KTR Systems GmbH

KTR lays the foundation for a reorganization of the IT department

 

In order to professionalize the processes surrounding the group-wide IT service, KTR Systems GmbH introduced the service management platform EcholoN in 2016 as a central hub for the control of service processes. The global manufacturer of high-quality drive technology, braking and cooling systems for mechanical and plant engineering thus laid the foundation for a comprehensive reorganization of the IT department. Today, the team led by IT manager Olaf Korbanek is not only able to map ticket and incident management as well as the management of numerous change requests using an integrated solution. It also makes a significant contribution to identifying weaknesses more quickly, making processes more flexible and evaluating incidents and change requests holistically in terms of a continuous improvement process.

Founded in 1959, the KTR Group now has 23 subsidiaries and 90 sales partners worldwide. At a total of seven production sites in Germany, Poland, the USA, Brazil, India and China, the company produces millions of standard products as well as over 20,000 customized products and components every year. The number of KTR employees currently amounts to more than 1,100 employees worldwide, just under 450 of them at the headquarters in Rheine, North Rhine-Westphalia. The product portfolio of the family company includes mechanical clutches and overload systems, torque measuring shafts, clamping sets and universal joints, hydraulic and electromechanical braking systems, hydraulic components and cooling systems for industrial applications in machine and plant construction.

 

The first service management solution was not accepted

Until 2015, KTR did not have a dedicated solution that reflected the IT service's internal service management processes. "Without the use of an IT-based tool, it is hardly possible today to effectively organize the IT department from a certain company size," explains Olaf Korbanek, who has been working for KTR Systems GmbH since 2014 as IT manager, and has years of experience with professional service management solutions from previous employers. An initial attempt to introduce IT service management software five years ago was unsuccessful at KTR due to a lack of acceptance on the part of users. The implementation of a suitable, needs-based and user-oriented ticket system to support the service processes was therefore a central concern on the agenda of the IT department.

 

The first service management solution was not accepted

"EcholoN allows us to implement a continuous improvement process in a structured manner, and that through a secure, meaningful workflow," says KTR IT manager Olaf Korbanek.

 

A lack of clarity made incident assessment and capacity planning impossible

The service processes have so far been processed and documented with the help of Outlook and Excel lists for the management of the process-specific requirement profiles, which meant that the employees lacked transparency and automation when processing the process. Valid resource planning within IT was just as impossible as effective cataloging and evaluation of incidents. In day-to-day business, for example, there was a lack of a clear view of the incidents, for example to draw conclusions and to push for more sustainable solutions. In the past, the individual service technicians received inquiries either by phone or e-mail and were then usually processed in succession. It was hardly possible to make a reliable assessment of the department's workload for the respective IT staff as well as for the users, which was a rather unsatisfactory situation for all those involved in the process. When the user received feedback on his service request was primarily dependent on the workload and organizational ability of the respective employee.

On two large monitors, the employees of the IT department get an immediate overview of the ticket volume and the current status of systems and lines.

On two large monitors, the employees of the IT department get an immediate overview of the ticket volume and the current status of systems and lines.

 

Smart integration of incident and change management

After the decision in 2015 to introduce a central platform for the IT service, an internal project team started the market research based on a pre-defined catalog of requirements and a weighted evaluation matrix. The solutions favored on the “short list” were finally tested for suitability at CeBIT in the form of demo presentations. While a provider fell out of the grid in this phase due to a lack of framework conditions, the focus in the following was on two solution providers. In the end, mIT solutions received the greatest approval with its service management platform EcholoN, which was particularly convincing due to its ability to map both change management and incident management in a medium-sized manner, without placing high demands on an ITIL process approach. The change requests with suggestions for improvement from all departments have so far been documented in a smorgasbord of eight Excel lists, which contain a total of more than 280 unprocessed requests from recent years. Therefore, an essential requirement in the selection process was to also integrate change management into the central service platform.

Going live in four months

In a joint workshop between the project team and the mIT solutions consultants, the essential requirements of the KTR were first recorded in autumn 2015: which categories are required, how is a request, a change request and an incident defined, what criticality should be used, what priorities are to be taken into account by the system, definition of the user groups and the channels through which the tickets are routed. In a second workshop, open questions were finally worked through. Subsequently, a test system was set up for the IT staff to gather initial practical experience and to simulate everyday requirements in EcholoN based on defined guidelines. After four months of implementation in April 2016, the start in real operation was not successive, but in the so-called "Big Bang" process, so that all modules could be used right from the start.

In the course of the implementation, a connection to the Microsoft SCCM inventory and software distribution system was implemented, including the transfer of the Active Directory data. Employees can now see at a glance which incidents are already in the life cycle of individual entities, e.g. a network printer. In May 2016, the IT department also presented the new system outside of the company's headquarters in Rheine, as part of a management forum, at the management level of all KTR subsidiaries, which was the starting signal for use on an international level. Now every user has the opportunity to create tickets via a web portal and track them online until they are resolved. Since January 2017, KTR has also been mapping change management via EcholoN, which from then on makes the extensive documentation of change requests, which is carried out using Excel, obsolete.

High acceptance and adaptability

With the new system, over 4,000 tickets have already been created, which also reflects the high level of acceptance of EcholoN in the company. “What sets the tool apart in practice is its enormous flexibility. Thanks to the modular principle, the processes can be knitted in such a way that tickets and incidents go through very similar process steps, which benefits handling and operation in day-to-day business. Especially with regard to the implementation of our change management, where the future process development of our entire group of companies is concerned, the requirements for the adaptability of the software are much higher, ”emphasizes Olaf Korbanek. "Having a tool at hand that gives us the flexibility to freely design our processes in the sense of the KTR Group is the greatest added value of the solution for us."

The procedure of specifying the sequence of workflows by the specialist user and having them readjusted by an IT employee has proven to be very successful. "To put it bluntly, up until a year ago, instead of reliable change management, we had an unfiltered" wish you something "in conjunction with a key user concept that needed to be revised, since not all of our employees' change requests were coordinated with the responsible department management. This is no longer possible today: Today, the change requests are recorded and specified centrally in our tool. Depending on the scope, approval of the department heads is requested via an automated workflow. This allows us to implement a continuous improvement process in a structured manner, and that through a secure, sensible workflow that takes account of all process owners”, continues Olaf Korbanek.

Organizational goal achieved with EcholoN

With EcholoN, KTR has achieved the organizational goal of improving IT internal processes from scratch. If an employee enters the IT department at KTR today, he gets an immediate overview of a kind of "IT heat map" on two large monitors, e.g. The overall status of systems and lines along the value chain is how high the number of newly arriving tickets per day is or how many tickets are still open or not assigned at the end of the day. This not only makes it easier to coordinate the use of resources, but also to tackle critical problems in a more targeted manner and to reliably delegate the tickets according to the respective workload. The intelligent search function in EcholoN is a function that is very popular with KTR employees in their day-to-day business. For example, employees can now see at a glance which devices have caused which problems.

In this way, various problematic device series could already be identified and exchanged in order to ensure smooth business operations. For KTR, the evaluations are a very central element in day-to-day work, with the help of which not only the problems can be solved, but also their causes can be eliminated. "With EcholoN, we are able to look at our processes from a completely different level, solve problems faster and improve ourselves sustainably," concluded the project team led by Olaf Korbanek.

Further expansion stages planned

In the medium term, the approximately 450 employees who work with EcholoN will be provided with a steadily growing “knowledge base” based on the tickets that have been purchased. In future, users will be able to use a full-text search to search for existing solutions before ticket entry, which will sooner or later reduce the number of tickets. In addition, an interface should give IT employees direct access to the database so that evaluations can be tailored and integrated into automated processes. This should automatically generate a ticket in certain areas, for example, when an error message appears.