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UNTS fosters educational and research excellence with ServiceNow

36%

Reduction in number of service incidents

96%

Reduction in time to resolution

250+

Automated request fulfillment workflows

ServiceNow helps Denton, Texas‑based UNTS create an environment of innovation and provides the foundation for service management across UNTS. With the Now Platform, the university system has improved the service experience for its 38,000 students, faculty, and staff, while increasing employee productivity.

UNTS’s path to greatness is paved with student achievements
The University of North Texas System (UNTS), comprised of the University of North Texas in Denton, University of North Texas Health Science Center in Fort Worth, and University of North Texas at Dallas, knows that the road to its success is linked to the success of its students. Its institutions foster an environment of excellence, offering innovative programs that give their students opportunities to learn alongside top scholars and become the leaders of tomorrow.

UNTS knows that the service experience plays a key role in helping student stay on track, complete their degrees, and get jobs when they graduate. The service experience is also central to helping UNTS become recognized as one of the country’s top-tier research universities.

“Our continued success depends on our ability to attract and retain the best and brightest minds to UNT institutions,” says Nassos Galiopoulos, Director of IT Service Management for UNTS. His team supports all three institutions with a shared services model. “We promise students who come here an educational experience that is second to none, so we need a level of support and services to match.”

To deliver on its vision, UNTS prioritizes student service and support in its strategic plan
One of the pillars of UNTS’s strategic plan is to be a high-performing team that runs its operations as efficiently and effectively as possible. “By focusing on providing high-quality education and IT services, we can better support student enrollment, retention, and success and move closer to our vision of becoming a top-tier research university,” says Nassos.

UNTS centralized key administrative services, such as IT, HR, and other business and financial services, to increase efficiency and facilitate university-wide cost savings. This also allows the UNTS institutions to focus on carrying out their respective missions.

With these goals in mind and with the backing of the CIO, UNTS’s Information Technology Shared Services (ITSS) team decided to implement an enterprise service management solution. The ITSS team oversees 60+ enterprise IT shared services across the university’s institutions, and supports the entire student lifecycle—from recruiting, admissions, and financial aid to advising and degree audits.

ServiceNow provides a foundation for faster, more cost-effective delivery of enterprise shared services
UNTS selected ServiceNow to provide a modern foundation for ITSS. By automating routine workflows and enabling self-service, the university could deliver services faster and more cost-effectively, and ease the administrative burden on students, faculty, and researchers.

UNTS
CUSTOMER
University of North Texas System
HEADQUARTERS
Denton, Texas, USA
INDUSTRY
Education

ServiceNow elevates the service experience for everyone, while saving us a significant amount of time and resources.

Nassos Galiopoulos

Director of IT Service Management

“We can now devote ourselves fully to providing students with the high-quality educational support they need to succeed during their time at UNT, and beyond,” says Nassos

By automating routine request workflows, UNTS increases student and employee productivity and satisfaction, while lowering costs
ServiceNow® IT Service Management intelligently automates service management, providing a single platform for IT service delivery across UNTS.

“With ServiceNow, we automated more than 250 request fulfilment workflows,” explains Nassos. “This allows our teams to complete their assignments more efficiently before moving on to the next request.”

Many workflows related to recruiting, admissions, financial aid, advising, enrollment, and degree audits are now automated. For example, students who wish to track their progress against their degree requirements can submit a service request to find out how many more courses they must complete to graduate. This automatically triggers workflows from degree audit applications Uachieve and PeopleSoft Academic Advising. Depending on the specific request, it may also be tasked to a student administration business analyst to delegate to the correct back-end team.

Another example is the process to request statistical software for instruction, research, or course work. UNTS received approximately 600 requests per year via email from faculty and students, with varying response times. By automating this process, the ITSS team spends less time clarifying requestors’ system and approval requirements. UNTS can fulfil requests within a three-day service-level agreement, and faculty and students have full visibility into the status of their requests.

In addition, ServiceNow® Knowledge Management empowers students with self-service, allowing them to quickly search for information on topics such as housing and financial aid, while service catalog capabilities power everything from desktop and web services to software provisioning.

For example, architectural students who need access to memory-intensive software for their course work can simply request a virtual desktop to complete their assignments. The automated workflow eliminates the need for IT to install and maintain software on students’ personal devices, while students avoid the hassle associated with adding more memory to their laptops and keeping applications updated.

To maintain service health, UNTS relies on ServiceNow® IT Operations Management to maximize service uptime and optimize service delivery, cost, and governance on-premises and in the cloud. The team is building out the configuration management database (CMDB) to map business services to infrastructure.

Once complete, the CMDB will become the definitive reference mechanism for all IT decisions, providing visibility into the dependencies among business processes, users, applications, and the underlying IT infrastructure. That visibility enables the team to be more proactive, efficient, and effective when addressing service issues. This results in satisfied students, productive employees, and lower service costs.

Data-driven insights from ServiceNow help improve resource allocation and time-to-resolution
Within the first year, ServiceNow also helped UNTS differentiate between an incident and a request, which informed how the two are resourced. As a result, UNTS experienced a 36% reduction in the volume of reported incidents. On average, 150 IT incidents are generated at UNTS each business day. ServiceNow® Incident Management helps UNTS classify incidents, assign them appropriately to minimize disruption to students, and restore services as quickly as possible.

Using the data from this baseline, and in combination with ServiceNow® Performance Analytics to align service with business goals, UNTS identified an opportunity to further enhance the delivery of student services and support by refining how incidents were classified.

“More than 70% of incidents were uncategorized, meaning that people selected the ‘other’ option from the dropdown menu instead of one of the six out-of-the-box categories already listed,” explains Nassos. “We wanted the categories to align with the types of incidents being submitted so that we could assign resources more efficiently and plan for our future needs more effectively.”

UNTS taps distinguished faculty to help uncover new incident categories using text analytics capabilities from ServiceNow Performance Analytics
Nassos didn’t have to look very far to find the expertise he needed. He called on Dr. Nick Evangelopoulos, a professor of business analytics at the UNT Denton campus and a world-renowned expert in text analytics, to help with the categorization initiative.

By analyzing more than 10,000 incidents over 19 months with text analytics capabilities from ServiceNow Performance Analytics, Nick identified categories that better represented the support that UNT students and employees needed.

“Categories like ‘network’ or ‘hardware’ provided a catch-all for incidents that couldn’t be clearly or accurately classified,” explains Nick. “ServiceNow Performance Analytics helped us identify and create meaningful categories to better understand incident types.”

Now, new categories exist for the most common support requests, such asphishing attacks, UNTS email account, classroom equipment, and software provisioning. With more relevant categories, the percentage of incidents categorized as “other” decreased, which enabled the team to assign the right resources to resolve incidents quickly. In total, the ITSS team created 13 new categories, and reduced time-to-resolution by 96% from five days in 2016 to less than four hours in 2018.

Additionally, with new insights, the team was able to develop a comprehensive, proactive approach to address frequent incidents related to phishing attacks, password resets, and malware.

“We have matured from infrastructure-type incident management to business processes incident management,” says Nassos. “Hardware issues were not the problem.”

A student-centric approach powered by ServiceNow will help UNTS reach its goals in the next phase
UNTS plans to integrate social media platforms such as Twitter with ServiceNow to further streamline IT service delivery. Because students tend to share their experiences online, UNTS will be able to collect and view this data via the Performance Analytics dashboard. From there, UNTS can generate an IT service request automatically, bypassing the need to ask students to submit one themselves.

“The UNT System fosters an environment where innovation can thrive, so it makes sense for us to lead by example,” says Nassos. “ServiceNow helps us support our students on their journey to greatness.”

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