Europe’s largest producer of medical and care beds of all kinds makes over 130,000 beds, exported to 120 countries around the world. The company employs over 1500 workers in 4 production plants in the Czech Republic and Germany. Power BI reports show how much work the IT department can handle, highlighting weaknesses in the established workflow, and at the same time helping manage the company and branches around the world.
The main limitation of the previous helpdesk solution was that it could not provide paperless approvals. This meant all requests for authorization changes or HW acquisition had to be done by filling in a paper form, which the requester then had to ‘circulate’ among the due approvers for their signatures. IT then scanned the request form and attached it to the request ticket. This was a very lengthy and unsatisfactory solution approach, especially when such a request came from a branch office abroad, say.
Since 2016, LINET has been running ALVAO, replacing the former unsatisfactory approach that did not enable IT to improve and streamline their work.
In order to run the operation as efficiently as possible, IT End User Support was divided into operators and technicians. This was in pursuit of maximizing efficiency.
Operators prepare tickets for end solvers – they complete information from users, add relevant attachments, deal with administration or getting the tickets approved, as needed. Operators serve as a communication channel – an intermediate link between the solver and the requester. In practice, they often help the requesters by translating technical jargon.
Technicians don’t waste time on manual tasks and focus only on resolving the requests.
This division of roles and the principle of having an intermediate link (the Operator) have proven so successful for LINET that they have continued to use and improve it since their implementation of the ALVAO Service Desk.
“With the previous solution, employees were used to the IT department getting back to them in a month or two, or maybe never,” laughs Michal Toman, IT End User Services Manager, recalling how things were before ALVAO.
When users noticed that IT had changed its ticket handling system and the Service Desk was no longer just a “wish list”, as the previous ticketing system was nicknamed, given how long it had been taking for tickets to get resolved, they progressively asked for the inclusion of other services from non-IT departments in the Service Desk. Among the first to be added in to the Service Desk was the purchasing department. Their services covered a range from booking a TAXI for business trips to requests for office items.
ALVAO has also broadened its reach at LINET to include Marketing and Facility and Product Management departments. These departments have access to several dozen services regarding LINET products, including their training materials, exhibition event planning, and graphic design materials. The Facility Department uses the Service Desk for asset management, setting chip card access rights and fleet management.
“Other departments started contacting me. They wanted to move from inefficient e-mail requests to using ALVAO,” says Michal Toman, commenting on how the Service Desk implementation has spread around LINET.
In LINET, requests for IT support don’t come from just the Czech and German plants. All processes and incident resolution concerning branches around the world are managed by LINET using the Service Desk. It is also accessible and used by external companies that manage their IT in the UK or the US and take care of the day-to-day running of the organization abroad.
Resolving user requests has been a success – the IT department streamlined working and LINET employees have settled into using the Service Desk. As the amount of data and users in Service Desk grew, it was time to harness the power of Power BI reports for the smooth running of the organization. Reports using data from ALVAO help the Management, IT departments and CIO to manage teams more effectively.
LINET utilizes several types of Power BI reports. Some reports are displayed directly on the operators’ and technicians’ screens, allowing them to see the current queue of tickets, their allocation within the team, or the approaching DUE DATE of tickets – and within Asset Management also any looming expiry of warranty, assisting their day-to-day operations.
Another type are reports for IT managers, helping to gauge the effectiveness of individual team members, and keeping an eye on attendance, so that the workforce is optimized for peak hours when the most tickets come in. An equally important report is team evaluation, which is also very important at LINET.
The last type are trend analyses, helping to identify any underlying problems and whether tickets are trending as expected.
“We check many reports every day, some light up the technicians’ offices, others are reviewed by the management monthly, and some we check on to anticipate potential issues in the future,” says Michal Toman, describing the use of reports.
The IT department at LINET has been using Power BI reports since the initial implementation of ALVAO. Some of their reports are their own handiwork, some were taken from ALVAO templates and some were put together in cooperation with the ALVAO consulting team.
The goal of reports always remains the same – to simplify/streamline work and at the same time to get hard data for qualified business decisions.
Having ALVAO allows technicians, operators, managers and anyone else who uses Service Desk to keep track of the time it takes to work on individual tickets. The recorded time is collected in the Evidence of Work report, where the data from ALVAO are supplemented by time gleaned from meetings in Outlook and other systems.
Thanks to the reports, LINET is able not only to invoice its subsidiaries for work done, but also to monitor through graphs which tasks (tickets) take up the most staff working hours.
When they first started using ALVAO at LINET, the Service-Level Agreement due-date was set using a simple scale: 1–5.
One = I need to resolve the request urgently, Five = I am in no hurry and will wait.
This kind of simplistic categorization was no longer sufficient for current needs, and so the company decided to get closer to the global ITIL 4 standards – characterized by subdividing the SLAS into Incident Management, Problem Management, Change Requests.
This breakdown facilitates analysis of how quickly the requirements in individual SLAs (the group to which the ticket is assigned) are resolved. Accordingly, LINET is able to optimize resources as needed for quick resolution of an urgent incident, say.
In the Average time to resolve report, the Management can see an overview of the average time required to resolve requests in terms of individual services. In this way, LINET can home in on requests needing longer solution time and vice versa, those that are effectively resolved ahead of time.
“Going by the data, I consider how best to speed up the process and streamline request resolution. I look for reasons why some services take longer than others and I often get to specific tickets where I look for causes. The report helps me optimize processes in the IT department,” explains Michal Toman, IT End User Services Manager.
In order to motivate solvers to better performance, the Management monitors data such as compliance with SLA deadlines or the number of resolved requests. Data is collected and compared with set KPIs (Key Performance Indicators), which affect a portion of employee wages, taking the current data in the report compared with data from the last three months for better contrast.
This can also immediately determine the IT department workload during the given month based on the number of tickets that have been assigned to the solvers. At the same time, it reflects on the department’s performance success, whether the set KPIs and expectations have been met.
In addition, the KPI also compares how swiftly the request is received by the technician from the user.
“Our technicians have added a little tweak. Every time a new ticket arrives that is not automatically assigned, a computer in the shared office beeps to notify of the incoming ticket. One beep was enough to let the solvers immediately know about the ticket, and this is how we got the ticket pick-up time to under one minute. The user sees that the request is actively being solved, not overlooked by the solver. Technicians can fully focus on their work and do not have to check whether a new request has arrived and so the process of resolving requests is as efficient as can be,” explains Michal Toman at LINET.
The CIO has an overview of where requests originate – be it specific branches, subsidiaries or plants. The data obtained helps determine which IT departments should prepare procedures and instructions for standardized tickets and pass on their solutions and knowledge to the EUS department. This will free up extra capacity in the original department, for development activities.
In addition, the CIO checks how many tickets are taken up by a particular IT department. The aim is for ticketing engineers to work as standard in ALVAO Service Desk and help end users, so development teams can focus on key projects to benefit for the entire organization.
In the shared office, technicians’ screens light up with a report showing the number of open tickets and those that have a due date on the given day. This gives them a clear instruction to resolve the request or contact the requester to agree an extension to the deadline.
This keeps the user in the loop and lets technicians organize their work more effectively.
The same report is shown to the Management, who can then select open tickets by departments, companies or subsidiaries. For example, if the number of open tickets goes up, the CIO immediately sees an impending problem and resolves the situation ahead of time.
Pobočky LINETU se nacházejí po celém světě a operují v různých časových pásmech – uživatelé své požadavky zakládají v rozdílné časy. Na základě dat z Daily utilization reportu manažer vidí, v jaký čas požadavky nejčastěji vznikají, a kdy se nejčastěji vyřeší. Tímto získává přehled o trendech ve chování uživatelů napříč různými časovými pásy.
Na základě dat směřuje kapacity techniků na konkrétní časy, kdy je třeba řešit zvýšené množství vzniklých požadavků.
LINET regularly monitors the number of tickets that accrue from one month to the next. This draws attention if tickets are on the rise and to any potential slowdowns in their resolution.
With the help of this data, both Management and the head of the IT department are able to recognize fluctuations over time and anticipate them. They can reorganize their capacities more quickly, consider recruiting new staff, or look for alternative solutions based on identified root causes.
When planning their budget for the next fiscal year, the LINET managers are helped by the Object Age report, which shows the hardware age.
For example, Management selects laptops more than 6 years old. This number is scheduled for upcoming replacement, and thanks to data from ALVAO providing quantitative information, they are able to make the case for this successfully and justify their budget with the finance department.
Using the features of ALVAO Asset Management, LINET carefully record all their assets together with relevant data, such as the date of acquisition, the supplier and the warranty period end date. From these records a report is generated that maps assets whose warranty expires in the next 30 days. This report is then available to technicians on a daily basis so that they can respond in a timely and effective way.
Based on the data from the report, the technicians address the owner of the particular asset registered in Asset Management through a request in the Service Desk and ask about the equipment condition.
If necessary, technicians will replace the equipment even before the warranty expires – they will create a claim ticket in the Service Desk based on incoming correspondence – which, given the size of LINET means saving hundreds of thousands of euros.
After the request is resolved and closed, the person who raised the ticket is asked to fill in a satisfaction questionnaire. Data is collected into reports in Power BI and can be used to improve service quality. Should the evaluation not turn out positively, the solvers actively communicate with users to find out the reasons for their dissatisfaction. This is to identify key areas that need to be improved for future service provision.
The Management, CIO, nor anyone else base their decisions just on feelings or assumptions. Everything is backed by hard data.
“We’re confirming the truth in the saying ‘What you don’t measure, you don’t control’. Wherever you have technicians, managers and even company management lacking insight into how IT is doing from the Service Desk perspective, such a department is hard to manage. Our reports also help the staff themselves, because thanks to them they can immediately see whether their KPIs are doing well and they can look forward to a bonus, or conversely, if meeting their KPIs is lagging behind, they can put in more effort to reach the goal before month end,” comments Michal Toman at LINET.
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