Samanage is now SolarWinds® Service Desk.
With 75+ employees, ACHC produces a large quantity of publications, training manuals, presentations, and marketing collateral for trade shows, trainings, and workshops throughout the year.
Typically, service management strategies are sought by IT departments, but ACHC initially came to Samanage looking for a solution for its steadily escalating marketing production workload.
“The marketing team needed a tool that could consolidate all those requests, but also provide flexibility and visibility,” said Bob Gardner, Manager, PMO & IT at ACHC.
The marketing department at ACHC provides assets across multiple accreditation programs.
“Marketing was getting inundated with so many emails and phone calls,” said Gardner. “The team needed a system to manage all of these incoming tickets to ensure nothing was missed and all requests were delivered on time.”
These challenges led the ACHC marketing team to Samanage, which provides a ticketing system to organize and prioritize the incoming requests, while also allowing the team to assign tickets to the appropriate person. After reviewing solutions from competing providers, ACHC’s marketing department implemented Samanage in the spring of 2016 and realized an immediate benefit.
At the time, the IT department at ACHC was relying on an antiquated homegrown system involving Formstack, Google Sheets exported to Excel, and email. This caused a plethora of inefficiencies, including lack of SLAs and categorization of ticket types. When Gardner was promoted to his current role, he took note of the Samanage impact the marketing operations.
“I needed business cards, and that was one of the service catalog items marketing had built out. The process was really quick and easy,” said Gardner. “I went to marketing and said ‘tell me more about Samanage.’”
Although the service platform is originally designed for IT, he learned that marketing was using the service catalog, incident management, and creating and tracking SLAs in their process. He recognized that these features could be utilized throughout the organization.
“I met with all the different business owners and representatives of each of our teams at ACHC, and gave them a vision,” said Gardner. “We all kept talking, and all of a sudden, we’re planning on-boarding and off-boarding in HR, facilities and maintenance services, and internal support. We realized we can set it up where one employee works within the same system for all of their needs.”
Gardner’s ideal goal was to develop a single employee service management destination for services in IT, marketing, HR, facilities, maintenance, and more. As he began to build this vision, he had to ensure he was not disrupting the system that was already working for marketing, while integrating the needs of IT and other departments.
Gardner said the marketing team was very flexible in helping IT and other departments implement their service needs into Samanage. The solutions team at Samanage also helped ensure a smooth process.
“Jason Yeary [a Samanage Solutions Consultant] was phenomenal,” said Gardner. “He helped us understand the changes that would have to happen to ensure the marketing services would still work while we incorporated the complete vision for other departments.”
With private information and/or personal data in requests for certain departments (like HR), Samanage helped ACHC create roles and permissions for access to certain areas of the application.
“It was seamless,” said Gardner. “Jason helped us with rules – like email notifications and ticket statuses – and he showed us which information would cross over between departments, how to communicate changes or get others involved. We were able to test everything with him before we rolled it out.”
As ACHC began to offer more services across more departments, the team began to construct a service portal as an access point to everything offered, instead of just an access point for marketing services. Through the portal, they were able to use custom fields to create questions for specific information to help them provide quicker services.
Gardner says that as employees began to submit requests through the portal rather than calling or visiting the support team, ACHC was able to build and maintain accurate SLAs. That visibility became important, relieving frustration both for employees and support team members.
“We can tell them in the messaging of the service catalog that the turnaround time for this request is one to two days,” said Gardner. “This way, they don’t have to walk down and check the status. If it’s critical, they’ll know we’ve flagged it as critical, so there’s no need to take the extra step to call us.”
One of his favorite features is the ability to merge tickets.
“If our network goes down or a website goes down, we’ll get a bunch of similar tickets,” said Gardner. “We can merge them to one ticket, and then send out a communication to our entire organization that we are aware of the situation and we’ll send an update soon.”
Gardner also points out that many employee services require interaction with multiple departments, emphasizing the importance that they all work and collaborate within the same platform.
“Say a hiring manager wants to bring in a new employee,” explained Gardner. “We have a rule where HR approves it first. Next, it goes to me to make sure we setup the right equipment, and the manager has requested the right package for this role. IT support will build a profile for that person and log them into the asset inventory. Then, it will go to facilities to create a badge and a workstation. Next, it will go to our quality team to set up quality and security training once they come on board.”
The turnaround for onboarding and training through Samanage is now 10 days, which is a major improvement.
“A month would have been typical in the past,” said Gardner. “It was all communicated by Outlook. It might have been 40 emails on the chain, and it would get stuck if anyone was in a meeting or out of the office.”
A single employee service platform allows ACHC to provide efficient interdepartmental services to all employees, in one place. This reduces wait-time for service requests to be filled, increases transparency, and makes for a better work experience for all ACHC employees.