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Arriva ITSM implementation delivers beyond expectations

Transport company replaces several tools with a single cloud-based ITSM platform

Transport operator Arriva removed numerous systems from across the operation with the implementation of companywide cloud-based IT Service Management (ITSM) platform.

The system from Cherwell Software also enabled the company to build tools to help it become GDPR compliant.

Alan Sherwen, director of IT services at Arriva, runs a department that supports the UK mainly and Europe for certain software. He said that over the years, Arriva has made acquisitions of companies, which has added new IT departments and systems to the Arriva groups’ operation.

“In 2016, we had a very small Arriva group IT department with lots of little IT departments all over the UK. All these had separate tools, heads of IT, etc,” said Sherwen.

That year, the company ran a project to bring all IT under one roof in Arriva Group, but IT was still fragmented in reality. “The project brought everything into one group, but functionally, it was still lots of separate IT departments,” he said.

In 2017, he took on his current role. “At the time, there was no visibility between each of those IT teams, or very little visibility, and we couldn’t report across departments,” said Sherwen.

The company realised this would not work and embarked on an IT transformation programme, which included putting all the jobs in IT at risk. “We scrapped the existing structure and started with a brand new structure,” he said.

Read more about ITSM in the cloud

Arriva currently has about 230 dedicated IT staff, most off which are now based centrally in Sunderland, with some teams in the field. But this was only the start. “The centralisation of IT worked but was only part of the solution, and we really needed a new ITSM tool,” said Sherwen.

He said the range of technologies used for ITSM in the company included Excel amongst other tools.

A competitive tender was put out in June 2017.

“I needed a tool that would work well for a not very mature IT organisation but also one we would not outgrow as we mature. Some tools that might have suited us a year ago we might have outgrown quite quickly,” said Sherwen. “Meanwhile the larger tools such as ServiceNow and BMC were just too advanced for us and would have drowned us.”

After the tender, it selected a tool from Cherwell Software by the end of the following month. He said most of the suppliers being considered were well known so the company didn’t focus on technical capability during the bidding process.

“We were very much focused on finding a partner we could work with and one we thought could mature with us,” said Sherwen. “We wanted to be a major win for a smaller supplier to make sure we got their focus.”

“I asked the team which supplier they thought they could work with the best and Cherwell came out on top,” he said.

Software implementation

The implementation of the software started in September and went live in November, and initially the success of the ITSM portal was key, said Sherwen. “We have seen month on month increases in the use of the portal for service requests and we are up to 25% of all requests now going through the portal.”

A few months ago the company launched version two of its ITSM portal. “The initial portal worked and looked okay, but three months ago we launched version two. We took our time and took customer feedback about what they liked and disliked, and we re-launched it.”

Sherwen said the company has added the process for people joining the company to the portal with a fully automated process.

He said staff now use the portal to order new IT equipment themselves. “We wanted users to have an Amazon experience when using the portal. We are now hitting our five-day SLA for new equipment 95% of the time. Before this, we were struggling to hit this 20% of the time.”

This is not the only addition to the portal which has been welcomed. In preparation for the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) legislation going live, the team managing compliance approached Sherwen’s team for help.

“They were looking for a tool to log GDPR-type incidents and subject access requests,” he said. “We told them the Cherwell ITSM tool could support this.”

Although Cherwell plans its own GDPR module, it was not going to be ready soon enough for Arriva, so the IT team wrote its own GDPR module with support from Cherwell.

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