Shortly afterward, ITaP began rolling out a customer-focused approach for delivering IT services to Purdue’s 62,000 students and staff, following a project-governance model and portfolio-management approach. Now BoilerCast is one of 130 services ITaP offers in its online service catalog, which also includes items such as payroll services, phones, and networking. If, say, the student services department needs a new access-control system for the gymnasium, Coryell says, it can purchase application-hosting services from ITaP. The fee would also include a certain amount of rack space, power, networking, and call support.
Roughly 25 percent of ITaP’s $58 million budget comes from charge-backs to internal customers; the rest is covered by the university. The group is required to break even over a rolling three-year span; if it collects too much money, it has to lower next year’s rates; too little, and it has to renegotiate with customers.
“That puts great pressure on us to keep service levels high and customers satisfied,” Coryell says. “We’re not allowed to run a deficit, so if customers leave us, we’ve got to charge everyone else more.”
The customer-centric focus flows in the opposite direction as well. When ITaP must decide which of the 30 to 60 projects in its portfolio deserve the most resources, it brings in a governance committee composed of 20 department heads. Each member ranks projects based on factors such as benefit, cost, duration, and risk; projects that receive the highest overall ranking are then paired head to head until the group reaches a consensus about which ones to pursue first.
ITaP’s shift in focus began three and a half years ago when it embraced formal project management. Nearly half of ITaP’s 450 full-time employees have gone through ITIL training, while nine employees have completed their Project Manager Professional certifications, an 18-month process.
The training has paid off handsomely. Last year ITaP rolled out a course-management system across Purdue’s four campuses; its ITIL-based service desk was able to cut second-level support calls by 50 percent. The group has just finished rolling out BMC’s Remedy Service Desk for unified ticketing and incident handling. Coryell says these changes will allow ITaP to implement a $73 million ERP project without adding more full-time personnel or degrading service levels.
“Being more customer focused challenges our staff to not only be technically savvy, but also in touch with the business community,” he says. “By asking probing and open-ended questions, we can make sure we’re building them the right systems and better aligning ourselves with their business.”
Flying high on ITIL:
Oakland County finds a lifeline in ITIL and CA Clarity
It’s not every day you’re asked to save three astronauts in a crippled spacecraft thousands of miles above the Earth. But that was the job facing Phil Bertolini and his Mission Control team as they grappled with explosions, rising carbon-dioxide levels, and dozens of other tough problems coming at them from every direction.
Of course, this was not NASA’s Mission Control, and they weren’t rescuing the real Apollo 13. It was a one-day ITIL training exercise conducted last March at CA’s Long Island, New York, headquarters. Bertolini, CIO for Oakland County in Michigan, was there with members of his management team to learn firsthand just how bad things can get when your service-management process is lost in space.