An agile service desk tool: From necessities to innovative use during COVID-19
Peterborough is a city located in Ontario, Canada, with a population of about 85,000 citizens. For years, the Peterborough Technology Services (PTS) IT service desk worked hard supporting users’ requests. With no centralized system to track requests, the workload was uneven between IT staff.
With 1000+ end users to support, the IT service desk needed an easier way to track their service requests. In 2017, PTS awarded TOPdesk with the opportunity to help create a formalized service desk. Since implementation, PTS has been extremely innovative when coming up with new ways to use the tool. Recently, in addition to the essential service desk operations, TOPdesk was used to support the organization’s COVID-19 response and SAP software implementation. Other departments are noticing the efficiency of TOPdesk as a tool, and hopping on board.
TOPdesk played a massive role in our COVID response.
The search for an ITSM tool
“Staff would call their favourite IT person,” explains Nick Powers, Manager, IT Security and Service Desk. “So the distribution of work wasn’t appropriate. That led to a multitude of different problems. One of the biggest problems was that we weren’t really sure where our pain points were. And we couldn’t track these requests.”
PTS and the organizations they support were in need of a tool to capture and track all the information and requests coming in. Through an RFP process, several different vendors stepped up to compete.
“We felt that the TOPdesk interface was very intuitive. It was generally easy to use and navigate.”
PTS was looking for a tool that could not only centralize all requests, but was also be effective and adaptable for staff. The management team knew this was a big change internally. The easier the tool, the smoother the transition for the organization.
“The ability to create users, both operators and staff – to get them up and running, was easy to do,” says Powers. “The ability to track and update tickets, as it relates to all modules, was positive and simple. Everybody on the team really landed on the fact that TOPdesk was easy to use, and at the same time very functionable regarding additional modules we’d be interested in implementing at a later date.”
Using TOPdesk for the City, Utilities and Police Department
TOPdesk is used in a variety of different ways through Peterborough, from water and electric distribution to libraries and the local police department. As TOPdesk supports a variety of departments, the requests to IT can vary drastically.
“It’s diverse, that’s for sure, as far as service requests,” says Powers. “In the morning, we could have an issue with investigative videos not recording. And in the afternoon, you’ve got a generating station hydroelectric dam that’s not connecting properly.”
As different as these requests can be, having a centralized tool helps to solve these requests through the same, streamlined process.
Discovering unique ways to utilize TOPdesk
On top of the strong service desk PTS has created, the organization has found other unique ways to use the TOPdesk tool to their advantage.
“We knew TOPdesk could help other departments in addition to IT.”
For example, Geographic Information Systems Department (GIS) receives their own requests separately from the IT department requests. Powers and the IT team were able to set up GIS with their own operator groups and own mechanism to receive and track requests through TOPdesk.
“They’re independent – It’s working well.”
On top of supporting other departments, Powers describes his implementation and use of TOPdesk on a project-specific basis.
“Just recently, we used TOPdesk to help us track specific types of service requests for large-scale projects.”
One of the greatest TOPdesk success stories was the collaboration of SAP, a CRM software, within the City of Peterborough. The SAP project team reached out to IT and asked if TOPdesk could help with the project. The IT team assessed their needs and knew TOPdesk would be great for the job.
“We have a number of operators and operator groups specifically targeted just to that SAP implementation and rollout. It allows these operators to track if people have problems with an area of SAP. The operators are superusers within the SAP platform who don’t necessarily work in IT.”
TOPdesk has been used for other projects over the years and has acted as a great tool for testing and tracking the efficiency of each of these projects.
We felt that the TOPdesk interface was very intuitive. It was generally easy to use and navigate.
Peterborough Utilities Group and COVID-19
“TOPdesk played a massive role in our COVID response,” says Powers.
While most of the organization worked completely remotely, such as the IT department, some positions didn’t allow it. For example, people in services who worked on the hydro poles.
“We created categorizations within TOPdesk related to COVID-19,” explains Powers. “We called them business continuity or ‘BCP’. We could actively track incoming service requests which were specific to pandemic response. There was so much happening in a very short time. We wanted to ensure we were prioritizing appropriately.”
The IT management team dealt with these incoming categorized requests.
“By us categorizing this way, we were able to have daily meetings to go over tickets, which we could prioritize and delegate appropriately.”