3 Challenges of a Remote, Mission-Critical IT Desk at Miami International Airport

Question: How do essential IT Service Desk agents go remote for safety but work as if they are sitting elbow-to-elbow?

Answer: Fast thinking, fast action, and a fast cutover to the cloud.

The impact of COVID-19 hit fast and hard. Social distancing guidelines and lockdown orders went into effect almost overnight. Office workers fled to the safety of their homes. Theaters and restaurants shut down. Airports could not. They were essential — as was the Black Box team at the IT Service Desk at the Miami International Airport (MIA).

MIA, one of the world’s busiest international passenger and cargo airports, is the cornerstone of the Miami-Dade Aviation Department (MDAD), which operates it and four general aviation airports in Miami Dade County, Florida. Airport operations were essential to the local, national, and international community dependent on its far-reaching ecosystem.

For many years, Black Box has been operating the IT Service Desk for MDAD that supports airport operations, tenants, and end-users. “We are the first point of contact for IT issues and work diligently to solve every problem,” explained Johnathan Lewis, Black Box Client Delivery Director. Last year, the Service Desk handled, on average, more than 25,000 calls and responded to more than 50,000 network alarms.  

The typical Service Desk environment, such as the MDAD NOC, requires team members to operate in close quarters, often sitting elbow to elbow. If someone contracted the virus, the entire team would be exposed and forced into isolation. This was not a sustainable situation.

The very real threat of COVID-19 demanded immediate action to protect the health and well-being of the Black Box team. The challenge was how to move to a safe, remote NOC environment without interrupting airline/airport network and communications services.

3 Challenges and Solutions

Challenge #1: Quickly transition Service Desk Agents to a remote and socially distanced NOC environment while continuing to provide mission-critical support. But the team faced a major obstacle: the legacy on-premise communications system did not support group remote access.

Solution: The Black Box team identified a cost-effective cloud-based solution, Amazon Connect, to provide efficiency and expediency and worked with CTIntegrations to provide a fully integrated, easy-to-use, easy-to-deploy contact center solution.  

“This initiative enhances our business & service continuity capability,” commented Maurice Jenkins, CIO, MDAD. “The ability to be more agile allowed the IT department to increase its service levels while cutting costs and maintaining our workforce’s health and safety.”

Challenge #2: Maintain operational standards in a remote environment and ensure collaboration capabilities mirrored the on-site communications.

Solution: The agents needed the ability to “see” what other agents were doing, just as if they were in the NOC. CTIntegrations provided a customized dashboard that ensured transparency, collaboration, and enhanced functionality while improving call-waiting time by 39%.

“The set of tools we gave Black Box is quick to deploy and future-ready. It all goes back to agile thinking, said Paula Morton, Managing Director, CTI. “We gave the Service Desk the critical tools and functionality they needed during a pandemic.”

Challenge #3: Rapid training and cutover to the remote service desk.

Solution: The last step was comprehensive training with a hands-on approach. Done through webinars and a “train the trainer” program, team training was completed in only three days.

“Training was super easy. The CT Suite Web Client was a critical enabler during the pandemic. The team loved it,” said Ken Magny, Black Box Administrative Coordinator, MDAD Service Desk.


39% Improvement in call queue time
1/3 Total. The cloud solution costs one-third less than annual maintenance costs for on-premise legacy equipment
6% Reduction in abandoned call rate
2:49 Seconds average length of the call from beginning to resolution

Following continual improvement practices, the Black Box team had been researching cloud options prior to the pandemic. The crisis compressed the implementation process into an incredibly short time frame. They have a solution that enables remote access for essential Service Desk agents and gained the tools that provide improved functionality, transparency, and collaboration. Business continuity and resiliency are built-in for use in disaster-recovery/emergency situations as well as everyday operations.

The team also realized a significant Return on Investment (ROI). The cloud solution costs one-third less than the yearly costs for the maintenance of legacy on-premise systems, not including hardware and software upgrades.

Thanks to fast thinking and fast action, the Black Box Service Desk team at MDAD was able to quickly and seamlessly cut over to a cloud-based Service Desk without interrupting any airport operations or support services. The move kept everyone safe and resulted in long-lasting efficiencies and economies in Service Desk operations.

To learn more about the Black Box success story at the Miami-Dade Aviation Department, see the entire case study. Or, for more info about how Black Box services and support can benefit you, please contact us at 855-324-9909 or email us at [email protected].   

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Remote Technical Support Mission-Critical IT Remote IT Support Airport IT Challenges Aviation Technology Remote IT Operations Airport Technology IT Service Management IT Desk Solutions Remote Support Challenges Airport IT Contact Center CX IT NOC
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