Service Management Tool Supports Engineering FirmBy Eileen McCooey Print
To keep far-flung employees operating at peak performance, Cardno turned to Web-based service management software that's compatible with mobile devices.
When employees can't do their job because of hardware or software issues, they need help— and they need it immediately.
Mike Madden, IT operations manager for Cardno, an Australian-headquartered engineering and environmental services company, knows that firsthand. Madden, who's based in Lake Forest, Calif., leads a team of 12 IT professionals who support about 3,000 employees in the America's region.
His customers include everyone from board members and top executives to engineers and builders working on dams, airports and other infrastructure projects. If someone needs new software, help filing a timecard or an expense report from a job site, or a quick fix for a hardware problem, they turn to Madden's group.
The help desk system Cardno was using caused headaches for both employees and the IT staff. It wasn't user-friendly, required a lot of clicks for even a simple request, and didn't work well with many browsers. When users managed to submit requests, they were often bounced to specialists, entailing multiple phone calls.
"People out drilling and digging wells don't have time to go back to the truck to get out their laptops," Madden points out.
There were issues on the support side as well. Technicians had to download software to their work computers, so they couldn't work from home or in the field on their personal computers, smartphones or tablets. Worse yet, team members working in different offices had no way to tell if a colleague was already tackling a job ticket, and the system crashed if two people tried to respond to the same request.
"We were crashing all the time and losing information." Madden says. "Techs were instant-messaging each other to say they were in a file, and were copying notes from a text editor into the system so they had a backup if the system crashed."
Managers were equally dissatisfied. The software system was "barebones," and Cardno didn't have the in-house expertise to make anything but simple changes or to add functionality.
"We'd have to get a consultant, which cost time and money," Madden says. "Problems got progressively worse as our company grew. It was clear the software we were using wasn't right for us."
Madden worked closely with colleagues in Australia to evaluate half a dozen service-management software systems. They ultimately selected EasyVista and launched the new system in May 2015 with help from FMX, an EasyVista partner that continues to provide support.
Friendly, Flexible Help Desk System Improves Results
Accessible via the Web, EasyVista has made it much easier for employees to request help— and for Madden's team to deliver it. A self-service portal enables users to describe a problem in a few words and offers possible solutions from a growing knowledge base. "It might be as simple as a reminder to check a certain box to submit a form," Madden says.
Help desk staffers use the same database to solve problems with a single contact. In the past, at least half of incoming problems were bumped up to specialists, but that's now down to one out of four. With fewer requests and faster solutions, the on-time problem resolution rate has improved by 30 percent.
Compatibility with mobile devices is a huge plus for everyone. Technicians and users can access the system from their own computer, tablet or smartphone using any browser. A new portal rolling out in June will automatically format pages to suit a device's resolution and screen size, rather than presenting a shrunken-down version of a page designed for a computer.
Crashes are largely a thing of the past. "The system is very stable and it's smart enough to let two people work on the same ticket," Madden notes.
System maintenance is greatly improved. EasyVista's wizards reduce the need for coding and let team members with minimal programming knowledge use drag-and-drop functions to accomplish most tasks. That's already saved Cardno about $40,000 on consulting fees. The company is also spending less on new hardware and software thanks to system's asset-management tools, which show when there's a computer or software license that can be redeployed.
Reporting is enhanced as well. "We can run reports by region or globally, which we couldn't do before without comparing and compiling data," Madden says. "And we can create new report filters, views and formats as needed."
Madden sees a lot of potential waiting to be tapped. "EasyVista has a lot of functionality we aren't using yet, but at some point, we expect to," he says.
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