, diagnostics or SKD repairs;

  • contact the local service center with which we have an agreement. The employees of the SC will pick up the equipment themselves, perform the work and return the equipment to the employee. Our team takes care of all the questions regarding the approval of work and payment;

  • contact any SC that is in the village, perform the work at your own expense and receive compensation by leaving a request through your personal account.

If an employee chooses the latter option, then we will certainly advise on the cost and volume of work required.

All these options are needed so that the usual cleaning of a laptop from dust does not turn on paper into a full-fledged, expensive and completely unnecessary repair.

A real example of the work of a not very conscientious SC:

If replacement equipment is required during the repair, we will deliver it as quickly as possible so that the employee can return to his tasks without any problems. Important, that the whole repair of corporate equipment is paid by the company. Yes, exactly 100% of the cost, even if the employee accidentally dropped something, broke something or flooded it with water.

And as the practice of working with more than three thousand guys in the team has shown, this approach did not increase the total number of requests for repairs. The guys try to be responsible and take good care of the issued equipment.

Where to work: at home or in the office?

Our employees can choose where they work: at home, in the office or in a hybrid format. For those who want to come to the office a couple of times a week, we launched a system of coworking spaces and prepared a service in which you can book a free seat for one or several days, choose the equipment option and even its location if you want to sit by the window or next to a colleague …

Places can be equipped with a full set of equipment or only monitors – for those who plan to come to the office with a laptop. If an employee chooses a hybrid work format, we provide him with a workplace upon request, and then he decides for himself what to use in the office – his own equipment or prepared ones. This way we comply with the rule of one workplace for each employee, but we are expanding it to general workplaces in offices.

What happens next … Inventory

Working in a distributed company is quite difficult in terms of asset accounting. And here we will talk about that very inventory, with a bunch of inventory sheets, scanners, inventory numbers, shortages and surplus!

We trust our employees, therefore we carry out an inventory not for the purpose of finding and punishing the perpetrators, but for obtaining up-to-date information about the equipment fleet. It is also a convenient tool for collecting data on the relevance and sufficiency of equipment from children.

Of course, we do not stand on the doorstep of each of our employees and, like our other processes, we organize the inventory online. Each employee receives an information task, which indicates all the equipment that was transferred to him. The guys independently check the residuals and inform about the results in the task. If in the end we get discrepancies, then we make an analysis.

Second life of equipment

We constantly monitor the relevance of the equipment used so that our employees can perform their tasks with maximum dedication, without being distracted by technical issues. Therefore, we started the process fleet renewal… We come to the guys with outdated equipment, clarify the current needs and issue the actual ones.

How do we deal with the released equipment? We are trying to give all the equipment a second life: we donate it to various local foundations, schools and kindergartens for charity, we donate technological equipment to colleges. I will cite as an example our constant partner, public organization “Sozidanie” and their project “Computer – a second life”… The guys are doing a very useful job – they collect and prepare equipment for various social organizations and low-income families.

Note that we donate only workable equipment to charity, for example, i5 4460 / 16Gb / 256GB system units and 24 ”ViewSonic monitors. Such a technique will definitely be able to perform its basic functions for a few more years, while it is no longer suitable for solving our problems. Of course, we keep some of the equipment at our place, for example, we transfer old models of mobile devices to testing teams to find bugs on different platforms.

What’s the bottom line?

When your team has more than three thousand people, and all of them are located in more than 130 cities around the world, timely support becomes a serious challenge. Thanks to all these processes, our IT Operations team can quite easily, optimally and, best of all, organize the delivery of the necessary equipment as quickly as possible and provide technical support to all Playrix employees. And he can also do good deeds along the way 🙂

I hope our experience in organizing remote and hybrid work will be useful to everyone who is now experiencing difficulties due to frequent transfers of work from a familiar office to a remote location. If you have any questions, I will be glad to answer them in the comments.

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