Sightsavers Looks to the Cloud to Deliver IT & Enterprise Service Management
Chris Porter is the Service Desk Team Lead for Sightsavers, a global development charity, headquartered in the UK, working to prevent avoidable blindness and debilitating tropical diseases in some of the world’s poorest developing nations. He describes how this life-affirming charity has come to rely on Ivanti Service Manager as the core component for unified process management and delivery across the organization.
The Prescription Forward
Sightsavers’ journey with Ivanti began when it concluded that its former help desk tool, while cloud- accessible, lacked the necessary functionality and customization required to expand outside of IT. Other departments, such as finance and web design, were keen to embrace enhanced processes and automated workflows but had to settle for default forms and restricted dropdowns that failed to incorporate their functions. Lack of departmental customization meant that tool usage fell while paper forms proliferated—randomly accessible over intranets and shared drives. Some departments, like finance, fared worse. A simple finance request such as adding a new supplier onto the procurement system could easily entail circulation of 15 manual forms. Pigeonholing requests to fit default options often delivered incorrectly classified requests, leading to low first-time resolution rates and difficulty in providing detailed data on what support was actually required.
Given Sightsavers’ key ethos is to maintain transparency and create infrastructure efficiencies across all functions and departments, a working group from Sightsavers’ Corporate Services Team volunteered to lead the trial for a new service management system that would meet the needs of all teams.
To become more customer facing and efficient, IT split into two—creating an IT Services arm to deliver better service management across the charity. Now part of Corporate Services, IT Services identified Ivanti Service Manager as a potential fit and, working with Ivanti partner, CTMS, embarked on trials that would deliver ITIL-based process management to unify the charity’s key processes.
“CTMS was introduced to us by Ivanti, and it has proved to be a valued relationship,” Porter notes. “During the install, we collectively overcame hurdles that involved many cross-departmental meetings and some changes of direction as we morphed processes, successfully building on the original Ivanti workflows and service request forms until we reached a point of self-sufficiency.”
Seeing Positive Results Across Departments
Two years on, the entire Sightsavers’ organization uses Ivanti Service Manager. There was no big-bang switch; instead, adoption grew organically across departments as success and confidence grew within the organization. Seven departments—Corporate and Design, Compliance, Corporate Service, Finance, HR, IT Procurement and Travel Team—now use Self-Service to log requests with automated approvals and workflows across departments.
“Ours is a journey of maturity as the functionality and reputation of Ivanti Service Manager has steadily grown across teams to now serve 600 users,” Porter reflects. “Within two years, Service Manager has become the goto to deliver all aspects of service—from logging IT faults, to helping staff on-board, to safely organising travel across some of the most hazardous, war-torn countries in the world.”
Cross-departmental functions are better served with Ivanti acting as the central workflow engine. For example, if a problem arises with a staff laptop stolen while abroad, a single ticket notification is now delivered to the Travel, Compliance, and Security teams instead of instigating three sets of departmental forms. These teams can track status and take resultant actions, passing the ticket onward when tasks are complete.
Similar efficiency improvements are delivered when onboarding or off-boarding staff. Prior to implementation, new hiring would generate multiple request forms for each staff member that were largely unsearchable. Now, Ivanti’s interlinked processes between HR and IT have reduced the number of forms used by 80%. All equipment requisitions and approvals are stored within the system, status updates applied, and users are notified automatically.
Mitigating Risk for the Worldwide Deployment of Staff
Self-Service has been especially significant for the Travel Team. Before, travel requests involved submitting lengthy forms located in SharePoint specific to each country. Today the system offers a dynamic, end-to-end booking process that highlights current travel risks and flags these with other departments. Within a Risk Register set up in the Ivanti system, users can view all countries, select a destination, note the associated current risks and advisories, and highlight problem areas that need extra travel caution or action before they depart.
The Risk Register is monitored and updated by the Global Head of Security. If a country’s risk assessment increases or decreases, the fields within the travel booking form change to allow further evaluations by the Security team who make the final recommendation on travel. Armed with this mapping, Sightsavers’ Security Team has a holistic pinpoint view of all staff locations and ground conditions.
Porter notes: “Mitigating risk and safe deployment of our staff, eye-care specialists, and doctors has been the single biggest advantage in unifying our processes. Today we feel able to mobilize and deploy our staff with greater confidence and speed. That in turn helps us to save and positively impact more lives, especially in zones prone to changing conditions.”
Better Visibility for IT
IT Services remain the primary users of the Incident Management module within Service Manager, who use the solution to assess monthly fluctuations in volumes and types of incidents through dashboards and reporting. Now when a spike of related incidents occurs, members of the IT Services team can explore if escalation to problem management is required, bringing in the IT Infrastructure team to take preventative measures if needed. For example, using ticket locations, the IT Services team can determine if a larger office has just recruited new staff and needs additional training, or identify perhaps a more significant issue that needs immediate attention and preventative actions for the future.
Porter feels a perceived increase in service levels has occurred within the charity. “We are still maturing, but with Ivanti Service Manager we have a powerful solution behind us. When we ask users, we are now depicted as being more efficient and professional. Overall, we wanted to increase efficiencies across departmental processes and in doing so we now have better empathy with all teams’ needs.”