Food manufacturer achieves annual cost savings of ¬£25,000 with flexible new service desk to support and manage its fast moving IT-enabled business environment
is one of the world’s pre-eminent global branded snacks business with a reputation for meeting consumer needs for well over 100 years. Its portfolio of brands includes McVitie’s, Jacob’s, Carr’s, Jaffa Cakes, Mini Cheddars, go ahead!, Verkade, Sultana, BN and Delacre.
As a company, United Biscuits is always looking to the future, building on the heritage of its past, to grow, create and evolve to best serve the needs of customers and shareholders and to interact constructively with the communities in which it operates and actively engage with its employees.
In recent months, the company has focused on upgrading its service desk operation. It has invested in new IT service management (ITSM) and self-service technology from Sunrise Software
to support its fast-moving business environment. After reviewing several vendors in the marketplace, United Biscuits selected Sunrise primarily for its high degree of flexibility and cost-effectiveness.
Gary Devaney, IT service manager at United Biscuits, said: “The time had come to create a more dynamic service desk environment that could deliver faster, more efficient IT services to help staff tackle the challenges of our expanding international business activities head on. Sunrise was streets ahead of the competition. It met all our requirements for simplicity and flexibility all within a cost-effective package.”
In August 2011, United Biscuits purchased Sunrise Software’s Sostenuto ITSM and Iguana self-service software products. They went live with both systems just four months later, supporting 4,000 users at more than 15 locations in the UK and Northern Europe.
Flexibility delivers agile management
United Biscuits has configured Sostenuto ITSM to meet its specific requirements. Using Sostenuto ITSM, the company’s IT department can create new fields, develop the right security framework, handle all their own trouble-shooting and then report back on service desk performance without accruing additional costs from external consultancy or add-ons.
Devaney continued: “With Sunrise, we have effectively created a new concept of service desk; the service desk that manages itself. Because Sostenuto ITSM is simple and flexible to use, we can now do everything very quickly, demonstrably boosting IT efficiency and significantly accelerating user response times.”
Today, United Biscuits’ 40-plus IT team is also using Sostenuto ITSM to develop robust and consistent processes for incident, change and problem management across the organisation. The IT Infrastructure Library (ITIL) verified functionality of Sostenuto ITSM’s technology and new ways of working based on industry best-practice principles have combined to produce an efficient and centralised IT service desk.
Based at the organisation’s headquarters in Liverpool, the new Sunrise service desk delivers round-the-clock support to employees everywhere without the need for additional headcount. In addition, United Biscuits’ third-party support partners based in India can access the service desk via the newly introduced Iguana Self-Service portal, powered by Sostenuto, to manage incidents around the world.
Fostering greater employee engagement
Sostenuto ITSM now captures 100% of United Biscuits’ IT incidents, ensuring all receive prompt attention. Staff are also encouraged to log their own issues via the Iguana web-based self service portal. In addition to saving time and reducing the number of calls coming into the service desk, the introduction of self-service has given users complete visibility of how their incidents are being handled and the ability to track progress from beginning to end.
Devaney added: “The ability of Sostenuto ITSM to manage communications and automatically inform and update users in an instant has been a real benefit to us. Combine it with self-service and you have an incredibly powerful tool that actively engages staff and demonstrably improves customer satisfaction.”
United Biscuits has also improved its change management processes. Requested IT changes are now sent automatically by email to managers with sign-off authority, who can accept or reject them at the click of a mouse. The speed and simplicity of the process means that far greater numbers of changes are approved and subsequently administered than before.
The next step is to introduce a configuration management database (CMDB) that will store information relating to all IT assets across the organisation’s infrastructure.
Simplicity equals huge time and cost savings
In the short time since deploying Sostenuto ITSM, United Biscuits has reaped considerable benefits. The new system has delivered significant time savings through customisation and self-service. But the single, consolidated platform, running in a totally virtualised environment, eliminates the need for new or additional hardware. Factoring in a cost-effective software licensing model and the initial investment in Sunrise technology, United Biscuits is expected to yield impressive savings of around £25,000 a year, every year.
Devaney concluded: “Sunrise has totally transformed our service desk environment. We have the right information at our fingertips to deliver an efficient, transparent service to our users today with the flexibility to do more with less, continually innovate and successfully support our business in the future.”
United Biscuits is currently working with Sunrise Software to develop an interface between Sostenuto ITSM and United Biscuits’ own Snow Inventory asset management tool. The integration between the two systems, and other auto discovery tools, will enable all IT-related data to be gathered, stored and then updated automatically in one place, part of the company’s plans to develop a fully populated CMDB. At a glance, United Biscuits will be perfectly placed to manage its entire asset lifecycle from purchase, installation, maintenance and ultimate disposal in a proactive way.