Help Desk Authority
IT Service Management
“The decision to go with Samanage was clear when I had the opportunity to present the application to other stakeholders inside and outside of IT. They loved it.”
~Chad Brown, IT Manager
Samanage Creates a Well-Oiled IT Service Desk Machine at PRA Group
PRA Group, Inc. is a multinational organization and a world leader in acquiring non-performing consumer debt. PRA Group strives to return capital to global financial services companies and strengthen their ability to lend.
The team that makes up the US service desk at PRA Group has the primary goal to enable each business unit to remain functional. The IT service desk in the US assists the expansion to new US cities where the organization does not currently have a presence. The service desk team works with the other infrastructures of PRA Group as a first point of contact for all incidents.
PRA Group was using Help Desk Authority as their IT service management product. The product was originally designed by ScriptLogic, but was eventually purchased by Dell. Chad Brown, IT manager at PRA Group, found that as the product aged, finding support was difficult and to make any significant changes they consistently had to go through multiple support layers. When it came to users submitting incidents, a lot of effort and time was lost just trying to find a good way to get requests acknowledged. “We needed a single point of service for our users,” said Brown.
The application for incident management required a client install, so every time the PRA Group IT team updated the backend, the service desk had to install a new client for each application user. The application also didn’t follow any established methodology for IT and when they tried implement change request or service catalog in the application, requesters had to filter through hundreds of options to get anything submitted.
There was also an IT asset management side to the software, but instead of an automated client on each computer returning data, the team needed to run manual scans of subnets. “We have remote users and many times machines aren’t online, so it was hard to get accurate IT asset data back to us,” said Brown.
“The application was very clunky and not user friendly,” said Brown. “We just couldn’t grab the information we needed from the system.”
From a technical requirements and capabilities standpoint, the reasons for Brown and his IT team to move to a new solution were numerous. But, they were also driven by the fact that their current tool was being sunsetted. The lack of support and functionality they had would soon be extinct. The team went to action and put together a list of the key criteria their next service desk solution required, including:
- Web-based, no install of a client.
- Ability to link IT assets and incidents to employees.
- Easy to use reporting system to accurately pull and use data from the application.
- Strong customization ability with low maintenance.
They began their search reviewing Gartner’s 2012 assessment of service desk solutions. But stakeholders at PRA still wanted Brown and his team to evaluate on-premise solutions.
“I have a background with BMC Remedy, Clarify, and ICOMs, so I’ve seen the extremes,” said Brown. “I wanted to find something that was in between.” LanDesk, Cherwell, CA Technologies, IBM, Dell KACE, and Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager each offered a possible solution.
While Brown was doing his search he found Samanage through Pink Elephant, a leader in ITIL certifications and ITSM education, but immediately dismissed it because Samanage is cloud-based with no on-premise offering. However, as the evaluations continued, Brown got the green light to consider cloud solutions. “I immediately returned to Samanage,” said Brown. “It’s very user-friendly, looks like Facebook, and it just made sense.” With Samanage, Brown found a solution that was intuitive to end users and provided a one stop shop for service requests and reporting.
“The decision to go with Samanage was clear when I had the opportunity to present the application to other stakeholders inside and outside of IT,” said Brown. “They loved it.”
As the IT team moved their solution to Samanage they were thrilled with the responsiveness of the Samanage team, working with Brown to set up meetings with organization leaders. “The Samanage Community has also been great,” said Brown. “It’s nice to see a feature that we suggested go into testing.”
Brown found that the Samanage implementation was a simple process. “We got started determining the categorization and sub-categorization of the self-service portal based on our top 50 issues from our previous solution,” said Brown. “Samanage allows us to make it even easier, so we decided to allow the end users to put in a title and description. The rest is up to the service desk to determine who it should go to.”
Initial testing with the IT team and a select group of requesters was successful, and they started expanding and ensuring all of the details were coming in properly with the asset management side of the software. They were able to quickly see how easily the incidents tied in with assets.
As the number of incidents coming in to the IT service desk team doubled, it was clear the solution was resonating with users. “People are more willing to engage with us via Samanage,” said Brown.
With Samanage incident management, Brown and his team can pull accurate reports and see where the incident went from the time it was submitted all the way through the cycle. “We function as a better machine with Samanage,” said Brown. They also now have a customer satisfaction system, allowing them to address any issues and improve IT’s relationship within the organization.
The Samanage asset management software has allowed them to track their applications, as well as the contracts and when those contracts are set to renew. Brown and his team can now see how many remote requesters they have versus in-office users as they do application deployments, and whether the deployments have been completed.
Not only is Samanage benefitting IT processes at PRA Group, the service desk is helping other departments implement Samanage. Starting with the facilities and real estate departments, Samanage is helping them handle break-fixes on equipment by allowing users to enter the issue in the same Samanage portal used by the service desk. They will eventually be implementing Samanage into other departments including human resources for benefits, compensation, payroll, and compliance incidents.