Ivanti Neurons for ITSM
Modernize service delivery for IT and beyond.
The City of Brampton, located in Ontario, Canada, near Toronto, is the nation’s ninth-largest city, with a population of more than 656,000. It is the fastest growing of Canada’s largest 25 cities and is a diverse community with 250 cultures speaking 171 languages.
As a municipal government, the City of Brampton’s responsibilities encompasses everything from fire services, community and economic development, parks and recreation to public transit, snow removal, tax collection, local roads, and more. It employs 6,000 full-time and part-time employees and reported 2021 revenues of $957 million from sources including property taxes, user fees, fines, government grants, development levies, contributions, etc.
Since 2018, Jennifer Ellis has served as IT Program Manager at City of Brampton. She spent over 13 years at the provincial level as Manager, Business Continuity and Service Management for the Ontario Public Services Executives. Throughout her 30-year career, she has worked with several IT Service Management solutions, including in-house built software, BMC Remedy, ServiceNow, HEAT, and now Ivanti.
In 2019, Ellis and the City’s talented ITSM team of 12 were tasked to essentially “reinvent the wheel,” reintroduce ITIL, and modernize service management — all during the middle of COVID-19. In fact, it was during COVID-19 that the team carried out a desktop-to-laptop transformation effort that was initially scoped to span up to five years.
Since desk-side visits could not occur, the team opened multiple walk-in “Apple store-like” service centers housed within various city facilities at strategic points. Brampton is expansive from a population and municipal-staff perspective — but not geographically. City employees could take their laptops in for IT help as needed. This shift away from deskside IT visits continues today. Employees can book appointments with uniformed, easily identifiable IT staff in the service centers, and staff can answer phones remotely.
In addition, the team reviewed, updated, and published modernized versions of all ITIL processes that the City is currently using. Change Management, for instance, was revitalized to ensure changes were practical and easy to use and that the Change Advisory board was a streamlined meeting with a Forward Schedule of Change and Change Calendar. These two additions help teams be more effective and allow for changes to be categorized in a way that meets the needs of the IT business. Change Advisory Board meetings were reduced from two hours to an average of 20 to 30 minutes. Finally, Emergency CAB or ECAB meetings were implemented for Senior Management to approve high-risk emergency changes.
Other areas of improvement in ITIL processes included Problem and Incident Management. The implementation of a Major Incident Management process for Priority 1 and 2 incidents. And a centralized communications process for all IT Communications.
To provide some background, Ivanti was formed in January 2017 when LANDESK and HEAT Software merged. In May 2021, the City of Brampton transitioned from the on-premises HEAT solution to Ivanti® Neurons for ITSM.
Of massive help in this process was Ivanti partner Kifinti Solutions, Inc., a Toronto-based, full-service solutions provider with a focus on IT service management, infrastructure, asset/configuration, and security management.
Once the City of Brampton transitioned from HEAT software on-premises to Ivanti in the cloud, a new realm of service management flexibility opened thanks to Ivanti’s workflow-building capability. “We can do them ourselves,” Ellis said. “No waiting in a queue for someone else to make changes. We’re now able to do what we want when we want.”
The team has built over a hundred workflows for IT and across the organization to deliver consistent yet personalized omnichannel support: events, strategic communications, physical security, facilities, internal design, and HR, with more to come in the next few months.
As Ellis explained, what had been a HEAT IT ticketing system suddenly became an enterprise workflow management tool for everyone. The team developed an attractive and inviting self-service front end, integrated the Microsoft Stream corporate video-sharing service, and created videos to help many people work remotely. One video example is connecting a computer at home and setting up a docking station. All the videos have the same look and feel, and the team now receives requests from departments for videos — opening up a whole new line of business and support for the team.
Support for virtual meetings has also strengthened ITSM team collaboration. The City’s Council and Committee meetings must be supported on Webex, Zoom, and other technologies that posed challenges throughout COVID. Workflows had to be developed to support those meetings, and the team created them successfully.
Although Ellis had worked with BMC Remedy for years at another organization, and while ServiceNow offers a lot of flexibility within its system, the Ivanti solution stands out. It provides a module for all the City’s service management workflows and shows how to keep it current and how to design it.
“This is huge for our team members,” Ellis said. “Six or seven of them are building workflows, testing, and staging them all the time. And we don’t have to wait for our vendor. With monthly features, time to market is far shorter, and it’s a wonderful feature.”
In 2018 when Ellis first arrived at the City of Brampton, all 11 team members were on the phone throughout the day, taking calls, creating tickets, and forwarding them. More than four years later, only four take calls, thanks to Ivanti’s IT self-service capabilities. The other seven — 57% of the team — handle deep-dive, higher level, higher capacity work that staff says is more fulfilling.
“For example, looking at yesterday alone,” Ellis said, “we received 87 service requests from our users. Of those requests, 12 were phone calls to the desk. That’s 75 calls team members didn’t take, which gives them time to troubleshoot, help employees working from home, and focus on larger problems and resolve them. And this has a ripple effect. The more tickets the service desk can resolve at the first point of contact, the less load there is on the back-end folks trying to design and move systems forward.”
Team members have created an incredibly detailed Knowledge Base to supplement the City’s self-service momentum. The team supports over 500 systems and has developed nearly 600 knowledge articles.
Ellis shared a snapshot of the City of Brampton’s Ivanti product portfolio, highlighting what tools and capabilities are currently in use, what is owned but not yet deployed, and what to consider in the future.
“We can now offer a whole range of enterprise service offerings that we couldn’t have done without Ivanti,” she said. “It’s been great how Ivanti cooperates and collaborates with its customers. And when we’ve wanted to bring solutions from other vendors and integrate them, Ivanti has supported us.”
Ellis concludes, “And, of course, we couldn’t have done as much as we have without Kifinti Solutions. They’ve been a huge partner for us, and they have the support of Ivanti behind them. Anytime Kifinti can’t get an answer for us, Ivanti can. We haven’t had any issues whatsoever from a support perspective.”
Note: A customer’s results are specific to its total environment/experience, of which Ivanti is a part. Individual results may vary based on each customer’s unique environment.