When fast-track corporate growth is the aim, IT support is critical as is alignment to best practice. Utilita has been taking the energy market by storm over the last 15 years with its Pay-As–You-Go smart meters, and its ambitious expansion plans have led to a copybook story of IT and service management planning.
ITIL alignment, Continual Improvement and… cake!
IT Support Manager, Dave Woods, and Karen Taylor, a highly experienced Service Management consultant, structured the IT service processes and defined and selected the required technology in just months, deploying copybook assessment of the business needs and marketing techniques – including cake – to ensure user adoption.
“It’s all there at your fingertips with Sunrise. When we showed Sunrise ITSM to the rest of the team, it was a case of ‘when can we have it?’”
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Switching to best practice supports business growth – fast!
When fast-track corporate growth is the aim, IT support is critical as is alignment to best practice. Utilita has been taking the energy market by storm over the last 15 years with its Pay-As –You-Go smart meters, and its ambitious expansion plans have led to a copybook story of IT and service management planning.
IT Support Manager, Dave Woods, joined Utilita in 2015, when the company was targeting aggressive 600% growth. Dave took responsibility for a team supporting central office based staff and an increasing number of regional offices and field engineers – 1,500 people in total. To ensure the right environment was in place, he called in Karen Taylor, a highly experienced Service Management consultant, to structure the IT service processes and required technology.
After an initial discovery assessment, Dave and Karen agreed on a fast-track nine month service improvement plan. This was to ensure service management was both aligned to industry best practice (ITIL) and complemented the business growth strategy. The plan included the design and implementation of business service level agreements, selection and installation of a service management tool that was fully embedded in the organisation, ensuring capacity for continuous improvement as well as providing the foundation for accurate management information to measure results.
Fast ITIL adoption
Karen then got to work in preparation for writing ITIL-aligned policies. She questioned key business stakeholders about IT, with a summary Maturity Assessment revealing that while IT received positive feedback, it needed to work on elements of communication, process and standards if it was to fully support the growth and ambitions of Utilita. Karen also carried out a ‘healthcheck’, assessing current ITIL capabilities and levels of adoption. This provided the
basis for 2018 targets. The healthcheck found that Utilita had high call volumes, with nearly 3000 requests per month coming from its 1500 employees. However, there was no tracking of trends or ability to structure requests for analysis and improvement.
Continuous Service Improvement became a mantra from the start, with weekly reporting on progress and regular measurement, monitoring and management key.
Service management software fully embedded in the organisation
As the previous helpdesk tool failed to meet future needs, Utilita looked at the wider market. Karen and Dave defined the criteria that the replacement service desk tool needed to meet (critical success factors to improve service quality, demonstrate value using familiar interfaces, single source to deliver service management best practice) and set about viewing demo videos.
They saw Sunrise ITSM SaaS early on, followed by competing vendors at a showcase event. After a second detailed demonstration of Sunrise ITSM, they found it met their needs, with nothing to compare to its ease of use:
“It’s all there at your fingertips with Sunrise” says Karen. “When we showed Sunrise ITSM to the rest of the team, it was a case of ‘when can we have it?’”.
But of course with tight deadlines to meet, the pressure was then on for ‘Project Sunrise’. Selection was made in November 2017, planning workshops with Sunrise consultants slotted in just before Christmas and the all-important go-live was set for late March. The 3 month timescale from engagement to go-live on the SaaS platform was ambitious, but met by Sunrise’s Professional Services team with no hitches.
What does Sunrise Software bring to Utilita? Behind the scenes, the Service Level Agreements are all in place, with over 30 services defined and the Sunrise SDI certified reporting suite used to extract and track the most meaningful metrics. On the user side, the Self-Service Portal is a showcase example of best practice – graphical, easy, with transparent promises and self-explanatory interfaces. It includes automated approvals, stating which requests
require approval by their line managers and notifying of any pending. The new starter process is fully co-ordinated – simply log a request in Sunrise via Self-Service and it is then streamed to all relevant departments.
Marketing the service desk
Marketing is a term seldom applied to IT, yet open and early engagement between IT and the wider business combined with a keen eye for publicising their endeavours, has been key to success. From initial discovery through to roll out, workshops were held with the IT Team meeting business stakeholders. IT forums – open meetings – were run in headquarters and regional offices to discuss plans for the reinvented service desk offerings from the start, asking initially “What do you think of IT?” – as Dave says, “It can open the flood gates, but if you don’t know, you can’t fix it.
Publicity has been at the heart of launch success too. The team deployed every trick in the book to increase awareness and adoption of the new service desk. Roadshows continued at launch, along with desk drops of credit card sized ‘how to contact IT’ cards, competitions for early users and cake on launch day, all helping boost approval and usage of the customer portal. So much so that first week statistics showed close to 60% of calls logged via self-service – a fact of course, tweeted by the IT team to share its glory! As a final part of engagement, the team moved from the top to the ground floor, sitting at the heart of the business operations with an ‘open door’ policy. Dave and Karen presented their journey at the 2018 SDI conference, sharing their accomplishments with the Utilita in-house magazine ‘U’, maintaining the high profile. The future? The next steps for the IT team build on the principles established to date. Continuous Service Improvement is at the heart of the project, with plans to incorporate a knowledge base into the customer portal next to help self-fixing of issues. The team itself is
aiming high with plans for SDI certification and positive thoughts for the industry recognition that could follow. Says Dave, “At Utilita we have ambitious goals and it is therefore critical that IT and the service desk are effectively supporting the business. The key to our success has been knowing what we wanted to achieve – and Sunrise has responded to our needs admirably,
providing us with a practical and adaptable SaaS based platform to deliver on our plans, fast, now and in the future.”