Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) Sees Success By Automating its Service Desk Operations with Alloy Navigator
20 January 2012
Established in 1904, Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO) is a private, non-profit, educational institution dedicated to educating today's minds to provide tomorrow's eye, vision and healthcare. SCCO grants a four-year, professional degree, Doctor of Optometry (OD) and a Master of Science in Vision Science (MS). The college's superior clinical education program provides patient care experiences in community optometric clinics; exposure to the delivery of optometric care in multi-disciplinary settings; and experiences in practices serving a wide variety of ethnic and socio-economic patient groups. SCCO owns and operates two premier eye and vision care centers -- the Eye Care Center located on its campus in Fullerton, CA, and the Optometric Center of Los Angeles located in south-central LA.
For Gary Gray, Director of Information Technology at SCCO, his responsibility is centered on supporting all technology facets of the college community and its affiliated clinics. "Technology is a vital piece of an organization's success. To that end, we have a state-of-the-art clinic with computers in every exam room and just recently implemented electronic medical records (EMR),” he said.
When Mr. Gray began his post at SCCO in 1994, his department was responsible for managing approximately 60 computers and 20 Dec-VT terminals. Today, he and his team manage 450 computers/laptops and the VTs are all gone. “The main difference is not the number of computers, but the amount of information that needs to be managed as a result of them. The increase in computers, Internet, email data, etc. had contributed to the complexity of what we needed to support. Basically, it was becoming a case of information overload,” he explained.
Mr. Gray’s team was small at first and did not have a service desk management solution in place. Initially, SCCO had planned to hire a programmer to write a custom software application. However, while Mr. Gray and his team were researching existing packages for features and ideas, they came across a company called Alloy Software which impressed them.
Southern California College of Optometry (SCCO)
Deploy a service desk solution to manage the problem of information overload.
Alloy Software’s IT Service Desk Management Platform – Alloy Navigator®
Key Features Used
- Knowledge Base
- Incident and Problem Management
- Change Management
- Software Licensing Compliance
- Management Reporting
- Ability to search on previous solutions to handle similar issues
- Now has a single repository for information and work requests
- Manage information overload from Internet, email, etc.
- Cost and time savings realized
After extensive discussions with Alloy Software, SCCO came away extremely impressed with its upcoming version launch of Alloy Navigator, the company’s flagship IT infrastructure management solution. “We took notice of the forthcoming version which offered dramatic improvements to the database structure, and the addition of a Knowledge Base made it a perfect fit for our organization,” Mr. Gray added.
From the beginning, SCCO knew it needed a solution that offered a robust Knowledge Base. “We needed a single repository to build and maintain our (incomplete) documentation. We also required a machine auditor which we have been able to customize to gather dates of when the system was last backed up,” Mr. Gray explained. Once the new version of Alloy Navigator was released, SCCO quickly purchased the software and began the deployment and roll-out to users.
At SCCO, Alloy Navigator runs on Windows 2003 server and SQL Server 2005. “The primary users are only my technical staff at this time. All other access to the data is controlled through an internally developed application called SCCOSoft. Authentication for our SCCOSoft applications is achieved through Alloy Navigator which is the master database for most of our information,” Mr. Gray noted. Thanks to Alloy Navigator's Active Directory integration, new employees have immediate access to the programs that they need to use and terminated employee accounts are immediately deactivated.
According to Mr. Gray, flexibility was a key factor seriously lacking in other competitive help desk solutions. “In addition to being flexible, Alloy Navigator met most of our needs right out of the box and as we saw the power of the product, we began to think about new opportunities and processes to implement. To this day, we are still incorporating features from the Alloy Navigator product,” he said. "To this day, we have been surprised with how far we can push the Alloy Navigator product. The functionality enables us to easily mold it to fit the way we work at SCCO.”
The Information Technology department at SCCO is responsible for managing a wide gamut of technical issues including computer support, purchases and upgrades as well as management of point of sale (POS) systems, email, printers and peripherals. Alloy Navigator has played a critical role in the productivity of the team at SCCO.
In terms of immediate benefits that SCCO has realized, Mr. Gray notes that Alloy Navigator has provided a single repository for information and work requests. “The software also provides us with the ability to search on previous solutions to handle similar issues rather than relying on the memory of our technicians to remember past solutions,” he said.
Alloy Navigator has been a great asset to our organization. The versatility of the system and the open database architecture that allows us to customize our own systems has proven invaluable.
SCCO is also leveraging Alloy Navigator to monitor the status of local data backups on behalf of employees. Utilizing the software’s built-in reporting functionality, Mr. Gray and his team conducts monthly audits of employee computers to monitor if they are backing up critical data to an external hard drive, per SCCO’s data protection strategy.
On the topic of support, SCCO has been impressed with the level of technical support it has received. “At the start of the deployment early on, we did have many questions which were fielded by Alloy very quickly. The team at Alloy was extremely responsive and actually followed up with me on numerous occasions to ensure the technology was working properly,” Mr. Gray said.
“Alloy Navigator has been a great asset to our organization,” Mr. Gray explained. “The versatility of the system and the open database architecture that allows us to customize our own systems has proven invaluable.”
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