Knox County School District IT Department Reduces Time to Resolution from Weeks to Days
CLIENT: Bob Green, Computer Repair Supervisor; Gail Byard, Chief Technology Officer; Billy Ellis, Assistant Computer Repair Supervisor
GEOGRAPHY: Knoxville, TN
CHALLENGES: The district’s high volume and variety of assets made staying on top of tickets a tall order, and they needed a way to manage devices at schools that offer one-to-one technology use.
FAST STATS: Time to resolution down from two weeks to one or two days; 24 new field technicians hired
When Knox County School District began their search for software to manage their IT operations in 2008, they had one main issue: ticketing. Their technology team was frequently bombarded with phone calls, sticky notes and hallway flag-downs as a means of addressing work orders. They knew they needed a way to organize their workflows and get control of their operations, and printed tickets wasn’t it. They selected Dude Solutions to address their challenges.
Fast forward to 2017. With the district having found success for nearly a decade using Dude Solutions’ software to manage their IT operations, they made a choice to upgrade from their legacy platform to Dude’s modern, improved ticketing system Help Desk™, a streamlined product in the Technology Management suite that ties tickets to assets. From old to new, they still got the same great results they had come to expect.
“We couldn’t live without it now if I look back,” says Bob Green, Computer Repair Supervisor for the district, noting that their time to resolution has improved dramatically. “Minimum of two weeks,” Bob says about the old days. “Now it’s no more than a day or two. With our staff and getting more information in our tickets...it’s significantly better. Probably 80 percent better.” “We couldn’t live without your ticketing system. That’s our life’s blood.”
The software has also allowed them to do more than just streamline their work — it’s helped them communicate better due to improved reporting capabilities. This level of reporting allows them to collect data on the reality of their operations, which has helped them build cases around their department’s needs. Though their upper management had known there was a need for more tech support prior to using the software, it wasn’t until the district was able to prove it with data that the needle began to move.
“We were able to provide to our management the volume of tech support requests we had — metrics and numbers of incidents. Whereas before, as Bob said, we were just sticky notes and phone calls,” says Gail Byard, Chief Technology Officer. Looking at those metrics, they had enough proof of need to justify expanding their team from four field technicians to 28.
Since their implementation of the ticketing platform, Knox County not only had increased its student population, but was also currently experiencing a technology shift that schools nationwide are currently facing. In addition to efficient ticketing, they now also needed a way to streamline one-to-one device management at many of their schools.
Because the district’s schools are responsible for their own funding, they knew whatever system they chose had to be particularly efficient and reliable in managing a high volume and variety of devices. They ultimately decided to expand their usage of Dude Solutions’ technology suite from ticketing only to asset tracking and management in early 2018 with Insight™ — a product that allows for agentless, automated discovery and eliminates manual entry or need for individual agents on devices. With both tools working for them, they now have enough insight and control of their operations to work more efficiently.
“When we first started deploying one-to-one devices, we had an internal, sort of homegrown system for tracking, and it was disconnected from our other databases. One thing we’re excited about with Insight is that we’re able to integrate it with our student data and keep better records in general,” says Gail. “We have the schools ask us questions from time to time, especially these one-to-one schools, and we’re in a position now where we can, in just a couple minutes, get them the information they need,” Bob adds.
As for the future, the team’s goals are to further increase efficiency around managing assets and tickets to continue narrowing the gap on downtime, and they know The Dude is in their corner to make it happen. “Your tech support is second to none,” Bob says. “You guys are very responsive. Any time there was an issue I could either call or chat, and it was resolved within the hour. And rarely do we have a problem, but when we did, you guys were on top of things.”
“Your tech support staff, I think they know my voice at this point,” jokes Assistant Computer Repair Supervisor Billy Ellis. “In the morning one time we had some type of emergency going on, and when the support technician answered the phone, I told her what my name was and said I was with Knox County Schools, and she said, ‘Oh, yeah. I know who you are,’” he laughs.
The team also said they benefit from Dude University, Dude Solutions’ annual conference designed to bring clients and Dude experts together for enhanced learning. “What I like about it is we get to put faces with names and ask questions,” Bob says. “I like talking with the other clients, seeing how they do things and sharing ideas. It’s been beneficial for us for sure.”
When asked what his favorite part of the conference is, Bob jokes, “The huge breakfast.” He goes on to add, “No, actually, the learning labs, you can go do hands-on learning. That’s the meat and potatoes for us. We were able to go and show what issues we were having, and normally it gets addressed right then and there, or they’ll take notes and get right back with us.”
Talking about Dude University’s opportunities for relationship building and one-on-one help, Billy adds, “We could bounce ideas and talk to these people who knew way more about [the software] than we did...We know who you are, you know who we are, and we can talk about whatever issues we’re having and whatever’s new with people who know exactly what we’re talking about.”