Features: October 16th, 2012

Expanding organisations have to respond to new situations. Making sure IT facilities meet the new demands is crucially important. This feature describes how a charity turned the demand for change into an opportunity for improvement.

In recent years Macmillan Cancer Support, a charity which provides practical, medical and financial support and pushes for better cancer care throughout the UK, has seen significant growth in its number of employees; the charity now employs 2,000 people in more than 11 locations including mobile workers, home workers and an incredibly large volunteer base.

Macmillan’s IT department has also had to adapt to this growth, to meet the IT needs of all employees and ensure the organisation is efficient and effective.

The charity knew it was imperative that it moves to an ITIL based framework, which would ensure best practices throughout its IT Service Desk and IT Department through the implementation of standardised processes to aid the planning, management and delivery of the IT function and services.

Macmillan had until now used Front Range’s HEAT Helpdesk, but the charity found that it did not offer sufficient functionality. In addition, the old help desk solution was supplemented by a number of disparate paper systems to record information, which was causing huge headaches.

Andrea Kis, Service Delivery Manager at Macmillan, explains, “With our IT team continually relying on spreadsheets and paper forms, data wasn’t being documented in a way that provided a clear picture of activity or the problems that our employees were encountering. This meant that trends couldn’t be accurately monitored and so services were not being improved. As an organisation that prides itself on customer service excellence, our internal IT systems were simply not meeting the high service standards we place on ourselves.”

A short-list of three companies tendered their IT Service Management solution, including Front Range, Cherwell and also ICCM Solutions – a company which Macmillan heard about at a conference when asking other organisations what solutions they use.

Andrea says, “From the outset we recognised that ICCM would be a good fit for us, not least due to the company’s experience with charities. Through this experience, the functionality of the solution along with the value on investment had already been proven.

“However, the really key part for us is the power of the underlying Business Process Management (BPM) platform that ICCM’s Service Management solution is built on. It’s this platform which provides the agility to modify processes. This is essential, as we see this as a long-term investment that can grow with the organisation and adapt with our changing requirements.”

Transforming Service Delivery

Since implementing the ICCM solution, Macmillan has transformed its IT support and Service Desk processes. The IT support teams have been able to differentiate between different types of employee enquiries, and full lifecycle management ensured the IT Department can resolve issues quickly and effectively for the charity.

“Previously there was no clear system for differentiating between logged calls – the ICCM solution has completely changed this”, explains Andrea. “The system enables instant visibility of how many different types of calls have been logged for a particular issue, service or employee request. Subsequently trends can be identified and issues resolved so they don’t reoccur, thus eliminating repeat cases almost completely.”

ICCM reports provide Macmillan with clear information to support management on the planning and control of services. In addition, the implementation of a self service portal has provided customers with an intuitive interface to request services and access support while vastly reducing the number of calls to the charity’s IT Service Desk.

Andrea continues, “Through the online portal employees receive help and guidance to enable self-fulfilment of requests. For example, when there is a new starter, the portal provides an order form for products and services, which must be completed with all the information required by the IT support teams. By having a quick and easy method to provide the correct details in the first instance, less time is needed to fulfil the request.”

The charity’s IT Department is also set to go live with a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) and Service Catalogue, which the team anticipates will bring real business benefits.

“The CMDB will provide us with accurate and up to date knowledge of the assets which can be used to evaluate the impact of service delivery or instigate a change to IT components”, explains Andrea. “This will bring clear financial benefits. For example, by having a clear overview of how many laptops the charity owns, what age they are, the warranty and value, we can accurately forecast when we need to replace them and so aggregate the purchasing to get the best price and save valuable funds.”

In addition, the Service Catalogue links with the CMDB to ensure there is a comprehensive catalogue of all the services offered to employees – from requesting a new mouse to requesting a large business system.

“In short, the ICCM solution is an improved way of working for everyone. The implementation of the right processes and frameworks for our organisation has brought better service delivery and improved customer support, which is substantiated in the reaction from employees, who are our customers as much as our colleagues”, continues Andrea.

“Employees have become incredibly astute about the benefits the solution is bringing to the company. Issues are being reported sooner and in more detail as members of staff have more confidence that the problem will be tracked effectively. In addition, employees regularly ask if others have reported the same issue – they understand that this is something the organisation is now able to monitor and that problems are no longer viewed as standalone but can be fixed for all.

“The image and understanding of the IT department has improved too. The IT function is no longer viewed as just a team which picks up a call and solves an isolated problem, but has established itself as an integral part of the charity.”

From the outset, a key priority for Macmillan was ensuring that the investment made in the ICCM solution would provide the key benefits brought by effective delivery of support services not only now, but also in the future.

Andrea says, “The flexibility of the solution means that processes can be adapted when needed. This is imperative as our partnership with ICCM is a long-term plan – we have complete confidence that however the market and customer requirements change, the solution can adapt accordingly.”

A vision of complete organisational efficiency

Despite the benefits Macmillan has already experienced through the implementation of ICCM, establishing agile processes within its IT department is only the start of the charity’s journey.

Andrea explains, “I have a vision that by adopting a flexible solution, these best practices need not only lie in the IT department, but can be repeated to realise complete Business Process Management across the charity. By taking this process driven approach to other areas of the organisation, we can drive organisational efficiency in improving tasks, processes and decision-making.

“As a charity, Macmillan has nine outcomes, which are supported by its key values, one of which is demanding better and providing an excellent customer experience. By taking full advantage of the Service Management platform we now have a means to truly achieve service excellence and delivery.”

Macmillan’s legal department already has plans to implement the solution. The HR team and facilities department are also looking at how processes can be repeated in their own environment.

By automating processes in other support areas of the organisation, Macmillan can deliver consistent and transparent services spanning multiple teams and departments. The management team benefits from unified governance and reporting, while the integration encourages information sharing and collaboration across different areas of the charity.

For example if an employee moves office location it is not only the IT function that needs to be involved: facilities management may need to provide services, a line manager may need to approve the move and HR and finance may need to update their records. By linking and automating framework processes, requests such as this can be completed with total efficiency.

Working in partnership

Macmillan has made a long term commitment to enhancing service delivery. Essential to this commitment is a partner that can support the organisation throughout the journey towards complete Business Process Management.
Macmillan has discovered this support is not only realised through full training on the system, but with ongoing support delivered as part of a trusted partnership.

“I am confident I can call ICCM at any time, in addition to the training we have received, without having to buy consultancy time – the team offers great support and understanding and they drill down to most important details”, says Andrea.

“What is really key for us is that the ICCM team doesn’t enforce the same rules on all customers, but understands our specific needs and advises us accordingly. The company is not afraid to say no or question whether our requirements would give us the best results, and recommend an alternative option. By working in this way it doesn’t feel like just a client customer relationship, but ICCM and Macmillan are truly a partnership.”

More information about the services offered by ICCM is available here.