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East Coast rips and replaces IT service desk system from National Express

Kathleen Hall

East Coast rail service has rolled out a new IT service desk support system, following the train line's move back to state ownership from its franchise agreement with National Express.

East Coast carries 18 million people a year between London and major cities in the north of England and Scotland.

The train line rolled out Hornbill's Supportworks ITSM software for analysts to handle requests from more than 3,000 staff. The software was purchased in July 2010 and went live in October 2010, enabling the train line to meet its switchover deadline. The previous IT service desk was delivered from a basic, centralised National Express call logging system.

The system has given East Coast greater visibility across support requests and enabled it to improve asset management processes - such as monitoring user accounts, hardware purchasing and software licensing. It has also reduced time spent resolving IT support calls by around 10%.

The funding came from the Department of Rail, but East Coast was unable to comment on its investment in the system. It is not clear whether the system will be used by the next company to franchise the train line in 2013.

David Wilson, service desk manager at East Coast, estimated the system could save tens-of-thousands-of-pounds in time spent in support calls. "Thanks to this we are not just replicating the support we offered under private ownership; we will instead be able to offer more ownership and information to our users, much as we have been able to take greater control ourselves," he said.

East Coast Mainline increased revenue by 1% last year after upgrading its revenue management technology to get a more profitable mix of sales.


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