Team Coaching

QAD Leverages Atlassian's Solution for ITSM to Collaborate and Innovate for Superior Service

June 24, 2024
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  • COMPANY: QAD
  • INDUSTRY: Enterprise Resource Planning
  • LOCATION: Santa Barbara, CA
  • SOLUTIONS: Jira Service Management Implementation & Tool Consolidation

Overview

This case study was originally published by Atlassian

As QAD grew from a two-person startup to a global manufacturing ERP leader, their collection of IT tools grew with them, leading to rising costs and complexity. In cooperation with Praecipio, QAD consolidated from 16 tools to 5, establishing Atlassian’s ITIL-friendly, integrated products as the backbone of their IT service management and asset management practices for their external customers. With a streamlined, interconnected system, their team has greatly improved collaboration, visibility, and speed – all key ingredients to deliver on their promise to provide stellar service to their customers.

Nearly 2,000 employees, over 2,500 customers, in over 100 countries – and QAD is just getting started. Since the company was founded in 1979 by a husband-and-wife team – “not investors or hedge funds, just two people who wanted to help,” as their founders say – QAD has grown into one of the world’s leading enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems for the manufacturing industry. 

While software and modern manufacturing are all about the technology, QAD has gained a competitive edge by focusing just as much on the people they’re helping as the technology they’ve developed. “The customer is king. If you don’t have customers, you don’t have a business,” says Jennifer Michael, Service Delivery Projects Team Lead and Senior Project Manager. “We always use outside-in thinking to understand how we can make our customers’ lives easier.”

To best serve their external customers, QAD invests in optimizing the internal employee experience too. Over the years, the company had accumulated a variety of proprietary and third-party tools for projects like IT service, support, and knowledge management. As the employee and customer base grew, it became more complex and costly to use and maintain such a large, disparate collection of products. QAD’s work towards increased standardization and integrated value delivery reinforced the need to align with ITIL best practices and adopt a new solution.

To alleviate their existing pain points and better support their future goals, the company began exploring how to consolidate and streamline their IT service management (ITSM) platform. Since choosing to centralize onto Atlassian’s ITIL-friendly, integrated products with the help of Praecipio, the team has reduced their collection of IT tools from 16 to five, greatly improved the customer service experience, and gained significantly better visibility into vital data for smarter decision-making. Atlassian also supports QAD’s ambitious growth goals by fostering continuous improvement and simplifying the scaling process. 

QAD has built a business around helping manufacturers innovate and change at unprecedented rates of speed. Now, with Atlassian powering their ITSM and asset management, QAD can meet the service delivery needs for their growing business faster and better than ever before.

Praecipio has served as a true partner in every sense of the word, helping ensure we’re doing things that are good for our business, but not overinflating. They’ve had our backs.
Jennifer Michael, Service Delivery Projects Team Lead and Senior Project Manager, QAD

The Challenge

Costly, complex siloes of tools spark the journey to a streamlined solution

As QAD expanded to become a global manufacturing ERP leader, the tools their IT team had accumulated over the years to help employees best service their customers were beginning to hinder productivity and service. Information was becoming more scattered. Staff was losing valuable time when switching from tool to tool. Expenses were mounting. And solutions developed in house not only weren’t meeting the team’s day-to-day needs, but were also becoming difficult to maintain. 

To make their ITSM practices more efficient, effective, and integrated, QAD began exploring a more centralized solution. After initially implementing ServiceNow, the team found it didn’t have the flexibility and customization options to meet their needs. Revisiting a list of other leading platforms in the marketplace, they realized Jira Service Management warranted a fresh look. Engineering was already using a number of Atlassian products (Jira Software, Confluence, Fisheye, Crucible, Bamboo, and Bitbucket). By adding Jira Service Management and seamlessly integrating Atlassian’s Mindville Insight as a CMDB – in particular, for its flexibility and expandability – QAD hoped to take advantage of even more adaptive capabilities to meet their company’s growth objectives.

Boosting collaboration, speed, and service with Insight CMDB

After selecting Jira Service Management as their ITSM platform, along with its Insight solution for a configuration management database (CMDB) and IT asset management, QAD turned to Praecipio for support with implementation. As QAD’s teams worked closely with customers to design Jira Service Management and with Praecipio to roll out both products, they quickly started noticing improvements and new efficiencies.

Before Insight, QAD didn’t have a consistent method for capturing customer or asset data, which made it difficult to track products purchased and used, or efficiently manage deployments and approvals. Now, with Insight pulling data from multiple sources into their CMDB, the Service Delivery team has a single source of truth where they can see detailed real-time data on thousands of active customer accounts, including users, products sales and usage, product versions, and more. Users are mapped to environments for permissions and approvals, which are securely automated and communicated to key stakeholders through an integration with the Scriptrunner Marketplace App. A versioning system within Insight also captures snapshots in time of an object's details, which are linked to related Jira Software issues when a change is requested (along with the updated objects) to provide a clear distinction between the “before-and-after” states of the object in question.

The visibility Insight provides not only makes troubleshooting and decision-making easier, but also fosters faster, better collaboration and service by accelerating the flow of more information between teams and tools. For example, special instructions that are added in Insight for customers are also visible in Jira Service Management. Easy access to details for special handling, the customer’s contract information, environment data, processes, procedures, and more help agents provide the customized care QAD is known for. These Atlassian products also connect via API to QAD’s internal products and portals, providing team members with the latest customer data at all times. 

Jira Service Management ... connects IT and development tickets, so incidents can easily be transferred to a development ticket with all the details. It has improved the collaboration, working relationship, and our product.
Jennifer Michael, Service Delivery Projects Team Lead and Senior Project Manager, QAD

A new ITSM solution for seamless collaboration

IT asset management isn’t the only process QAD transformed with the help of Atlassian solutions and Praecipio. They also worked together to enhance the company’s ITSM practices across requests, knowledge, incidents, problems, and changes.

Today, customers can visit QAD’s portal and browse a Confluence-powered knowledge base for answers to common questions (a smart strategy for encouraging self-service), call Service Delivery, or submit a ticket through Jira Service Management. Whenever a ticket is submitted via phone or portal, employees complete basic triage, troubleshoot and communicate plans to the customer, and route the ticket to the right team for resolution. With Jira Service Management’s SLA engine, team members working the ticket see gentle reminders of service level agreements, encouraging them to work efficiently and meet commitments. 

The visibility and tracking capabilities in Jira Service Management and Jira Software also enable QAD to see when the same incident happens more than once, which signals there may be a deeper problem or change to research. Whenever a change needs to be made, a ticket is created for the Change Advisory Board. Once the change is approved, developers use the Elements Checklist app to automatically create checklists in Jira Service Management with a task template for implementation, reducing mental load and ensuring they don’t miss any steps. QAD also has three workflows for problem management: two for simple or generic problems, and one for creating and communicating the RCA of a more complex problem, which eventually generates and emails a custom PDF of all relevant data to the customer.

Bringing request, incident, problem, change, and knowledge management workflows into an integrated, ITIL-aligned, customer-centric system has made a world of difference for all parties. “In the past, our internal systems didn’t talk or work well with each other, if at all. There was no two-way communication,” Jennifer says. “Now, it’s seamless. We connect IT and Development tickets, so incidents can easily be transferred to a development ticket with all the details. It has improved the collaboration, working relationship, and our product support.” 

QAD’s Atlassian system has also enhanced connectedness and collaboration among their teams, especially as they transitioned to fully remote work during COVID. Jennifer says, “Everyone is using the system remotely. We shifted from ‘swiveling chairs’ to asking each other questions through Jira Service Management. We’ll send a message to the group through notifications or collaborate through internal comments on tickets.”

She adds that employees have gravitated toward several features that make their jobs even easier. “The ‘Watcher’ functionality is especially helpful [for passive awareness],” Jennifer notes. “Our teams have also created close to 1,000 filters and over 300 dashboards. They love having all this information at their fingertips and being able to slice and dice it.”

With more standardized frameworks and streamlined, integrated systems, QAD’s IT and Development teams are well equipped to provide fast service as the company maintains their trajectory of fast growth. Seeing these improvements has also made QAD even more excited about the progress they can make with Atlassian powering their work in the future. They plan to explore additional features, such as multi-site deployment tickets, reporting, and streamlined event and access management – all key optimizations that will further reinforce their commitment to continuous improvement and superior service. 

It [Jira Service Management] has streamlined our customer ticketing system, enabling teams to work together more efficiently and effectively. Insight is at the center of every ticket, linking configured items with ticket activity.
Jennifer Michael, Service Delivery Projects Team Lead and Senior Project Manager, QAD

"Incredible" Interconnection That Makes Customers' Lives Easier

Looking back at their journey from a two-person startup to a global manufacturing ERP powerhouse, QAD is proud of their past and optimistic about their future. By consolidating their collection of ITSM tools by 75% and connecting their solutions across development, IT, and business teams, the team has already begun transforming their service delivery, which will only continue to improve as they implement new capabilities and optimizations. 

Jennifer says, “The fact that it’s one, interconnected system is incredible. The process improvements and effortless automations for employees and customers make a huge difference and save a lot of time.” She adds that Praecipio has served as a “true partner in every sense of the word, helping ensure we’re doing things that are good for our business, but not overinflating. They’ve had our backs.” 

The best reward – and the ultimate goal – of having Atlassian solutions at their fingertips and Praecipio by their side has been the positive feedback from customers. “The biggest compliment we’ve heard is from our customers about the communication and collaboration through tickets,” Jennifer says. “That’s what it’s all about: making our customers’ lives easier.”

This case study was originally published by Atlassian

The biggest compliment we’ve heard is from our customers about the communication and collaboration through tickets. That’s what it’s all about: making our customers’ lives easier.
Jennifer Michael, Service Delivery Projects Team Lead and Senior Project Manager, QAD
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