Case Study


Quick Wins for IT

  • Over 20% of requests now coming through newly created customer portal
  • Custom-made GDPR tool enables regulatory compliance without impacting service performance
  • New and in-depth visibility into performance and reporting at Exec level
  • Centralised processes and united service teams

Alan Sherwen, Director of IT Services at Arriva, talks about the company’s major IT transformation project to centralise its IT department and service desk team.

The Challenge

Arriva is one the largest providers of passenger transport in Europe, employing more than 60,00 people and delivering more than 2.2 billion passenger journeys across 14 European countries. It operates a wide range of services including local buses, interurban commuter coaches, local, regional and national train services, trams and light rail, waterbuses, demand response, and non-emergency patient transport.

In 2017, Arriva’s UK operations underwent a major IT transformation project to centralise its IT department and 13-strong service desk team.

Alan Sherwen, Director of IT Services at Arriva, explains: “We still had separate pockets of support teams, many with their own tools and processes in place. Although they had theoretically merged into one department, it wasn’t possible for the different toolsets to function together effectively and support was inconsistent as a result.”

The Solution

Arriva launched an RFP to find a single solution that could replace its disparate tools and fully unite the separate IT services departments. Three vendors were involved in the tender, but Alan found that Cherwell immediately stood out as the right choice and chose its IT Service Management solution.

“We got a good feeling about Cherwell very early on”, he explains. “We wanted to find a provider that really matched our values and could become a close partner. Cherwell was such a good fit that we could take the technical specifications almost as read, only needing a light touch review.”


Implementation had to fit a very tight timeframe to ensure there was little overlap between the new and old solutions and processes, with minimal disruption to Arriva’s customers. The Cherwell IT Service Management platform also had to go live in tandem with the IT department being restructured and retrained. In addition, Arriva was launching its first internal customer portal using Cherwell.

The implementation went very smoothly, with the entire process being completed within three months. Cherwell support staff were available on-site for the go-live date, although there were in fact no major issues.

"We needed the new tool to go live within a couple of weeks of the new team structure. We couldn’t waste time having the new team train with the old tool, or have the new tool come in before the new structure and processes were in place." - Alan Sherwen - Director of IT Services

The Results

The Cherwell IT Service Management platform has enabled Arriva to unlock several powerful business advantages alongside meeting its original goal of implementing a new platform for the united IT services department. The visibility provided by the dashboard’s analysis and reporting functions have been particularly useful, alongside the platform’s ease of use and flexibility.

Alan comments: “We now have far greater visibility of our services than we could ever achieve under the old system. For example, we had little visibility of our call backlog before. Now we can assign targets to clear the backlog and easily track the progress as goals are met.

He continues: “Whereas the performance of our service desk was only loosely monitored before, we now have a very effective KPI system in place and can provide detailed reports to senior executives for the first time.”

The launch of Arriva’s first customer portal has also been extremely well received, with more than 20% of all incoming requests coming through the portal in the first instance. The number of requests going through the portal is increasing by 2% month on month and Arriva is aiming for the portal to take 60 percent of all requests by the end of this year.

“The portal provides a very cost effective and time efficient new channel for our team to deal with customer requests,” Alan explains. “Email is the most expensive and time intensive channel to resolve a ticket, so we’re extremely pleased with the high take up of the new portal. Moving forwards, we’re looking at expanding its capabilities with the addition of live chat and chatbots.”

He continues: “The Cherwell platform is so flexible that we’ve been able to redesign it based on customer feedback and iterate changes on the go. This would be extremely difficult with any other tool on the market – each change would likely need an external consultant and take weeks of work.”

Cherwell’s flexibility also allowed Arriva to commission its own custom-built additions to the platform. As the implementation took place a year before the launch of Cherwell’s Information Security Management System (ISMS), Arriva had a bespoke tool created for the existing platform to support their activities in the run up to the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) coming into force.

Alan adds: “Cherwell was able to have the additional GDPR tools up and running in six weeks. Under our old system, we would have needed to purchase an entirely separate tool to help us comply with the regulation. We are now able to fully segregate subject access requests so that they are never seen by the main service team and have no impact on their performance. It’s also very easy for us to track all requests and we can provide statistics on the number of GDPR-related requests and any other security incidents.”

Following the successful UK launch, Arriva is now looking at the viability of expanding with Cherwell into its European operations, including using a multi-language platform as the central channel for all serious health and safety incident reports across Europe.

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