Imagine it’s the beginning of the school year. School staff are getting ready for the kids to arrive. But the summer was long. Staff has forgotten passwords. Printers are suddenly not working. And your service desk can’t process all the incoming calls. Why? Not because you’re understaffed. But because your service management tool isn’t working for you. How do you get your services back on track? The District School Board of Niagara found the answer in a new tool: TOPdesk.
The District School Board of Niagara, based in Ontario, Canada, employs almost 3,000 teachers and more than 1,300 support staff. The DSBN operates 79 elementary schools and 20 secondary schools in the 12 municipalities of the Niagara region. The district serves more than 36,000 students from Kindergarten through grade 12.
Student success is the DSBN’s number one priority. To ensure happy students, everything needs to run smoothly, including DSBN’s IT service management. Every day the service desk receives calls about password resets, printer issues, faulty Wi-Fi, new phones or software installations.
No automation? No communication
“The solution we were using required constant customization and code changes,” explains Derek Galipeau, supervisor of technical services and support. The tool also wasn’t easy or efficient to use. During the district’s busiest times at the beginning of each school year, the service desk team had to regularly bring in a temporary employee to handle calls.
Automation was also lacking. “The old system was powered by email,” says Galipeau. “We couldn’t rely on technology to streamline services, log requests, communicate with users and track the progress of calls.” The service desk staff was also answering the same problems over and over again, for caller after caller. This cost the DSBN valuable time and money.
Going live in six days
With all these issues, the DSBN started looking for a solution to meet their service desk’s needs. The DSBN wanted an out-of-the-box service management solution with very little customization required. “In the end, TOPdesk was the obvious choice. It is so easy to use, the tracking and reporting capabilities are excellent, and enables us to automate our processes,” says Galipeau.
The DSBN implemented TOPdesk in the summer of 2016, weeks prior to the district’s busy season in September. It took just six days to implement, and the solution went live just a day before school started.
The TOPdesk people are key in this success, says Galipeau. “TOPdesk is very friendly and helpful. They implemented TOPdesk quicker and easier than expected. TOPdesk consultants led the set-up, devised a detailed daily plan and laid out every task clearly. They are the most hands-on company that I’ve worked with in 10 years. We’ve never had a deployment go as smoothly.”
TOPdesk is the most hands-on company that I’ve worked with in 10 years.
Helping end users in a flash
Since the DSBN has automated their processes with TOPdesk, what has changed?
“Our service desk helps end users much more quickly,” says Galipeau. “Now, when a call comes in, operators open an incident card, enter the most important details, and save the information. It’s great to have everything in one clear overview: customer conversations and conversation history, for instance.”
Answering the same user questions has also become a lot easier. “TOPdesk lets the school’s service desk record answers to recurring problems in the knowledge base,” says Galipeau. “Operators are automatically alerted to possible standard solutions based on keywords.” Has the operator found a standard solution? They simply add them to the incident.
With 26 employees spread across the district’s facilities, it’s important to keep an overview of who is doing what. “On the dashboard, service desk staff see how many calls are coming into the service desk, who is handling which call, and the status of each call,” says Galipeau.
“Tasks are passed on to a different operator in a single click. Incident management makes this easy: all information is registered on one card, giving the service desk operator the information they need at the touch of a button.“
Better customer communication
And communication with the users? Well, that’s improved tremendously. “Users who send a service request can now see the status of their calls in TOPdesk’s portal,” says Galipeau. “When the incident is resolved, users are notified automatically.”
In the end, TOPdesk is more than a service management tool. “Our view of TOPdesk is very different than what we began with. Now we view it as more of a Service Shop for our staff and students,” says Galipeau.
Reporting for success
The success of the DSBN’s service desk goes farther than automating their processes, as Galipeau explains. “We now have audit capabilities and a priority matrix, which helps us address higher priority issues.” Plus, reporting is a lot easier. “With more than 3,600 staff across dozens of locations, the IT team is able to examine and understand what people across all the schools are doing with regards to training.” TOPdesk now gives them the ability to understand what training is doing in the schools, at which specific time, and collect any potential feedback.
Boosting the image of the service desk
Now the DSBN has moved away from an ITSM system that was difficult to use and lacked functionality and insight into processes, Galipeau says that “there was a desire by most of staff to move to something newer. There’s been no resistance to the TOPdesk solution, that’s for sure.”
“The change has not only been refreshing, but much needed for the renewed vitality of the organization,” adds Galipeau. “TOPdesk helps the ITS department positively represent themselves to the other departments. With TOPdesk’s help, DSBN has begun to transcend the idea of what a traditional IT department means.”