13 January, 2014/
When you have thirty highly skilled analysts serving 9 international clients, all with varying service levels, operating hours and engagement models, it can become a challenge to obtain the right amount of management information to ensure that the teams are correctly resourced and utilised. With one or two small teams you get by with manual processes, but as you grow it is essential to have scalable systems in place.
A couple of years ago, after an intensive software evaluation process, we decided to replace our existing helpdesk software with a product called SysAid. The benefits were immediate and things were good; we continued to grow and found that SysAid scaled up with ease.
We now had more information available and with it we were able to start identifying gaps that could take us to the next level. One of SysAid’s features, which really interested us, allows the capturing of the time it takes to perform different activities related to incidents, service requests, problems and change requests. After completing a proof of concept we immediately saw the potential benefits and incorporated it into our processes. This new data gave us an unprecedented accuracy in our management reports and allowed us to accurately cost our service and forecast demand, but it also came with an overhead cost – time.
With the knowledge that we have the necessary skills in-house to implement an automated solution using SysAid’s API, we added it to our service improvement register for future implementation, and prioritised it accordingly. When this item reached the top of the list we initiated a small in-house development project.
Our technical team lead was assigned the project and kicked it off by obtaining all the different use cases the teams had come up with and compiled the requirements. A few hours after assigning the development work to one of our spare resources we had the basic framework in place. Four sprints later and we were ready to start testing the new application. After each round of testing, refinements were made until we all gave the thumbs up. The final task was coming up with a name and after a few debates and team votes the application was christened as Chronos.
Did Chronos deliver the expected time savings? Yes it did – after a couple of weeks of use we were able to calculate an average time saving of 63% for this important overhead. The first three weeks of its use had already paid back the development time and from there onwards it was pure savings!
Besides the obvious performance benefits, there is also the intangible benefit of the teams being able to play a role in a project that benefits them directly and seeing their vision of the app come to fruition. For me personally, seeing the number of people giving unsolicited positive feedback has been very satisfying.
The success of this API project has opened our minds to more enhancements that could automate and improve our processes and ultimately maximise the benefits to our clients.
Keep an eye out for future updates!