cloud-based ITSM support tool

Washington state deploys cloud-based ITSM support tool

The Washington state Department of Enterprise Services has deployed a cloud-based IT support tool as its standard across the organization

The state’s Department of Enterprise Services, or DES, had consolidated what had been five separate departments into a single entity. The five groups used a diverse set of processes, standards and help desk tools. DES issued an RFP for a unified toolset and selected EasyVista’s IT Service Management (ITSM) offering, opting for software-as-a-service (SaaS) delivery.

“We were challenged with coming up with a consolidated, consistent, standardized approach that was across the board,” said Nick Fuchs, chief technology officer and chief information security officer at Washington State DES. “This was a way for us to not only have a ticketing tool, but a workflow tool that helps ensure a consistent process across the whole gamut of IT support.”

ITSM products automate the process of managing user-reported problems or service requests.  When a user reports an issue or requests a service, the ITSM software generates a ticket for tracking purposes. ITSM software also supports service management frameworks such as the IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) framework.

In DES’ case, ITSM software is used to orchestrate facilities management and other departments in addition to IT. In the IT space, DES supports 235 enterprise applications.

Phased deployment

DES is rolling out EasyVista in phases, in keeping with its agile software development approach. The software went live in December with the introduction of EasyVista’s service request management, incident response and service catalog components. The department also deployed a customer portal, which lets users view the status of tickets.

The department has moved on to launch change management. Fuchs said DES, “took one of our big applications that had a mature change management process and used that to develop a standard workflow in the system.”

Fuchs said DES conducts IT planning in 90-day increments, or phases. Each phase contains multiple software iterations. In general, DES releases new functionality every couple of weeks. In the current phase, which covers September through November, the department plans to roll out asset management and knowledge management. It will also expand the change management component during that time.

EasyVista supports DES’ agile-inspired frequent-release schedule, letting developers make configuration changes to create new features, instead of writing custom code. The company’s codeless technology also allows organizations to create workflows and customized forms.

For example, if DES wanted to issue a user notification sooner in a particular workflow, a developer would drag and drop the notification block to an earlier point in the workflow. The various workflow elements are depicted graphically. Fuchs likened EasyVista’s workflow design approach to a Visio diagram.

EasyVista, he added, “lends itself completely to an agile approach.”

North American push

DES’ use of EasyVista marks the continued expansion of the company’s software in North America. In addition to the Washington State installation, the company has a deployment with the state of New Mexico as well as customer activity in Florida, noted Andrew White, general manager and executive vice president, Americas, EasyVista.

White cited “significant churn” in the United States as organizations shed legacy systems in favor of web-based ITSM products. “It’s a massive replacement market,” he said.

EasyVista makes its ITSM product available as a SaaS offering or an on-premise solution. White said the customer purchasing trend is moving more toward SaaS.

The SaaS approach provides a number of benefits. “We don’t have to maintain the system or keep the software updated or the servers updated,” Fuchs said. In addition, the SaaS arrangement lets DES leverage EasyVista’s disaster recovery capability. “We don’t have to build a separate disaster recovery site for that product,” he added

Deployment advice

Fuchs noted that EasyVista is based on ITIL, so it’s important for organizations deploying the software to understand ITIL principles and review their business processes ahead of time. Implementation is easier if the adopter is ITIL compliant or at least has processes that resemble an ITIL philosophy, he said.

Managing the scope of the ITSM rollout is another good idea, Fuchs added. He suggested defining the scope as narrowly as possible, delivering the initial rollout quickly and then building upon that base.

Fuchs also cautioned deployers against being lulled into a false sense of security regarding the ease of a SaaS rollout. While SaaS vendors focus on the software and software updates, customers are responsible for updating their business process flows and pre-implementation planning, among other tasks.

“You still have to do the work,” he said.

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