School board finds ticket to IT value


The Conseil scolaire public du Nord-Est may be a small organization with a vast territory to cover, but that doesn’t mean its students should be shortchanged on their IT experience.

The French-language school board for the North Bay region of Northern Ontario has only 2,000 students, but they’re spread across 13 schools over a wide swath of geography; between the head office to the farthest school is a six-hour drive. To help him run that network of 900 Windows-based computers, Jamie Point, the board’s manager of information systems, has an IT staff of three administrators.

Point said they have the right number of schools to support a larger IT staff, but they don’t have the right number of students.

“Our schools aren’t big but they still require the same level of support,” said Point. “We’re very small on resources, but we leverage IT tools to make us streamlined.” What was needed, said Point, was a suite of call-tracking software to organize the board’s technicians so they’d have access to trouble tickets while on the road. The board also needed to automate some of the processes and workflows around ticketing, deadlines, resolutions and end-user follow-ups.

The board had been using Asset Navigator, a hardware and software asset and license tracking application from Nutlety, N.J.-based Alloy Software, for four years. Point said they decided to upgrade to Alloy Navigator to take advantage of the features around call-tracking, helpdesk management and workflow.

“Other tools were available, but were quite expensive and because of our small size we couldn’t jump onto these bigger solutions,” said Point. “Alloy had a good combination of features that were easy to use and easy to install, and didn’t require anything special around configuration.”

Since adding the workflow and automation capabilities of Alloy Navigator, Point said the biggest benefit has been building the confidence of his users; knowing that when they make a help request it will be facilitated in a timely manner. Previously, users were getting frustrated with the lack of organization around IT support, he added.

“The new system has greatly organized our technicians, and it has allowed us to follow up with our users without much effort,” said Point. “We’ve built confidence in our users that IT services are there to help them.”

Alloy recently released the latest version of its Navigator suite, Alloy Navigator 5.2. Robert Josefs, manager of marketing and sales with Alloy, said Navigator began primarily as a tool for SMBs but is beginning to find traction with larger companies. The update to the product includes several features designed to appeal to the enterprise space, Josefs added.

“One of the main things large enterprises are concerned with is an auto-approval process for change management,” said Josefs. “It could be done with workarounds before, but now with (version) 5.2 it’s much easier to implement an auto-approval process.” Alloy Navigator 5.2 also features enhanced software licence compliance management tools and allows more customization of the user interface, giving each technician a unique view, the Alloy executive said.

The new version also includes support for recurring and global tickets, something Josefs said may not be important to SMBs, but that is crucial to large enterprises.

“What’s nice is when you close the parent problem ticket, all of the related incidents also get closed out and e-mails get sent off to the appropriate people,” said Josefs.



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