CIO Andre Alves Aligns People, and Technology to Do “More with Less” in the Portuguese Municipality of Melgaço
Taking SysAid beyond the world of IT and becoming an agent of change SysAid Success Story
While the economic recession has made the job of nearly every CIO in the world more difficult, the situation is particularly dire for Andre Alves, CIO of Melgaço, a tiny municipality in Northern Portugal. “We’ve had many difficulties in our day-to-day lives here in Melgaço,” explained Alves. “Everyone, including the IT department, has had to ‘do more with less.’” Not only must the Melgaço IT team of 4 technicians provide technical support to 308 municipality workers spread throughout the city, but they also assist the Red Cross, fire departments, and local health services that serve the 18 parishes surrounding Melgaço. Daily responsibilities range from fixing the internet in one moment to organizing the logistics of charity food hand-outs the next. The common thread in all of Melgaço’s IT operations has been what Alves calls “untangling knots.” Members of the community have struggled with miscommunication, disorganization, and gaping inefficiencies, and in an economic environment where every euro is precious, this translates into money wasted.
Doing More with Less is an Economic Crisis Because the Red Cross had difficulty organizing their food, clothing, and footwear distribution processes, for example, needy community members arriving for lunch could easily receive three meals instead of one, depriving others of any food at all. In addition, Melgaço does not own enough cars for all members of the city council, and because fuel is expensive, it requires planning and coordination if a municipality representative needs to drive somewhere. Lack of communication often caused people to unnecessarily travel in separate cars and waste money on fuel. Alves knew that Melgaço could not continue to function with such inefficiencies and needed a tool to make the provision of services easier and more cost-effective.
Getting Costs Under Control with the Succesful Implementation of SysAid In early 2010, Alves adopted SysAid to establish better practices within his IT department and implemented it with the help of Adquam, a SysAid partner in Portugal. As Alves explains, “Adquam’s experience in service management, ITIL, and other issues allowed us to avoid common implementation mistakes. It was the support of Adquam that enabled the realization of my vision in one, accurate shot.” Implementing SysAid’s service desk and CMDB to handle incidents and track Melgaço’s network elements allowed the Melgaço IT team to reach new levels of efficiency. Alves then realized SysAid’s incident management tools could be applied far beyond Melgaço’s IT department to help all levels of the municipality.
With reports from the Reports & Analysis module that demonstrated the great improvements his IT department had made, Alves succeeded in convincing the city council president to expand the use of SysAid organization-wide. With the ultimate goal of aligning people, processes, and technology, Alves now uses SysAid to not only manage the IT team’s technical support activities but to also establish a “culture of service” throughout Melgaço. One of the first moves for Alves and his team was to use SysAid to track the municipality vehicle inventory. When a council member is planning a trip, he or she now logs in to the End-User Portal via the F11 hotkey and submits a service request under the category “Reserve a Car.” With a centralized record of all municipality cars that are currently in use, the IT team checks availability, and then responds to the end-user with a scheduled date and time for the council member’s trip.
In the context of crisis, SysAid has helped us identify and track inefficiencies that we have. In addition, Alves has given several members of the Red Cross administrator permissions to help them organize the Red Cross food distribution process. Employees distributing food now report via email the amount of food they serve and to whom. Via email integration, these emails are logged as service requests in SysAid’s help desk for administrators to review and evaluate. As Alves phrased it, “With proper procedures in place, fewer people are able to ‘bypass processes’ of the Red Cross.”
Future Plans: Manage All Municipality Services with SysAid The success of Alves’ initiatives has convinced city council members to further expand SysAid’s implementation throughout Melgaço. By early 2011, he hopes to expand the catalog of available services so that SysAid will be used to organize electricity services, manage the municipality’s gardening, and much more. “Imagine we add electricity as a service catalog to SysAid,” says Alves. “We give the manager of Melgaço’s electricians administrator permissions, and he can then know at all times where his electricians are located and which tasks they must accomplish. Not only will it help increase efficiency and cut costs, but it will essentially change the way all managers in Melgaço view service. This will of course be to the benefit of everyone in Melgaço.” With this incredible vision of how SysAid can be used to improve the quality of life of all municipality residents, Alves plans to next implement ITIL change management processes with SysAid. Alves explains it best with, “In the context of crisis, SysAid has helped us identify and track the inefficiencies that we have. Thus, we are optimizing our operations. By replicating the example IT has set throughout the rest of organization, I see that SysAid has helped our IT team act as a true agent of change in Melgaço.”
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