One Campus, One Platform: Centralizing IT Services
Many institutions struggle with the consequences of using multiple IT platforms for managing operations across departments, such as IT Support, Admissions, HR, Marketing, Residence Life or Facilities. The results—dissatisfied students and faculty, miscommunication, redundancy and poor resource allocation among them—can negatively impact the institution in a variety of ways. As a result, more institutions are taking a holistic, centralized approach to IT services by implementing a single service management platform across campus, making it easier for students and faculty to request services and help and check the status of a service request, while IT staff members are better able to manage and resolve requests, and communication and efficiency are improved across departments.
In this web seminar, leaders from BYU Idaho, Texas Woman’s University and the University of New Hampshire System participated in a roundtable discussion about some of the advantages of taking a centralized approach to IT across campus.
University of New Hampshire System
Application Systems Engineer
Texas Woman’s University
Senior Project Manager
University of New Hampshire System
Are you using project management with service management? If so, what are the benefits to having a centralized solution?
Amy Hodgdon: We started using TeamDynamix for portfolio and project management in September 2011. We were focused on our IT department at that point, which wanted to use it for portfolio and project management as well. As we discovered additional utilities with the ticketing platform, we rolled out a variety of service request processes for various campus departments. Now we are expanding into the ITSM service management arena for our service desk.
Kevin Cook: We have used PPM extensively for a number of years. Every project was required to be in PPM, inside of TeamDynamix. We use it to record every call to the BYU Support Center. We use it for approval of posters, for university communications, for off-campus advertising. We also use it for hiring. There are a lot of benefits for having one centralized tool.
Lena McLain: We are using PPM and ITSM. Our technology department was using it pretty heavily to manage project requests and to be able to track projects going through our governance process. One of my directives was to work on getting ticketing transitioned, which we just launched in late December. We’re already seeing the benefits of being able to tie all that information together. We can better manage workload, and the reporting in TeamDynamix gives a more accurate, real-time picture of what’s going on in our organization.
When rolling out a single-service platform, what key challenges did you face?
George Cookman: My interest has been mostly in project and portfolio management and working on the intake process, which has been difficult to pin down. Part of it is just the way we’re organized financially. We spun up a bunch of web forms that eventually go into tickets. I haven’t counted them, but there are probably one or two dozen of these web forms, and students sometimes don’t know where to go. We’ve defined parts of the process in terms of governance at the other end, but having one place to go for any request related to an IT system is going to be huge.
How did you go about deciding which departments you would bring up on the platform?
Hodgdon: The initial implementation of TeamDynamix at UNH was for the IT department, and it was mandated that everyone would be on that platform so that we could have the visibility and the reporting that we needed on projects across the IT portfolio. Other departments followed by request. It’s all been through word of mouth.
What’s the most surprising department on campus that uses the platform?
McLain: Our legal department approached us, and we’re looking at creating a ticketing application for them to track and manage requests for legal advice. That’s something currently being done just by one or two people via email, so they’re looking for a better way to organize that information and correspond with people. And our Division of Student Life approached us about translating the student handbook into knowledge base categories and articles. They now have a document that’s mobile-friendly, accessibility compliant and searchable from the client portal.
How did you approach the service catalog development at your institution?
Hodgdon: We already have an IP-centric service catalog built through some of our developers, which has been mostly successful. We’re going to lift that with some modification to consider the construction of services in TeamDynamix and our needs there. We also want the service catalog to be more useful institutionally than in the past. We are working with a companion portal product, which is introducing both some benefit and some complexity to the situation.
How do you keep the knowledge base up-to-date?
Cook: Constant work. Having an expiration date is good. Revision date is important too—have a team dedicated for that. We’ve divided our knowledge base out by levels. We have our support model, a different level zero category, different level 1 categories, and different level 2 categories. Then the permissions are set for who can see those. We have many different people in different offices using the knowledge base, and the level zero information is what would go out to the public. IT has said TeamDynamix is our main knowledge base house, but we need those articles displayed to the public. So every night there’s a bridge that pulls all of that data out of TeamDynamix and does a publication update to our website.
How do you coordinate with the other departments to understand their requirements?
McLain: We developed a standard set of questions and requirements that we use as a tool, and we sit down a lot with the department to figure out what they need. We don’t have any workflows that actually cross over, but our technology and our marketing department are able to flip tickets back and forth as needed.
How does having one platform reduce the support requirements for you?
Cook: It’s nice to have one place to go through to be able to change and customize it. I’m grateful they made the tool so easy to customize, easy to configure and easy to update.
What is the biggest lesson learned in the transition to enterprise service management on one platform here?
Cookman: Simple is better. Go deep later if needed.
Cook: The biggest lesson learned is we need to be flexible. Things come and go, administration changes, and things get outdated very easily.
McLain: I like to use the phrase, “Just because you can build it doesn’t mean you should.” Support and consistent input from leadership are also important.
To watch this web seminar in its entirety, visit www.universitybusiness.com/ws022317
Register now for UBTech 2018
Register now for UBTech 2018, June 4-6 at the Mirage, Las Vegas. At UBTech 2018, you’ll network with a dynamic community of higher ed leaders who are shaping the future of campus technology and explore topics like cyber security, distance learning, campus learning space design, communications, personalized learning and more. Your UBTech registration also includes a free pass to the InfoComm exhibit hall.