Getting creative with enterprise service management
Good tools don’t merely fix problems; they also spark creativity and help organizations capitalize on opportunity. Once an organization adopts a robust Enterprise Service Management (ESM) platform, experience with this tool often leads to ideas for streamlining workflows, increasing efficiency and making work easier.
For instance, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center (DHMC, in Lebanon, N.H.) initially deployed Cherwell ESM in 2009. At the time, the hospital mainly needed to standardize and integrate processes that had been supported by custom, department-specific databases created in older applications, such as FileMaker Pro and 4th Dimension.
Now, a decade into its Cherwell experience, the hospital is using ESM in ways that go well beyond the initial vision. For instance, DHMC, a teaching and research hospital, includes a nursing unit used for training simulations, complete with fully functional medical devices and robotic mannequins. Bill Weyrick, Director of Information Systems for DHMC, noted that Cherwell has become an essential support for nursing simulations
“Everything that goes into a simulation gets tracked in Cherwell. When educators assemble a simulation, they use Cherwell to determine what equipment and supplies they’ll need and how it all needs to be set up,” said Weyrick. “We’re probably the only Cherwell user that’s tracking dummies in our configuration-management database.”
DHMC also is now using Cherwell to automate many workflows associated with patient-centric medical research. “We use Cherwell to ensure that every step of the research process is properly validated, documented and approved,” said Weyrick. “This starts by submitting initial research requests through Cherwell. We track all principal and other investigators, mentors and their affiliations, project descriptions, research type: observational, basic science or bench.”
In a sense, the service-management mindset has become “contagious” across DHMC. “It’s pretty common for someone in one department to see another department’s self-service portal and say, ‘Hey, can we do that here, too?’ ” said Weyrick. Fortunately, it’s simple to launch new portals in Cherwell. Currently, DHMC is integrating four new hospitals into its network, and service management is an important part of the early technology rollout to support integration with other systems.
Similarly, ideas for new services can be realized quickly. While Weyrick was describing Cherwell’s role in automating housekeeping services for DHMC’s conference rooms, he was asked whether Cherwell also managed scheduling for housekeeping staff. “Not yet, but that would be a great idea! That would probably be pretty easy …” he mused.
Complexity often sparks creativity — so when an organization is more complex, it can yield even more opportunities for creative service solutions. For instance, The Management Council (part of the Ohio Education Computer Network) implements a broad spectrum of academic and administrative technologies across Ohio’s PreK-12 education system. The Management Council works with 18 technology service centers, each of which supports up to hundreds of local school districts. The Management Council purchased Cherwell in 2012, and over two years rolled it out across the entire state.
“We run 10 production instances of Cherwell to support the state of Ohio, serving about 450 Cherwell analysts in total across our service centers,” said Bill Young, The Management Council’s Director of Customer Services and Support. “We’re definitely not just one organization.”
In 2014, Young began to develop a statewide, internal customer relationship management (CRM) system using Cherwell. “That’s been one of my big creative accomplishments,” he said.
This CRM project involved integrating each of the existing production instances to create a central repository of data about all education-related organizations in Ohio. In addition to about 2,000 school districts of various kinds, this wide net also encompasses data about nearly 8,000 organizations that offer teacher development and other services to the education sector, as well as public sector groups doing education-related work in the state. “That’s over 11,000 entities altogether,” said Young. “Not all of them are active customers using Cherwell, but we know about them and the relationships between them and school districts they might be serving. It always lowers the cost of education to have easy access to this context.”
This central system enables some useful functions. For instance, when the state wishes to ask every school superintendent in Ohio a particular question, the CRM system can transmit that question and track responses. “This has turned into an enterprise intelligence system for creative things in Ohio education,” said Young. “The data informs many things that we plan and consider funding. It describes our environment in a useful way.”
This central system also helps The Management Council identify schools with greater support needs by analyzing patterns of help-desk use. “If a school is using any of our help desk more often, that might inform conversations and decisions for school funding, program improvements, and training. We can help our technology service centers proactively to minimize long-term support costs.”
Weyrick and Young are active participants in Cherwell user groups for their regions, and for their industries. These are another source of creativity and inspiration, where users share solutions and even applications that can be customized and reused. Additionally, these user groups can develop local Cherwell talent to help sustain large deployments in a region.
“My primary motive for chairing our Ohio user group has been to build an ecosystem and community here that thrives around people with Cherwell skills, so that people who need them can hire them,” said Young.
Meanwhile, in the daily operations of an enterprise, Cherwell can become so deeply embedded that it can develop a bit of an identity crisis. “Our end customers in schools don’t even know what Cherwell is,” said Young. “They think the Management Council is Cherwell! But that’s OK if they know that Cherwell will give them what they need. That’s all that really matters.