Having service requests clock up in an organisation as big and broad as the CSIRO doesn’t bode well for any business. That’s why deputy CIO, Euan Sangster, needed a new tool that would help service delivery employees keep on top of it all.
Sangster deployed the JIRA Service Desk from Atlassian mid-2014 on top of the software company’s geo-service tools so that service delivery staff could process transactions and invoices efficiently and be compliant with CSIRO’s vendors. The organisation has 10 service desks for different lines of business, with 110,000 transactions going through procurement a year.
“The ability to be able to track where requests or incidents are up to is vital for our business. We’ve had positive feedback both from the transactional [service] staff using them and their clients [lines of business] as well,” Sangster said.
The old process for service delivery was email-based, meaning managing several tasks simultaneously looked messy, and things quickly became complicated and slow. Having clear visibility over the progress of tasks is key to running an efficient service delivery desk, Sangster said.
“The team is using the tool to conduct work and get good visuals of where things are at. If something is stalling in one of their workflows, you can see it and identify it. It allows a manager to take action and reallocate to other staff members,” he said.
“We want to turn around requests quickly, as response times are very important to us. The speed of delivery has been greatly increased. The transaction service centre managers also have better visibility of what’s happening and categorise calls appropriately.”
Since deploying the service desk, service delivery times have reduced by a factor of four, pushing overall productivity up a couple of notches, Sangster said.
“It’s also really easy to use software; it’s not complicated. It lets you log a request really quickly,” he commented. “And with the ease to configure, we’ve actually configured it to each of the service centres’ own requirements.”Read more: Merged CSIRO and NICTA to become ‘Data61’ "The ability to be able to track where requests or incidents are up to is vital for our business." - Euan Sangster
The service desk was deployed for each centre’s specific needs, without having to input a lot of effort to make this work. Using an Agile approach, Sangster built a repeatable process that enabled him to complete the rollout of the service desk for each centre in eight weeks.
“The service desk tool allows us to have a fit-for-purpose solution for the lower level service areas without customisation, without a lot of effort, in a real quick and cost-effective model.”
The total cost of the service desk, including deployment and licensing, was in the $130,000 to $140,000 range. Sangster said this cost was worked out to be much lower in the long run than if he had of kept the previous service delivery tool.Read more: David Thodey to chair CSIRO
“If we used our former service delivery tool and were to get the service centres onto that, we knew it was going to be a cost factor of five or six times more,” he said.
Sangster now plans to implement tools for other service delivery needs in the organisation and is currently looking at Microsoft Dynamics. The intention is to move away from individual development solutions and onto a central platform.
“What we’ve realised over the time… is that platforms are the way to go rather than individual development solutions,” he said. “We’ve really been focusing on upgrading all our platforms and moving retiring internally built systems onto the platforms. We are seeing a gain there, both from our time to deliver and maintainability of it.”
Brendan Dalton was appointed to the CIO role at CSIRO in July.Read more: CSIRO’s wearable tech for field workers to hit the market
Ad hoc service delivery processes at the CSIRO had turned line-of-business support into a complex, fraught issue
Deploying Atlassian’s service desk platform through an Agile approach has allowed IT teams to keep on top of service requests more easily as well as provide transparency around workloads.