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In 2018, three large metropolitan councils based in Adelaide, the Cities of Charles Sturt (CCS), Marion (COM), and Port Adelaide Enfield (PAE), agreed to form a collaborative partnership for the benefit of their communities. The IT teams of these councils are responsible for ensuring all projects planned for the communities are seamlessly executed and delivered in a timely and cost-effective manner. To enable collaboration and knowledge sharing across business functions, the IT infrastructure of all three councils have to be closely aligned. In 2019, the councils of CCS, COM, and PAE replaced their ageing legacy IT Service Desk with Freshservice. Using Freshservice, the three Adelaide councils were able to streamline internal operations and deliver an engaging and award-winning employee experience.
The Service Desk is the face of IT and is the main point of contact for most IT-related requests. To support the councils in their shared goal of contributing effectively to their communities, a Collaborative IT Project Delivery function was formed. This team is entrusted with overseeing the planning and delivery of IT projects across the three cities. The Service Desk setup of the three councils was different and made effective collaboration and cross-team communication a challenge. For starters, all three councils had their own Service Desk solutions, so information from one could not easily be shared with the other councils. Two of the councils, PAE and CCS, also had ageing legacy software which needed to be modernised urgently.
In 2019, the councils started to reevaluate their existing solutions and identify the key characteristics they were looking for in a new one. There were three main facets that the new solution needed to address:
Freshservice proved to be the ideal ITSM software to help the councils achieve their objectives. COM was the first to implement Freshservice in June 2019. PAE and CCS quickly followed suit a few months later. In 2020, all three councils were finally working out of a common Service Desk software and were in a stronger position to deliver the first cross-council project. “Having all three councils on Freshservice helped us generate massive savings, not just in licensing and procurement costs, but also in terms of renewals," says Matt Kovarik, Senior IT Project Officer, COM.
With CCS and PAE officially switching from their legacy software to Freshservice, a formal project team was formed to make the implementation and transition smooth. The team, consisting of a joint project manager and three technical resources from each of the councils, worked systematically to address existing infrastructure challenges and drive adoption of the new system. As COM was already using Freshservice, important learnings and employee feedback from its experience were incorporated to make the transition seamless. Freshservice also assigned the same project manager who had overseen COM’s transition and cloned a copy of COM’s database to ensure uniformity.
“I can honestly say the support we received from the Freshservice team was amazing. The project manager from Freshservice went above and beyond to help us get a uniform system that would meet all our needs. Our internal IT Project Managers had the assurance that they could always reach out to the team day or night for support”
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In the first stage, the IT processes of the councils were thoroughly assessed to understand how Freshservice could align the processes of each into a single common workflow. The concerns and requirements of various stakeholders were also addressed to ensure that the software would be able to meet the varying requirements of each IT team. Speaking about the transition, Wayne Prideaux, Team Leader, IT Operations- PAE, says, "We were using the same legacy system since 2000. We didn't want to retain the same solution, but we did want to keep the rich statistical data within it. We had to decide what elements of that data we value and how to align it with Freshservice's configurations. This resulted in a successful migration of approximately 46,600 tickets, 1200 paths and customer details, and 1500 IT assets.”
A collaborative project management methodology was used to guide the project, including use of common templates to ensure a consistent experience for our stakeholders across the councils. Despite the implementation project temporarily being suspended for four weeks due to the pandemic, Freshservice was successfully taken live within a relatively short period of time.
“Our users have embraced Freshservice, especially the service catalog,” says Irene Tsoukalas, Service Desk Team Leader. “Our reports show that users are using the portal to log calls which is a huge achievement and one of our goals met!”
Freshservice has effectively transformed the Service Desk experience at the councils of CCS, COM, and PAE. Some of the key outcomes that are evident after implementation include:
These impressive results have brought industry-wide recognition for the three councils. Recently, the initiative won the 2021 MAV Technology Award in the category Collaboration or Partnership Achievement of the Year.
With Freshservice as the central backbone of IT operations, the three councils have gained invaluable insights into employee engagement success and strategies to improve Service Desk operations. After the success of this project, the councils have shared learnings on the benefits of fostering cross-council relationships with other South Australian councils.
“This project collaboration has helped us build a very strong network with each other, which will come in useful for the other projects we have in the pipeline. The benefits that we've seen aren't just in the dollar value of savings, but also in the sharing of knowledge and skill sets across the councils. All of us agree that it was an amazing success.”
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