Project Description

UAEU achieves greater visibility of operations and automation

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User satisfaction
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Increase in completion of customer satisfaction survey
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End-point devices

An oasis of academic excellence

Established in 1976 and located in the heart of oasis city Al Ain, 140km east of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) is the oldest university in the UAE.

With a commitment to academic excellence and continuous research, and a student body of around 15,000 and nearly 3,000 employees, UAEU consistently ranks as the second-top university in the UAE, and fifth in the Arab region. Courses range from business and economics, IT, science and engineering to law, medicine, agriculture, education, and humanities; notable alumni include numerous high-ranking politicians, as well as business pioneers, artists, and writers.

Moving away from manual processes
Managing the IT commitments of a large-scale university such as UAEU is no easy feat – especially when the IT department has such a broad range of responsibilities and a large IT estate. “We provide infrastructure services, network services, application services, and also end-user technical support for around 6,000 end-point devices,” explains Mariam Al Khili, Head of IT Support at UAEU. “We also allow student, staff, and faculty members to bring their own devices if they need help.”

The IT division comprises around 120 employees, of whom 72 are dedicated to end-user support. Managing workflows and assigning tasks within a unit of this size is a complex task.

Everything was manual,” adds Aysha Al Meqbaali, Head of UAEU’s IT Helpdesk. “If we needed to assign tasks or escalate them to other teams, it was all done by hand and handled by the helpdesk. It was easy to lose track of each ticket. A relatively simple process could sometimes take as long as ten days, but we wouldn’t know why or where it was in the system.”

End-to-end visibility
UAEU needed more visibility and easier control, and a tool that would allow its IT staff to focus on core tasks rather than lose time navigating through unclear workflows. ServiceNow IT Service Management (ITSM) was selected to provide a single platform capable of handling UAEU’s diverse needs.

Elite ServiceNow partner, Quintica, played an instrumental role in the successful implementation and go live of UAEU’s ServiceNow ITSM solution. “We have a very good relationship with the Quintica team,” says Mariam, “who even made proposals that helped our IT division in introducing new tools to address some existing IT challenges.”

ITSM allows UAEU to define and automate workflows, provides necessary granularity within broader processes, and improves visibility into individual tasks and requests. Sitting on top of ITSM is Service Catalog, providing a user-friendly portal that enables users to initiate requests and track their progress to completion. Survey Management tracks the user experience and provides important feedback while a suite of reporting tools also enables the IT department to deliver key information to the university’s senior management.

We used to handle patching and updates internally. Moving to ITSM and the cloud allows us to focus on the services themselves.

Mariam Al Khili

Head of IT Support

Reassurance through clarity

ITSM’s workflow automation has enabled a fundamental transformation in the IT division’s operations. Employees have a clear overview of a request’s status and ITSM allocates tasks automatically, freeing employees up to focus on essential work.

“Individual tasks within each request are saved and updated automatically,” explains Mariam. “Employees only need to concentrate on their part of the process; once their job is done, it’s automatically assigned to the next team. There is no need for people to go backwards and forwards trying to work out what needs to happen next.”

The improvements in clarity and visibility also extend to the service’s users. “They can just go to the portal and create an incident,” adds Aysha. “Key fields are populated automatically from their account information; all they need to do is select the service they are looking for from Service Catalog.”

Users are then automatically updated on their request as it progresses through the system. “With our old system, the only information users received was that a job was completed,” says Mariam. “With ITSM they can see instantly whether it’s pending approval, approved, in process, or at any other stage. The knowledge that someone is working on their request, and that it’s receiving the necessary attention, gives users a lot of reassurance.”

Improved focus on service

Completion of customer satisfaction surveys from January to February 2022 increased by 7.72% demonstrating higher levels of user engagement. Citing a user approval rating of 95.8% from nearly 2,300 survey respondents, Mariam adds that moving from UAEU’s previous on-premise solution to the cloud was also an important factor. “We used to handle all the patching and updates internally. Moving to ITSM and the cloud frees us from that and allows us to really focus on the services themselves.”

ServiceNow’s influence is spreading beyond the IT division and its users. UAEU is now considering implementing the same user experience it currently delivers with ITSM with its students, providing them with automation, real-time visibility, single sign-on (SSO), and a unified platform.

With Mariam able to access previously unavailable levels of detail, accuracy, and speed into her reporting process, she and UAEU’s senior leadership are now able to pinpoint problem areas and plan their resolution and longer-term strategies. “The reporting function lets you dig into the data as far as you need to,” Mariam says. “You can then use it to make better-informed decisions and improve the services even further.”

UAEU’s ServiceNow journey continues, with Mariam and the team now planning to move to ServiceNow IT Operations Management, along with trusted ServiceNow partner, Quintica: “Due to the team’s in-depth knowledge of both ITSM and ITOM modules and the existing infrastructure at UAEU, Quintica will be a most capable partner to ensure the success of this new implementation.”

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