Nova Scotia Community College Meets Demands of Supporting Multiple Campuses and 14,000 Students and Faculty

Nova Scotia Community College campus had a unique set of challenges. They must meet a demanding set of curriculum and faculty requirements and maintain a state of the art communications and technology infrastructure, all while cultivating an atmosphere that is conducive to the education and growth of its students.

Add to that, multiple campuses of varying sizes and in geographically remote areas, and you have an real burden on those in charge of the infrastructure and technology to keep services flowing consistently.

The Nova Scotia Community College Challenge
  • Only 5% of 1,100 employees using automated service ticket request system.
  • Inefficient, time consuming methods of communicating with IT and logging problems.
  • Lack of visibility, inability to track turnaround time.
  • No reports or cohesive data for planning.
  • Growing campus and mounting pressure to proactively manage communications needs.
The Crow Canyon Solution
  • Integrates with SharePoint
  • Installed in less than one week
  • Easy to use and maintain
  • Range of flexible options
Crow Canyon Results
  • Turned NSCC IT into a stronger asset to the college.
  • Significant time and money saved by streamlining and automating the processes.
  • Critical data provided to Board of Governors plan for future needs.
  • Improved service levels for all campuses, regardless of size.
  • Maximized productivity.

Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) is a thriving college community located on the eastern coast of Canada, with thirteen campuses scattered across its regions. The college serves over 25,000 students, offering courses in trades, technology, health, applied arts and business as well as four specialized campuses.

The communications needs of NSCC vary greatly among campuses and require the ongoing efforts of a nimble and well trained IT team. The IT department of fifty individuals includes an “on the ground” customer service team of 28 to handle needs for students and faculty as well as an ERP staff, responsible for running the help desk. Donnie MacNeil is one of two IT managers, who work together to lead the efforts of the busy help desk team.

NSCC has been able to bridge the distance between campuses and service the broad needs of the campuses in a large part due to their “virtual team” configuration. This makes their team appear larger than they actually are. NSCC’s virtual teams are, in fact, groups of technicians with specific ability levels and areas of expertise which can be dynamically re-assigned across campus sites, depending on their skill sets and the work at hand. This arrangement allows NSCC to cover a broader geographical area and efficiently handle the needs of each campus. Technicians, wherever they might be physically, can wirelessly access the system while in the field; closing tickets and moving on to handle new ones — all without skipping a beat.

That’s today. Things weren’t always this efficient, according to Donnie MacNeil. “In the past each campus had their own way of communicating problems. Some campuses used a home-grown data entry system, others sent emails or just picked up the phone. And then there were those would scrawl out a request on a scrap of paper.” That lack of centralized control made it virtually impossible to track and measure turnaround time. Every day was a “no news is good news” situation over which they had little control. As the campuses continued to grow and expand it was obvious to the Nova Scotia Community College Nova Scotia Community College that it had to find a more proactive way to coordinate the work load. “We had heard all the horror stories about BMC’s Remedy Help Desk, how expensive it is and the need to employ an entire team just to run it! We knew there had to be a better option for us,” says MacNeil. That better option was Crow Canyon Service Request Software, a robust help desk system with a solid performance track record and reputation for ease of use. “Once we found Crow Canyon everything started to fall into place,” says MacNeil.

The Crow Canyon solution took less than a week to install and, since it connected to NSCC’s existing Microsoft Outlook system, everyone intuitively knew how to use it. A few years later when NSCC moved to SharePoint, Crow Canyon was able to make the move right along with them. Gone were the scraps of paper and the random phone calls. Gone were excuses not to use the new ticket submission system. And people didn’t look for them. “Once people realized how easy it was to file a ticket, everyone was on board,” says MacNeil.

“We’ve had Crow Canyon for nine years now. I can’t imagine where we’d be without it.” – Donnie MacNeil/IT Manager

Underneath that easy to use interface sits a powerful and versatile piece of software. So it didn’t take long for MacNeil to turn Crow Canyon Software into a real workhorse, molded to their unique campus structure and covering a broadening range of needs. Everyone got involved. Curriculum consultants started using Crow Canyon to process requests for curriculum changes. The technical staff started using it for meeting set up requests (such as an extra projector, microphones or other audio visual). Today, they even use Crow Canyon to arrange video conferences, which have become a popular way to bridge the distance between campuses, especially with astronomical gas prices. And, with Crow Canyon has come all the data NSCC needs to create meaningful reports. Now they can provide the numbers needed to augment the annual report for the Board of Governors. Being able to track improvements to turnaround time, number of tickets and categories helps management plan for future needs. “The system is basically used by everyone for just about everything,” according to MacNeil.

“We have to cover not only thirteen geographically diverse campuses, but also a mix of urban and rural campuses,” says MacNeil. “Centralizing our ticket system with Crow Canyon has helped us to provide the same level of service to the smaller campuses as we do the larger ones.” he says. “And the support we get is great. The Crow Canyon people are so easy to work with and really responsive to our needs,” he adds.

Donnie says it’s hard to remember the days before Crow Canyon. “We’ve had Crow Canyon Service Request for nine years now and I can’t imagine where we’d be without it. It’s a well engineered piece of software and central to the excellent service we’re able to provide to the entire Nova Scotia campus community. I’m glad we found it.”