Staff members from University Information Technology (UIT), the Medical School’s Office of Information Technology (OIT), Arts & Sciences Information Technology Services (ITS), and the Hirsh Health Sciences Library’s IT group recently collaborated on the development and implementation of TechConnect, Tufts’ Information Technology Service Management (ITSM) system. The new system, which launched in early December, will enable members of the Tufts community to submit requests for IT help directly through the TechConnect Service Desk, a new self-service website. Clients requesting help will receive emails from the system allowing them to check the status of their requests via a link. With the TechConnect Service Desk, client communication and interaction with the system will be easier than it has been in the past and will provide excellent transparency for process. Notifications the ITSM will send to clients have been reviewed by faculty and staff through interactive feedback sessions.
According to Kara Bilotta, UIT Client Relationship Manager and ITSM Project Manager, the goal of the new system is “to provide enhanced customer service through simple interfaces; making it easy for Tufts’ faculty, staff and students to access our resources, is the aim of the ITSM project. The more that we can standardize our processes and work collectively on one system, the more we can efficiently and effectively work together across the University to better serve our clients.” The ITSM Project Team worked extensively last summer to evaluate the many ITSM options on the market. Service-now.com was selected this past spring to deliver the enterprise IT service management software through a “software as a service” model. All data lives on their servers “in the cloud,” and because of that relationship it will be easier for Tufts to ensure that the system is always kept current. Speaking of vendor selection. Billotta added that, “Ticket tracking systems, and now to a greater degree, ITSM systems, are becoming a necessity of the modern helpdesk and we chose ServiceNow because they are constantly adding features and enhancing their services based on customer requests.”
Higher Education is adopting increasingly the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practices established by the British government. In an ITIL world, the concept of having an integrated IT Service Management system, instead of simply having a ticket tracking system, is paramount. Multiple systems are integrated, providing an enhanced client experience for those needing assistance. Another key benefit of ServiceNow is its dynamic and adaptable nature, which allows for the addition of new modules over time. Eventually TechConnect will include a knowledgebase that will allow clients to help themselves along with a service catalog that provides a clear explanation of available IT services, tools and processes.
“Embracing an outside best practice has been beneficial because we have a very distributed IT structure at Tufts," says Bilotta. "Everybody has their own way of doing things and with the adoption of ITIL v3 we’re aligning with best practices. The more that we can standardize, the more seamless IT support will be for faculty, students and staff.” Before making the switch to TechConnect, Tufts had multiple commercial and open-source ticket-tracking systems for IT requests.
At Tufts, the ITSM Project Team, which has been working together since April, is representative of the university helpdesks that are currently using the legacy ticketing systems. The Multi-Division Project Team consists of Molly Clark (UIT), Michael Maciolek (UIT), Kevin Murphy (OIT), Collin Murphy (HSL), Bidiak Amana (ITS), Mélanie St. James (UIT), Joseph Josefson (UIT), and Ellen Fitzpatrick (UIT). “It has been great to work with people who are focused both on the client and technician experience while seeing the value and importance of both,” says ITS Tech Services Supervisor and project team member Bidiak Amana.
TechConnect is located at http://sites.tufts.edu/techconnect/ .
Tipsheet: How to Use TechConnect