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4 June 2008


Leading academic and research centre benefits from streamlined IT service desk

The University of Sheffield, an internationally recognised academic centre of excellence based in the North of England, has selected Supportworks, a comprehensive service desk management system from Hornbill Systems.

Using Supportworks, the ICT Support Team at the University provides support for 6,000 staff and over 24,000 students across its campus by telephone, email and through face to face contact. Supportworks helps the team meet its Service Level Agreement of resolving 80% of telephone calls at the first line of support

Supportworks was originally selected over other competitive products following a lengthy evaluation process. The ICT Support Team was looking for a platform independent web-browser based self-service solution as part of the service desk system and wanted a portal that could be accessed anywhere and that was straightforward to use and develop.

According to Stuart Barkworth, Head of ICT Support at the University of Sheffield: “We evaluated six packages and after visiting a number of reference sites we went to tender. Hornbill’s solution was shortlisted and in the end was head and shoulders above the competition. We liked the simplicity of the product, yet it provides everything that we need and more to develop in the future.

“Supportworks has made us much more effective. It is an excellent, reliable system that enables us to handle over 120 calls per day, which is a significant increase, and we have been able to meet our target SLAs through having a better system. What’s more, we have seen considerable benefits to other departments using Supportworks – it has significantly changed the way that we work for the better.”

The service desk has a total of twelve skilled technical IT staff providing first line support on a rota providing three staff at any one time. As well as logging and tracking incoming queries the ICT team uses Supportworks to assign site visits for support staff. Future developments of the system include rolling out handheld devices to all support staff so that they might view and access the Supportworks database for calls logged.

Since implementing the system, the ICT Support Team has used the reporting function within Supportworks extensively - information from the reports is used to spot call trends and plan accordingly.

Originally used to support central ICT functions and administration, Supportworks has been extended and is being rolled out to departmental and faculty IT departments, and is currently being used by both HR and Finance IT support teams. The support team responsible for the University’s Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) has also started to use Supportworks to manage calls and there are plans for the Library and the Information Commons to use Supportworks for enquiry handling.

Gerry Sweeney, CEO of Hornbill Systems commented, “IT teams in organisations like The University of Sheffield have a challenging customer service charter – they are required to provide an effective support service to geographically disparate users that also have very different requirements and competencies.

“A centralised service desk can help them to manage the requests and calls efficiently. This, added with the ability to collect and analyse call data, can help them to provide an improved responsive service as well as proactively plan ahead. Supportworks has been designed to provide the tools and functionality to deliver such a service.”


About University of Sheffield

With over 24,000 students from 118 countries, the University of Sheffield has a reputation for world-class teaching and research excellence across a wide range of disciplines. Recent surveys (Newsweek, Shanghai Jiao Tong) rank Sheffield among Britain’s top 10 universities and the top 75 universities globally.
International partnerships include Worldwide Universities Network (USA, Europe and China) and its partnership with Leeds and York Universities (the White Rose Consortium) has combined research power greater than that of either Oxford or Cambridge. The University holds charitable status as an Exempt Charity. The benefits include tax savings to both the University and to charitable donors or their estates.
For more information please visit:
About Hornbill Systems
Hornbill Systems delivers market leading Service Management solutions that enable organisations to automate business processes and provide first class customer service. Drawing on a decade of experience, Hornbill has packaged a number of applications designed for rapid deployment within any employee or customer service support environment. Solutions are available for IT Service Management, Facilities, HR/Payroll, as well as a broad range of Business, Consumer and Citizen Response service desks. Hornbill’s foundation product, Supportworks ESP can address the individual requirements of multiple business units, significantly reducing costs by providing a consolidated Service Management solution.
In 2005 Supportworks won the HDI awards for “Best Business use of Support Technology” with Sharp Electronics and “Support Excellence Award for Smaller Helpdesks” with Camelot.
For more information about Hornbill’s solutions please visit

For Company and editorial information contact:
Ann James
Hornbill Systems
Tel: 0208 582 8223

Andreina West
PR Artistry
Tel: 01491 639500

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