The NCI implemented ITSM with ServiceNow to generate data out of every IT activity, from a service request for a new monitor to a system outage. ITSM gives the IT team a bird’s-eye view of those activities. If they notice multiple incident reports related to the Outlook email platform, for example, they can determine that it’s not a system problem, but instead a recent upgrade that’s tripping up users, and initiate the proper messaging and training.
The NCI team applies the data to drive down the number of incident reports and improve efficiency, Shilling says. ITSM draws a roadmap, showing IT experts the potholes and problems they might face on certain routes, so they can find the best way to reach their destination.
“It allows me to change my business, because we’re now measuring everything we’re doing,” he says.
That’s the key benefit of ITSM, says Greg Rankin, director of the service management office for the Department of Veterans Affairs. “It turns data into information, information into knowledge and knowledge into action.”
ITSM doesn’t do the IT work for an agency. It just provides measurements and analysis that help an agency deploy its IT experts most effectively.
“The fix for that problem still comes back to the human, the smart person,” says Kris Torgerson, CIO and director of the information technology services division for Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
IT Support Is Crucial for Complex Government Work
The NCI, part of the National Institutes of Health under the umbrella of the Department of Health and Human Services, has about 9,000 staff members who support science and research to treat and prevent cancer. It’s complex work that involves months and years of information gathering and analysis.
IT support is critical, Shilling said, as NCI’s work increasingly involves more machines, such as PET scanners and other imaging systems, that generate terabytes of data. If the IT staff isn’t familiar with a specific scientific system, ITSM enables them to plug in its serial number and find the equipment specs and support history, so the scientist doesn’t have to bring in an outside technician to get it running.
“As the CIO, I want every dime of money to go toward research,” Shilling says. “If scientists buy a new radiology machine, I don’t want them to have to hire a technician to get that radiology machine online. They can come to us.”
With ITSM, the NCI has set up a Digital Service Center, a digital architecture that addresses activities including administrative tasks such as employee promotions or the paperwork that scientists must complete for research grants.
“We really wanted to shift the NCI’s IT model from a technology model to a services model,” Shilling says.