Volunteer State Community College Improves IT Service Management, Optimizes Resources

When Les Norwood became manager of client services for the IT department at Volunteer State Community College in 2012, the department operated as a small “mom-and-pop shop,” in his words.

Despite supporting more than 11,000 students and about 1,000 faculty and staff at this public community college in Tennessee, the client services team did not have the systems in place to deliver high-quality IT service. Its ticketing system was little more than a note-taking application, and the team had no organized way to triage service requests.

“It was like Whac-a-Mole,” Norwood says. “Whoever was the loudest was the one we’d focus on next. There was no service catalog and no analytics. It was kind of a free-for-all.”

With the implementation of TeamDynamix, a lot has changed. The college’s client services team has adopted IT service management (ITSM) best practices to improve its delivery of service. “It’s been a paradigm shift for us,” Norwood says.

In the beginning, we wanted a ticketing system that wasn’t as much of a headache. But with TeamDynamix, we found a system that lets us look to the future. It allows us to do so many things. We’re just scratching the surface of its capabilities.

More efficiency, greater insight

Norwood and his team initially wanted a better way to manage service requests. After trying another ticketing system for a few years, they realized they needed a system with more of an ITSM focus. “We were looking to cut costs and provide better service,” Norwood explains. “We also wanted a platform that was tailored to education.”

Norwood knew that Western Kentucky University, about an hour’s drive north, used TeamDynamix to deliver high-quality IT service to more than 20,000 students.

“We respected what they’ve done and how they scaled up their IT service management,” he says. Hoping to achieve the same success, Volunteer State Community College implemented TeamDynamix. In their first year of using the platform, IT staff saw immediate gains in efficiency.

To start, the college has set up a service catalog and mapped various categories of service to specific team members for resolution. “When we create a new category of service, we’re thinking of the questions we should ask users that will allow us to quickly identify the nature of their problem,” Norwood says.

Based on how users respond to these questions, the platform routes service requests automatically to the appropriate team member for a response, leading to faster (and more accountable) service.

ITSM Volunteer State Community College

Automated Workflows Make Workflow Faster

Automated workflows within TeamDynamix help guide service delivery. Before, once each step in a process was completed, service technicians would rely on email to alert the others who were involved. This was a time-consuming and inefficient system of communication. Now, notifications and approvals happen automatically whenever tasks are completed. Processes run much more smoothly, jobs are completed faster, staff are more organized, and there are no steps accidentally overlooked.

What’s more, the client services team has better insight into how long it takes to resolve problems, so they can set realistic service goals and measure their progress. Team members also have more visibility into the nature of service requests, so they can be more proactive in addressing problems.

If they notice there are repeated connectivity issues within a certain building, for instance, they can investigate the root cause of these issues. If students and faculty have recurring problems with a certain piece of software, perhaps more training is needed — or maybe it’s time to look for an alternative program.

Looking to the future with Enterprise Service Management

Volunteer State Community College’s use of TeamDynamix has improved IT service and helped IT staff operate much more efficiently. That’s critical for a public community college with limited resources, especially now when many community colleges face funding shortfalls.

But the impact of TeamDynamix at Volunteer State has extended beyond IT service. Other departments on campus are using the platform to improve service delivery as well, such as the Office of Planning and Assessment. “As people see the efficiencies we’ve gained in IT, they naturally come on board,” Norwood says.

Integrated Asset Management Helps Reduce Wasted Time

Volunteer State’s IT department also uses TeamDynamix for asset management, and the platform has been instrumental in loaning laptops, webcams, headsets, and other technologies to students so they could learn remotely during the pandemic.

“We have 500 pieces of equipment that we’ve loaned to students,” Norwood says. “With TeamDynamix, we can easily see who’s got what and be efficient at distributing and tracking all of those devices. I don’t have a clue how we would have done that before without this software.”

Keeping track of all computers, servers, switches and other IT infrastructure within TeamDynamix also allows IT staff to troubleshoot problems more effectively. Norwood’s next goal is to take advantage of the platform’s project portfolio management (PPM) features to manage IT projects more efficiently.

“In the beginning, we wanted a ticketing system that wasn’t as much of a headache. But with TeamDynamix, we found a system that lets us look to the future,” he concludes. “It allows us to do so many things. We’re just scratching the surface of its capabilities.”

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