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  • similar landscapes in non-IT groups

Local Government deploys ESM solution

When citing great capital cities, Ottawa prominently resides in the top 10 most beautiful in the world. It is geographically the largest city in Canada, modestly boasting a population of over 900,000. As a corporate entity, the City of Ottawa is the municipal government of Canada's capital region that is responsible for the provision of services to the public.

The City of Ottawa employs approximately 15,000 staff offering 160 lines of business to residents including Public Health, Parks and Recreation, Community and Social Services, and Fire Services. With such a varied business client community dispersed across over 300 physical locations, the City of Ottawa's IT Services (ITS) department turned to an ITIL framework and the Marval MSM platform to manage the busy workload of supporting the corporation's services.

IT Leading the Way

The City of Ottawa’s IT Department provides support for all city staff that have an increasing dependency on technology, covering a wide spectrum of technology from standard desktop computers and business applications to rugged mobile devices used to increase the efficiency of public works, public health, emergency medical response, and fire prevention/suppression services across the City of Ottawa. The IT department's Service Management journey began in 2007 with the implementation of Marval Service Management client-desktop software and process solutions to enhance the ability to respond to a higher volume of increasingly complex support requests from a wildly varied user base that few other types organisations have. To get the most of this adoption, all 300 IT staff were given ITIL Foundation training to coincide with the Marval implementation.

The scope of the ITSM implementation at that time included Incident Management, Request Fulfillment, Configuration Management, and Change Management. In the first few years after the MSM rollout, the IT department's Service Desk was dependent on the traditional telephone and email intake model, and envisioned where they could improve their processes with the new tool. Over time, the demand on the IT department continually increased.

Adopting ITSM: Timelines

By 2011, the business clients had an increased dependency on technology, which was growing the support calls for essential business services. Mobile solutions and other technology trends were making the average call to the Service Desk more complex, creating a need for capacity and resulting in increased voicemail volume, and an increase in abandoned calls. This triggered a need to explore alternate ways to increase their capacity and client satisfaction, and to shift the IT department’s culture from a technology focused to a service focused organisation. This shift resulted in the formation of a new team in IT that was focused on ITSM Continual Improvement initiatives.

By 2012, this new team was working on a Service Catalogue project that would lay the ground work for an improved classification scheme in the new MSM web-based version, and for a new integrated self-service portal being developed. The self-service web portal known as the “IT Service Centre” went live in 2013 with the goal of expanding the service delivery method and moving closer to a tier-zero support model. The convenience of the self-service integration was also seen with the implementation of an IT ordering portal which was a gateway for ordering IT goods by means of an online shopping cart functionality, which was incorporated in 2014.

The portal was so successful in terms of user adoptions that by early 2015, the self-service portal was promoted to the forefront as a main contact point for IT support with the elimination of email as an intake channel. To assimilate and adopt this method of service delivery, self-help videos and online training tutorials were developed for new users, while the project team cultivated Continual Service Improvement endeavours by improving and expanding portal forms.

By 2017, more focus was put on the IT Service Centre portal once again, with continued improvement to the web forms to allow for easy creation of Service Requests and Incident in MSM and auto-routed to second tier support groups when appropriate. Significant development was done on adding to the library of self-help videos available for client consumption on the portal, and improvements were also made to the user interface and usability of the self-service portal including a new search capability.

Introduction of MSM to Non-IT Community

While IT continues to gain efficiencies by advancing their use of the Marval MSM software, the non-IT community at the City of Ottawa is where the most significant business value has been achieved.

The journey of the non-IT department implementations of Marval MSM began in 2012 when the City of Ottawa first upgraded to their first web-based version of MSM. At that time, the non-IT implementation started rather innocuously. There were four non-IT groups, including Parks and Recreation, using a legacy version of a request management tool that was being retired and needed to be migrated to a new platform. Marval MSM was chosen as the new home for this business requirement, since its web-based nature allowed for easy access and single sign-on from anywhere on the network. Furthermore, the intrinsic design of the request type partitioning allowed for the secure compartmentalisation of request data between the different business groups using the tool.

As these four initial groups used the tool, the benefits for other groups became apparent. The challenges of the non-IT groups were consistent: They all had chaotic support practices, unable to track their work as they struggled with shared mailboxes or shared spreadsheets. Moreover, many of these groups were unaware of the current state of their support business, and unable to report on the amount of work or their service levels.

Similar Landscapes

There are a lot of non-IT groups at the City of Ottawa that have a business function which is similar to IT’s. Human Resources was one such group: they are a service organisation, and had their own Service Desk that triaged calls and assigned to second tier support groups. It didn’t take long after Marval MSM implementation for the benefits to become reality for HR. For the first time, they could classify their requests in a meaningful way, and use the reporting tool to report on those classifications allowing them to analyse trends and measure their success and forecast their need for resources.

For the HR team, Marval MSM has provided transparency, consistency and validation. They no longer deal with a spreadsheet that is prone to corruption or duplication, and can track and report on statistics: volume trends and types of inquiries for learning purposes. 

Shortly after HR, Corporate Security also started using Marval MSM. Corporate Security’s use of the tool really redefined how the City of Ottawa viewed the tool. They are responsible for tracking the business assets that they own – items like security cameras, door alarms, and card/badge readers – so Configuration Management concepts were applied for them. They began tracking their assets in the CMDB, setting attributes for each asset and establishing relationships to other CIs and locations. Like IT, Corporate Security handles service requests and incidents from their client community, so having CIs in the CMDB allowed them to associate the CIs with requests, and then report on the volume and type of requests associated with assets. They were also able to set up service reminders on their CIs, so that the items they own can be reviewed and life-cycled in an automated way based on data such as end of warranty.

The implementation of Marval MSM’s reporting features allowed Corporate Security to analyse, organise and present what business they were in. One of the largest day-to-day usage benefits was the implementation of standardised workflow, and the accountability and auditability of knowing where a service request was in this workflow. Following the implementation and through proper reporting and best practice methods, they have been able to identify peak times and volume of inbound requests, gaps in service, staff performance and client behaviours, adjusting service delivery as required, coaching the staff and educating their clients, all culminating in the keys to their success. Their ability to analyse past service request volume also affords them the ability to plan, both from a financial and a human resource perspective. They have created reports and dashboards to keep a pulse on their productivity and provide valuable analysis for capital projects, client requirements and internal staffing needs. Additionally, they have developed automated reports that allow their clients, vendors and supervisors a standardised recurring audit trail.

One Solution for All

In the years following, the ITSM project team would roll out Marval MSM as a solution to ten other non-IT groups, including Transit Services, Environmental Services, Finance, Payroll and Ottawa Public Health. With these support groups using an integrated platform, they are all talking the same language and all communicating with their clients in the same way, such as through the MSM email notification process and self-service portal.

The Marval MSM solution has also given City of Ottawa employees a common user experience when they interface with any of these groups, and the more that these clients receive consistent service, the more the responsible support group care about service delivery and the client experience.

Eliminating Barriers

Marval MSM as an enterprise solution has provided other benefits to the business units using it and their clients. The more clients that are using it the more streamlined the workflow of request fulfillment can become. When support groups are using different support tools to do their job, it is difficult to manage working with those other groups to fulfill the request for the client. With Marval MSM, those barriers are removed at the City of Ottawa. This enterprise adoption is not only helping streamline the support processes, but also improving the client experience. The transferring of requests and sub-request creation is not disruptive to the end client because these support groups are using MSM; the client has one request number for their original request regardless of who it has been assigned to, and the updates and completion of that request takes place in a consistent way through the common platform that is Marval MSM.

Collaboration is Key

Since Marval is an enterprise system, the client groups that use it benefit from the evolution of the tool. The IT department has consistently contracted Consulting Services resources from Marval North America as part of an ITSM Continual Service Improvement effort to evolve the tool and support more processes, and the non-IT groups get the benefit of this evolution as they go to accommodate their changing business processes and needs.

Proof in the Numbers

As Marval MSM has grown, so have the overall numbers of requests being managed in Marval at the City of Ottawa. In 2015, non-IT Marval clients had 100,000 requests logged in MSM, compared to 140,000 by ITS, which meant 42% of all Marval calls were from non-IT. In 2016, that percentage grew to 45%. By the end of 2017, the number of non-IT requests in MSM is projected to exceed IT’s numbers for the first time and take over more than 50% of all of the records in the system.

On a month-over-month basis, the non-IT usage of MSM continually climbs. There are currently over 10,000 non-IT requests being managed in Marval on a monthly basis by 15 different non-IT groups, and that number will soon grow to 15,000 as more non-IT business units are in the process of implementing Marval MSM to help their business.