MIT IS&T Begins Use of ServiceNow IT Management

January 12, 2016

By Casey Houser - Contributing Writer

The Information Systems and Technology (IS&T) department of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology assists all staff and students with their information technology needs – everything from network connections to telephony.

The group recently announced that it has begun using the ServiceNow (News - Alert) software, a cloud-based platform for handling the management and delivery of those services. It will help IS&T create a single record of all its services, automate tasks among those records, and help the entire organization keep its future-facing and legacy systems working well together. This enterprise cloud intends to help IS&T provide more consistency to its help desk operations and allow the entire organization to serve as a central point of contact for all IT-related issues on campus.

At present, IS&T has already made headway with its production systems. The next task it will face is to transfer its ticket taking procedures from the Request Tracker software to the new ServiceNow unit. It is this task that will perform a number of primary and secondary functions for all associates within the department.

The most obvious benefit to transferring ticket taking is that the IS&T Service Desk will have better control over its customer support. The new system should do a better job at handling queues, multiple requests from single users, and tracking of past requests to develop timelines of closely-linked issues. All staff should also see the secondary benefit of the entire help desk transfer as a way of preparing IS&T for additional changes that will come their way. This initial phase of the project will act as a sort of test run for all changes to come.

The first phase of this transfer will include the movement of a small set of high-volume queues, and customers may receive emails during this transition that let them know their tickets will be handled on a different system. Future changes that ServiceNow will address will begin with the migration of all Request Tracker tickets. This will take approximately six to nine months. From there, IS&T officials will face the obstacle of moving the organization’s Knowledge Base (News - Alert), where users can search for articles about how to handle everything from Dropbox to two-factor authentication. That move will require the transfer of all information to the ServiceNow Knowledge Management tool.

In the end, customers should find their help tickets within a more streamlined system and their searches in Knowledge Base as more effective. The process will take time, however, as the first phase of the project will not be complete for several months. IS&T is moving in a direction that many other companies have chosen – toward the cloud – and it should find ease of use and flexibility in that choice. Even better, it should find that its clients see those benefits as well.

Edited by Maurice Nagle