The National Institute of Education (NIE) is a teacher training institution in Singapore operating under the auspices of Nanyang Technological University. The NIE has about 350 academic staff members, 4,175 students enrolled in undergraduate, higher degree and leadership programs and a further 13,600 students undertaking professional development programs.
The institution also hosts the Office of Education Research to run programs that advance education research, development and innovation. About 33,000 teachers have trained at NIE, and the institution has pledged to continue working to deliver world-class teacher education and educational research.
IT Service Management Needs Outstrip Capabilities of In-House Tool
NIE had developed an in-house product to manage IT services. However, the burden of customizing the product to meet NIE’s fast-changing requirements and managing its increasing complexity prompted the institute to consider an alternative option. From February 2015, NIE reviewed its processes for managing incidents, service requests, feedback and staff onboarding and offboarding.
In line with this review, NIE’s Academic Computing & Information Services team— including experts in ITIL, system design and the lean thinking business methodology—started evaluating vendor IT service management products.
“Our primary goal was to deploy service management software that was user- friendly, could be easily customised and integrated into our IT environment, and could ultimately enable us to serve our teachers and students better,” Tan Hoon Chiang, Chief Information Of cer, NIE, says. NIE acquired ServiceNow in July 2015.
Bringing discipline to incident and service request processes: NIE started implementing ServiceNow on 5 August 2015 and conducted user acceptance testing from December 2015. The software was used in production from January 2016 and NIE’s service desk team and engineers had been using it since. The institution launched a self-service portal on its mobile app to staff on 1 June 2016 and to students on 8 August 2016. “We are endeavouring to achieve a more disciplined approach to how we approach a range of service management activities,” Mr Tan says. “We now offer a self-service portal, a service catalogue, incident management, knowledge management, feedback management and live chat. Services in our immediate pipeline include problem management, change management, release and deployment management and expanding our service catalogue to include back-of ce processes.”
Establish an end to end view and set benchmarks: The software has enabled the NIE to obtain an end-to-end view of IT service performance across the institution. The institution has now established benchmarks from which to improve its resolution of up to 15,000 incidents per year.
Traditionally, staff and students had called in or used email to contact the desk in order to resolve problems. The NIE has set itself two targets with the launch of its self-service portal; reducing the use of traditional touchpoints such as call-in or walk-in cases by 20 percent and increasing its rst time resolution rate to meet its target of 90 percent. Students and staff will also soon be able to access a full service catalogue, while the institution is in the exploratory stage of establishing library support processes.
Service management part of virtual campus model: The service management project is part of the NIE’s broader strategy to adopt a virtual campus model delivering online learning services to students regardless of location. “We expect to enable students and other stakeholders to report incidents and issues with digital services to when they are delivered to them online,” Mr Tan says. “So, using ServiceNow, we will be able to support our virtual as well as physical users.”
He describes the relationship between NIE and ServiceNow as a partnership rather than just a traditional supplier. “My expectation is that ServiceNow will not just be a vendor for NIE, but a partner to help us move forward and expand our capabilities,” he says.