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ITIL Tattle

ITIL Tattle

Blog posts on ITIL and ITSM news and best practice from the ISG ITIL Team

The Journey So Far

A Look Back

This week the blog is a celebration of how far we have come on our ITIL® journey. Sometimes it has been a winding uphill road but perhaps blue sky is ahead…

It might seem an odd time to reflect but as the University has just passed through arguably the busiest time of the year it is appropriate. This is evidenced by 49% more tickets in September 2019 compared with September 2018. The reasons for increased tickets logged can negative or positive. The increase in Incidents (i.e. things not working as they should) is less than 3% despite a 74% increase in unique individuals raising tickets. So the increase in tickets suggests a positive story, one of which as a University we should be proud.

Digging more deeply into this data a number of factors have influenced these changes:

  • Increased UniDesk uptake – existing teams such as Student Information Point, Examinations and Scholarships  all started to use UniDesk for their support functions
  • Formation of a single Finance Helpline in January 2019
  • Emphasis on recording the user identity

The increase in new teams resulted in more accurate and detailed recording of service transactions. This is demonstrated by looking at the most popular student requests during Welcome Week by year. Note the Payment Advice in 2018 was replaced by Payments and Receipts – and whilst the new categorisation was broader, more than 4 times as many finance related tickets from students were logged.

What Mistakes Did We Make?

We took our eye off the ball with a new team coming onboard in late 2018 by providing insufficient support in their transition from a shared mailbox to the UniDesk Service Management tool.

We learnt from this and made sure that teams such as Student Information Point, Examinations and Scholarships received additional support and empathy as starting on a new tool is never easy. What was really impressive was how these teams, despite the frustrations of using a new tool, embraced the idea that recording their work properly would help student experience and prove to senior management how busy they were.

Did We Predict The Future?

At the end of August in the ITIL Tattle Blog post I Know What You Did Last September some predictions were made for September 2019 compared with September 2018. Were they correct?

  1. More Service Request tickets from students will be logged, particularly from undergraduate students.
    •  Yes – a greater than 3 fold increase in student service requests from 8908 to 30027
  2. Many of these tickets will be handled by teams within University Secretary’s Group.
    •  Yes, Student Info Point  logged the most calls in Welcome Week
  3. As a consequence, the percentage of tickets arising from staff will fall.
    •  Yes, although the number of tickets from staff rose by 25%, this was on 24% of all tickets compared with 28% in 2018.
  4. Whilst the number of tickets for IT and Library will not change greatly, their percentage of the total tickets will fall.
    • Yes – IT and Library tickets did increase (by 22%) but IT and Library as  % of all tickets processed by Support Groups fell from 53% to 43%.
  5. Consequently, the percentage of tickets that are incidents will fall from 16% to below 10%.
    •  Not quite, 11% of tickets were Incidents, however only 8% of student tickets were Incidents.
  6. Finance Helpline will overtake IS Helpline in student tickets logged.
    •  Yes,  Finance Helpline were responsible for 4112 tickets compared with 2057 for IS Helpline

So What Is The Next Prediction?

Dumbledore says people find it easier to forgive others for being wrong than being right

– J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

As has been shown, predicting on the data is possible over a short period of time but predicting further gets more difficult, not least because too many variables are changing at once. It is a fairly safe prediction to say that the untapped demand from students is greater than that from staff. As a consequence, predicting resource using existing data to accommodate future student demand will likely underestimate requirements. The one lesson from this year is that when demand outstrips capacity, progress can unravel very quickly indeed.

(2018 Copyright James Jarvis, used with permission)

(2018 Copyright James Jarvis used with permission)

(2019 Copyright The University of Edinburgh)

(2018 Copyright James Jarvis used with permission)

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