In 2009, NYU sponsored the Quality Service Task Force to understand how faculty, staff, and students experience the NYU academic and administrative processes. The leadership at NYU is committed to examining how NYU's many services are delivered, how the interactions with service support staff are perceived (especially by students), and where they can be improved and satisfaction enhanced.
From the task force's findings, a new vision for service centers to support community members across NYU's functional areas was developed. This happened to coincide with the need to update the IT Service Desk's "ticketing" system, used for receiving and tracking service requests from community members. As a result, the ServiceLink initiative was created to address both of those needs.
The ServiceLink initiative identified several goals necessary to streamline and coordinate the way support is provided by administrative offices and service centers across the University:
- Use efficient, cross-service processes, tools, metrics, and terminology (e.g., a common "agent" system for processing requests, a centralized knowledgebase, improved routing information for easy handoffs). The mantra is: "As common as possible, as different as necessary."
- Develop a toolkit for easy start-up of new service centers.
- Enable continuous service center improvement through the use of metrics and data.
- Create a way for the NYU community to request services across the Global Network University (GNU), using each person's primary location and role information to provide relevant answers to questions and accurate routing of requests. In addition, provide flexible filters that enable community members to access information relevant to other NYU locations and roles as needed.
- Document all service centers and the services they provide through an NYU-wide service catalog.
In order to accomplish these goals, NYU is in the process of implementing ServiceLink, a new, customized, cloud-based service based on ServiceNow that provides a uniform process for handling service requests across the GNU. A few features that the service offers:
- A soon-to-be-launched self-service website that will allow the NYU community to seek answers that are appropriate for them, filtered by their location (e.g., Washington Square, Abu Dhabi, Shanghai) and role (e.g., faculty, staff, student, or alumnus). The site will also allow clients to easily track the status of their requests.
- A service center “agent” website for intake and processing of client requests.
- Standard processes for handing off issues and problems across service centers and units, reducing the need for community members to “call around” to get information.
- Advanced metrics that will enable University units to understand how well they are providing service and where they can focus on improvement.
Where things stand
As of the time of this writing, agents at the IT service desks for Stern School of Business, NYU Abu Dhabi IT, and Information Technology Services (ITS), and Human Resources & Payroll (“PeopleLink”) advisors in Abu Dhabi are all using ServiceLink to process, route, track, and complete the hundreds of requests they receive every day. The Decision Support Group (DSG), founded as part of the ServiceLink initiative as the support center for all UDW+/OBIEE financial reporting questions, is also up and running.
In the coming months, Human Resources & Payroll (“PeopleLink”) in New York, Finance, Student Services (“StudentLink”), Student Housing, Purchasing & Accounts Payable, and Shanghai IT are all planning to begin using ServiceLink to process and resolve support requests. In addition, a new self-service ServiceLink website will soon give the NYU community new ways to find information and request services and support. They will find information by searching and browsing a University Services catalog and a knowledgebase with instructions and troubleshooting tips, and request services through dynamic forms tailored to specific NYU services.
ServiceLink will continue to evolve as new service centers come on board and in response to the results of a soon-to-be-implemented metrics dashboard. But, much as ServiceLink was developed in response to feedback from students, faculty, and staff. The most important source of information for improving the service will be the NYU community's feedback. To this end, the new self-service website will also include forms allowing clients to give direct feedback regarding their service experience. Please stay tuned within the next few months for news about the self-service website; we look forward to hearing your thoughts and suggestions!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kitty Bridges is Associate Vice President for Strategic Communication & Partnerships in ITS.