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DXS International embarks on service improvement

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DXS International are providers of clinical decision support solutions to the healthcare sector through the proprietary DXS Point of Care platform, with offices in the United Kingdom as well as South Africa.
This platform integrates with patient record systems and delivers content relevant to the patient’s condition during the consultation, to assist healthcare practitioners with making informed decisions and diagnosis and providing appropriate patient information.
When the company tendered for a project with the National Health Service (NHS) in the United Kingdom at the end of 2013, they were awarded the contract with one of the requirements that they implemented an ITIL-aligned and ISO20000-based Service Management (SM) solution for reporting on service queries. DXS turned to Marval Africa and the MSM Expert tool to provide the solution.

Selecting the right solution
“The ability to process service desk requests and deliver reports based on NHS requirements helped secure the contract,” explains Hentie de Vries, MD of DXS South Africa. “We needed to implement an ITIL-aligned service desk solution as well as report on service queries and issues in a standardised manner. We required software that would enable us to report on information such as how long calls take to be answered and processed, and whether or not service levels are met as defined within the Service Level Agreement (SLA).
“We also needed a solution that would support us on our future journey of continual service improvement, and potentially ISO20000 certification. MSM Expert from Marval Africa was the ideal solution.”
Previously, DXS was making use of an in-house database system that integrated with their Customer Relationship Management (CRM) solution. The existing CRM solution lacked in functionality, and upgrading this tool would not have provided the required levels of IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) alignment. The organisation required not only reporting capabilities but also the ability to effectively process internal and external service requests, handle change management requests, identify the difference between incidents and problems, enable proper prioritisation and more.
MSM Expert addresses all of these needs and more without requiring extensive development or customisation, providing complete alignment between DXS and their customer.
“Going through the tender process, we realised our existing systems fell short and we needed a more effective tool to process service requests. We began our search for the right software solution, and after discussing our challenge with Marval Africa we realised their MSM tool was the perfect solution. It offers us all of the functionality we needed to secure the tender and improve our SM, including asset management, a Configuration Management Database (CMDB), the right levels of reporting, release management, knowledge management and more.
“The decision to implement MSM Expert was also made with an eye to the future. As we journey towards ISO20000 we will be able to use the same solution and grow our use of its functionality,” de Vries adds.

Exceeding expectations
In addition to fulfilling the criteria of the NHS tender, DXS’ primary consideration when looking for a solution to implement was a helpdesk solution to log calls and ticketing system that could deliver effective reporting. However, when the company began investigating solutions and their understanding of ITIL and IT Service Management (ITSM) grew, they began to realise the differences between a helpdesk and an ITIL-aligned service desk. Other considerations included the ability to drive operational efficiency and effectiveness, as well as sound IT governance and controls.
Originally, DXS was simply looking for a solution to assist with reporting and service management. The Marval solution not only delivered the required service desk capability with necessary ITIL alignment, it also opened up numerous possibilities within DXS to change the way the company works.
“We approached Marval for a service desk solution and received so much more than that, as the MSM Expert tool provides a formal, centralised, single support system for incident, service request and change management. Since the implementation of the service desk, we have begun exploring the seemingly limitless potential of this solution to improve efficiency within our business. Our return on investment has been significant not only in terms of money but also time and effort, as MSM Expert enables us to do so many more things than we originally thought. Without this solution, we would have had to obtain additional software solutions to handle more requests as well as change management, incident management, service management and more,” says de Vries.
The first area of the solution to go live was the service desk, enabling DXS to communicate more effectively with customers. This solution enabled customers to email support and obtain an immediate response, and any updates or changes in status to be automatically communicated. This system also enables proactive SLA management, as managers are notified before a breach occurs so that corrective action can be taken. In addition, incident and problem reporting were brought online, although implementation is on-going as additional functionality is continuously added.
“The solution has by far exceeded our expectations and continues to do so, because of the functionality it offers. We have discovered that many of our existing processes could be more efficient using the Marval solution, including areas such as change and incident management as well as the Configuration Management Database (CMDB). As a result, after the initial deployment we have extended reporting functionality to the service desk, and have begun to incorporate change management, release and deployment management as well as financial management. We are looking and extend the solution throughout the organisation in areas such as Human Resources as well. In addition, the web-based Marval solution has made it far easier to track assets and service requests as well as manage SLAs,” de Vries adds.

Addressing challenges and delivering benefits
While the MSM Expert tool fit the requirements of DXS well, it also had to integrate with the organisation’s existing CRM solution, which required customisation to align with their exceptionally complex reporting requirements around availability. The NHS requirements further add to the complexity around reporting, and DXS is working with Marval on an on-going basis to deliver reporting that precisely meets requirements.
“All of the information required for the reports were available, however, creating the right metrics in the format the customer required was a challenge. With the flexibility of the reporting tool – Xtraction – we have been able to address this on-going challenge, and reporting is continuously adapted to meet requirements dynamically. Organisational buy-in is also an issue, and ensuring effective change management occurs is another on-going challenge we are working with DXS to help address,” explains Edward Carbutt, executive director at Marval Africa.
The timeline for the original implementation spanned six months in total, as the project was scoped in April 2014 and went live in November of the same year. However there were a number of delays due to outside considerations during the project, and the effective implementation time was just three months for phase one. A number of benefits were realised immediately, including improved communication and service delivery ability, however as more functionality has been added these benefits have increased.
Not only does the MSM Expert solution offer a one-stop tool for service management and reporting, it also provides ITIL-aligned tools for managing and monitoring services and reporting, which were essential requirements for the NHS tender. DXS has now adopted a more service-centric approach and created a comprehensive and growing service portfolio, which ensures standardised terminology and universal understanding on the products and services offered.
Furthermore, improvements to the user experience include enhanced communication, the addition of extra processes and request types on an on-going basis, and the achievement of continual service improvement capability.
“Implementing Marval’s MSM solution has also changed our way of thinking about service management. It made our processes and approach to service management far more structured, and afforded us greater visibility and improved escalation as a result of linking similar incidents to identify problems. We also approach the addition of new services differently as we have a more complete picture of the implications and impact of such an action,” says de Vries.
“Aligning with ITIL requires not only the right supportive software, it also requires people, process and partners to support the transition and new approach toward continual service improvement. DXS has taken the first steps on this journey and will continue to reap the benefits into the future. The work they have done to date on process and service improvement as well as alignment with best practice puts them in a solid position for ISO20000 certification, which is something DXS may wish to explore in future. We look forward to assisting them in their journey to improved service delivery,” Carbutt concludes.