United Biscuits (UB) is one of the world’s pre-eminent branded snacks businesses with a reputation for meeting consumer needs for well over 100 years.  UB’s unrivalled portfolio of brands includes favourites such as McVitie’s, Jacob’s, Carr’s, Jaffa Cakes, Mini Cheddars, go ahead!, Verkade, Sultana, BN, and Delacre.

Jaffa CakesIn addition to the company’s homegrown market in the UK, UB is popular in other parts of Northern Europe particularly in the Netherlands, France, Belgium and Republic of Ireland.  Increasingly, the company’s products have global appeal and it has a rapidly growing international business unit serving consumers from North America to the Middle East, Africa, and Australia.

The search for an agile Service Desk solution 

As a company, United Biscuits is always looking to the future, building on the tremendous heritage of its past, to grow, create and evolve to best serve the needs of customers and shareholders and to interact constructively with the communities in which UB operates and actively engage with employees.

In recent months, UB has focused on upgrading the company’s Service Desk operation.  It has invested in new IT Service Management and Self-Service technology from Sunrise Software to support UB’s fast-moving business environment.  After reviewing several vendors in the marketplace, UB selected Sunrise primarily for its high degree of flexibility and cost-effectiveness.

According to Gary Devaney, IT Service Manager at United Biscuits: “The time had come to create a more dynamic Service Desk environment that could deliver faster, more efficient IT services to help staff tackle the challenges of our expanding international business activities head on.  Sunrise was streets ahead of the competition.  It met all our requirements for simplicity and flexibility all within a cost-effective package.”

In August 2011, United Biscuits purchased Sunrise Software’s Sostenuto IT Service Management and Iguana Self-Service solutions. They went live with both systems just four months later, supporting 4,000 users at more than 15 locations in the UK and Northern Europe.

Flexibility delivers the Service Desk that ‘manages itself’

One of the main reasons why United Biscuits chose Sunrise Software was the inbuilt flexibility of the Sostenuto ITSM solution.  An easy-to-use, out-of-the-box package, Sostenuto ITSM is also highly configurable giving Gary and his team the confidence to customise the system to UB’s specific requirements.  Using Sostenuto ITSM, UB’s IT department can create new fields, develop the right security framework, handle all their own trouble-shooting and then report back on the performance of the Service Desk themselves without accruing additional costs from  external consultancy or add-ons.

Gary Devaney continued: “With Sunrise, we have effectively created a new concept of Service Desk, the Service Desk that manages itself.  Because Sostenuto ITSM is simple and flexible to use, we can now do everything very quickly, demonstrably boosting IT efficiency and significantly accelerating user response times.”

Today, UB’s 40+ strong IT team is using Sostenuto ITSM to develop robust and consistent processes for Incident, Change and Problem Management across the organisation.  The ITIL®-verified functionality of Sostenuto ITSM’s technology and new ways of working based on industry best-practice principles have combined to produce a highly efficient and centralised IT Service Desk.

Based at the organisation’s headquarters in Liverpool, the new Sunrise Service Desk delivers round-the-clock support to employees everywhere without the need for additional headcount.  In addition, UB’s third party support partners based in India can access the Service Desk via the newly introduced Iguana Self-Service portal, powered by Sostenuto, to manage incidents around the world.

Fostering greater employee engagement, improving customer satisfaction
Sostenuto ITSM now captures 100% of IT incidents ensuring all receive prompt attention.  What is more, staff are encouraged to log their own issues via the Iguana web-based Self-Service portal.  In addition to saving time and reducing the number of calls coming into the Service Desk, the introduction of Self-Service has given users complete visibility of how their incidents are being handled and the ability to track progress from beginning to end.

Simpler, more effective processes across the board

Using Sostenuto ITSM, United Biscuits has significantly improved the company’s Change Management process.  Requested IT changes are now sent automatically by email to managers with sign-off authority who simply accept or reject them at the click of a mouse.  The speed and simplicity of the process means that far greater numbers of changes are approved and subsequently administered than before.

The next step is to introduce a Configuration Management Database (CMDB) that will store information relating to all IT assets across the organisation’s infrastructure.

Simplicity equals huge time and cost savings

In the short time since deploying Sostenuto ITSM, United Biscuits has reaped considerable benefits.  The simplicity and flexibility of the system alone have delivered significant time savings through customisation and self-service.  Most striking, however, are the tangible cost benefits of Sunrise Software made possible by a single, consolidated platform that is easy to maintain, in a totally virtualised environment without the need for new or additional hardware.  Add to this a cost-effective software licensing model and UB’s initial investment in Sunrise technology is expected to yield impressive savings of around £25,000 a year, every year.

According to Gary Devaney: “Sunrise has totally transformed our Service Desk environment. We have the right information at our fingertips to deliver an efficient, transparent service to our users today with the flexibility to do more with less, continually innovate and successfully support our business in the future.”

A very apetising future
United Biscuits is currently working with Sunrise Software to develop an interface between Sostenuto ITSM and UB’s Snow Inventory™ asset management tool.  The integration between the two systems, and other auto discovery tools, will enable all IT-related data to be gathered, stored and then updated automatically in one place, part of UB’s plans to develop a fully populated CMDB.  At a glance, UB will be perfectly placed to manage its entire asset lifecycle from purchase, installation, maintenance and ultimate disposal in a proactive way.

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