Ryan Maier, IT Support Services Manager at Ringling College of Art and Design, and his team were using Web Help Desk by SolarWinds and found that the support they received regarding the tool to be sub-par. “Nearly every question I asked came back with just a bland response, without any clarification,” said Maier.
The older system didn’t seem to have new developments to ensure that it could scale or adapt to the college’s needs. The asset management system did not have a meaningful relationship with the incident management system, meaning the IT team could assign assets to the tickets that were coming in, but the relationship wouldn’t be reflected on the asset portion of the application. The distant modules didn’t have the ability to interact with one another, causing IT to manually build out and track the relationship.
“We were at the point where we needed some additional functionality in terms of check-outs,” said Maier. “We wanted to be able to manage our assets in a more meaningful fashion with our users and attach those to a user account. It just wasn’t feasible with what we had. I spent about a month and a half trying to get creative with the solution in an attempt to bend it around and make it do what we wanted, to no avail.”
Ringling’s IT team found themselves with a service desk and asset management solution that had no ability to connect functionalities beyond IT. “We have a product manager who was looking to get us more ITIL compliant,” said Maier. “We had project and change management pieces that were just being handled. We were effectively working in silos, which led to complicated transmissions of information and processes among the teams.”
The existing solution had one major issue that Maier could not find a creative workaround for — on-premise. The old solution left them without much backup if something did go wrong on-site. They needed a cloud-based solution to provide a failsafe in the case of a natural disaster or on-site problem.
Ringling College of Art and Design needed a system that could handle simultaneity of work flows. They wanted the ability to have concurrent processes running between different departments at the same time. For example, new hires and exits, there needed to be an employee exiting process for all of the departments that would touch that event in chronological order. “That was one thing that slowed us way down when it came to getting things done,” said Maier. “Some of these things were very time sensitive, we knew we needed to remove access and retrieve assets.”
Maier and his team quickly saw with Samanage that one of their biggest concerns would be alleviated. “The level of service was apparent immediately,” said Maier. “The level of support that was able to be provided, even before we had made the purchase, the willingness of the sales team to bring in people that worked as customer success agents to describe how we could meet our needs when it came to a checkout system was exceptional.”
“We were really looking for something that would be a service, rather than just a product and that was evident with Samanage from day one,” said Maier. “We were looking for something that interconnected the modules and weren’t individual silos, allowing for assets to be assigned as configuration items, whether it’s to incidents, changes, or POs. Samanage was very navigable.”
Not only was service from Samanage critical, but the Ringling IT team wanted to enhance the service that they were providing to their end users. Utilizing the SLA feature in Samanage has allowed Maier to implement a 24-hour turnaround for time to first response, which was something that he couldn’t report on effectively in the old system, increasing the service speeds of the team.
“Having POs, contracts, and warranties under one roof in Samanage and connected to the right asset is something that we never had before,” said Maier. “So now we not only have our POs and invoices attached to the assets, but we have the warranty information and then also all of our software contracts on a calendar where we’re notified in advance. It’s made things much more condensed and less scattered.”
To further limit the possibility of oversight, Maier and his team set up Samanage to where every group, even just the licensing managers, have more than one person. This means there is a slim chance for a dead end should a team member be out sick or leave the college.
The most unique of all the benefits Ringling experienced came in the form of their asset checkout system. Ringling needed a system that would allow their students to digitally check-out assets owned by the college, which ranged from laptops to digital cameras and projectors. Previously this process was not only time-consuming, but also cumbersome. In Samanage, Maier was able to create a workflow to simplify the digital check-out process.
“I built dropdown menus for any type of equipment students could check out, which allowed our team to simply fill a text-field with the barcode on our equipment,” said Maier. “This form then gets submitted through the service catalog, with an approval process attached so that the students are required to agree to the terms of the rental. Essentially, this acts both as a checkout process and a contract for the students.”
With teams outside of IT beginning to adopt Samanage into their processes, Maier sees the value of the solution growing exponentially throughout the college. “We tend to have different needs than most institutions, so we find creative ways of meeting those needs,” said Maier. “We know that we’re not quite using Samanage as it was intended, but for us it makes sense and we were lucky to find the flexibility we needed within the software.”