"We estimate a 75% reduction in time-to-deploy when compared with our initial HEAT Software implementation, and the reduction of a combined FTE position with system support in the hosted environment and ease of reporting.
- Suzanne DeBlanc, Vice President Customer Service, San Jacinto Community College
Based in Pasadena, Texas, San Jacinto Community College supports 30,000 credit students and 2,500 faculty and staff. The IT department has 115 employees that support three campuses, a District office and several extension centers. SJC
is opening a new Maritime learning environment as well as expanded offerings at every campus.
Business Results Achieved
When compared with HEAT Software™ (formally FrontRange Solutions HEAT), the HIPAA compliant ITIL Giva Service Management Suite™ resulted in a:
75% reduction in time to deploy Giva's incident and problem management modules
Saved 1 FTE position due to significantly less ongoing administration/maintenance and easier to use reporting
Significant reduction in the Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
No coding required for integrating Active Directory using the Giva LDAP Synchronization Tool
Continuous product improvements with a new Giva release every 3 weeks using the Agile software development process
Outstanding reports that are easy to build and save, download to PDF or CSV, email or schedule to run automatically
Leveraging the cloud to host our environment, along with Giva's technical support, will allow us to repurpose our resources and funding for other strategic purposes.
The Giva LDAP Synchronization Tool is very unique and extremely helpful since no coding is required.
It is nice to know that Giva has the added security of HIPAA compliance in the cloud and that they have a strong focus on hospitals and healthcare so we get the benefit of that additional security at no extra cost.
- Suzanne DeBlanc, Vice President Customer Service, San Jacinto Community College
Interview with Giva
Suzanne DeBlanc, Director Enterprise Services, San Jacinto Community College
Giva: Why did San Jacinto Community College replace HEAT Software (formally FrontRange Solutions HEAT) with the HIPAA compliant ITIL Giva Service Management Suite?
Suzanne DeBlanc: It is crucial that we have the ability to service all of the IT needs of the college using a tool that will help us achieve our goals. We have been using FrontRange's HEAT Software product for several years and needed to upgrade our system. We took this opportunity to review other vendors who could provide us with a cloud based help desk ticketing system that leverages the ITIL/ITSM Service Desk framework. Naturally, we discovered there is a plethora of IT Service Desk solutions available. Our needs were typical for a public higher education environment. Protection of our data in accordance with FERPA was high on the list of priorities, along with great customer service and ease of use. We are working on leveraging the ITIL / ITSM framework for IT support standards and needed to capture information that would meet our Service Level Agreements (SLAs) so we would provide timely resolution for our students and colleagues.
During our review and selection phase, we discovered many help desk ticketing systems that met several of our goals. We began to hone in on those tools that were cost-effective for the college, very secure, scalable and modular, easy to deploy, provided efficient and friendly customer service and easy vendor collaboration.
We also reviewed the Gartner Magic Quadrant™. We were surprised that the Giva Service Management Suite was not listed on this document given that the product is more feature rich and flexible than some included in the list. Giva's HIPAA compliance also intrigued us as there are so many data breaches we read about every day. As an educational institution, we have to be in compliance with Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) regulations governing the handling of student information and privacy. It is nice to know that Giva has the added security of HIPAA compliance in the cloud and that they have a strong focus on hospitals and healthcare so we get the benefit of that additional security at no extra cost.
One of the things we really like about Giva's help desk software is that it is very modular and we can start with one module and roll out others as we have the time. With some other products, modules cannot be deployed incrementally and, as a result, require much more time, effort and money to get started. We are deploying the incident and problem management modules in the first phase of our implementation. We are already exploring the ITIL change management software and the CMDB modules so we can properly capture and approve change requests in a better manner than sending spreadsheets around to the team.
Giva's help desk ticketing system is very flexible and there are a lot of options to achieve different workflows and notifications. Giva was very willing to listen to our short and long term objectives and what we were trying to achieve. Giva is open to working with us in a collaborative manner to make sure all of our requirements are met eventually in future releases.
We love the look and feel of Giva. Our evaluation team was comprised of several IT teams including Tier 1 help desk support, Tier 1 campus support, Tier 2 desktop support and IT management. Quite frankly, the opinion of the Tier 1/Tier 2 teams carried the most weight in our decision because these folks would be utilizing this application more regularly than any other team in IT.
As a service organization, we are keenly interested in measuring our Service Level Agreement (SLA) response to all of our requests. We have configured and customized Giva with our detailed SLA model and escalation matrix to inform our support teams if SLAs are not met in a timely manner.
The reason Giva can offer customers to be part of future product feature planning is because we use a process called Agile software development and we are very unique in that area. Giva pushes out a new release every three weeks. We code for two weeks, QA for a week and then go live with the release. Why is Giva's Agile software development process important to you?
Our development team is becoming more agile with project requests and we are so pleased that Giva follows that same model. Agile development methodology is an iterative process that allows you to offer continuous improvement to the product and release smaller updates to meet the needs of the college. Any single release is not going to shake the world, but it's going to enhance what you already have. As Giva continues to release enhancements every 3 weeks, it really starts to add up and is a big benefit for us. This means that we can have enhancements delivered to our users more quickly.
The other vendors we vetted were not developing their product improvements as quickly. I am very impressed with how Giva uses the Agile software development process. Also, with FrontRange HEAT Software, new releases could take a long time to implement and needed a lot of testing. Sometimes our production environment would suffer configuration issues as backward compatibility of new HEAT Software releases with the old versions was not always successfully delivered.
Would you say that is it was easy to get up and running on Giva in terms of configuration, customization and integrations? How much time and effort did it require?
There are many configuration and customization options in Giva and it's built on a solid ITIL framework, which is helpful as we implement ITIL within IT at the college. The very nice thing about Giva is that since we are budget constrained for professional services, our team at San Jacinto Community College can do all the work. We generally do not need Giva assistance, but it is nice to know that Giva is there to help us, if necessary. The documentation is excellent and augments the intuitive interface that Giva provides.
Giva allows us to reconfigure settings quickly, should we find that necessary, and allows us to use an iterative approach while working within the administration section. A separate testing cloud service desk was easy to create and allows us the ability to configure and test in a "sandbox" before moving to production.
We partnered with Giva to get the San Jacinto Community College Active Directory quickly integrated so all of our moves, adds and changes are automatically synced routinely without any effort. Our Network team worked with Giva and its LDAP Synchronization Tool to integrate it with our Active Directory environment without any coding or scripting. The Giva LDAP Synchronization Tool is very unique and extremely helpful since no coding is required and it just has to be configured by our Network team and it is ready to go. Of course, there are required mappings of our Active Directory fields and some other configuration, but we got this completed by our Network folks without us having to write a single line of code. That was amazing!
Giva is super flexible and allows us to replicate and improve on the customizations that we had in HEAT Software. The Giva Administration interface is very easy to use. It lays out the different fields in a very intuitive manner. We were able to add our information without having to first rely on Giva professional services. It is comforting, though, to have those optional services available to us should the need arise. We also believe that Giva's easy to use help desk ticketing system will help us significantly reduce our administration/maintenance overhead cost to maintain as compared with FrontRange HEAT Software.
Of course, I would not say that Giva Service Management Suite is totally plug-and-play, but the software's flexibility allowed for numerous configuration and customization options. We will be able to tailor the software to utilize workflows to help with ticket request routing. The configuration ability allowed us to deploy our environment in a lot less time as compared to the HEAT Software solution.
How would you compare Giva reporting to reporting available in HEAT Software as well as others vendors that you looked at from the Gartner Magic Quadrant™?
Giva provides robust reporting that offers a lot of options. There are numerous standard report templates available, but Giva also allows for customization so we can report on exactly what we are looking for. We can store shared reports as well. It is great to have such a flexible tool that allows us to view our data according to the area of responsibility we need information about. These reports are easy to build and save, download to PDF or CSV, email them or schedule to run automatically. If we need additional options to analyze our data, we can download all of it, at any time, and format it even further.
How is the speed and responsiveness of the Giva help desk ticketing system?
Giva is very fast and responsive and that was a very important part of our vetting process. Any cloud help desk application must always be available to us as our Tier 1 help analysts need to rapidly open tickets and perform updates as well. The Giva page refresh speed, which is a good measure of responsiveness, works quickly as well. The workflow functions such as opening a service request and searching knowledge is actually faster with Giva's cloud help desk application than it was with our on-premise HEAT Software installation.
While we are on the topic of "responsiveness", as a company, Giva has been very responsive in working with San Jacinto Community College on the implementation and very proactive in answering all of our questions.
Can you share your experience with Giva's technical support organization?
The Giva technical support folks have been attentive and quick to respond. For example, I sent in an update on someone's address and Giva had a confirmation back to us within no time. Another member of our staff put in a request for information and she received a response right away.
What other help desk ticketing systems have you vetted and compared to Giva?
We reviewed TeamDynamix® ITSM, ManageEngine® ServiceDesk Plus™, iSupport® Help Desk Solutions™, Wendia® IT Service Management™, EasyVista® IT Service Manager™, BMC® FootPrints™, Cherwell® Service Management Software™, and SalesForce.com® & BMC® RemedyForce™. We also looked at the newest version of HEAT Software. We felt Giva stood out from the pack and provided us the features and flexibility to configure and deploy easily.
As a team, we worked together to demo and actually use several help desk ticketing systems during a trial period and then reviewed notes between teams. We knew we did not want to lose any capabilities and we wanted to enhance our experience. Giva provided that for us easily and effectively. Leveraging the cloud to host our environment, along with Giva's technical support, will allow us to repurpose our resources and funding for other strategic purposes. We also estimate a 75% reduction in time-to-deploy when compared with our initial HEAT Software implementation. Another support improvement is the reduction of a combined FTE position with system support in the hosted environment and ease of reporting that Giva brings us.