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Katie McKenna | February 25, 2016

Gonzaga University Chooses a Better Service Management Solution to Crush IoT Challenges

What happens when 7,400+ students show up with eight IoT-enabled devices each as campus IT struggles with an inefficient service desk solution that’s about to become un-supported? This may sound like the start of a bad joke—or nightmare—but it’s exactly the predicament that Gonzaga University found itself in. Read on to hear how a major learning institution overcame its struggles with IoT by leveraging a new, robust ITSM solution.

The Impact of Collegiate IoT

Colleges have become an epicenter for IoT activity as tech savvy students continue to bring increasing numbers of devices to campus. As Roger Cummings, Project Manager at Gonzaga University, puts it: “Students used to show up with a laptop and cell phone and now it’s a combination of X-Box, TV, printer, even their Nike shoes and their FitBit fitness tracker and wireless speakers are showing up on the network.” This IoT avalanche put a strain on Gonzaga’s network and on the peace-of-mind of its IT team. When BMC ended support for Service Desk Express, the university knew it needed to replace it with a more robust and flexible service management solution that was also ITIL compliant.

Finding the Right Solution for Higher Ed

In preparation for a thorough evaluation, Gonzaga University pulled together a steering and RFP committee of nearly 30 active members. Their job was to choose a SaaS solution with the following attributes:

  • Flexible, easy-to-use, and ITILv3 compliant
  • Dynamic, robust, and able to handle a wide variety of requests from thousands of users
  • Able to launch during a short, summertime deployment window
  • Self-service portal functionality with customizable workflows for automation
  • Within budget

The blue ribbon panel considered vendors such as BMC, Cherwell, and ServiceNow but ultimately found that none fully matched their criteria. In the end, EasyVista proved its solution could meet the university’s needs and more. In person solution demonstrations showed EasyVista’s powerful, yet user-friendly technology could help automate Gonzaga University’s service management efforts. EasyVista’s First-class customer support further sweetened the deal.

Making the ITSM Grade

The true test comes once a solution is up and running and EasyVista passed with flying colors. Upon selection, EasyVista was able to successfully deploy during the short summertime window as promised. Furthermore, with the new technology in place, Gonzaga University is able to reap benefits that include:

  • Multiple workflow automations that decrease time and effort required for change management, distance learning, and purchasing processes.
  • A self-service portal which saves time and eliminates duplicate tasks and actions related to all service management duties.
  • Increased levels of data science and questionnaire feedback that provide powerful insights into how well resources, ticketing, and incidents are being managed.
  • The ability to become a more mature service organization with better transparency into Service Management with the ability to perform service-based-costing.

Extending Service Management throughout the University

Gonzaga’s next service management project includes integrating its main service catalog with its CMDB. “This is a very exciting thing and builds in a lot of really good, solid, processes, given that ITIL's so centric to our CMDB; so many things interact with it,” said Cummings. “It's going to be a beast of a project, but I'm looking forward to it now that EasyVista is in place. By having the configuration management module running, this allows us to connect requests, incidents, changes, releases, problems, all sorts of things to specific items such as hardware or databases so that we can identify issues more quickly. We can track everything occurring through EasyVista just by using the configuration management module and to me, that’s an incredibly powerful thing.”

The university also plans to extend ITSM processes across the campus. With EasyVista technology, Gonzaga University can continue to automate non-IT functions, including HR processes related to on-boarding.

For more information on Gonzaga University’s service management journey, check out these resources:

For additional posts on Service Management in Higher Ed, see the below:

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Katie McKenna

Katie McKenna enjoys learning and sharing all things ITSM, IoT, SaaS, and IT Consumerization. She is also an avid reader, pizza enthusiast, and horror movie lover.