This is a story of how MSU branched out to collaborate with four schools on a shared implementation of TeamDynamix using a single platform and a service management approach.
While using a shared platform can save money, improve efficiency, and bring consistency to the efforts of multiple departments or even entire organizations, working across different entities can be challenging.
In a virtual conference session hosted by TeamDynamix, representatives from Metropolitan State University in Minnesota described how they have leveraged the platform to run IT support across multiple institutions across the Twin Cities area.
Building Trust is the First Step
Trust and communication have also been essential to the success of the Metro Area Technology Consortium (MATC) project spearheaded by Metropolitan State University (MSU).
“Building relationships and trust across departments is challenging enough, but across institutions, it’s even more so,” says Sara Solland, IT director for service and project management at MSU.
One of seven universities in the Minnesota State University system, MSU has been using TeamDynamix for service management across multiple departments for many years. The university has partnerships with the other colleges serving the Twin Cities area: Anoka Technical College, Anoka-Ramsey Community College, Hennepin Technical College, and North Hennepin Community College.
Through these partnerships, faculty and students at these institutions frequently work together and spend time on each others’ campuses. MSU officials realized that providing a seamless and consistent service management experience across all five institutions would benefit everyone, so they decided to create a technology consortium for sharing use of the TeamDynamix platform.
Individually Branded Portals
Solland, who led the MATC service management project, says each institution has its own independently branded client portal. However, one of the project’s goals was to have a consistent design and layout for these portals — including similar navigation and service categories.
“MSU had already implemented TeamDynamix, so we used that as our template,” she says. “You can imagine how much conversation went into that process and how many complexities there were to manage across all the institutions. We needed to build relationships quickly.”
This process involved regular team meetings, as well as executive sponsorship from the presidents and CIOs at each college and university. Without executive-level leadership and buy-in, “it wasn’t going to happen,” says MSU Vice President of IT Steve Reed.
Creating a shared vision was essential to making the consortium work, as was understanding each institution’s culture and how it operates. Having a common framework to guide the implementation was important as well.
Leveraging the ITIL Framework
“We needed to speak the same language,” Solland says. “We agreed on ITIL as the foundation for what we were doing.” Because each institution had varying levels of experience with the ITIL framework, MSU hosted a four-hour training session on ITIL basics. “It was good to have a shared vocabulary and get on the same page,” she observes. “We also continue to send people through the ITIL Foundation training and certification course.”
Although working together across multiple sites involved a lot of work, it has also brought many rewards. Stakeholders at all institutions have recognized the value of having a consistent service management process — and the consortium plans to expand its use of TeamDynamix to include project and asset management as well.
“We got buy-in and trust across the institutions, and this created the foundation for the future we’re going to build together,” Holland concludes.