Kathleen Hall is correspondent for Computer Weekly. She writes about technology issues in small to medium-sized enterprises, as well as specialising in the retail and services sectors.
Previously Kathleen worked as business reporter for Vitesse Media, covering SMEs and enterprise IT.
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Lambeth Borough Council has reduced costs its costs by £220,000 per year by implementing a self-service IT management system for its staff.
The council has deployed an IT management system from LANDesk to reduce helpdesk support and improve efficiencies, which has enabled the council to reduce its headcount and speed up processes.
The system has eliminated the need for e-mail logging and reduced overall number of IT requests, with 40% of calls now handled online. It was originally implemented in 2002 to manage helpdesk calls, but has since expanded with the government's move to involve more local communities in place of council services. Additional development costs for the creation of a self-service portal came to less than £50,000.
"The organisation has got more complicated," said Rob Miller, assistant director of ICT Services at the council. "For example, a group providing library services might need access to support beyond the usual opening hours. So we are launching a self-service password reset for anyone on our network who might need a new password outside of our opening hours."
LANDesk was an effective tool to centralise the management of all IT changes across the council. It replaced a separate home-grown application with a single, integrated solution that could help us better understand the operation and performance of our IT infrastructure, said Miller.
In 2010, the creation of a self-service "DIY" website provided staff with a one-stop-shop for reporting IT, facilities and HR issues instead of having to contact different specialist helpdesks. The system automatically recognises the identity of staff so they don't need to remember an extra password.
Users log requests relating to order items such as PCs or office swipe card, or to report faults. Staff can track the progress of their calls in real time and resolve common IT issues themselves with the help of a tips and tricks section.
In the future, Miller plans to deploy LANDesk asset management capabilities, helping the council to keep an accurate record of items such as PCs and telephones.
Miller said the council is working towards a "digital by default" model, as part of the drive to increase the uptake of government online services. But he expects to use a different platform, as a self-service model for external customers will be a more complicated IT deployment.