Peter Yates of Spark Ventures: Eight pointers for standardising service management

Spark Ventures has rolled out BMC’s Remedyforce to manage and support the backend infrastructure that runs its consumer and digital business services.

Peter Yates, head of operations, platforms and IT for Spark Ventures, says the deployment allowed them to reinvent how they manage changes, incidents and service requests, enhance existing services and develop new ones more quickly.

Spark Ventures is a division of Spark that focuses on consumer and business digital services that include Qrious, Bigpipe and Lightbox.

“We had a number of incident and change management challenges and knew we needed a comprehensive service management system, so we looked at the Gartner Magic Quadrant during our selection process and BMC was listed as a leader,” says Yates.

“With Remedyforce, we’ve managed to resolve those challenges,” says Yates, in a statement.

“We have change management with various process flows and are tracking incidents and service requests separately, and automated reporting to our customers saves us valuable time that we can use on more strategic activities.”

Built on the Salesforce platform, RemedyForce has allowed the IT team with automation, standardisation, and visibility to increase the speed, quality, and efficiency of the support it provides for its businesses and services.

Automation helps the IT team resolve issues and implement changes quickly, reducing over 100 hours of change request-related actions per month down to just 10 minutes per change.

Yates says the automation of weekly and monthly reports on key performance indicators for the executive team saves them at least 10 hours per month.

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Use out of the box functionality as much as you can, this makes any future upgrades easier and less likely to break your solutionPeter Yates, Spark Ventures

Yates shares with CIO New Zealand eight key lessons from the rollout:

  • "Take time upfront to do the pre-planning, ensure you have a product owner who understands what they want your ITSM tool to do, from tool selection, requirements, defining functionality, SLAs and reporting."
  • It was also critical that the configuration spreadsheet was completed as it ensure that you had considered all the variables such as categories, queues and service names, he states. By completing this spreadsheet, it also helped with keeping the implementation to around five weeks.
  • Make sure you understand your requirements. "What do you want your ITSM system to do. What can you automate to achieve the desired outcome?"
  • Create use cases for your business in advance to ensure you test how you will use the tool, and to make sure it addresses your requirements e.g how will I escalate incidents or notify the change initiator that a change has been approved?
  • Use out of the box functionality as much as you can, this makes any future upgrades easier and less likely to break your solution.
  • We phased our go live, with incident and service request first, with change, knowledge etc a week later, he explains. "This enabled the technical teams to get a better understanding how Remedyforce worked and it also allowed our internal customers the ability to log incidents and requests from go live, instantly improving their overall experience."
  • At Spark Ventures we also used Salesforce Service Cloud which allowed us to implement Remedyforce on to the same instance, which enabled us to achieve a one click escalation between the two systems.
  • Assign a RemedyForce administrator to work with your implementation partner (in our case it was BMC) so there will be an element of knowledge transfer, says Yates.

CIO to COO: Lessons from the cloud

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