University of Gloucestershire Case Study

The University of Gloucestershire is an attractive location for its 11,000 students and 1000 staff, with its four campuses including local historic landmarks such as former botanical gardens. And yet, like the vast majority of higher education establishments, it is no stranger to the financial pressure brought about by swinging budget cuts.

Two of the University’s key departments, ICT Services and Estates, have taken a proactive stance and worked together to make the University’s investment go further. They have extended the use of Sunrise’s service management software Sostenuto to manage not only the University’s ICT queries but also Estates issues raised by students and staff.

ICT Manager Clive Fenton and Head of Facilities Andy Simpson examine the results of this fruitful collaboration between the two departments, which has allowed them to offset major costs for the University.Clive Fenton spearheaded the project to introduce a new service management system to ICT in 2008. Sostenuto was selected following a review of different solutions on the market, based on its flexibility and adaptability, and even at this early stage, because Clive understood the system could be tailored to other service desks across the University. ‘The long term objective, right from the word ‘go’, has been to use Sostenuto across a range of services, starting with the different services within ICT itself,’ says Clive. ‘This falls in line with the vision of having a combined helpdesk bringing together general operations and business information systems. Such a structure is ideal for allowing jobs to flow through the system unhindered, and importantly, avoiding a proliferation of applications which would be expensive and resource intensive to support.’

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Full story below:

The University of Gloucestershire is an attractive location for its 11,000 students and 1000 staff, with its four campuses including local historic landmarks such as former botanical gardens. And yet, like the vast majority of higher education establishments, it is no stranger to the financial pressure brought about by swingeing budget cuts.
Two of the University‟s key departments, ICT Services and Estates, have taken a proactive stance and worked together to make the University‟s investment go further. They have extended the use of Sunrise‟s service management software to manage not only the University‟s ICT queries but also Estates issues raised by students and staff. ICT Manager Clive Fenton and Head of Facilities Andy Simpson examine the results of this fruitful collaboration between the two departments, which has allowed them to offset major costs for the University.
Clive Fenton spearheaded the project to introduce a new service management systemto ICT in 2008. Sostenuto was selected following a review of different solutions on the market, based on its flexibility and adaptability, and even at this early stage, because Clive understood the system could be tailored to other service desks across the
University. “The long term objective, right from the word „go‟, has been to use Sostenuto across a range of services, starting with the different services within ICT itself,” says Clive. “This falls in line with the vision of having a combined helpdesk bringing together general operations and business information systems. Such a structure is ideal for allowing jobs to flow through the system unhindered, and importantly, avoiding a proliferation of applications which would be expensive and resource intensive to support.” 
“The process is now seamless and ensures that calls don‟t disappear into a black hole,” says Clive. “The reporting we carry out in the system has given us the ability to spot trends and put plans in place to replace equipment that is
causing issues. As a result, Sostenuto has helped us raise our service level performance from 70% to 90%.”
Clive explains that the system is going to be expanded in the future to other departments to prevent redirection of the caller. ICT can end up owning calls that fell under the remit of other departments. For example, calls might come in concerning network access. Even though, upon investigation, the issue might be that a student hadn‟t paid their fee
or hadn‟t registered properly, ICT will be the department initially handling the call and ensuring it gets resolved.

Clive‟s team can now perform trend analysis, and as part of their internal service level agreements, they can provide other departments with tailored reports and „Top 10‟s. For example, some learning centres might be better than others at logging calls over the web, and being able to see this in black and white can act as an incentive to
those who are still relying heavily on phone and email. “Sostenuto has not only helped us raise the bar in our customer service, it has also led to an improvement in management information, which will stand us in good stead for the further development of the service. We are definitely more effective as a result of introducing Sostenuto.” 
The feedback the department is receiving reflects these improvements: in its annual survey of staff and students, 95% of respondents rated the level of service satisfactory or above, with close to 60% rating it as excellent or very good.

Managing buildings in the most cost effective way is a significant challenge for universities; one that Andy Simpson, who heads up the Facilities Department at University of Gloucestershire is familiar with. Andy is responsible for support services including the Estates Department helpdesk, taking care of the University‟s buildings set across the four campuses, as well as off site halls of residencies. Estates receives a myriad of calls from students and staff with property related issues, from leaking toilets to „no power to the building’. The department needed a system to log these calls, monitor progress and link into other sources of information, such as its asbestos database. “Our aim was to create a process driven Facilities function, underpinned by Computer Aided Facilities Management (CAFM),” says
Andy. “We were using an old access database which had lots of issues and wanted to engage with a CAFM system,
however were not in a position to fully commit to one.” Luckily, ICT and Facilities have a tradition of working closely together, and sharing ideas to each other‟s benefit. It’s during such conversations, that the idea emerged to consider extending the use of Sostenuto to fulfil the requirements of the Facilities department.
“We are serving the same audience as ICT Services,” explains Andy. “There is a large amount of commonality between our departments and we‟re expecting more crossover between the services we provide in the future.”
“Our main drivers for the project were threefold,” he continues. “To offer a better service to our customers, maintain accuracy of records and ensure legal compliance. We looked at a number of solutions. The reason we chose Sostenuto to drive forward our Facilities function was not just that it had been tried and tested in IT, it was also the
software‟s inbuilt flexibility to accommodate our specific needs.
“Facilities queries are not always straightforward to manage. For example, the operator needs to work out whether a
particular problem is the University’s responsibility or that of an external landlord,” explains Andy. “The software had to be flexible enough to help us deal with these scenarios on a daily basis.” “Our customers’ experience has been
improved thanks to alerts automatically sent by Sostenuto. In this way, students and staff are informed of job numbers, allowing them to look up a job they have logged and check its status.” “Now,” he adds, “we will be able to carry out fault trend analysis, cost analysis, as well as improve compliance with the numerous rules and regulations with which we have to comply, from asbestos monitoring to permits to work. Trend analysis informs us on decisions such as whether a boiler needs renewing, and to justify the investment. Sostenuto allows us to use data to
understand what‟s happening, so that we can predict and plan our activity. Simply put, it allows us to be proactive.”
Chris Haynes, who already managed and administered the ICT application from an internal perspective, acted as a project manager for the Facilities implementation. Andy explains that having the expertise internally where it came to Sostenuto‟s configuration capabilities was a big plus: “Thanks to his experience with the software, Chris was able to act as a technical champion for the project, not only working closely with our Estates Helpdesk installation 
administrator Mel Bate but also working closely with Sunrise to adjust the system to our needs.”
“It‟s been a good journey, and we can see clearly where the path is taking us. The next steps will be to use the system for planned maintenance tasks, and we will also be putting the emphasis on educating maintenance staff and external contractors to continue improving the flow of information through Sostenuto.”

 

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