Cornell Reduces Drain on IT Resources with an iPaaS platform for Enterprise Integration and Automation

To combat IT resource drain the university is using integration and automation with iPaaS.

Cornell also tackling data integrity with iPaaS and using data to improve SLA reporting.

Cornell University in Ithaca, NY has been using TeamDynamix for IT Service Management since 2019. In that time, they’ve built out 48 ticketing apps, 31 client portals and have handled more than 192,000 IT tickets and 155,000 non-IT tickets submitted through HR, faculty support, their COVID testing center and more. For the Central IT Team, the focus has been on improving ITSM processes, “We’ve really seen the value in TeamDynamix,” JP Brannan, ITSM Tools Service Manager, said.

So when TeamDynamix first announced an integration and automation platform called iPaaS, the team at Cornell was keen to sign up. With iPaaS Brannan and his team hope to solve three main challenges:

  1. Resource Drain
  2. Data Inconsistencies
  3. Human Error

To start, Brannan and his team tackled resource drain.

“We want to be able to automate and promote more self-service so there are fewer individual tickets for our frontline technicians to process. This allows our higher-level technicians to better manage the health of our services without needing to do so many manual, routine processes.”

- JP Brannan, ITSM Tools Service Manager

Gaining Time, Resources with iPaaS

To resolve resource drain issues, Brannan and his team decided to engage iPaaS to help free up time for basic admin and support teams and enable them to focus on making more substantial improvements in services and processes. Brannan said they’d often hear people say, “But this [task] only takes a few minutes,” to which he counters that with more than 1,000 TDX users, 80 apps and 200 e-mail monitors those “few minutes” add up fast.

“We want to be able to automate and promote more self-service so there are fewer individual tickets for our frontline technicians to process,” Brannan said. “This allows our higher-level technicians to better manage the health of our services without needing to do so many manual, routine processes.”

And as resources become more available, thanks to automation with iPaaS, Brannan said his team will be able to move on to more automation like provisioning services, permission management, knowledge management and asset management.

“At the end of the day we want to make things easier for IT support because it will allow them to provide better and faster service to our customers,” Brannan said.

iPaaS Connectors

Cleaning Data with iPaaS

Another area of importance for Central IT at Cornell is data integrity and mitigating human errors when it comes to manual data entry. With iPaaS Brannan and his team are finding some success.

 “We knew we wanted to use iPaaS to mitigate the risk of human error in data entry so we could improve the quality of the data we were seeing,” he said. “We really have a focus on keeping our data clean, so we know the metrics we report on are correct. We rely heavily on making data-based decisions, so clean, accurate data is essential.”

Here are just a few examples of what Brannan and his team have been able to accomplish with iPaaS so far.

Ticket Transfers

One of the first questions Brannan and his team had when they realized they’d be working within a multi-application environment is how do you transfer tickets between apps? It’s possible within TeamDynamix if you have permissions in both of the apps you want to transfer the ticket between, but there are several groups using TeamDynamix at Cornell that don’t want others outside their departments to have access to their apps – departments like HR and Finance. Using iPaaS, they can now move tickets and all of the associated attachments and feed entries between applications.

“The next step of this flow will be getting the newly created ticket in the second app to be synchronized so if someone updates the original ticket in the originating application, it carries over,” Brannan said.

SLA Validation/Updates

Another easy win for Brannan in terms of getting good data has been using iPaaS to reduce the number of things a person needs to do in the mechanics of processing a ticket. For example, there is a workflow that automates the validation of SLAs.

“We want to measure our support performance against service level agreements (SLAs),” Brannan said. Right now, his team is learning to gauge what service levels they can provide based on the classification and prioritization of incidents and service requests. So being able to automate the process and see if they are hitting their goals is important.

By using ticket webhooks, they feed ticket updates to iPaaS and iPaaS validates and, if needed, updates the service level association for the ticket. “You could certainly do this with another integration engine, but we particularly like this in iPaaS because it has a better tie in and bypasses the throttling of API calls so that we will never get into a situation where, if too many tickets get updated at once it can time out and fail,” Brannan said.

And all of the data being collected with the SLA workflow is helping the Central IT team to identify anomalous data and make sure staff are properly trained. In addition, Brannan plans to use the data to refine their SLAs as they see which incidents need longer response times and which can be shorter, so customers have the right expectation for service delivery.

When it comes to building workflows, like the ones for SLA validation or ticket transfers, the team expected the process to be much more complex than it actually is, “There was a learning curve for us because we thought it would be a lot more complex, but it’s not. It’s going to be much easier for us to bring people up to speed and have more people use iPaaS.”

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