Arts Council England

The Arts Council England has been using TOPdesk since January 2012 to support around 500 staff members internally. Sixteen people in the IT department use TOPdesk every day and lately other teams at the Arts Council have started benefitting from its functionalities.

About Arts Council England

Uses TOPdesk for

IT

Callers

500

Favourite feature

Reporting

Challenge

Tight budget

In 2009, the Arts Council implemented a new ITSM solution. But their tool was not satisfactory, and was causing the IT department many problems: the tool was prone to crashing, it was unstable, and it didn’t work well with the latest version of Windows. The tool’s basic functionality was not satisfactory either: operators felt it was too slow, complicated and they could only use one screen at a time. It was also difficult to develop and configure. Consequently, the Arts Council spent a lot of time asking the support team how to perform fairly simple tasks or adjustments.

Your money’s worth

Like many other organisations in the public sector, the Arts Council has to consider costs and manage a limited budget. The problem with the tool at the time was its licensing structure – the Arts Council was on a ‘per user’ licence model which was often at its limit. As a result, many users would get logged out in the middle of a task. “Sometimes we have to do a lot more with a lot less money because our budget is tight. We do feel pressure in terms of managing finances,” says Uyi Uhunmwagho, Service Desk Manager at the Arts Council. The frustration grew and the entire IT department agreed that they needed to find a different solution: one with advanced functionalities that was simple to use and offered a more cost-effective licensing model. As a public sector organisation, the Arts Council needed to go through a tender process in order to make a decision.

The answer is simplicity

Before the tender process started, the Arts Council researched different options. A few members of the IT team went to the IT Service Management Show (SITS) in London to review other tools. It was here that TOPdesk first caught their eye. “I think TOPdesk’s capabilities and features fit our department and our organisation better than other tools,” says Uyi. “Two of the biggest advantages were its licensing model and user-friendliness.”

The council was also impressed with TOPdesk’s reliability. “The system is very stable and it is very simple to use,” says Uyi. “You can see where it’s saving you money even though it’s not necessarily on the balance sheet. After all, time is money.”

Arts Council England

Flexible licences

TOPdesk licences are chosen according to the size of the organisation; institutes are free to have as many operators as they need and set up as many teams, groups and filters as they like. “That really has been very helpful,” says Uyi. “It was one of the huge reasons we chose TOPdesk over other vendors, who are locked into the traditional ‘one operator one licence’ model which is quite costly.” The benefit of this licence model is that many groups can use TOPdesk: it can start in the IT department and then grow and be adopted by other teams.

This licensing model also made it easier for the Arts Council to manage their budget and number of operators. “It is very useful as far as forecasting is concerned from a budget point of view,” says Uyi. “We always know what TOPdesk will cost. If the staff numbers will build up again we do not have to worry about extra licences for extra operators, so it is easy and comfortable to plan projects. Even when everyone is in the office, we have no problem logging in and using the solution.”

Making life easier

The everyday work in the IT department became more streamlined and stress-free, as the software is easy to use and allows operators to perform several tasks at once. “It is a big difference compared to anything I used before,” explains Uyi. “You can quickly set up different projects and there is no code you need to learn or manipulate so it is very user-friendly.”

Reporting is one of the TOPdesk functionalities that the Arts Council finds very helpful. It is built into the system and is very straightforward. “It is powerful but simple,” says Uyi. “We don’t need to do anything complicated, we can create good reports with just a few clicks. It gives us a better view of incidents and inquiries we receive.”

Whenever I’ve got a problem, someone from TOPdesk will sort it out for us in no time.

Unique TOPdesk experience

Overall, the Arts Council’s experience with TOPdesk has been positive. “Our relationship with TOPdesk is very good,” says Uyi. “It is not only about money and there is a lot of care and attention. I know that whenever I’ve got a problem or an issue I can reach out and someone will sort it out for us in no time. With TOPdesk, there is always someone who will check in and call us from time to time to see how we are getting on. They don’t just leave us completely alone; I can come and visit, especially now that TOPdesk opened another office in Manchester. Everyone is very approachable.”

The implementation of TOPdesk also went smoothly and, as Uyi describes, TOPdesk consultants were very helpful and friendly. “Any questions or issues we had were addressed immediately. We like the consultancy service because it comes with a structure and plan. But if we have some other ideas or want to do things differently, the consultants will listen to us. They don’t just come and go. It is a good, two-way relationship.”

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