Bytes Systems Integration has installed ICCM e-Service Desk solution, in the process replacing FrontRange’s HEAT. The application was installed to provide service desk capabilities to the company’s hundreds of employees, but it is also being made available to customers and is being deployed in Africa.
Bytes Systems Integration is part of Bytes Technology Group, wholly owned by JSE-listed Altron.
“HEAT had become an old and cumbersome system to use,” says Wendy Baillie, programme manager, ATS at Bytes Systems Integration. “When we originally bought the product 15 years back, we invested in some fairly extensive development that essentially rendered impossible any chance to upgrade over the years.
“During this time we laboured with the vendor on maintenance agreements to keep the product going, and decided more than three years ago that we needed to replace it. This kicked off an extensive 18-month research and evaluation process to ensure that we chose the right product.
“We undertook a rigorous evaluation process when we decided to move onto a new platform. We researched 20 products before shortlisting and finally deciding on a functionality shoot-out between ICCM and one of its competitors. Each product was reviewed on the exact same criteria – ease of use and other critical factors for our environment – and by more than 80%, ICCM came out as the leader,” she says.
“ICCM e-Service Desk is now used as the single consolidated platform to deliver call logging, SLA management, configuration item management, reporting and so on for Bytes Systems Integration and its clients.
“This includes all aspects of call logging including incidents, problems and requests, and we are currently extending this platform to include their project management tool to manage our projects, resources and financial revenue from these, as well as investigating a bespoke application to create, store and cross-reference our clients’ quotations.”
Bytes Systems Integration will access ICCM through the cloud. “One of the many challenges faced by any business based throughout Africa is gaining access to applications from a central location,” notes Baillie.
“By deploying through the cloud we have removed the need to have multiple instances of the same solution deployed through southern Africa. This has allowed us to consolidate our fragmented service desk solutions to one application, one instance and one data set, which had proven complex historically.
“The cloud deployment has further allowed us to leverage economies of scale with regard to hardware and bandwidth utilisations and allocations without incurring major infrastructure costs.”
Clients can choose to buy the service outright, through the private or public cloud, or on a pay-per-use basis.
Metastorm BPM is essentially the base of the entire application for ICCM and drives the entire process of delivery from start to finish. All factors in a service desk are procedurally driven and having a BPM engine supporting the application that drives the people has proven to be invaluable.
A key consideration in choosing ICCM was the embedding of ITIL best practice as it is integral to the daily business of Bytes, as all aspects of the business are aligned with ITIL.
“Historically, it was difficult to meet the service needs of our clients from an application perspective as we had to manipulate the system to work the practice. Now we have an entirely ITIL-focused application that helps us support the clients, which has been a fundamental improvement to our service delivery.”
Total cost of ownership is expected to drop as the company can leverage on existing infrastructure and deployment. “This means we have had a relatively low cost of ownership to start with. We have been in the fortunate position that we have extremely competent technical skills on the Metastorm application, which has allowed us to cross-skill to ICCM.
“This has allowed us to go and ‘sell’ ICCM services and solutions to our client base, leveraging off our internal installation and skills and therefore realise revenue off an application that was originally a cost.”
Bytes Systems Integration deployed in a 95% out-of-the box fashion, which dramatically reduced the installation window and allowed the company to learn from the inherent ITIL best practices that are shipped with the product.
“There was some tweaking involved,” adds Baillie. “However, what the business anticipated to be a six- to eight-month rollout was instead a beta live of six weeks, which was incredibly fast. Obviously, it was a learning curve for us and we only had our final go-live at four months, but this was still significantly shorter than the original estimates.”
Baillie says Bytes Systems Integration is already realising a number of benefits. “These include a highly competitive cost of ownership and return on investment by virtue of our being able to resell the product and expertise to our client base.
“We have leveraged off existing infrastructure to realise economies of scale for deployment and being able to host, preserve and deploy the solution quickly and efficiently to many of our business units who were previously held back by technology, and across our cloud deployment to our client base.
“The ease of use and ability to workflow tasks has significantly eased the lives of our staff and given us far richer management tools than we thought possible. The ITIL focus of the application has seamlessly integrated with our procedural environment to offer a better solution to our clients, which we hope to continually refine with the analysis tools provided by ICCM,” she concludes.