Utrecht University: Enterprise Service Management case

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We’ve talked about the benefits of Enterprise Service Management (ESM) before. But what does it look like in real life? Utrecht University embarked on its very own ESM journey, with most of its departments now working together – from the service desk and local support to the University Library IT department and security. We visited them and spoke to Jacqueline van Besouw, manager of the service desk and the local support department, and Patrick Schilder, service and supplier manager of the IT department of the University Library. Time to see what their ESM experience was like. And: what is their number one tip on how to get started with ESM?

How did Utrecht University get started with ESM?

The various departments of the university offer their services to two different groups: employees and students. Jacqueline explains: “We have several groups of people to cater to: for example the old guard who’ve worked at the university for over 30 years, and a bunch of new 18-year-old students who join us every year and have different expectations of our service. They’re young and modern and want instant information.”

To respond to this new demand in service delivery, Utrecht University started on their ESM journey. In the future, they want to focus on collaborating even more across the board to make the university a place where everyone can work and learn pleasantly.

A single point of contact: better service

Jacqueline admits: “Before we started with ESM, it was unclear to most of the university population who they could turn to with their issues. Say you’re in a lecture room and the projector breaks down. Who do you turn to for help? There are three phone numbers listed in the room that lead you to three different services: the helpdesk, IT, and Facility Management. But it’s unclear who you should reach out to. And, if you finally do reach someone, they give you the runaround and send you to someone else. So – who’s going to help you with your problem?”

Thanks to ESM, it’s become clear where to go if you need help. Unlike before, the university service desk is now happy to assist both students and employees. ESM has made life much simpler for service desk employees, too: “Sharing information is easier when you’re all working in the same system,” says Jacqueline. “This makes the process of handling incidents easier, faster, and more streamlined. And we always enjoy helping other people.”

Working towards greatness together

The various departments of Utrecht University have never worked together so closely as they do now. Jacqueline explains: “We used to be a small sports team with our own stadium. Now, we’ve become our very own Olympic venue where every sport works together and is equally important.” Having all information gathered in one system makes working together easier than ever. Patrick adds: “Information used to go via email alone: it wasn’t clear at all. Now, it’s very easy to pick up where someone else left off. If one of our colleagues is absent, we can just keep working on service requests or other incidents.”

Sharing knowledge

ESM has helped Utrecht University in more ways than one. With the help of knowledge items, more people are now qualified to answer different types of questions. Jacqueline explains: “Someone recently asked me if I’m OK with one of my service desk employees answering a finance-related question. Well, I’m more than OK with it! In fact, if a Facility Management employee can handle one of our service desk incidents, obviously that’s more than fine too.”

Sharing information is easier when you’re all working in the same system. It makes the process of handling incidents easier, faster, and more streamlined.

What’s the next step for Utrecht University?

“I’m helping our functional managers make as many knowledge items available as possible, so the service desk can also start handling library-related incidents,” Patrick explains. Making knowledge items based on questions that come in is also high on the university’s to-do list. Their goal: to put even more emphasis on knowledge management. “Because we now document all of our knowledge and solutions, our service desk employees can easily look back on how we handled a similar incident before and learn from that experience,” shares Patrick.

Find out how a shared services model allows your organization to build its service and support capabilities around employee wants and needs

So, how can other organizations get started with ESM?

Luckily, Jacqueline agreed to share her number one tip with us:

Change is good: go with it

When getting started with ESM, you must be prepared to make changes. “We’ve gone from working in our own little bubble to looking at the bigger picture. From simply answering phone calls to knowledge management, and from a skilled service desk to using knowledge items. These all require a change in culture,” explains Jacqueline. To make a culture change stick, respecting the people involved is crucial. “Value their expertise, hear them out, and make sure they are allowed to take up space. Some employees may fear that their job is becoming redundant due to knowledge management. Help and guide them instead of dismissing their fears. This way, they’ll get on board much faster,” says Jacqueline.

Are you ready for the next step, too?

Did Utrecht University’s journey to ESM inspire you? Download our ESM e-book to get the entire ESM low-down and start benefiting from working together:

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