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Elsevier is a global information analytics business that helps scientists and clinicians to find new answers, reshape human knowledge, and tackle the most urgent human crises. For 140 years, they have partnered with the research world to curate and verify scientific knowledge. Today, Elsevier is bringing that rigour to a new generation of Elsevier platforms. As one of the world’s major providers of scientific, technical and medical information, Elsevier publishes more than 470,000 articles annually in over 2500 journals. Its archives include over 16 million documents with yearly downloads crossing 1 billion. Elsevier’s products and services include the entire academic research lifecycle, including software and data management, instruction and assessment tools.
As a digital-first and data-driven business, Elsevier’s IT team is required to operate at an unparalleled scale, speed and efficiency. More than 1500 technologists now work at Elsevier. Over 1B scientific articles added by 2.5M researchers globally are analyzed using user-based collaborative filtering to generate over 250M article recommendations. Over 1000 predictive models have been trained on 1.5 billion electronic health care records using machine learning. To move into the next phase of growth, Elsevier launched a digital transformation initiative to move to a cloud-first approach. This included migrating infrastructure services to AWS, deploying best of breed SaaS applications and giving IT services a facelift within the organization.
Elsevier decided to bring IT service management, in-house. Recognizing that the legacy on-premise infrastructure and complex ITSM systems would not meet Elsevier’s demanding environment, the team decided it was time to upgrade the IT operating model. There were several challenges with the IT environment:
Technical debt: Existing ITSM tools could not support the fast-moving, agile organization or do justice to Elsevier’s strategic investment in AWS cloud infrastructure.
Suboptimal experience: Engagement between employees and IT was hindered by legacy processes, tools, and questions relating to ownership.
Reactive service management: With slow time-to-value and limited user efficiency, IT at Elsevier was reactive.
Elsevier was on the lookout for a solution that would align with their ambitious objectives and keep pace with their rapid internal expansion. The ideal ITSM platform would manage their scale of operations, help them move at speed, be flexible to fast-changing needs and provide great employee experiences.
After extensively evaluating the market with these requirements in mind, Elsevier zeroed in on Freshservice. Freshservice ticked all the boxes for Elsevier being a cloud-based, out-of-the-box ITSM solution that is robust yet easy to use. Additionally, Freshservice delivered unparalleled time-to-value that was key to Elsevier’s success.
Elsevier launched in a record time of 8 weeks. In the next 6 months, they rolled out the new ITSM platform across 65 offices and 7500 employees. Having multiple office locations to cover, the teams planned the migration in a phased approach, rather than a big bang launch. With Freshworks’ Direct Partnership Model, Elsevier effortlessly implemented & configured Freshservice and easily onboarded and trained IT agents and end-users.
Elsevier chose to go above and beyond changing the way IT worked; they set their sites on changing the relationship of between users and IT at Elsevier. Elsevier devised a communication plan with Freshworks which resulted in the successful rollout and adoption of Freshservice in under 40 days.
Elsevier rebranded the service desk as the TechDesk. Pre-launch communication activities centred around the theme of “Here to help”, prompted interest and inquisitiveness among employees. The theme and messaging were supported by strong internal assets such as emails, intranet sites, teaser videos and print collateral. Elsevier hosted numerous virtual town halls followed by Q&A, as well as launch parties hosted by the local support engineers, rebranded as “TechSquad” This boosted employees’ buy-in and communicated the shared vision for success. Plans were also put in place for dedicated TechBar’s made up of IT engineers providing one-on-one guidance in addition to the new TechDesk.
Today, 700 agents use Freshservice to support 9500 employees, close 15,000 tickets/month and manage 30,000 assets at Elsevier.
From the time Elsevier started using Freshservice, they hit many milestones in a short period of time. Recently, Elsevier hit their SLA on First-line resolution at 67%. This helped move Elsevier’s tech support from reactive to proactive with the help of Freshservice’s Knowledgebase capabilities. Kevin Tomes, Service Assurance Manager at Elsevier mentions, “This was made possible with a heavy focus on getting knowledge out of tech support heads and into the hands of the users and agents.” The knowledge management capabilities in Freshservice such as categorisation, the ability to tag and smart search for knowledge base articles in Freshservice helped promote a culture of self-service and improved resolution times and agent productivity.
With Freshservice, Elsevier is achieving an average First call resolution of 92.8% and CSAT of 95.9%. Freshservice made sure that the service portal and service catalogue was accessible and easy-to-use. This encouraged users to log tickets using the portal or live chat, rather than use email.
The branded ‘TechDesk’ communication campaign improved the end-user adoption of Freshservice. The usage portal significantly increased from 38% to 45% with Freshservice. Elsevier aimed to provide end-users with an experience similar to what they would get on a big consumer website, including personalisation and a welcoming look and feel. Having everything form-based and easy to use was an important reason for the success of Freshservice at Elsevier. With the help of Freshservice, Elsevier established its IT agents as the go-to people for exceptional tech support.
What does exceptional support mean to Elsevier? Matthew Higgins, Senior Director of operations at Elsevier says, “Exceptional end-user support at Elsevier means that we know the voice of our users, their experiences, personas and desired business outcomes. We are moving towards a product-focused support model, where ITSM roles and cloud-based tools are embedded in our agile teams. Our friendly TechSquad provides omnichannel support and it’s amazing to see how our teams swarm to resolve incidents quickly. Consumer style shopping cart experiences make ordering new services quick and easy. This is part of our digital workplace strategy, which ultimately helps our colleagues work at pace and makes Elsevier a great place to work.
Elsevier’s operations with Freshservice became responsive, adaptive and agile. Incorporating changes in Freshservice takes Elsevier a matter of few clicks and zero development effort with the powerful graphical workflow Automator. The technology group at Elsevier works with a large set of tools and the growing app marketplace on Freshservice was key to scale and extend the TechDesk across teams. This ensured the TechDesk fits right into Elsevier’s ecosystem and that IT agents could build on the key modules of Freshservice.
Elsevier is excited with what’s in store with Freshservice. While extending to the other products in the Freshworks’ suite that work better together, Elsevier is looking to build a best-of-breed ITSM platform.
“The promise of AI/ML capabilities and advanced analytics across multiple modules is an exciting future to be a part of.”
Senior Director Operations(EUC)
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