Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust provides a wide array of health and social care services, specialising in community health, mental health and learning disability services. Its workforce comprises nearly 4,000 people, based in over 70 sites throughout south east London.
Oxleas NHS Foundation Trust needed to increase the scale and scope of its helpdesk, to support a large increase in staff from the acquisition of several new services. The Trust needed to ensure that existing and new users spread across its many departments received well-integrated support.
The ICT team was struggling with email integration and communications with users. Previously, support staff were required to copy and paste information from emails into call logs, posing a significant drain on productivity.
“We wanted a solution that would automatically email users to keep them informed about the status of their support requests, and that could also automatically log calls and generate the relevant actions based on incoming emails,” said Tristan David, Head of ICT for Oxleas.
The Trust had previously been using HP OpenView, but found the solution too complex for its requirements and the software hard to configure and use. Having reached the end of vendor support, Oxleas took the opportunity to review other options that could better fit its requirements.
Oxleas wanted a solution that was easy to use and configure, and one that would integrate efficiently with its existing infrastructure. The Trust chose Novell Service Desk as a fully integrated service management tool to streamline and automate its IT support function.
“Novell Service Desk is very easy to use and to develop, so we felt that it was the best choice for the future,” said Tristan David. “The solution makes it easy to create automated workflows, and this is helping us to make much more effective use of email in our communications with users.”
Another selling point was Novell Service Desk’s modern Web 2.0 interface, which allows users to access the system via any web browser or mobile device without
plugins. This makes it easy to create powerful self-service portals for users and allows both technicians and users to check the status on support calls and update them immediately from wherever they are.
Oxleas’ service desk manager was closely involved in the selection of the solution, and was highly impressed with its functionality. "She is very enthusiastic about the capabilities of Novell Service Desk, in particular around the potential it offers for future development and integration with Novell ZENworks," said Tristan David. “When full integration is enabled in the near future, it will be even easier for the team to build a more responsive and automated support infrastructure.”
Finally, there was an important commercial aspect to the decision. For the same cost as bringing the previous solution back into support and adding the licences it needed, Oxleas was able to deploy a completely new Novell Service Desk environment that offers greater ease of use and more benefits.
“There would have been a significant cost involved in bringing the existing system up to the standard we needed and adding additional licences. In terms of pricing, Novell offered a very attractive solution,” said Tristan David.
For Oxleas, two of the most important new capabilities offered by Novell Service Desk are its easy-to-use workflow engine and web-based self-service portals, which have vastly improved the team’s ability to communicate with users.
“One of our users’ most frequent complaints was that they didn't know what was going on,” said Tristan David. “With Novell Service Desk, they can see which technician has been assigned to their call and can follow the progress through to resolution. Our experience in other areas tells us that users really like this kind of self-service approach.”
The team at Oxleas was able to seamlessly integrate Novell Service Desk into its existing infrastructure, and will soon be able to fully integrate it with its Novell ZENworks environment. This will deliver major benefits in terms of service automation and improved transparency.
The Novell solution includes built-in call timers, giving supervisors a clearer view of performance and enabling a more structured analysis of the effectiveness of existing processes. There are also plans to develop network monitoring tools that will log support calls automatically via email, so that the network team can respond even before the user is necessarily aware that there's a fault.
Additionally, Novell Service Desk provides highly effective, user-friendly service management that enables technicians at Oxleas to work faster and more efficiently, and allows them to ultimately focus on core business tasks. As technicians can now check for new support calls while they are off-site, they can potentially resolve emerging issues on the spot, leading to less downtime for users.
“Novell Service Desk makes it faster and easier to provide technical support,” said Tristan David. “In practice, this translates into rapid resolution for our users, improved service and reduced day-to-day support costs, which helps us to improve patient care.”
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