Implementing a new tool for ITSM success!
The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) is one of the worlds foremost social science universities. The School has a strategy to build on its strengths, address challenges and to maintain its worldwide reputation for excellence.
One of LSE’s stated priorities is to continually improve faculty quality, research performance and intellectual innovation and enhance the quality of the professional service staff.
With increasing demands on IT services in the light of digital transformation and the challenges facing higher education establishments, one of the key drivers is for improved efficiencies and performance.
Chris Andrews, a Service Management Consultant at LSE, was tasked with one of the service improvement initiatives to replace the existing ITSM toolset. Having worked at LSE for a number of years, he was fully aware of the cultural style of the organisation and the requirements for board level support for such projects.
The key issue was that the installed ITSM tool was approximately 10 years old and, although there had been numerous attempts to refresh it over the years, it was customised beyond recognition and was generally accepted as being totally unfit for purpose. The biggest impact of this was that they were unable to upgrade the tool to a newer version, as it would lose all of the configuration carried out – so they could neither upgrade or move forward.
A full IT process maturity assessment (based on ITIL®) was conducted with an independent third party to review the maturity and performance of the IT processes, as the team realised they needed to redesign the processes to align with industry best practices.
From the output of the maturity assessment report a tool selection project was initiated. This not only showed LSE where it was, but also where it wanted to be – which enabled it to match its technical and functional requirements with the tools available on the market.
There were 8 vendors identified initially and the preference was to go directly to the vendors, however based upon an external recommendation Bright Horse, as a Cherwell partner, were invited to tender based upon their implementation approach and service management experience.
LSE wanted to ensure they were important to the supplier, and wanted to build a strong working relationship, a real partnership approach. The tender process began, and Chris said ‘Bright Horse were very realistic in their response, they had clearly listened to the requirements stated in the tender document and responded accordingly’.
When the potential suppliers were narrowed down to the final presentations, the fact that Bright Horse presented alongside Cherwell, impressed the client as it demonstrated a strong relationship between the partner and vendor, which is not always the case. They presented a case with a range of flexible support options and comprehensive tool set capabilities – LSE has a cloud first policy, however after matching the requirements to the recommendations, an on-site installation option was chosen, which better served the stated objectives.
Following the output from the maturity assessment and in parallel with the tool selection process, the process owners were empowered and given permission to work on creating internal world class processes that aligned to the best practice approach. There was a big drive internally to communicate the project activities to the wider teams within IT, and to inform people about the new processes and new tool implementation. Everyone involved with the processes were invited to meetings and included, which subsequently improved engagement.
Bright Horse facilitated ITSM simulation workshops as part of the overall communication programme which Chris says were very beneficial. The benefits of working together became very clear and cemented understanding very quickly. They would like to do more of these across all members of the teams.
The project was scoped to eight months and although it was initially delayed, allowing for internal delays and the tight timescales which were all scheduled around term times and shut down for university holidays, the go live was scheduled for January 2018 and met the targeted timescale.
Key for Chris as the client was that ‘Bright Horse accepted responsibility for issues, but also identified what we as the client were responsible for to ensure the project could remain on track. It was the complete opposite of a blame culture – it was identify what needs to be done, and move forward as an approach.’
There was an alternative go live pencilled in to allow for tolerances, testing and last minute changes. Training was delivered prior to go live to ensure it remained relevant and useful for those using the new tool and Bright Horse delivered the Cherwell training onsite which meant the client did not have to travel which they saw as a cost and time benefit.
Although time was tight, Chris acknowledged that ‘Bright Horse were very good at adapting to deliver and meet the needs of LSE and were very flexible. They were very accommodating especially with our last minute changes.’
The project was successfully delivered within the agreed time frame, go live was a very positive experience and a dedicated mailbox has been set up for all suggestions and feedback moving forward. The tool has now also been successfully integrated with Snow and Bomgar to enhance service capability.
One of the biggest benefits of moving to a tool with a web client is that all those Remote or Mac users are now able to log calls, meaning a significant increase in overall number and percentage of calls captured and tracked.
With a new full-time member of staff dedicated to development of the tool, LSE is keen to continue the relationship with Bright Horse and want to plan the next phase and future developments of the tool, to include a knowledge base supporting a self-service portal and implementation of the tool across other service areas of the School.
For Chris the project has been a success and for him the benefit of working with Bright Horse is ‘the two-way relationship and continuous engagement, a very strong working relationship’.