customer story

The University of Edinburgh

How the university created a TOPdesk-based service called UniDesk

The University of Edinburgh is currently one of the world’s leading teaching and research institutions. They started using TOPdesk in November 2010 and, together with partners University of Abertay Dundee and University of St Andrews, developed UniDesk: a TOPdesk-based service, extensively tailored to the needs of Higher and Further Education institutions.

It has become really easy to log calls, and the universities can now set their processes and performance against targets.

Mark Wetton

Looking for an ITIL-based solution

“We currently have 1,000 operators who handle approximately 12,000 calls a month at our university alone,” explains Mark Wetton, Head of the Service Management. “Our users can contact the Information Services (IS) helpline for a wide range of IT-related services – from account requests to desktop queries and web services. We also have local computing officers at each college and department who log incidents and service requests.”

Prior to implementing TOPdesk, the University of Edinburgh worked with a simple web-based system they developed themselves. However, the bespoke work involved was becoming too costly and the system lacked features such as a CMDB and knowledge base. Their processes also did not fully meet ITIL standards. “Because we were already working according to ITIL procedures and found it important to share a unified vocabulary, we started looking for a new solution.”

The University of Edinburgh

UniDesk: a shared service in every way

Having run the previous service management system as a shared service with St Andrews University, they decided to head in the same direction – with the University of Abertay Dundee as the third party. Mark explains: “Together with the other universities, we compiled a list of requirements for the new system. It not only had to be ITIL-compliant, modular and scalable – we also needed a supplier partner to work with our centralized authentication mechanism. TOPdesk ticked all the boxes and, in the end, it was the price and TOPdesk’s quality of customer care that truly stood out. ”

Aided by TOPdesk consultants and the implementation plan, the University of Edinburgh went live in November 2010. “We were very impressed with the people at TOPdesk,” says Mark, “as they listened to our needs and supported us every step of the way. With their help, we managed to tailor the Incident Management and Problem Management processes to meet the university’s requirements.”

Due to the specific nature of the implementation, the three partners called this shared service UniDesk, which is hosted by the University of Edinburgh. “With UniDesk, we not only share the cost of the service, but also share ideas through workshops, reviews and training. We believe we can collectively be more effective, creative, and learn from each other, in order to continually improve our own services.” For this reason, the partners offer UniDesk as a service to other universities. “The advantage for other institutions that purchase UniDesk is that they can use our established blueprints for quick deployment, and they can benefit from a community approach. This will save them both time and money.”

We were very impressed with the people at TOPdesk. They listened to our needs and supported us every step of the way.

Mark Wetton

Further development

Overall, the University of Edinburgh is very pleased with TOPdesk as their supplier and product, as Mark explains. “It has become really easy to log calls, and the universities can now set their processes and performance against targets. In the next three months, we plan to release the Self Service Desk portal, which will enable users to log their own calls and use a shared knowledge base. We are already implementing Change Management, closely followed by a Service Management module to help our customers manage the expectations and integrated responsibilities that underpin each service.”

Using the feedback they receive in their shared forum, the partner universities can continually improve UniDesk. “One of our collective projects is to create a management information dashboard: a high-level reporting tool which will give us even more information on our processes and areas for improvement. With UniDesk, we have really become a learning organization.”