Credit Union dramatically reduces time to resolution with incident self-service portal

A growing trend IT and systems management is making incident management simpler and quicker so that problems for users can be resolved more quickly.

As Central 1 Credit Union has discovered in recent years, incident management can’t stand alone. Based in Vancouver, it provides financial products, payment processing solutions, and direct banking services for credit unions in B.C. and Ontario. It started leveraging the ITIL practices for service management in 2004, according to platform specialist A.J. Simpkin, and deployed CA Service Desk to support its incident management and request fulfillment needs.

As the organization became for more familiar with ITIL for incident management, he said it became apparent in 2009 incident management and other functions such as change management shouldn’t be run independently. “We evolved,” said Simpkin. “We got smarter and more efficient at doing these things.”

A frequent challenge for Central 1 was that users couldn’t see relationships between different problems, he said. Two different people would be working on solving a problem and not be aware their problems were related.

In 2010, Central 1 began to look for an IT service management platform that better integrated incident management and change management – an investigation that took six to eight months and included looking at the costs associated with implementation, transitioning and training, Simpkins recalled. It ultimately went with ServiceNow in large part because it was designed with the ITIL framework in mind.

But another huge deciding factor was the ability to easily configure the platform, he said. For example, it’s easy for a user to quickly add a new field to an incident form. “You didn’t need any programming knowledge and you didn’t need to get into a database or application layer,” said Simpkin. “That greatly enhanced our time to deployment.”

Central 1 elected to update all configuration assets from scratch and elected not to import data from previous systems. “That forced us to take a look at configuration and establishing what we had,” Simpkin said. It was a “big win” for the organization.

One of the features that Central 1 is able to leverage in ServiceNow is the ability for users to create incident tickets and make requests through a self-service portal. At the same time, there is a robust backend to support the organization’s analysts. This has led strong buy-in by staff, said Simpkin, who are now more inclined to keep the tool up to date.

The most compelling benefit from moving to ServiceNow is time to resolution. Simpkin recalled an issue earlier this year where users couldn’t log into a particular application. Soon, calls were coming in about another application. It turns out both applications were drawing on a third application that resided on a failing drive. “We saw the connection 10-15 minutes after the incident was reported,” he said. “It used to take hours to detect by two different people.”

A contributing factor to the reduced time to resolution is the service portal, added Simpkin, as callers couldn’t always articulate the problem to an analyst. The portal can guide them to narrow it down with a couple of questions, which saves time for everyone involved.

Central 1 is also able to use ServiceNow to build applications and portals for specific lines of business within credit union, such as the HR department. “They want to solve problems but don’t want to spend hours coding.”

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Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson
Gary Hilson is a Toronto-based freelance writer who has written thousands of words for print and pixel in publications across North America. His areas of interest and expertise include software, enterprise and networking technology, memory systems, green energy, sustainable transportation, and research and education. His articles have been published by EE Times, SolarEnergy.Net, Network Computing, InformationWeek, Computing Canada, Computer Dealer News, Toronto Business Times and the Ottawa Citizen, among others.

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