Education is a complex, frequently changing environment with many end users. From staff to students to family members and the community at large, there can be thousands of people with a stake in education. That means thousands of people who have wants and needs, all of whom expect prompt, high-quality service.
This is a big task for education staff. How can one educational institution – be it K-13, college, or university – do everything for everyone? Even with requests separated by category or department, inquiries can add up very quickly. Now, more than ever, customers want answers fast. An enterprise service catalog streamlines service requests and information for better tracking and faster response.
The Benefits of an Enterprise Service Catalog for Higher Education
What exactly are colleges and universities with an enterprise service catalog trying to do?
Without an enterprise service catalog, there are far too many ways a user can make a request. They could send an email to the right person at the correct department or a general inbox. They could make a phone call, again potentially routing a request to the right person but also potentially calling the first number they find. They could create a help desk ticket, send a social media message, or even fill out a paper form.
Some users may not know that a service exists. They could be left frustrated without knowing who can help them and how. They may need help understanding what college or university services and programs they are eligible for or any associated costs.
An enterprise service catalog fixes all of those problems and more. It creates a single location for college and university services with all of the information users need associated with each service. Every item in the catalog is easy to find, and the catalog also serves as a method to reach out for help.
So, a service catalog is both informational and actionable. Users see the information they need and use it to answer their own questions or to seek further help. No matter how many schools, campuses, departments or users are held within an institution, the enterprise service catalog provides consistent, central information.
An enterprise service catalog ensures that a school is not just technology-oriented but, in fact, service-oriented. By communicating with and providing clarity to all users, there are better outcomes for the entire institution. Customers are happier and have reasonable expectations. IT decision-makers have a greater understanding of what users need. They can invest in response, and IT workers can focus on solving problems.
Ultimately, your enterprise service catalog guides your higher education users to the necessary service or solution. By doing this, it reduces IT costs and, thus, reduces overall operational costs. It ensures that services are provided when needed, as needed, and as quickly as possible. It allows you to use your resources wisely. And it improves user satisfaction.
Great Examples of ESCs
When you visit the IT at Yale enterprise service catalog, you will see a large question at the top of the page: How can we help you? Yale’s service catalog is as user-focused as it gets. People who show up with a specific question or issue can type what that is into the search box, which is highly noticeable, given its position on the page, large text, and contrasting color design.
There are other ways to explore the Yale ESC, of course. Users can select Software and Technology, Student Resources, Cybersecurity and different key categories. Or, they can navigate through the services, starting with all services and moving into Faculty and Research, Staff, or Students. Users can filter further from there, viewing by category, alphabetical order, or data classification. They can also filter by category, for example, accounts and passwords or email and collaboration.
Let’s use the example of a faculty member who needs to send a fax and is navigating this enterprise service catalog. They can type fax into the help bar or use any filter combinations to find electronic faxing. When they click on that header, they will find themselves on a dedicated service page all about electronic faxing.
Within that page is a detailed explanation of the service and its features. The page also shows who is eligible (faculty, staff, and research), the cost (no fees apply), associated training to use the product, requirements (VPN access) and cybersecurity capabilities.
Having determined that they are eligible to use electronic faxing, have the proper requirements, and are following the cybersecurity and training rules, the user can move on to using the service. At the press of a button, they can make an electronic fax request, open a support ticket, or contact the department.
If any Yale ESC user gets confused, there is a sticky help function on every page. This is a centralized location to get more assistance, including opening the knowledge base for self-service, starting a chat, reporting a problem, or gaining access to telephone or walk-in service.
University of Arizona
Like Yale’s page, Arizona’s ESC starts strong by sending people in the right direction. A ‘New to the U?’ menu breaks resources down for students, faculty/staff, researchers, and IT professionals. A further scroll shows an A-Z listing of IT services or, again, a one-stop support area with help via phone, chat, help desk ticket, or in-person visit.
The service catalog shows more features than we saw at Yale, including recent announcements, real-time system status, and a status history with a quick overview of primary services and any known issues or planned maintenance.
Self-service needs are well organized, with four main categories — report a problem, request something, report an information security incident, or find answers.
The University of Arizona’s ESC is an excellent example of a catalog that uses plain language and intuitive organization to make navigation simple and effective.
As you will see from our final example, Tufts University, there are many ways to organize data in an enterprise service catalog. Tufts words their categories differently, with Technology for Teaching, Technology for Research, and Technology for Students. They also offer three additional service categories: IT and Computing, Apps and Software, and Support and Training.
Recognizing the times, Tufts offers a few more one-click designations for people who need them — Teaching in a Hybrid World, Working Remotely, and Learning Remotely. These categories, along with the earlier ones, make it very simple for users of all types to find exactly what they need in the least amount of time possible.
Clicking into any of the categories brings up a page with at-a-glance information about accessing further help through the service desk, along with key services, such as email, highlighted. There are frequently asked questions for each audience, ensuring that knowledge base information is put where people who need it can see it.
Specific services, such as making an A/V or video conferencing service request, offer robust forms that can be filled in online, ensuring that every service is carefully planned with users aware of all policies, pricing, and eligibility.
How ESCs Benefit Staff, Students, Alumni and More
As you can see from the above examples, every enterprise service catalog can and should be tailored to the needs of its users. The benefits of enterprise service catalogs extend beyond staff and students, encompassing alumni and fans.
Each subset of higher education users has unique needs, including faculty, current students, prospective students and applicants, staff, alums, parents, visitors and guests, and others. By organizing the enterprise service catalog based on who is viewing it, higher education institutions are responsive to user needs.
For instance, someone who is a fan of your athletic department and wants to know more about buying season tickets does not likely need to know about the university’s research department and lab management system. Using a well-configured enterprise service catalog, the sports fan can check out athletics services under your administrative and business service category without getting lost in other areas of the institution.
This example shows two key features. First, the user gets what they need quickly and, in most cases, without needing extra help or intervention from staff. A good ESC will lead the sports fan to the ticketing system; from there, they can buy their tickets and start planning for game day. And secondly, IT workers don’t get bogged down by user requests, nor do other staff have to take phone calls or manage emails about tickets.
Many enterprise service catalogs also contain knowledge bases, which allow users to search for information and find answers before they submit a ticket. Our sports fan, who can’t figure out the shopping cart system, can search for help, read an article, and carry on. Analytics show what users are searching for and if they are satisfied with the results, so IT decision-makers know if more knowledge base information is needed.
Of course, if someone like our sports fan needs help finding the information they need, they can submit a ticket through the enterprise service catalog. This again saves time and streamlines help desk needs, a benefit to everyone involved. All requests for help or information are logged in a central database, making it easy to triage, assign tickets, and use analytics to improve the catalog.
At GroupLink, we offer cloud-based e-workflow and work-from-home solutions that benefit organizations of many kinds. Our solutions allow for creating Enterprise Service Catalog (ESC) components, including SafestSchools, Workflow Process and Incident Tracking, and GroupLink everything HelpDesk. Connect with us online or call us at 801-335-0700. You can also email us at email@example.com.