Metropolitan Water Reclamation District
Incident management, service catalog, service portal
Employee Service Portal
“The Samanage employee service portal has been a great addition for us, for both users and help desk staff.”
John Sudduth, Director of IT at MWRD
CSAT Surveys Help Craft a Service Strategy for MWRD
Metropolitan Water Reclamation District (MWRD) operates seven locations in the boundaries of Cook County, Illinois — an area of 883 square miles including the City of Chicago, 125 suburban communities, and a total of over 10 million people. Its Tunnel and Reservoir Project (TARP) is one of the country’s largest public works projects for pollution and flood control. The district operates one of the world’s largest water reclamation projects, in addition to six other plants and 23 pumping stations.
The IT staff includes 62 full time employees, operating a service desk that supports over 2,000 employees.
Building a Model for Service
Prior to Samanage, MWRD was using an antiquated help desk solution with severe shortcomings in user experience.
“When I initially got to the organization, there were 500 open tickets — some dating back four years. There was no real monitoring,” said John Sudduth, Director of Information Technology at MWRD.
“From a user perspective, there was no insight into what was happening with IT,” he added. “We needed a better way to connect our employees to the IT help desk.”
The first thing they wanted to do was to open a window for requesters to see the status of tickets, and create some processes for accountability in IT.
Prior to his current role, Sudduth was a consultant and some of his clients were using Samanage. After demos with a few different solutions, he decided that Samanage was the best fit for MWRD.
“It wasn’t nearly as complicated as ServiceNow, and we felt we could quickly get it up and running,” said Sudduth. “The implementation team helped us with best practices since we were starting from scratch.”
Connecting the Organization to IT
The employee service portal has been the primary method through which MWRD has created the visibility it was striving for.
“I initially sent out a survey to find the pain points for our users,” said Sudduth. “I found that it was really around communication and transparency. The portal has allowed us to create that transparency for our users.”
Now, the service desk can actually communicate through Samanage for any follow up questions or updates on the status of tickets.
“The Samanage employee service portal has been a great addition for us, for both users and help desk staff,” said Sudduth.
Through new incident management processes and a service portal for users, MWRD was able to address its original need to create visibility on simple tickets. But the organizational benefits didn’t end there.
The service catalog has been a key tool for some larger initiatives. One example, as Sudduth described, is the budgeting and procurement process for technology.
“Through the service catalog, a user can request an iPad, an iPhone, or any other type of IT purchase,” he explained. “We run reports quarterly and annually on those requests, and using the data from Samanage we can actually build a budget toward our lifecycle and project how many devices will be ordered by quarter and year-over-year.”
Top Priority: Customer Experience
Through some of these new processes, Sudduth and his team have remained focused on their original goal: improving the experience for requesters.
“Once we got Samanage up and running, one thing that stood out to me was the survey capabilities,” Sudduth said. “We can collect real-time feedback from our users, so we’ve created a process where IT supervisors are responsible for following up with any user who gives us a ‘thumbs down’ in their customer satisfaction survey.”
The service desk team strives for at least 95% customer satisfaction, measuring scores weekly. Because the survey is so simple, they’ve gotten a very high response rate.
“They appreciate that functionality,” said Sudduth. “When they’re dissatisfied, it’s nice to have someone follow up to ask what we can do to make it right.”
Though negative results are uncommon, Sudduth and his team have created programs for ITIL and customer engagement training for help desk staff.
“The main objective is to help us improve and help us communicate with our user population,” he said.
The other area where MWRD has seen a big improvement in customer experience is with service level agreements (SLAs). They had none before Sudduth revamped the service desk, but now they’ve built strict SLAs in Samanage, with clear processes on how to deliver.
“Our IT staff has an SLA in place to dictate a one hour response time for tickets,” Sudduth explained, adding that any breaches cause the ticket to elevate to a supervisor. “After the IT staff responds, there is a two hour resolution time. So essentially our goal is to reach a resolution within three hours from the time the ticket is submitted.”
Sudduth says some tickets can go on hold if they’re waiting for more information from the user or waiting for a piece of equipment, but no ticket stays on hold for more than three days. Supervisors are responsible for pushing on-hold tickets forward, so users can see resolutions in a timely manner.
“Coming from a rudimentary help desk solution to a full service platform like Samanage — we’ve come a very long way in a short period of time,” said Sudduth.