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IT summer services automation

3 ways to get school services running smoothly after summer—quickly

One district’s story on harnessing service management technology to beat the post-summer headache.

Imagine it’s the beginning of the school year. School staff are getting ready for students to arrive, but the summer was long. Staff has forgotten passwords, printers are suddenly not working and your service and help desks can’t process all the incoming calls—not because you’re understaffed, but because your service management technology isn’t working for you.

How do you get your services back on track? The District School Board of Niagara found the answer through the implementation of a new IT service management solution from TOPdesk.

To better understand the task, the District School Board of Niagara employs almost 3,000 teachers and more than 1,300 support staff. It operates 79 elementary schools and 20 secondary schools in the 12 municipalities of the Niagara region. The district serves more than 36,000 students from Kindergarten through grade 12.

To ensure student success across the district, all systems must run smoothly, including IT service management. Every day the service desk receives calls about password resets, printer issues, faulty Wi-Fi, new phones or software installations.

1. Automation = Communication

“The solution we were using required constant customization and code changes,” said Derek Galipeau, supervisor of technical services and support. The solution also wasn’t easy or efficient to use. During the district’s busiest times at the beginning of each school year, the service desk team had to regularly bring in a temporary employee just to handle extra calls from staff seeking support.

Automation also was lacking. “The old system was powered by email,” said Galipeau. “We couldn’t rely on technology to streamline services, log requests, communicate with users and track the progress of calls.”

The service desk staff also was answering the same problems over and over again, for caller after caller. This cost the district time and money. With these issues, the district looked for a solution to meet its service desk’s needs. Service desk leaders wanted an out-of-the-box service management solution with very little customization required.

The district implemented its ITSM solution in the summer of 2016, weeks prior to the district’s busy season in September. It took just six days to implement, and the solution went live just a day before school started.

(Next page: 2 more service management musts to help IT beat post-summer headaches)

2. Helping End Users must be Fast

Since the district automated the processes, what’s changed? “Our service desk helps end users much more quickly,” said Galipeau. “Now, when a call comes in, operators open an incident card, enter the most important details, and save the information. It’s great to have everything in one clear overview: customer conversations and conversation history, for instance.”

Answering the same user questions has also become a lot easier, too. “ITSM lets the school’s service desk record answers to recurring problems in the knowledge base,” said Galipeau. “Operators are automatically alerted to possible standard solutions based on keywords.” Has the operator found a standard solution? They simply add them to the incident.

With 26 employees spread across the district’s facilities, it’s important to keep an overview of who is doing what. “On the dashboard, service desk staff see how many calls are coming into the service desk, who is handling which call, and the status of each call,” said Galipeau. “Tasks are passed on to a different operator in a single click. Incident management makes this easy: All information is registered on one card, giving the service desk operator the information they need at the touch of a button.”

3. Ensure Better Customer Communication

Communication with users has improved tremendously. “Users who send a service request can now see the status of their calls in the ITSM portal,” he said. “When the incident is resolved, users are notified automatically.”

The success of the district’s service desk goes farther than automating their processes, as Galipeau explains. “We now have audit capabilities and a priority matrix, which helps us address higher priority issues.” Plus, reporting is a lot easier. “With more than 3,600 staff across dozens of locations, the IT team is able to examine and understand what people across all the schools are doing with regards to training.”

The district moved away from an ITSM system that was difficult to use and lacked functionality and insight into processes, to one that meets its specific IT needs—and the results have been rewarding for all involved. The change has not only been refreshing, but much needed for the renewed vitality of the organization.

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