Case Study

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance Logo

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance


Quick Wins for IT

  • Established new service desk in only five months
  • Automated business processes
  • Saved $1 million annually
  • Implemented customer surveys and self-service portal

The Challenge

Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) serves as the clinical arm for research and treatment studies for Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, University of Washington Medicine, and Seattle Children’s. The organization’s outsourced IT service desk operated adequately, but a desire for financial savings, enriched customer relationships, and improved HIPAA compliance drove SCCA to seek out another solution.

In August 2011, SCCA began plans to bring the service desk in house with a go live date of January 2012—only five months. “We needed a powerful ITSM solution that could grow with us, and it needed to be budget friendly,” said Diane Burton, IT client services manager at SCCA. “As a non-profit, any savings we achieve goes directly to patient care.” Armed with a 25 point requirements list, SCCA evaluated both SaaS and on-premise solutions from industry-leading vendors, ultimately deciding on a locally hosted Cherwell Service Management® installation. “Hands down, Cherwell provided the best value, and the all-inclusive pricing model was straightforward. With other solutions, we had to add on, put it on our wish list, and budget for it next year.

The Solution

SCCA’s new service desk launched with Incident Management, Problem Management, Knowledge Management, and customer surveys. Self-service portal and Cherwell Discovery and Inventory™ (CDI) were added later. Additionally, 60-inch monitors were mounted to showcase business intelligence dashboards and key performance indicators. “The BI dashboards are powerful daily management tools,” declared Burton.

Leveraging Cherwell's codeless business application technology, SCCA moved through an exhaustive list of configuration requests in a fraction of the allotted time. “We were able to configure much of Cherwell Service Management with internal resources. Without scripting or coding, we could add a checkbox and report on it in two minutes,” said Burton. “In previous environments, I’d need an FTE for that.”

Photo of research doctors

"Downloadable business applications are a much more convenient and affordable way to expand system capabilities." - Diane Burton - IT Client Services Manager

The Results

With Cherwell Service Management as its backbone the new service desk was able to be more responsive to its partners throughout the organization. Also, the creation of One-Step™ automations minimized resource demands and maximized “standard work.” For example, service desk techs can respond to hardware requests with a single mouse click that launches a series of actions. These operational efficiencies enable SCCA’s five service desk techs (covering two shifts) to support 2,500 users and more than 3,000 devices with greater responsiveness.

Partnering with the server operations, network operations, development, and SharePoint™ teams, who all use Cherwell Service Management, the service desk handles approximately 2,000 tickets each month, closing a significant amount of those requests on first contact due to more comprehensive insight into a customer’s IT history. “The team is more knowledgeable, empowered, and confident,” Burton noted, “and customers receive faster, more thorough service.” Now, IT can analyze incidents and identify points of failure that can be prevented with process updates or automations.

The Future

The Cherwell Service Management platform will be used to manage work orders for facilities. Additionally, SCCA is exploring the use of to rapidly “snap in” additional functionality. “mApps packages are a modern, flexible, integrated way for our business team to quickly and easily add proven and powerful new functionality to Cherwell Service Management—with no coding. mApps packages are easy to build and apply,” Burton revealed. “Downloadable business applications are a much more convenient and affordable way to expand system capabilities—and the Cherwell community gives us an effective way to share and collaborate.
Photo of doctor and patient