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Midcounties Co-op increases return on service desk investment

Karl Flinders

The Midcounties Co-operative has increased the uses for its IT service management software since initially buying a system out of the box from Hornbill back in 2004 and is increasing the return on investment.

The Midcounties Co-operative has sales of £1bn and employs more than 10,000 people across a variety of businesses.

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As the company entered new business areas, the number of IT users at the organisation grew from 7,000 to 10,000 while in the same time the number of IT support calls grew from under 600 a week to 1,300.

The growth in heavily regulated areas, such as childcare and energy, also meant there was an increasing need for IT governance. The Midcounties Co-operative deployed Hornbill Supportworks ITSM Enterprise service desk software to support its IT operations.

Despite the number of IT users and the need for more complex service and support, the ITSM team has only had to grow from 55 to 70.

Because the company pays for the software on a per user basis it does not cost more to use different functions. As the company expands its use, the return on investment increases.

In 2004, after identifying the need for an “out of the box” IT service management system as a requirement, when the company looked at ITIL best practices, it began using Supportworks from Hornbill. It replaced a system known as Sunrise – a service desk system – according to Sheridan Hindle, IT head at Midcounties Co-operative.

Hindle said ITIL was just a guide and the company used this to improve the service rather than attempting to become compliant with the standard. “I am not a person that looks to getting compliance. It is good because it is the process we needed to be effective. We were not under pressure to be ITIL compliant.”

The company has since expanded the use of Supportworks, which is now supporting a major change project as well as multiple new business units. In the last few years the company has increased its revenues from £750m to £1bn.

"We have been using Supportworks to manage a change programme over the last three years,” said Hindle. “We can see how many changes we are making and it allows us to show the business how much resource is needed.”

"The growth of our organisation has been enormous since 2004. Not just in simply increasing our staff but moving into new areas that require much more IT activity. Simply growing the ITSM team without limits would be a prohibitively expensive way to ensure IT services continue to deliver on business needs,” said Hindle. “By helping us do more for less, Supportworks has ensured we can cope with more users, more support calls and tighter and more varied regulations without having to accept spiralling staff numbers and costs.” 

 “IT does not stand still. The Co-operative will continue to grow, meaning more and more IT users will need our support to ensure their work is unimpeded. At the same time, the abilities and best practices associated with technology itself will continue to evolve.”

The company started with 40 Supportworks users and after nine years has 60, while its use in the company has increased substantially.


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