The Strasbourg-based organisation's IT department completed the roll-out of ICCM's e-Service Desk service management system about three months ago to help it cope with an increase in staff numbers from 200 to more than 800 over the past decade. The proportionate growth in supporting IT systems inevitably saw a direct rise in the amount of calls to the helpdesk.
John Hunter, head of IT for the European Court, said, "The system has provided real benefits as it has made us more reactive and more aware of any problems and issues, which enables us to provide a better service. We have seen gains in efficiency and management improvements, and we have now got a very comprehensive knowledge base of helpdesk issues, which will help us in our overall IT strategy."
This is because the statistical reporting model built into the new system makes it easier to identify trends and variables than was formerly the case when the process had to be undertaken manually. This information not only enables the IT department to tackle issues before they occur or grow into a problem, but also to identify training needs, resourcing requirements or areas that could benefit from the reworking of business processes.
Users can contact help desk personnel via the telephone, email or using a customer portal and are now able to view the status of their query online. The portal can also be used to warn if a problem has occurred in order to reduce the number of queries in that regard.
But when implementing such systems, Francis Doherty, the system manager responsible for "KnowHow" or knowledge management systems, indicated that it was important to plan thoroughly in advance.
"These are very large and complex systems in and of themselves so there'll be certain areas that you'll depend on and others that can focus on in the future. It's also important to customise based on your own requirements and to ensure that it's set up for your particular business processes, which will be different for everybody," he said.
Another key area is to ensure that the system is as easy to use as possible from an end-user point of view. "Usability is a big issue because if it's too complex, people won't want to use it. But it's also crucial to spend time coming up with the categories and sub-categories of helpdesk information to ensure that reports are meaningful," Hunter said.