Advancing with an award-winning Help Desk transformation

“Tasks that took all day now take 15 minutes, and we don’t need to dedicate several people to do the work.”

Mark McCormack, Manager, Technology Support, Learning Environments and Technology Services

Queensland University of Technology’s Service Desk team supports 47,000 students and more than 4,500 staff across three campuses in and around Brisbane. The team deals with around 300 support phone calls a day, as well as several hundred jobs coming in via email or logged online.

This successful operation is due to a highly successful collaboration between the Service Desk team, the Ivanti software company, and long-standing systems integration partner, Fusion5. It’s part of a half billion dollar technology investment by QUT to build and renew infrastructure for research, teaching, and learning.

Top to toe technology

QUT‘s focus on technology in courses and research is also reflected in the way the university runs itself. Manual administration processes were replaced a long time ago by applications and online services. “While other universities do a bit of online and manual administration for student services, we leverage technology to streamline processes where we can,” said Carmel Brown, Manager of Service Design and Business Processes (Governance and Quality) at QUT.

With an emphasis on delivering high-quality student services, the university wanted to upgrade its service management tool to provide the most responsive and efficient student and staff experience.  

They wanted to blend best practices with configurable tools to manage infrastructure, control costs and improve service quality.

Key objectives for the project included enhancing self-service offerings, reducing resolution times and improving the efficiency of support channels.

Professional services ease migration

When considering who should lead the upgrade, the IT team researched the three leading service management providers. This included looking at the latest products from the existing IT Service Management provider, Ivanti, who had been an integral part of QUT’s technology support areas for years.

“During the demo of the latest Ivanti products, we were amazed at the features and functionality available,” said Mark McCormack, Manager, Technology Support, Learning Environments and Technology Services at QUT. “We decided to ‘go with what we know’ from Ivanti and looked to our systems integrator, Fusion5, to make it happen. As a result, our decision really paid off.” 

The Ivanti platform’s flexibility gave the IT team visibility into its administrative processes and allowed them to improve service levels. More than 560 users can now access the platform, and the solution handles all IT requests from students and staff. QUT relied on Fusion5 throughout the upgrade and worked closely with the systems integrator as new services and modules were added. “With Ivanti and Fusion5 in the picture, we weren’t tying up in-house resources on behind-the-scenes integration activities,” said Brown.

Users ready for self-service

There were immediate improvements from the Ivanti upgrade. Students and staff quickly adopted self-service options through a service catalogue, and were soon making requests directly, rather than calling or emailing the service desk. Self-service requests increased 300% during the first month, moving from the hundreds to thousands.

Incident management became more streamlined. The IT analysts prefer the new interface because it’s much easier to input information and searching is faster. The team has used Ivanti’s powerful templates to automate many common incidents.

Customer survey engagement skyrocketed, with the response rate increasing from less than 1% to 13%. Everyone was happy to see the higher response and get more feedback, which is used to improve support services.

In addition, changes in service management processes, improvements in knowledge management practices and a heightened focus on personalised performance reporting reduced average resolution times for requests and incidents by half.

QUT’s Service Desk team also experienced a 38% reduction of time-consuming email requests, and have since phased out this inefficient support channel.

QUT also voice-enabled its service desk with Ivanti Voice, so users can automatically log and close incidents using voice prompts. These outbound and inbound automations reduce call volume, contain cost, and drive higher levels of customer satisfaction.

Streamlining business workflows

Ivanti’s reputation for helping departments deliver high-calibre service spread beyond IT. The Student Business Services department runs the student information management system. It too leveraged Ivanti for service requests with an online workflow process that was redesigned with a user-centric focus.

“Automating tasks got rid of paper forms, and we designed a more efficient workflow that benefited the student support staff,” says Simon Wilkinson, Associate Director (Student Systems). With Ivanti in place, the productivity and throughput of the Student Business Services team increased dramatically. “Tasks that took all day now take 15 minutes, and we don’t need to dedicate several people to do the work,” says Wilkinson.

The success of Student Business Services also caused knock-on effects in other departments. “They noticed they were putting pressure on other teams they work with to provide better services,” says Wilkinson. A number of university areas showed a keen interest in the Ivanti platform because it provides security, scalability, and back-end integration that can be duplicated for other business processes.

Superior IT service fulfilment

Students continue to demand superior service, just as they expect the latest technology in their classrooms and labs. “We want to get everything we can out of Ivanti,” says McCormack. “We’re working closely with Ivanti and Fusion5 to help us prepare for the future and be the absolute best in delivering services throughout QUT.”

For example, Ivanti customers can choose from cloud and on-premise deployment models as well as a hybrid option. “We went with on-premise to have more control, and because it gave us the ability to integrate applications really easily. But we can watch the cloud and see if it suits us in the future,” says McCormack.

McCormack said that the focus of the service desk project was to provide the highest levels of service possible to the university, and they are very happy with the results. “We want to leverage everything we can out of the tool-set. We see more ways to engineer process improvement, increase cost efficiency and get an even higher level of customer satisfaction,” he said.

Award winning style

In August 2016, QUT won the Service Desk Team Project of the Year category at itSMF Australia’s prestigious annual ITSM Industry Awards in Sydney.

“Winning this prestigious award is a great recognition of the success of this project and the hard work that went into it from everyone involved,” McCormack said. “Our primary motivation for undertaking the project was to add value to the teaching, learning and research activities across the university.”

And QUT, Ivanti and Fusion5 have delivered all that in award-winning style.


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