The University of Warwick seeks to modernise its IT service desk to deliver better customer service
Warwick, one of the UK’s leading universities, has a reputation for excellence in providing research and learning facilities for 25,000+ students and employs nearly 6,000 academic, research, teaching, professional, and support staff.
The IT department faced a situation where its ageing help desk system could no longer be upgraded or supported. Shane Parsons, Service Management Service Owner at the University of Warwick, explains, “It was clear we had to address a key need to move away from our help desk system. Every time we touched the tool it would break and we no longer had the expertise internally to manage the incumbent system.”
Shane saw the opportunity to completely rethink the service desk and remove the inefficiencies of the existing approach. “The different processes and functions of the service desk all lived in different systems, spreadsheets, documents, or web pages,” Shane says. “Nothing was linked and it meant a lot of manual work. We knew there had to be a better way.”
The University of Warwick IT team set out to find a modern product that could deliver an effective service desk process and streamline the workflows for handling calls, incidents, and problems.
The university starts the service delivery journey with ServiceNow
The priority for the University of Warwick was to give staff and students a modern portal for communicating with IT, without going through the help desk. “Following a competitive tender, ServiceNow was the clear choice, allowing our team to quickly roll out service desk functionality, with the option of expanding the platform to other areas in the future,” says Shane.
Initially, the University of Warwick went live with ServiceNow IT Service Management for incident and problem management, and configuration management to support those processes. The second phase involved the introduction of a customer portal, allowing students and staff to log calls with IT services online, 24/7.
Within two years, the university had also introduced ServiceNow® Change and Release Management, integrating this isolated system onto the Now Platform® and eradicating the existing manual processes that were in place.
As the use of ServiceNow expanded, it became increasingly clear that the platform could support the delivery of an extensive range of services. “The more we used ServiceNow, the more it became obvious that we were only scratching the surface of what the platform can offer,” says Shane.
ServiceNow provides a complete system of record, supporting more than 150 types of requests
Today, ServiceNow underpins the delivery of a comprehensive IT services operation for the University of Warwick. The Now Platform supports 150+ different request types through the customer portal and encompasses service delivery for multiple areas, including telephony and email, hardware and applications, training and e-learning, AV provisioning, printing, storage, and data centre commissioning.
“We had a clear objective to streamline IT services and support by ensuring no one is doing any work outside ServiceNow. We have one platform with a single system of record,” states Shane.
Key initiatives include the commissioning—or decommissioning—of equipment into data centres, where coordination between multiple functions, such as finance, data centre operations, storage management, and installation, is essential to help ensure new equipment is approved, authorised for purchase, and ready for install when IT is on-site.
The process for SSL certificates, where historically renewals were hasty and unplanned, has been transformed. Now, an event is automatically triggered a month before the renewal is due, an instant record created, and the process queued for action.
Students are also experiencing first-hand the power of the Now Platform in multiple ways. For example, a self-service portal for personal IT support allows them to book an engineer, receive advice, or report faulty equipment.
It is also much easier to engage with the IT training programme, as Shane explains: “We have developed a tool to completely automate our training process for students and staff, from booking the training sessions, sending reminders, and promoting those on a waiting list to a session if we receive a cancellation.”
University of Warwick enhances IT services with a benefits-led approach
ServiceNow has facilitated a dramatic change in the way everyone at the University of Warwick interacts with IT services.