Enabling the Business Through IT
Technology has become a vital piece of the Focal Point business model. In each of its Chicago-based production factories, employees rely on desktops, software, applications, and advanced printers to produce quality luminaires and provide superior customer service. These employees on the front lines are the heart of the business, according to Deona Ashline, the IT Infrastructure and Operations Manager at Focal Point.
“When I started in this role, we were already using Samanage,” explained Ashline. “My main focus was to make sure we were using it to maximize communication with our employees. We don’t want a perception that IT is a ‘black hole’ or that employees never receive closure. Our focus in IT is on connecting employees, and the whole company supports that.”
For both Ashline and CIO Tim Daniels, the focus is on the employees and the things that they need from IT to do their jobs with maximum efficiency.
“Our CIO has a manufacturing background as well, and he knows that if you can’t order or ship something as a result of technology, your business won’t succeed,” said Ashline. “Computers and printers make those things happen, so IT needs to ensure that we’re fully functional as an organization. Our business depends on it.”
Ashline also noted that the Focal Point strategic management team lays out goals for the company, and IT can see exactly where they fit into the plan.
“We all want IT to be an enabling factor in the business. That starts with leadership, and our employees should see the positive impact,” said Ashline.
Implementing ITSM Best Practices
In order to align with business goals, Focal Point needed to focus on a few areas of IT service. First, they needed to get a handle on all their IT asset data. Second, they needed to deliver the fastest possible service to the employees driving their business.
“We track all of our software licensing, inventory, and contracts through Samanage,” said Ashline. “We’ve also implemented workflows that auto-assign by category. When the requester chooses the right category and subcategory, tickets are assigned directly to the individuals responsible, cutting down the idle time for every ticket.”
With a happy marriage between IT asset management and service management, Ashline and her team have begun to focus on other ways they can use the data within Samanage to meet business goals.Ashline added that IT Leadership has formed a change advisory board (CAB), and they’re already building an ITIL change management process along with the use of Samanage.
Creating Visibility for Employees
In addition to stronger, more expansive services, one way the IT department at Focal Point has avoided the “black hole” reputation is through the use of an employee service portal. Not only has the portal helped IT deliver faster solutions, but employees can track everything that happens with their requests.
“We have a high percentage of employees that take advantage of the portal, which helps us because we’re getting all the information from them, but it helps them because they can always see the status of their tickets,” said Ashline.
Part of enabling employees to do their jobs well is keeping them up to date on requests or incidents they’ve reported. Samanage has helped Focal Point create that extra layer of communication.
“One of my favorite features is the comment section of the tickets. After you put a comment in there, the requester can see what’s going on, and they feel informed,” said Ashline. “That visibility is one of the goals we’re always striving for.”
About Focal Point, LLC
Focal Point is a Chicago-based family owned and operated architectural lighting manufacturer like no other. Believing great lighting isn’t just about meeting technical design requirements – it’s about people – our focus is on creating great luminaire designs that stand the test of time, with beautifully simple forms to complete an architectural statement and with optimal illumination to comfortably define the space and its purpose. Learn more about our people, approach, and why we value trusted partnerships by visiting our web site at www.focalpointlights.com.