The National Gallery brushes up on facilities service management

The decision by the National Gallery to expand the use of its IT support desk application, SupportWorks from House-onthe- Hill, to cover facilities management was inspired by practical considerations, not by any need to improve that department’s processes and practices.

Indeed, it was the buildings infrastructure team that had originally instigated the help desk, which fields both its own and the IT department’s support calls, and provisioned the software to support it.

However, when information services support manager Sarah Harding joined the company, she found that the existing support desk software did not meet the requirements of IT. “I felt that it couldn’t do what we needed in terms of managing calls, and it couldn’t actually record the information we wanted it to, such as details about computers,” Harding recalls. At that time, she selected SupportDesk to meet these needs, and the two systems operated in parallel for some time.

Calls were logged in the facilities management system and the details of IT-related support calls were automatically passed by email to SupportDesk.

But when the buildings infrastructure team’s own system fell down for a few days, they were dissatisfied with the support they received from the supplier. “I told them that we had been very satisfied with the support we received from House-on-the-Hill,” she explains.

“Plus the cost was much less than what they were paying for support and for licences for their system.” That triggered the decision to use SupportDesk across the board. Not only has this reduced the cost of running the help desk, it has also improved the quality of information logged at the point of call.

“A single system is simpler and there’s no need to troubleshoot integration issues,” she says. “The buildings infrastructure team now knows that if something goes wrong it is going to be fixed in quick order.”

Pete Swabey

Pete Swabey

Pete was Editor of Information Age and head of technology research for Vitesse Media plc from 2005 to 2013, before moving on to be Senior Editor and then Editorial Director at The Economist Intelligence...