Los Angeles, CA
IT Service Management, IT Asset Management
Delivering Joy Starts with Delivering on Better Processes
Since 2012, more than 16 million boxes have arrived on doorsteps bearing the Loot Crate logo. Diehard fans—of everything from film, tv, anime and popular comic book series to pets and video games—receive themed crates from Loot Crate every month, each packed with apparel, toys, collectibles and other goodies. The company partners with industry leaders in entertainment, gaming, sports and pop culture to deliver its themed crates, to produce interactive experiences and digital content, and to film original video productions. In just its first five years, Loot Crate has delivered its eagerly awaited products to enthusiastic fans in 34 countries worldwide.
Now that we’ve had it out in the environment, we’re getting a lot of really positive feedback on people’s visibility of the ticket, how clean it is, and how easy it is to use.- Erich Gazaui, Vice President of Business Systems
It’s a popular sentiment far and wide that technology succeeds best when it produces a simple, seamless user experience. Every unnecessary limitation, every extra knot to untie, every process duplication—they all contribute to frustrations that can impact not only technology adoption but, more critically, organizational efficiency.
For Erich Gazaui, Vice President of Business Systems for Loot Crate, managing service desk functions was creating precisely those kinds of frustrations.
First, the company’s previous ticketing function wasn’t capable of creating multiple tickets or tasks for a single event (say, for example, pinging both the IT and Facilities departments if a ticket originated from a user in Facilities). So it failed to facilitate the critical cross-function communication required to efficiently address service requests.
Second, the cumbersome user experience with the prior system didn’t properly empower Gazaui’s team or end users to solve problems quickly—even when a web-based portal system was suggested as a potential option for improving ticketing efficiency.
“We found that no matter what we did to the ticketing template, it just wasn’t intuitive. It was frustrating. At the end of the day, that caused people to move away from the portal and go back to email,” Gazaui said. “That then reduced the amount of information that they’d give us in the first round, which then would increase the life of the ticket time and the workload on our IT team, and ultimately impact customer service.
“And when you have a degradation of service, what you then have is a hesitation to reach out to IT next time, to get help in the first place,” he continued. “And that really starts to cascade down quickly. You have somebody trying to solve the problem themselves or ask their buddy next to them for help. Then something really gets screwed up, they come to IT, and by then not only have they lost productivity hours, but they may have created a problem that’s not fixable.”
Gazaui’s third primary concern centered on inventory control—more specifically, on intuitive and affordable asset management. He found that many leading service desk software companies lack an asset management capability, and one of the few that did offered an unappealing combination of added complexities and costs.
Gazaui knew that effectively addressing those issues wasn’t, at first, so much about fixing “ones and zeros” as much as it was fixing processes. Once ideal—and repeatable—processes were in place, he could turn his attention to finding the right tool to advance best practices within his own group. And that search naturally led him and his team to Samanage.
“We started looking for other inventory systems and we came across Samanage,” he explained. “So we started looking deeper at it, and then Sean, my lead, came to me and said ‘They have a ticketing system.’ And he said, ‘Not only is inventory really great, so is ticketing, and it’s all integrated.’ If you have somebody putting in a ticket, having their inventory history right there is very helpful.”
Gazaui’s initial enthusiasm for Samanage only grew as his team moved into full implementation of the product. Among Gazaui’s first tasks was to make a handshake between Samanage the tool used for managing Loot Crate’s Apple devices.
“We got the agent pushed out on Jamf, our central management tool for our Apple products,” Gazaui explained. “We were able to push out the agent out to all the machines, which allowed everything to report back from an inventory point of view. So now we have what amounts to be a complete set of inventory for Apple products in Samanage tied to people’s user accounts, and all that’s in place. We’re really excited that that’s worked so well.”
As his team continues initial deployment of Samanage, Gazaui noted that a flattened learning curve has been an especially welcomed feature of the software.
“One of our other big things was just starting to use the system and getting comfortable with it,” he said. “IT was very excited—even before we’ve audited it—based on features and the way it works, and based on the intuitiveness of the tickets.
“Now that we’ve had it out in the environment, we’re getting a lot of really positive feedback on people’s visibility of the ticket, how clean it is, and how easy it is to use,” he added.
Within Loot Crate, it’s good news—not bad—that’s traveling fast. Multiple departments have already started exploring how Samanage could foster improved processes and efficiencies for their teams.
Take Loot Crates’ three-part People Team, for example. Composed of recruiting, culture and traditional human resource (HR) functions, it’s researching how Samanage could help it manage its day-to-day operations.
“The culture team gets lots of requests from people that are actually related to HR requests,” Gazaui said, “So they’re the ones that want to be able to have a ticket-based queue, so they can just use that rather than spreadsheets and notes. They’re excited about Samanage.”
When you stop to consider that Loot Crate has a growing fan base—one that readily gobbles up millions of the company’s crates every year—it only makes sense, too, that the company’s financial functions are expressing an interest in putting Samanage to work. Gazaui says that he sees clear roles for ticketing processes that could benefit accounts payable and vendor management, for example.
And another team—facilities management—isn’t waiting for outside inspiration: Loot Crate’s facilities group hasn’t fully deployed Samanage yet, but the team is already exploring how Samanage can help them build out better workflows, and how it can be form-fitted for their needs via customize templates and UI-layer personalization.
“They’re using it more because their customers [fellow Loot Crate employees] are using it more,” Gazaui said. “So, it’s kind of a self-fulfilling thing: Facilities is seeing the value of not just the system itself, but also being prompted to create a more structured approach to policy, process, approval and workflow; the system is what’s enabling that. So I would say that that’s a real high mark for Samanage.
“Plus, for budgeting, you can use reports out of Samanage to show, ‘Look, you’ve got 50 people on these old, rickety desks, we need to get new desks, and here are the people that are impacted,’” he continued. “Or, ‘Hey, we’ve got gear over here that’s three years old. Let’s write that off.’ We can amortize and depreciate the value of them and get that out of the system. Having that kind of data up there is something that really will lift the facilities team to the next level of excellence. So I’m excited to push that forward.”