Downingtown Area School District creates IT support harmony

Learn how Downington Area School District has created IT order across 16 schools with the help of richdesk.

Company background
Downingtown Area School District (DASD) is a local authority which oversees 16 schools in south eastern Pennsylvania, USA.   The DASD service desk, which is housed in a single admin building, provides IT support and clients services to over 12,000 students and 1500 staff, whether they are in the schools or working in the field.   With most of the curriculum featuring digital content, and with a planned introduction of a one-to-one programme which will equip students in every school across the district with a mobile device, the importance of efficient, effective IT support continues to grow.

Colleen Yenser, Director of Technology, overseas all internal IT processes, including teams responsible for applications, network services and field engineering.

Project background
When Colleen joined the organisation in 2012, a previous version of richdesk was being used, but not to its full potential. “The software wasn’t configured correctly and it wasn’t supported by processes – I found tickets that had been left open for months.  Incidents were not always being logged, managed or documented in a structured way, so there was nothing for the service desk to reference when a call came in.”

The lack of organisation meant that each call was treated individually; an inefficient and labour-intensive way to tackle IT problems.  Fortunately, Colleen has a strong background in customer service, so introduced a keen understanding of how to deliver the kind of support customers need, and the importance of well-defined processes.  “I made ITIL training a priority when I arrived and working with the department, began to implement some of the processes and ideas it teaches. We now have ITIL training throughout the organisation, and a full service catalogue.”

Optimising IT support with richdesk
By applying customer service principles and ITIL processes to its working practices, Colleen and the service desk quickly saw improvements.  “We knew there were applications and infrastructure not being used correctly by the business, so by focusing on helping with these types of usability issues, we were able to quickly show that we were focused on being a service provider.  Our teams got used to looking at SLAs and focusing on efficiency.  Public relations is often a weakness for IT, so we made it a priority to show we are engaged and eager to help our customers.”

By reconfiguring richdesk to support this service-orientated approach, Colleen was quickly able to identify problem areas.  “Previously, we couldn’t look specifically at each building, so we couldn’t aggregate or produce reports specific to each location.  It took me about 10 minutes to set up within richdesk, and I quickly saw that one school had three times the number of open tickets compared to the other schools.  I called the principal and he thought the volume was normal.  So we were able to deploy some extra resources and within two weeks, the number of open tickets fell in line with other schools.  Now we have SLAs across all schools, and if they pass thresholds, we are able to give them extra resources to stop it exceeding the level of service we want to offer.”

Taking this concept further, DASD now uses richdesk to track activity based on teams, location or even application, meaning it has a complete view of activity, priorities and then reports based on these findings.

Currently, DASD takes a hybrid approach to its use of the richdesk technology, with the traditional client/server system being used in the administration building, while the field-based technicians use the new web interface as it provides full functionality and accessibility through mobile devices.

Colleen explains why richdesk is integral to DASD’s drive to keep improving IT services and responsiveness.  “We rely on richdesk to serve our customers on a daily basis.  It works very well, without out it we wouldn’t know what was happening, and we wouldn’t survive.  richdesk offers us a clear guide on how we manage and allocate resources to our IT services.”