UW Information Technology

Service Made Simple

Partnering to pioneer a new tool for one-stop, end-to-end IT service

Mick Westrick

Foster School of Business IT Director Mick Westrick is partnering with UW-IT to improve customer service.

Mick Westrick, IT Director for the Foster School of Business, understands why his customers sometimes get confused or frustrated trying to get IT services.

“It can be tough to know who to call,” Westrick said. “For instance, if you have a broken projector bulb in your classroom, you need to call a different group than if you have a broken light bulb. The same is true for different types of IT issues. Should I call my School’s IT department—or UW-IT?”

Multiply this problem by the number of local IT support staff across the University, and the need for a simpler, more efficient method to get help becomes clear. That’s one key reason why UW-IT is partnering with the Business School to implement a new IT service management platform. The new application will support the lifecycle of IT services, from the time they’re developed until they’re retired. It will let users easily report issues, automatically route them to the correct place and track progress until the problem is solved. It will also create a self-help knowledge base, establish a standard terminology for IT issues, address duplicate services and more.

Westrick and the Foster School are UW-IT’s initial partners for the pilot effort to build and test the system. Over the next year or so, UW-IT will begin to integrate the new service management application into almost every aspect of its business. Eventually, UW-IT plans to offer this new toolset to local IT departments across the UW, with the goal of creating a unified, automated system for accessing and delivering help.

“We’re excited about partnering with UW-IT on this,” Westrick said. “We want to be a good partner, and we want to learn, and this is going to help us be a better IT department.”

Erik Lundberg, UW-IT’s Assistant Vice President for IT Services & Strategic Sourcing, agrees. “I believe this is going to be transformational for us and for other IT groups on campus, and provide a more streamlined experience for all,” he said. Implementing a service management system is part of UW-IT’s adoption of ITIL, the most widely used set of IT best practices in the world, he explained. The goal is to make UW-IT, and other IT units that join in, more efficient and responsive, with the end result to deliver better service to the University.

“Eventually, this will provide a single place that people can go, either on the Web or on the phone, that integrates all the support that they need,” Lundberg said.

Westrick is happy that UW-IT is spearheading this effort. With four help desk staff and more than 90,000 requests for help each year, he doesn’t have a lot of time to implement new systems.

“So often, we’re stuck in the weeds just solving problems,” he said. “I think this service management approach is going to help us be much more proactive about how we provide service to our customers.”

Originally published in the UW Information Technology 2013 Annual Report. View our Annual Reports archive.