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Oxford Brookes University ServiceNow CSM on the Now Platform
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Driving excellence with estates and facilities service management


Increase in requests handled by the service desk


Eliminates paper-based and manual workflows


Allows complete visibility into the progress and status of requests

Oxford Brookes University needed to eliminate manual processes which led to time‑consuming request management and slow time to resolution, due to high call volumes and lack of visibility. ServiceNow helps the university move estates and facilities management onto a modern, cloud‑based platform—accelerating service delivery and increasing the number of requests handled.

Oxford Brookes University relies on estates and facilities management to keep pace with campus requests
Set in a historic city, Oxford Brookes is one of the UK’s leading modern universities, which enjoys an international reputation for teaching excellence and innovation.

The university’s estates and facilities management (EFM) organisation plays a critical role in supporting its students and staff members. The team is responsible for the planning, development, and maintenance of the university estate, which includes four campuses and five large halls of residence, and providing support services to all faculty members and departments.

The EFM operation was handling approximately 10,000 planned tasks per year, yet at the same time reactive maintenance had reached levels of 12,000 requests per year. These tasks could range from changing a light bulb to mending a leaky tap to handling an emergency gas leak.

The high volume of tasks only served to highlight the huge limitations of the existing EFM system. As Clare Colwell, Service Desk Manager of Estates and Facilities Management at Oxford Brookes University, explains, “We had a rudimentary EFM system, with a strong reliance on paper-based and manual processes. Tickets were entered by hand into the system, printed out for engineers, and manually closed once the paper tickets had been returned.”

Clare continues, “With thousands of tickets to process every month there was a significant administrative burden on our team. We were becoming increasingly reactive and didn’t have time to take a more strategic approach to planning, which would alleviate our workload in the long term.”

The university’s EFM system struggled to adequately support mobile workers
With more than 80 technicians, engineers, and maintenance professionals working across the university estate at any one time, there was no capability to update or track jobs until they were logged manually with the EFM service desk team, in person. The EFM system also had limited functionality to track EFM performance and existing SLAs.

However, the biggest criticism of the EFM system was from the staff and students at Oxford Brookes. Whenever they raised a request or issue there was no way to track the progress of the job without making calls to the already over-burdened EFM service desk.

ServiceNow helps Oxford Brookes transform EFM service delivery
Oxford Brookes needed a single platform to consolidate the delivery of all EFM services, whether that was mending a broken window or handling an emergency in a residence hall. Dr. Bruce Norris, Head of Programmes and Projects for IT Services at Oxford Brookes University, explains, “The IT services team had been using ServiceNow for several years and we could see obvious benefits to extending the platform to estates and facilities management. By automating workflows and focusing on the service experience, we knew we could transform EFM from a reactive to a proactive operation.”

Extensive ServiceNow testing with real-world examples, plus a departmentwide training programme, meant the cloud-based delivery platform was fit-for-purpose from day one. The uneventful “go-live” was exactly what the team wanted—guaranteeing business as usual across the service desk.

Collaboration between the IT and EFM teams was vital to the successful rollout of ServiceNow. According to Dr. Norris, “Actively demonstrating the flexibility of the Now Platform® and speed of configuration was a defining moment in the trial stages. Being able to create a working demo after a one-day workshop built a lot of trust between IT and EFM, marking a move towards greater collaboration and integration between the two teams.”

The university creates value through operational visibility, helping to manage a 60% increase in demand
Complete operational visibility across the EFM organisation has transformed service delivery for the team and its internal customers.

Through a single view into all EFM services, managers can easily track all requests and jobs in progress, interrogate the system to identify duplicates or recurring issues, and report on the performance of the EFM operation to improve accountability to the university.

Access to real-time information is proving invaluable to making informed decisions, particularly for emergency or high-priority situations. Using GPS tracking in conjunction with ServiceNow, the EFM service desk can identify where engineers are located and what tasks they are working on to help ensure that the right resource is deployed and on the scene as quickly as possible.

Managing information and requests relating to the university’s five residence halls has also become much more straightforward. The ServiceNow single system of record means duplicate jobs are avoided, which was a common occurrence with multiple people reporting the same issue. On-site residence halls personnel can keep track of all reported issues without relying on updating a paper record.

Rather than seeing a reduction in the number of service requests, the EFM team at Oxford Brookes has seen a 60% rise in reactive tasks.

However, Clare highlights that this is testament to the success of the ServiceNow approach. She says, “The volume of requests has increased significantly and that’s incredibly positive."

Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford Brookes University
Oxford, United Kingdom
18,000 students and 3,000 staff

Through ServiceNow, we’ve made it easy to report issues and our staff and students are actively using the platform because they know it works

Clare Colwell

Service Desk Manager of Estates and Facilities Management

Clare continues, "The high level of automation has helped ensure we can more efficiently handle the increase in demand.”

ServiceNow delivers intelligent insights to inform decision-making across the university
Using ServiceNow® Performance Analytics, the EFM team can understand, measure, and report on its performance and contribution to the university.

Managers can run a range of standard reports or create custom reports on multiple data points and key performance indicators (KPIs), such as number of incoming requests, time to resolution, and utilisation of engineer time.

According to Clare, “Our maintenance managers are very impressed with the analytics and reporting capabilities of ServiceNow. The information is live and it delivers the information they really want. We have a powerful set of data and analysis that is proving to be critical not only in how we manage the EFM organisation, but in demonstrating our value to the wider institution.”

She welcomes the greater transparency that ServiceNow analytics deliver and has put in place updated SLAs to help ensure that the EFM organization is accountable for the delivery of tangible benefits to the university.

Using ServiceNow, the university creates a continuous development experience
The EFM team is now embarking on phase two of its transformation. This includes integrating floor plan visualisations to help users see if an issue has already been reported or raising a request simply by clicking on the map. The interactive map will happen alongside the efforts to move additional staff onto ServiceNow, improve the customer use of the service catalogue, and fully integrate asset information into workflows.

The flexibility of the Now Platform is critical to enabling this continuous development. As Dr. Norris explains, “The problem with many software implementations is that organisations rely on the technology and not the processes. ServiceNow stands apart from other solutions, allowing us to develop an EFM system around the workflows that are specific to our requirements. We have the benefits of an ‘out-of-the-box’ solution, with the flexibility for rapid application development and a continuous upgrade path to keep us at the forefront of technology advances.”

Clare concludes, “Our vision is to create an EFM service desk that reflects the university’s commitment to excellence and innovation, and ServiceNow is enabling us to deliver on that. We have already seen significant benefits, but I know we have only scratched the surface of what is possible.”

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