UTSC’s IT department gets a reboot

By Elaine Smith

Information and Instructional Technology Services (IITS), the department that manages information technology (IT) for U of T Scarborough (UTSC), is undergoing a service management transformation that will result in streamlined and standardized operational processes and procedures and provide better customer service to its clients across the UTSC campus.

IITS has adopted the ITIL -- Information Technology Infrastructure Library – framework, a suite of best practices for managing the delivery of IT services in a way that aligns them with the needs of the organization and provides better outcomes for customers. Its goal is continual service improvement, which is achieved through resource optimization and an ongoing review of processes and procedures. All IITS employees have been trained in ITIL so “we speak the same language,” says Elias Karamitsos, the IITS Service Delivery Lead. “It comes with a culture and new processes. When you introduce them, there’s a culture change required.”

IITS decided to begin its service management overhaul with a revamp of its change management procedures: how IT personnel implement changes to IT services. Rather than allow ad hoc changes to meet the needs of specific clients, IT personnel conduct a risk assessment of each proposed change and ensure that it’s documented, approved and communicated to stakeholders.

Planning for this new approach began in 2018, starting with designing a change process for IT services, and was followed up with the development and implementation of a Service Management platform starting in January 2019.

“We wanted a pragmatic approach to change management, rather than something that was too formal and rigid and not suited to our environment,” Karamitsos says. “We designed a process and had it vetted by our colleagues and approved by management before launching it on April 1.”

IITS explored several ITSM technology platforms, ultimately selecting Cherwell Service Management.

“We chose it primarily for its cost effectiveness and ease of development,” Karamitsos says. “It’s codeless; all development is done in a visual environment; it’s a real strength.”

Cherwell’s licensing model also allows IITS access to all of its modules and extend its use to other UTSC departments.

Implementing the change management is only Step One in the department’s service management reboot. By the end of 2019, IITS plans to implement new modules for incident management and service request and to integrate Cherwell with operational tools such as Microsoft Teams. Other UTSC business units, such as Facilities Management, Campus Safety and Security and Financial Services, will have access to Cherwell Service Management once the IITS implementation is complete.