Western Carolina University

Quick Wins for IT

  • Implemented Cherwell Service Management in just a few months
  • Drove higher productivity and effectiveness for faculty, staff, and students
  • Rolled out efficient customer self-service portal and improved customer satisfaction
  • Quickly configured Cherwell without relying on developers and engineers 

The Challenge

Founded in 1889, Western Carolina University (WCU) is laser-focused on quality education and preparation for responsible citizenship in a changing world. Located near the beautiful Great Smoky and Blue Ridge mountains of North Carolina on a 600-acre campus, WCU delivers higher education and career opportunities to more than 10,000 students from 48 states and 35 countries. Since its founding, WCU has expanded to become a major cultural, scientific, and educational force in the region, offering more than 120 specialties— including the nation’s highest-ranked entrepreneurship and project management programs, a national award-winning teacher education program, a criminal justice program, and the nation’s first accredited four-year emergency medical care program.

A few years ago, the university was growing and expanding rapidly, constructing and renovating buildings, and adding new disciplines and online degree programs. The Western Carolina University IT team realized that to better support the university’s long-term strategy, a more comprehensive, scalable, and easily configurable IT service management (ITSM) system was required. WCU’s experience with other ITSM software applications was varied. According to the IT team, there were “inherent flaws” with the applications—from aesthetics to design and workflow—none of which were well-suited for a fast-paced IT support center in a higher educational environment. With their previous ITSM solution, the university’s service desk was unable to capture “incident details in a fast, efficient manner.” Other system pain points included a lack of custom dashboards, no tools for root cause identification, and inadequate public notification of system-wide issues.

“We literally have a base of Cherwell fans that love working in the application, something we never had with the previous product.”

IT Director - Western Carolina University

The Solution

Western Carolina University selected Cherwell® Service Management, a comprehensive, flexible, affordable ITSM solution suite with the unique Cherwell Choice™ licensing and hosting model. Cherwell offered all the scalability and power of an enterprise solution at a mid-market price, the perfect combination to meet the university’s business challenges. Cherwell's ITIL®-certified Incident Management was so robust—yet easy to configure—that it required very little effort out-of-the-box for WCU to begin using it in earnest. With Cherwell, no special programming skills, dedicated developers or engineers were required for IT to configure and modify the application. A number of university’s IT support professionals were able to use Cherwell Service Management to create and share content and metrics—like business intelligence and team dashboards, Cherwell's unique One-Step™ actions, quick searches, and on-demand reporting—across the organization.

The Results

“We literally have a base of Cherwell Service Management fans that love working in the application—something we never had with previous products,” said WCU’s IT director. With eleven PinkVERIFY™ ITIL-certified processes, Cherwell also provided “a painless ITIL approach and made implementation of ITIL best practices a new reality” for the university. As a result, the IT team has quickly progressed beyond Incident Management and now successfully utilizes many other features of Cherwell—including the Self-Service Portal, Change Management, Service Level Management, Problem Management, Knowledge Management, Configuration Management, and Configuration Management Database (CMDB).

According to the university’s IT director, “there is no doubt that Cherwell Service Management has changed the way our support professionals do business for the better. They love it and enjoy using and crafting the tools every day.” Not surprisingly, one of the university’s major benefits from the comprehensive ITSM solution stems from the fact that Cherwell has significantly improved the customer experience for users served by the IT department: the faculty, staff and students. “Customer self-service, the knowledge base, customer satisfaction surveys, and data availability—all of these have raised our clients’ abilities to be more productive and effective in their jobs, relying less on the help desk itself and more on the services the help desk provides. It has been a transformational shift on our university campus, contributing to a much higher satisfaction rating of our support unit as a whole."

The Future

Western Carolina University plans to continue its mission, serving the community of North Carolina and beyond with superior educational offerings. The university’s IT department has plans to continue to expand its Cherwell Service Management system to other applications and departments, exploring the options for additional integration with other software systems and coordination with other university departments.