Introducing any technology-related change often creates unforeseen problems for IT staff. However, this happens less often at Northeast Ohio Medical University (NEOMED) thanks to TeamDynamix.
When IT staff roll out new software or update existing systems, they often see a rise in the number of service tickets they get from students and employees. Perhaps the new system doesn’t mesh well with existing software, or maybe users are confused and need more training.
A comprehensive and well thought-out change management strategy can reduce the likelihood that this will happen — and that’s exactly what NEOMED has been able to establish with the help of TeamDynamix.
The TeamDynamix platform helps NEOMED IT staff plan effectively when making a change, to make sure they’ve thought through every implication first.
“We set up a special form within the system called a change form, and whenever a production change is pending, we have the technical lead fill out that form,” says Geri Hein, project manager within the university’s IT division. For larger changes, the change form is routed to a change control team that consists of Hein, a business analyst, the managers of the university’s IT infrastructure and database groups, and the IT director.
This process has increased communication within the IT division and helped with troubleshooting problems.
Now, whenever a change is coming, the key people who need to be aware are automatically notified in advance, so they can weigh in if they foresee any risks or dependencies in order to ensure a smooth transition. Changes are linked automatically to the ticket calendar feature within TeamDynamix, so IT staff can easily see which changes were made on which days.
“If there’s a problem, we can go to the calendar and determine whether it was related to a particular change or not,” Hein says. “There have been a few instances where our infrastructure team made changes that we didn’t think would cause problems with our ERP system, but they did. However, we were able to track it back to the right source and easily resolve the issue.”
Helping with change management is just one way TeamDynamix has improved efficiency and streamlined IT operations at the medical university, Hein says.
This comprehensive platform for managing enterprise assets, projects, and service requests is like a multipurpose utility knife for IT departments, and it has helped Hein and her colleagues keep up with rising demands as NEOMED has expanded significantly over the last decade, adding a College of Graduate Studies, increasing the class sizes and almost doubling the size of the campus.
Hein was familiar with TeamDynamix from her work at a prior university. When she arrived at NEOMED, the university was using a help desk management platform but had no systemic way to oversee larger IT projects with multiple moving parts. She realized the university would benefit from a single, unified platform for managing both IT projects and service requests.
“I told the director we needed something better,” she recalls. “I wanted a solution that would allow us to see all of our IT work in one platform.”
With TeamDynamix, NEOMED IT leaders have an easy way to track how staff are spending their time and what projects they’re currently working on, so Hein and her colleagues can deploy resources most effectively. IT leaders can also track and monitor the status of projects and service requests to ensure that problems are resolved quickly and successfully and that projects are completed on time and on budget.
What’s more, the service portal and knowledge base features within TeamDynamix have supported the university’s move to offer self-service capabilities — and this has been another key way the IT division has been able to keep up with rising demands.
Prior to using TeamDynamix, students and employees had to call or email the university’s help desk to log service requests. With the help of TeamDynamix, the university has built a comprehensive service portal with knowledge base articles explaining how users can resolve their own IT issues. If users can’t find what they’re looking for within the knowledge base, they can submit a ticket request through the service portal — and requests are routed automatically to an appropriate technician for a response, saving valuable time.
“With our client portal, we have been able to wean people off (of calling the help desk),” Hein observes.
The longer the IT division at NEOMED has been using TeamDynamix, the more uses they have found for this versatile tool.
Recently, the IT division helped the university’s Academic Technologies division adopt TeamDynamix for managing its own help desk. “We’re all using the same system now,” Hein says. “It’s nice, because the students don’t have to figure out which system they need to use to get help. They can simply use our service portal for any technology-related service they need.”
The university is also using the asset management features of TeamDynamix to automate and manage its laptop loaner program. The NEOMED help desk maintains a bank of about 15 laptops that students and staff can borrow as needed. “We have them set up as assets within TeamDynamix, and users can fill out a form to check out a device,” Hein explains. “The process is managed through our help desk using the TeamDynamix ticketing system. We can see which devices are checked out, which are available, and who has which device.”
Hein’s future plans include expanding NEOMED’s use of the project portfolio management functionality within TeamDynamix to add more advanced project scoring, so that she and her colleagues can evaluate and prioritize projects more effectively.
“I have lots of ideas for how we can utilize the existing reports and dashboards within TeamDynamix, as well as create some new ones,” she concludes. “We have experienced a lot of growth, which has resulted in a huge increase in the number of projects and tickets we have to support. Without TeamDynamix, it would be impossible to manage all this work.”
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