Aiming to improve reporting and workflow processes, Alberta Justice deployed Micro Focus Service Desk. The solution provides enhanced transparency for its clients and a more intuitive interface, resulting in improved internal buy-in and great client feedback.
There are three levels of court in the province—the Court of Appeal, the Court of Queen’s Bench and the Provincial Court.
Court Technology Services (CTS) is a team of government staff directly supporting the courts and judiciary, providing key business systems such as video conferencing, email, directory, network file/print etc.
Historically, Alberta Justice looked towards Open Source when assessing new tools for its IT infrastructure. The appeal of no upfront license costs led it to Open Technology Real Services (OTRS), which was used for many years as a helpdesk management system. However, as the CTS team grew to 35 staff, supporting over 2,000 court and judiciary clients, it was felt OTRS consumed more person hours than it saved to justify continued use.
The impact of system and application downtime is the reduced ability to hold court, as processes will have to be managed manually, directly affecting the public of Alberta seeking simple and timely access to justice.
In addition, CTS looked for a tool with improved reporting capabilities, an identified weakness in OTRS. Influenced by Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL), a set of practices focused on aligning IT services with the needs of the business, CTS plans to move from working practices with change notifications to a more sophisticated and business-focused Change Management process.
Working with Canadian service provider ADARIS, CTS learned about Service Desk, a complete, ITIL-certified, application for managing service requests, incidents and changes across the network. Robin Seaman, Acting Network Manager for CTS, Alberta Justice, explains: “It was great working with ADARIS. One of our big challenges is a lack of staff resources which means people wear multiple hats and are stretched thinly.
“ADARIS supported us with the preparation, installation, configuration and training for Service Desk, ensuring a smooth and quick transition. I truly believe we would be at least 18 months behind where we are without their support.”
The CTS team receives up to 175 support requests every week ranging from very simple IT support requests to complex ones, for instance related to the software modernisation project underway currently.
Using Service Desk every ticket is categorised and prioritised according to its impact on business continuity. The new system has been welcomed by the CTS engineers and an internal survey shows comments such as “it’s really effective” and “I like it much better than our previous system.” This means internal buy-in and adoption has been swift, with tickets being created for items which previously wouldn’t be captured.
Seaman comments on the day-to-day impact of Service Desk: “The superior reporting function within Service Desk is already making a difference to us. We can report on very specific IT items, for instance, how many tickets were raised by our AS/400 support group. It has also helped us expose our limited resources and make a case for improving this. Reports are great for highlighting pain points you didn’t appreciate were taking up a lot of time.”
This article was first published in OH Magazine Issue 32, January 2016