The County of Simcoe, in Ontario, wanted to use a single ticketing system to support the diverse needs of its different administrative, municipal and social services departments. Over the years, it tried many systems, but couldn’t find a good fit.
A Quest for Smoother Operations
In 2014, Simcoe County went out to RFP for a service management platform that had the power and flexibility to automate the workflow of a broad variety of business and IT departments—and their unique cultures. After a thorough review, Ivanti Service Manager met everyone’s needs.
“Ivanti impressed us with its flexibility,” Cade says.
Simcoe County uses Service Manager to support Customer Service, Corporate Communications, Environmental Services, Paramedic Services, Fleet Management, Maintenance and Facilities, and Long Term Care. It also integrated Service Manager with its SAP enterprise software and GIS mapping systems.
With Service Manager, Simcoe County can deliver better services to its residents and departments—and deliver those services efficiently and with the visibility needed to continually improve services.
Better, Faster Customer Service
A resident might spot a bear in their backyard. Maybe the garbage wasn’t collected on time. Perhaps a new pothole opened up on a main rod after heavy rains. Residents and visitors can call into the county’s Customer Service team to report complaints, access municipal services, and get tourist and other information. The same 12-person team also handles requests and problem reports from 1,700 staff and contractors at the county. Working at the Customer Service center is fast-paced, and the requests are diverse.
“Ivanti streamlined a lot of our procedures,” Cade says. In the old system, Customer Service agents manually created tickets based on incoming emails. “That was a huge pain because it was hard to keep track of how many times a ticket was touched,” says Cade. “Now Ivanti creates the tickets and the conversation happens within the ticketing system.”
James Nightingale, manager of customer service, agrees. “With Ivanti, we can automatically turn an email into a ticket. It’s changed our world,” he says.
With Service Manager, the Customer Service team can address issues more quickly and productively. Information is readily searchable. More complex requests and problems can be routed directly to the appropriate person or department. With better access to data, the Customer Service team can provide more accurate information to stakeholders.
“It’s so much better with Ivanti,” says Nightingale. “We have 32 politicians, and they come to us, saying, ‘I heard this from a citizen,’ and give you a few buzzwords—maybe a street name or a last name. Now we can search the tickets
“We can create a keyword for events such as a blizzard,” Nightingale says. “Then we can name it—say, Snowmageddon—and report on the impact to management
or politicians. Searching in Ivanti is a very fast way to do it.”
Improving Municipal Services
Simcoe County’s Corporate Communications, Procurement, Fleet and Property, and Paramedic Services departments use Service Manager to manage their administrative workflows.
“If there’s a request for an event, such as the Warden’s annual charity golf tournament, all the tasks related to running that event are assigned within Corporate Communications,” Nightingale says. “They can save the date, book the tables, arrange for the speech—everything gets done in Ivanti.”
Ambulance maintenance and repair is managed through Service Manager as well. “When something goes wrong with the ambulances or any other vehicle, that issue is routed from Service Manager through SAP to the appropriate dealership in town so the work gets done, along with regularly scheduled maintenance,” Cade says.
The paramedics themselves use Service Manager in a variety of ways, from tracking “storks and saves”—when they deliver a baby or save a life—to maintaining inventory of medical equipment and supplies on emergency vehicles. That information is then easily reported through Service Manager for department managers and council members.
The facilities team, which is responsible for maintenance and remodeling of Simcoe’s administrative offices, paramedic bases, social services offices, and road garages, also uses Service Manager. Minor problems such as a missing light bulb are handled as service requests directly within Service Manager, while bigger issues, such as a leaky plumbing, are entered into Service Manager and then automatically created as work orders within SAP.
Service Manager is also used to manage demand maintenance like work requests, safety concerns and equipment moves at Simcoe’s four Long Term Care homes for seniors. Maintenance workers have Apple iPads on their carts so they can close out the tickets once the work has been completed.
Putting Problems on the Map
Integration between Simcoe’s GIS mapping system and Service Manager has delivered even more value for the residents and staff. Let’s take the example of a resident calling to complain that their garbage wasn’t picked up.
“The customer service agent can enter the address into Service Manager and look up the map of the area in GIS,” says Henry De Jager, manager of Business Planning and Systems. “They can see exactly when the truck stopped by a residence. They can copy and paste from the map to the ticket, so the external contractors can see what we’re talking about—the guy did drive by and the trash got picked up on time, or maybe the truck went down only one side of the street so far.”
“Someone might report a dead deer on a country road,” says De Jager. The caller can describe the location, and the customer service rep can identify it from the map, associate it with a nearby residential address, and open a ticket in Service Manager. “We have a nice back-and-forth integration between Service Manager and GIS,” he says.
A recent upgrade lets Simcoe County define and respond to entire neighborhoods—not just individual residences—that might be affected by changes to services in the event of an emergency. That capability also enhances external reporting.
The Solid Waste Management department recently added a bulk-item pickup service that’s managed through Service Manager. “The process is to find out what we’re collecting, request payment for it, receive payment for it, and then issue a receipt. We integrated payments with an external payment processor,” says Cade. “Now our guys can collect a dishwasher or couch and close the ticket when they go to the house because they have access to Ivanti from their laptop in the truck. It works great.”
IT Relies Service Manager
The IT department also uses Service Manager to manage incidents and service requests. “We make a distinction between things that are broken and things that we want,” says Cade.
Support is tiered, and if a request is specialized, it can be routed directly to the appropriate team. “Based on what the customer selects, we can direct the ticket automatically,” Cade says. “For instance, GIS problems are a specialized
skillset, so those go automatically to that team. We have SAP in-house, so that goes to my team. If we can’t automatically figure it out based on a customer’s selection, it goes to the help desk.”
Self-Sufficient with Expert Guidance
Simcoe County turned to Kifinti, a consulting firm based in Toronto, for assistance prototyping and implementing Ivanti Service Manager.
“Our team was excited to work with the County of Simcoe on this initiative,” says Paul Kelsey, a consultant at Kifinti.“The creation of a singular client portal for all internal staff to request services from e all internal departments is something we encourage all customers to do. Additionally, the expansion of the same platform to be used for customer service again reinforces the benefit of a singular workflow platform that can be used to automate processes for the whole business is now a reality.”
“Ivanti is very advanced but isn’t expensive or overly complex and can be easily managed by internal resources,” he adds.
Cade seconds that view. “This is not my full-time job by any stretch, but I’m self-sufficient with the assistance of Kifinti for things I don’t do often and need help with,” she says.
Simcoe County uses Service Manager for a broad variety of business and IT service management, but that success hasn’t come without lessons learned.
“Start with a prototype,” Cade advises others who are embarking on a business service management initiative. “We tried to do standard requirements gathering, but we had too many stakeholders and too many ideas. People couldn’t conceptualize what the system should look like.”
However, some things that they feared didn’t materialize— including users balking at the new system or needing extensive training. “Our old system was text-based, and we were concerned that the new icons would confuse people,” Cade says. “But the new system with Ivanti is clear, and everyone has adopted it readily.”
With the success of Service Manager evident across so many departments, Simcoe County continues to advance its use of Ivanti Service Manager. Cade is ticking off a list of maintenance requests, and has also turned her attention to creating a new business workflow to better support the paramedics and adding new lines of business. In addition, IT is deploying a new business phone system, and integration with Ivanti Voice Automation will allow it to add call recordings to tickets as needed, which is especially important for Customer Service.
But so far, Simcoe County is pleased with what they’ve already accomplished with Ivanti Service Manager. “Other municipalities are gobsmacked when they see what we can do with Ivanti,” Nightingale says.