At the three-quarter mark of RMIT’s Device Deployment Project, the benefits already accruing are significant and continuing. The successful partnership between RMIT University’s Information Technology Services (ITS) and delivery partner CompNow is seeing the strategic transformation of RMIT’s services. As upwards of 20,000 Apple and HP devices are deployed to staff across RMIT’s three Melbourne campuses, the project is on track to reach its highly ambitious goals in mid-2019.
RMIT is a global university of technology and design. Founded in 1887, it is now the nation’s largest tertiary institution, with 82,000 students.
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The Device Deployment Project arose as RMIT’s existing services contract came up for renewal. It was an opportunity to achieve substantial improvements and cost cutting in ITS’ delivery of the end to end services that underpin the University’s reputation.
Its task was to better manage the supply of some 20,000 Apple and HP devices to RMIT staff as well as all teaching areas, Labs and libraries across RMIT’s three Melbourne campuses. Annually this equates to approximately 3,500 new staff machines plus 1,500 equipment refreshes during December/January while students are not on campus.
There was deep user frustration about the time taken between ordering and delivery via RMIT’s GetIT online store. It could take several weeks, including the lag created by financial approvals (over which ITS has no control). And in the case of special requests and build to order, there were even longer delays. The new academic year also created delivery backlogs.
After financial approval, it had been taking approximately 19 days to deploy requested equipment. CompNow took on the challenge of a 5 day SLA to get machines from order onto users’ desks. This entails procurement, lease management and coordinating with staff for the personalised roll out of each new device – plus associated monitor, docking station, data transfer and training on new systems. CompNow has already halved the turnaround to about 10 days.
The ‘simplification’ mantra has seen the development of a fit for purpose product catalogue. For devices ordered from this standard list, CompNow is warehousing appropriate levels of buffer stock. Its backend systems book in the deployment as the order is placed. And items are automatically re-stocked once they drop to nominated levels.
As part of the seamless service, there are now 8 full-time CompNow staff onsite, working in co-branded shirts as trusted extensions of RMIT’s team.
From an RMIT supplied list of Labs requiring a technology refresh, CompNow took ownership of this additional complex element of the project – which had a tight completion time. Following a detailed onsite equipment audit, the team consulted with RMIT to finalise replacement models and pricing. They worked with the schools and colleges to schedule room availabilities, and with RMIT facilities people for the before and after cleaning. “On paper it all looked set. But the team had to contend with finding that some rooms had not had their remodelling completed and other timing clashes. We really put the pressure on. They went above and beyond to ensure it all happened smoothly and on time for the start of the new semester,” Tim says.
With savings calculated at $300,000 and the proving of RMIT and CompNow’s capabilities over the past 15 months, this is a highly productive relationship for the long term.
At the three-quarter point in the project, the customer satisfaction rating has lifted from a mid 60% mark to well over 80% for the majority of the year. For catalogued items, and pending customer availability, service is being met 93.5% percent of the time.
“CompNow can largely take the credit for the Net Promoter Score (NPS) turn around,” Tim says. “We are expecting a quantum leap in the next 12 months from the really great foundation work we’ve done so far in partnership with CompNow.”
With the new processes in place, RMIT ITS is positioned to further refine and optimise the service delivery model. It has the ambitious aim to further reduce the deployment process to 48 hours – or instantaneous pick up. Plans are in place to improve take up from the standardised catalogue by 50 percent. This is to be enabled by development of ‘user personas’ which categorises internal customers by role or job requirements. Each will have access to a particular range of machines which will enable accurate buffering of CompNow-held stock levels.
Feedback from RMIT’s users is glowing. Staff are very impressed with the new levels of issue free, efficient service. The deployment team are “quick, polite & expert”.
The next step in RMIT / CompNow’s creative service planning is for users to have the ability to access an internal store and book an appointment, similar to a Genius Bar experience.
The determination is to get to a point where CompNow can deliver a requested device, in a box, and have the user enter their credentials to start the machine’s self-build. This will result in even greater speed and user convenience, as well as reduced onsite requirements and associated expense.
“It’s easy to lose sight of what’s happening with this project because it has been without the negatives that so often put IT developments front of mind. It’s working so well, we are proudly delivering on our strategy: even simpler systems and lower costs,” Tim says.