Case Study

Hollister Incorporated

Quick Wins for IT

  • Reduction in ticket numbers and faster turnaround and escalation times
  • Creation of a self-service offering for the first time, now accounting for 12% of new tickets
  • A single global offering for regional service desks in the US, Europe, India and Australia
  • Swift and flexible configuration and implementation

The Challenge

Hollister Incorporated began as a small printing company called JDS Printer Craftsman in Chicago in 1921. Building on a reputation for quality products and services, the company evolved into a medical products manufacturer and took on the Hollister name over the following decades, going on to revolutionize several fields including ostomy care in the 1960s. Today, Hollister Incorporated has manufacturing and distribution centers on three continents and its products are sold in more than 90 countries around the world.

As the company continued to expand, the decision was taken in 2011 to find a different package to support its international service desk operations across Europe, the US, India and Australia.

Mike Leeding, IT Quality Specialist at Hollister UK, had responsibility for the global service desk operations at the time. He comments: “Our service desk operations were using a mixture of different tools, databases and spreadsheets. We wanted a single solution that could provide incident and change tools, reporting and analysis, creating a smoother service that could reduce turnaround times. We also wanted to explore areas such as configuration management databases (CMDB) and self-service, which were not possible with our existing tools.

“We wanted this combined approach to help to unite and integrate our service desks around the world. Many of the solutions on the market offer very large or very small packages, but neither of these seemed a good fit for us, we needed something more flexible.

The Solution

Hollister launched a competitive tender to find the right solution for its needs and explored several options as part of the selection process. Mike and the team were immediately impressed by Cherwell, both by the working culture and the flexibility and ease of use of its solutions.

As a result, Hollister chose the Cherwell IT Service Management solution.

Cherwell’s flexibility proved a winner during the implementation, as the solution was able to be configured to Hollister’s unique structure, so meeting all the company’s needs.

Hollister opted for a SaaS set up, so avoiding the need for infrastructure. One of the biggest challenges during implementation was defining what the service catalogue should look like.


“Cherwell’s consultant did a wonderful job working with us on this project. I don’t know how he turned around some of the things so quickly”, added Mike.

The implementation had to account for multiple regional service desk operations, each of which had built up its own unique set of tools and processes, after effectively working autonomously for years. Cherwell was able to unite the disparate operations under a single solution for the first time.

"Cherwell’s dashboards in particular won us over very quickly. After a demonstration you could see instantly how it works and what it could achieve. Cherwell is also incredibly flexible, and you can more or less get it do anything you need." - Mike Leeding - IT Quality Specialist

The Results

The addition of a self-service facility for the first time helped to reduce the number of new tickets being created by enabling users to find information themselves. 12% of tickets are now created through self-service, freeing up staff to deal with other requests.

Hollister has seen several powerful benefits to its service desk operations since the Cherwell implementation was completed. The service desk and ticket processing operations have been optimised to enable faster turnaround to resolution. There are also marked improvements in the escalation processes when tickets need to be escalated to level two or three. Through smart email processing in Cherwell, Hollister has setup the system to automatically assign many incoming emails directly to the escalation team responsible rather than having these processed by the service desks. This removes many non-value-adding tasks from the service desks.

The new globalised approach also provided significant benefits to turnaround times. Rather than prioritising local customers, the regional desks now share the global tickets in even measure and treat them equally.

Implementation of a CMDB that is tightly integrated with the service desk processes is providing enormous benefits by enabling better asset control and planning using accurate information.

The team also found that the analysis and reporting features on the new dashboard means that Hollister can start tracking key areas such as ticket reduction and put valuable metrics in place.

Mike comments: “Under our previous setup, we could only really look at how many tickets were being completed, which, in isolation, is not a useful metric. It’s more important to know what kind of tickets they are and how they impact the business.

“Now all of our desks are able to look at the tickets for their departments and see exactly what is going on. They can see how long tickets are taking, how reduction initiatives are progressing and issues from individual tickets. This is far more valuable than a tally of numbers.”

Concluding, Mike says: “The feeling among our staff is that the Cherwell allows them to provide a better level of service, particularly with the self-service and ticket tracking. As a result of this increased visibility we’re communicating with our teams more frequently and can engage with them about their achievements.

“Following the successful implementation, we are continuing to roll out new initiatives, such as enhancing the CMDB and adding applications as configuration items (CI). In addition, we have expanded Cherwell beyond IT into other areas of the business and are using it for work tracking in our Research Laboratories and our Engineering departments. I cannot recommend Cherwell and this product highly enough.”

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