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Bringing Innovation and Empowerment: How American University Leveraged ServiceNow for Digital Transformation?

June 17, 2024

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    American University (AU) is among the most prestigious educational institutions in the United States with over 14,300 students, and 4,500 faculty and staff. Throughout its history, AU has more than 8 schools and colleges that have nurtured a community of exceptional minds — generations of changemakers, scholars, dreamers, and activists.

    At AU, leaders of today, guide and inspire the leader of tomorrow. This dedication to excellence permeates every aspect of the AU experience. The university recognized the need to empower its students, faculty, staff, and even those considering AU (parents and prospective students). The ultimate goal is to ensure that everyone on campus, from leaders of today to tomorrow have access to a self-service portal that provides access to campus-wide information.

    However, the wide spread of data across multiple tools makes it hard to find the resources they need. In this blog, you’ll experience the journey of American University to consolidate all the disparate tools into one platform.

    This digital transformation journey is going to be an inspiration for all educational institutions experiencing similar challenges.

    So, let’s get started on this transformation journey.

    AU Launches Unified Service Portal for All

    AU Launches Unified Service Portal for All

    AU selected ServiceNow after extensive research of service delivery platforms available in the market. In response to their different needs they have chosen the following ServiceNow products;

    The selection of these products helped AU to deliver holistic easy-to-access service operations across the institutions.

    AU leveraged ServiceNow to develop a unified service portal named https://help.american.edu/help. This is AU’s first-ever unified service portal that enables students, staff, faculty, parents, and prospective students to get the information they need 24*7. More than 20 departments currently employ this portal. It has six knowledge bases that provide help related to everything from IT, housing, and parking to student laundry services.

    Furthermore, this portal can be accessed anytime, anywhere using any device, making it easy for people to get the information they need. With self-service capabilities, the university’s audience can access the information faster without any external help.

    Expanding Content for All Audiences

    Expanding Content for All Audiences

    The organized knowledge base inspired the different departments to actively add content to make it more helpful. As a result, the knowledge base articles tripled since its launch. Furthermore, regular reviews ensure that content remains accurate and evolves according to user feedback.

    The new content added to the knowledge base was developed according to the needs of parents or prospective students catering to all their needs. The portal also helped the AU to produce the content in different formats, enabling consumers to access the content in a way they understand. For example, besides text-based knowledge articles, they have also produced video content, so people can easily understand the information.

    Real-Time Data for a Responsive Service Portal

    Real time Data for a Responsive Service Portal

    The unified service portal was growing, therefore a powerful backend was required to support the portal. The portal has real-time analytics and business intelligence functionalities to manage issues, problems, changes, knowledge base articles, and user activity. The real-time data availability reduces service disruption.

    Different dashboards were created for different audiences. For example, the support team can see details about the open requests, while the senior university leaders can see the broader reporting they need. These ServiceNow-powered dashboards keep everyone informed about the information they need to do their job more efficiently.

    These dashboards provided the entire AU team with real-time information such as;

    • Open cases and service requests
    • Unassigned cases
    • Number of reviewed knowledge articles
    • How the help desk is aligned with the user demand. Are they able to anticipate the user’s demands?

    This transparency is achieved by Service Mapping Capabilities available in ServiceNow IT Operations Management. Furthermore, this feature also helped AU to see how different resources are connected, and who might be affected by an issue.

    86% of Inquiries Resolved on First Contact

    86 Percent of Inquiries Resolved

    AU with ServiceNow takes a bold step to make it easy for customer service and help desk agents to converse with students, faculty, staff, and others who might need help. This is achieved through ServiceNow Agent Workspace.

    Agent Workspace provided a single pane of glass for agents. They have access to all the messages from different channels like email, phone calls, or chat on a centralized dashboard. Furthermore, they also have access to past interactions with customers to empower agents to deliver more contextual and helpful support. AI also helps agents find the answer to the most common questions, allowing them to solve customer issues more quickly.

    ServiceNow Portfolio Management was also implemented by American University to manage both ongoing operations and special projects. It provided AU teams with to-do lists so they stay organized and efficient in achieving their goals. This tool also helped the AU to adapt the different project management styles – agile, hybrid, or waterfall.

    The Positive Outcomes of ServiceNow at American University

    Positive Outcomes of ServiceNow at American University

    Every investment is made with the obvious goal of yielding positive outcomes. AU investment in ServiceNow paid off in terms of;

    • Increased service quality
    • Decreased service cost
    • Alignment with compliance goals

    Different departments using the unified service portal experienced a 30% efficiency gain. The self-service portal also saw a surge in usage. Since its launch, the number of people finding help with their knowledge base has increased dramatically by 600%. In other words, six times more people are enjoying the convenience of self-service portals to get the information they need.

    The knowledge base library has also grown to 2,550 articles and governance best practices to keep this library useful and up-to-date.

    All these capabilities reduced the mean ticket resolution time by 34% (from 19 hours to 12.5 hours). What intrigued the American University most is that 86% of the Help Desk queries are resolved on the first contact.

    Self-service portal and automation capabilities freed up the Help Desk team to work on complex issues.

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    Empowerment vs. Frustration: Is Your Institution Choosing the Right Path?

    Now you know how an educational institution can make a difference with digital transformation to empower everyone from students to faculty to staff.

    Educational institutions are embracing digital transformation. According to a survey by HolonIQ, 69% of universities believe digital transformation is a must for survival.

    Do you also believe the same? American University’s story proves how adopting a service-first approach can transform education. You can achieve similar results with ServiceNow and strategic ServiceNow consulting services.

    Cyntexa is a ServiceNow consulting company that works with educational institutions of all sizes to empower them to deliver on their mission. Let’s connect to learn how we can help you grow your institutions.

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