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Success Story: Microsoft Office Engineering adopts service management solution to save time, improve service

In a fast-paced company like Microsoft, the word help in help desk can understate dramatic urgency. Whether it’s a last-minute PowerPoint presentation held hostage by a sign-in issue or the rescue of high-availability clusters, the Office Engineering team has to make things work.

 

But Office Engineering goes much further. It’s a complete IT service management (ITSM) organization for the 10,000-person Microsoft Office product group, its only customer. For this critical Microsoft business, Office Engineering provides incident and problem resolution, change control, service requests, and asset life cycle management. It also manages more than 6,000 servers and the builds for Microsoft Office and Office 365. The organization receives about 20,000 help-desk tickets per month.

 

Setting the stage for digital transformation

In 2017, Office Engineering began to evolve its traditional ITSM practices toward easier, more efficient, cost-effective, and agile service structures (known as Modern Service Management) and to digitally transform the way the team manages product updates. The organization has historically used Microsoft System Center Service Manager to manage key ITSM functions. While a happy Service Center customer, Office Engineering wanted to take advantage of additional Microsoft products to extend its digital transformation.

 

Investing in world-class software

After researching several options, Office Engineering chose Provance IT Service Management, an integrated IT service and asset management solution that is powered by Microsoft Dynamics 365 and offers native interoperability with Office 365, Azure Logic Apps, and Azure Monitor. Provance is a Microsoft Global Strategic ISV partner.

 

“With Provance ITSM, we saw everything we had hoped for in going beyond Service Manager,” says Brian Shaw, Senior Service Engineer for Office Engineering at Microsoft. He notes that the solution provides key features that his team especially likes, including, “A mobile client, a web portal for customers, the ability to configure without coding, and a simplified process for service requests, change requests, and incidents. Provance delivered it all and delivered it in spades. Office Engineering set it up remarkably fast, considering our unfamiliarity with Dynamics 365. We have Provance to thank for that. They helped us a lot.”

 

In the current deployment, phase 1, Office Engineering is taking advantage of the change request process capabilities in Provance ITSM. Phase 2 will include service request fulfillment and incident management. Future deployments will likely cover server onboarding and decommissioning.

 

Saving time with workflows and Logic Apps

Predefined but highly customizable workflows are a particularly rich feature of Dynamics 365 that Provance ITSM relies on. As an example, Shaw notes the benefits he has achieved with the change request approval process, which is complex. “I love well-designed workflows, and I love automation,” he says. “Dynamics 365 has both. It’s much easier than our previous solution.”

 

For workflow steps that happen outside of Dynamics 365, Provance ITSM uses Azure Logic Apps to facilitate communication. Logic Apps simplifies and integrates scalable workflows in Azure, and the app’s close interoperability with Dynamics 365 is important. As Shaw explains, “When you’re working with an external system, Logic Apps can save a lot of time and effort.”

 

Find and fix issues before they affect customers

When the Office team’s 6,000-server Azure infrastructure has any kind of issue—server running out of memory, CPU overtaxed, storage running low—Provance ITSM uses the Azure security and operations management Connector to detect and capture that information so that Office Engineering can identify and fix potential problems before they affect customers. The Connector prepopulates certain fields, which saves time and helps Office Engineering prioritize response.

 

Self-service is better service

Office Engineering configured the Provance Portal to provide convenient self-service to team members. “The response to the portal has been very positive,” Shaw says. “Users have been quick to adopt it.” This simpler, faster method saves time for the Office team and Office Engineering support staff alike, and the organization predicts a productivity boost.

 

Witnessing the benefits of a transformation that’s only just beginning, Shaw concludes, “Ongoing improvements to Dynamics 365, the high-quality workflows within it, the business rules that are now visual, the ability to extend and automate with Logic Apps—wrap it all together, and Provance ITSM offers a great way to deliver service.”

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