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Project Watch: Driving ITSM efficiency

Toyota Motorsport has revamped its IT service management (ITSM) platform with Hornbill, a change that has brought a range of benefits. Steve Evans reports

By Steve Evans


Toyota Sport is one of the world’s premier high-performance engineering, manufacturing and testing facilities. Located on the outskirts of Cologne in Germany, it employs around 200 full-time staff as well as numerous contractors.

Work at the facility originally focused on designing components for motorsport, mainly the Toyota Formula 1 team as well as for World Rally Championships and the 24-hour Le Mans race. These days, however, it has broadened its reach and now works with other motorsports, the automotive industry and other specialist engineering industries.

Although the engineering teams there were very adept at producing efficient components, the same could not be said of Toyota Motorsport’s internal IT support. IT project leader Per Nordqvist, said the system in place was largely a manual one, which it time consuming and the department costly to run. The company was also struggling with visibility and control over how it provided services to its users.

One of the main problems Toyota Motorsport had was with employees joining and leaving, and how IT dealt with both. This was a particular concern with contractors, who would only be at the company a short time but still needed full access to relevant systems.

The manual process involved caused delays and meant some workers began their job without access to certain key systems. The company was also slow at closing off access to systems when an employee or contractor left, which presented significant security risks.

Toyota Motorsport adopted Hornbill’s Supportworks ITSM Enterprise service management software, in place of BMC’s Remedy ITSM Suite, to help improve the efficiency of its IT support desk.

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One of the reasons for switching to Hornbill’s offering was the cost factor, Nordqvist said. As well as being "excellent" value for money it also required "very little customisation, and what little we did need, we performed ourselves without having to rely on external consultants."

"It coordinates data from four different systems – on customers, configuration, items and assets – and keeps it up to date. Supportworks is a central point of reference for the IT department and it has enabled us to transform our IT service management," he added.

One of the first benefits of the new system was automating the process for new arrivals and departures. Nordqvist said all delays have been eliminated and that all new arrivals are given access to the required systems on their first day. Departing workers also have their access rights revoked as soon as they leave, closing that particular security gap.

In fact, this process begins five days before a worker leaves the office for the last time. The Hornbill product integrates with Toyota’s SAP system to ensure that access to all systems are closed off once the worker leaves, and that any software licences are either cancelled or re-issued to another member of staff. Nordqvist says this means no costly resources go unused.

Another element of Hornbill’s Supportworks ITSM Enterprise service management software that has provided tangible benefits to the business is self-service. The Supportworks Web SelfService portal is used by support for logging and tracking calls, and also provides an inventory, asset allocation information, and mobile phone usage details, Hornbill said.

Since implementing the technology, response times have halved despite the number of calls increasing by 20%. Nordqvist said this has given IT the chance to actually focus on driving innovation at Toyota Motorsport, rather than spending its time simply keeping the lights on.

"Supportworks has proven to be an invaluable tool for us at Toyota Motorsport – without it we would spend a huge amount of time manually dealing with issues from simple user requests to personnel arriving and leaving," he said.

"Supportworks’ self-service capabilities and its integration with our HR processes mean that we can spend more of our time focusing on what truly matters: developing IT services that help us provide the best possible service to our customers."

The platform was also used to help move workers at Toyota Motorsport from Windows XP to Windows 7. Integration with the configuration management database (CMDB) meant that IT could monitor what effect the migration could have on each user and that unexpected disruption was kept to a minimum.

Implementation of the software has also helped Toyota Motorsports financially. Nordqvist said that the previous system cost more in one quarter than the entire cost of purchasing and implementing the Hornbill system.

In addition, maintenance costs have been reduced by 80% and hardware footprint and data centre requirements by 90% compared to the system previously used by Toyota Motorsport.

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