The Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University (NMMU), uses HEAT, the service management application from FrontRange Solutions, to maintain the efficiency of its services to over 25 000 technology users (staff and students) on seven campuses.
The merged organisation’s information and communications technology (ICT) service delivery department has also begun to incorporate best practice principles for service management from the Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) into its upgrade of the latest version of HEAT.
“HEAT has already made us much more efficient and effective in that calls logged regarding the university’s PCs, local and wide area networks, enterprise resource planning (ERP) and tertiary education systems, as well as campus telecommunications no longer fall through the cracks,” says Alison Moller, Deputy Director of NMMU’s ICT service delivery.
“We also have much better control of our support staff. I can see at a glance the status of workloads, which enables me to adjust them intelligently. In addition, I can see trends in the types of calls that are logged, which enables me to be proactive about addressing recurring problems – or setting up training for users where it seems necessary.
“And, of course, HEAT statistics and alert functionality help us stay on top of the NMMU’s five-year equipment replacement cycle and with measuring our service level agreements with our campus customers.
“But no matter how efficient one becomes, there is always room for improvement and we are using HEAT to drive continuous improvement for ICT services as outlined in the ITIL best practice framework.”
NMMU’s ICT service delivery department is introducing ITIL-supported functionality in phases, starting with the definition of the severity levels of calls and the escalation processes related to them.
“HEAT has been able to fulfil the functionality necessary for the first phase of the NMMU’s ITIL based service improvement project and we’ve always been very happy with HEAT,” Moller says. “At the time of the merger, the former PE Technikon had been using HEAT for some years and the University of Port Elizabeth had no experience of it. So the university did an assessment of competitor products and decided to opt for HEAT – partly because the technikon service delivery staff were already familiar with it but also because it is affordable, given the remarkable depth of functionality it offers, and its ease of use.”
FrontRange Solutions Product Manager for Africa, Paul Bornhutter, says that because ITIL contains the only comprehensive, publicly accessible, specialist documentation on the planning, provision, and support of IT services, it’s an extremely cost effective way for organisations like educational institutions – with limited funds – to optimise their operations.
“As the world’s leading supplier of mid-market helpdesk and contact management solutions, FrontRange has been ITIL-consistent for many years – by virtue of always having been best practice orientated. But we’ve also had formal verification of our software as being ITIL-supportive. HEAT, specifically, is ITIL-supportive in the critical areas of incident, problem, configuration, and change management.
“So, for an organisation like the NMMU, ITIL and HEAT together provide a relatively effective and straightforward method for putting in place service management processes and streamlining the management of IT infrastructure as well as offering clarity of process and a common language that everyone can understand.”