Warwick University cloud ITSM creates platform for evolution

Cloud computing

Warwick University cloud ITSM creates platform for evolution

Karl Flinders

Warwick University has used cloud-based IT service management to bring all its ITIL processes into a single system and to create additional self-services for users.

The university originally implemented the cloud service from ServiceNow in 2010 after a tender process. Incident and problem management was the initial function, and later developments included service catalogue, change management and more self-services.

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Shane Parsons, head of ITSM at the university, said the reason it had selected ServiceNow was not because it was cloud-based. “We selected ServiceNow because of the flexibility of the tool set in allowing rapid development, integration, configuration and deployment of the various ITIL processes we were already using within the university, all within one single product,” he said.

“At the point of selection, we were using various other tools to manage these processes, with no linkage or integration available. ServiceNow's response to the invitation to tender in terms of practical demonstration and customer site visit was also a major factor in our decision.”

Next month, the university will go live with an automated system that enables PC users to self-diagnose whether they need a new computer. When users log into an interface, the system automatically checks out their PC to see if an upgrade, replacement or engineer is required.

The system was developed with ServiceNow software partner TeamUltra. Without contacting the helpdesk directly, PC users will be able to order a new machine, then book a date/timeslot for an engineer to: deliver and help unpack the computer, perform data transfer from their old machine to the new one, install any role-based applications and dispose of the old machine. 

The automated system helps to standardise procurement for the university's different departments, and reduces the involvement of the IT team until installation.

The project requirements were gathered last autumn and development began in December 2013. Final development and integration with existing services is due for completion at the end of April, when user acceptance testing will begin.

Updates will then be made and final acceptance testing is planned for late May. The system is planned to go live in early June.

Parsons said the fact that ServiceNow is hosted in the cloud brings additional benefits. “Being cloud-based has removed the need to provide in-house VM hardware, storage and backup facilities, as well as DRS capability needs,” he said. “Although it is not a major cost or resource overhead, the removal of this need and reliance on other internal IT teams has simplified the service provision for my team.”

He said the availability and performance of ServiceNow has been high, particularly in the last 12 months following significant improvements to the hosting datacentre infrastructure.


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