Post- SITS 2016 Review #1: From Chaos to Consolidation at the University of Oxford

Jun 15, 2016
Aleks Yenin

Posted by Aleks Yenin

Polontech team had a lot of fun at SITS 2016 and we picked up some valuable knowledge from the incredible speakers at the conference. We cannot pass on a chance to share some insights from the speeches we managed to hear. Our first post-SITS 2016 review is based on the Ian Teasdale’s seminar “From chaos to consolidation at the University of Oxford”.

Oxford is renown as one of the best universities in the world and deals with approximately 40 thousand applications a year, not to mention dealing with the inquiries from current students of the university. Thus, it is of vital importance for the university to maintain their high standards as an educational services provider to develop an efficient way of communication with their users – prospective or current students.

Ian Teasdale

Synopsis (taken from SITS 2016 site):
In 2012 the University of Oxford amalgamated three separate IT functions into a unified central IT services department. Since then IT services has successfully consolidated five legacy service desks into one, based on the HEAT Cloud platform. This presentation explains the journey from chaos to consolidation, the improvement in the customer experience and plans for extending the service desk into other areas across the collegiate university.

Three Takeaways:

– How to consolidate people, processes (ITIL) and technology
– Strategies for ensuring the success of the service desk
– See how to move service management beyond IT

Tip 1: One of the most important things is to understand how your organisation deals with chaos.

That is truly essential when the acquaintance with the business processes in a company takes place. Eliminating chaos is an ultimate goal of the best practices implementation. Oxford university had five service desks that helped to in pursuing this goal, however, it was important to create a unified system that could tackle the issues and address the inquiries in the most efficient way.

The process of applying the ITSM practice in any organisation usually looks the following way:

Planning – Tool selection – Solutions – Implementation – Training – Transition

Ian’s Top Tips at Planning and Tool selection stages:

1. Have someone external to your organisation to facilitate your process design
2. New tools + new processes = business change
3. If you can get help with supplier choice then do
4. Find a supplier you can work with
5. Experience is the key

The results at this stage are:

– Toolset configured, integrated and in use.
– Service desk got a single phone number

Ian’s Top Tips at Solutions & Implementation stages:

1. Email Notification can be emotive
2. Don’t aim for perfection at go live

The results at this stage are:

– Inspired morale
– Clarity around responsibilities
– Visibility of all services

– Sense of togetherness / unity – one team

Users complaints: 0
Staff complaints:  too many things to deal with. We can overcome this issue as it is  in human nature to resist change

Ian’s Top Tips at Training & Transition stages:

1. Have a long-time vision to maximise your ROI
2. Consider how people work in real life
3. Encourage feedback on the system

We would like to thank Mr. Teasdale for sharing his ideas and experience. Polontech will proceed to share our reviews and insights from the conference.

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