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Devoteam helps leading examinations marker satisfy the world’s toughest SLA


Our client is a principal marker of examinations for leading awarding bodies (exam boards) and the International Baccalaureate and is part of a larger British company with a long heritage of providing innovative technology to the education sector.

For over a decade this company has managed the process and outsourcing for testing and qualifications, data analysis services for teachers, education managers and policy makers.

Main challenges

Satisfying the world’s toughest SLA

Every year more than a million students around the world receive their examination marks thanks to this company. Its seasonal business sees peaks of activity to ensure publication of results from 14 million UK exam papers in mid-August. Such commitment means this company has effectively the world’s toughest service level agreement to deliver 100% correct results on time, with no room for failure. One incorrect exam result is too many!

Given the criticality of its business, the company applies its highly structured examination support process to the marking operation. The network of markers uses a dedicated e-marking application for increased control, more efficiency, better quality assurance, as well as its ability to split papers between markers.

All exam papers are scanned, an operation that produces stores of 160 million images. This level of activity can generate 30,000 enquiries over the summer between the company, its exam board customers and suppliers.

The key challenge lay with how to manage this complex communication process. The company had relied on SharePoint, spreadsheets and email, which, although part of a structured workflow, offered no real-time management information.

With little visibility of whether the whole process was on target, the company was having to react to issues as they occurred and was not in a position to anticipate service incidents. The teams had to guard against human error, the pressures of serial working, islands of data in multiple spreadsheets and a lack of real-time information, among others. Although highly organised and with a fully functional workflow structure, the client needed a structured workflow tool to manage the complexity of its operation.

What did we solve?

Uniting the elements of a complex marking operation to reduce human error

Following a competitive tender, the company engaged Devoteam for its international expertise gained from 700+ ITSM consultants running complex projects in 17 countries and for its experience of aligning IT infrastructure with the needs of the business.

Devoteam recommended ServiceNow, the leading cloud-based service management solution, for its clear ability to fulfil quickly the company’s requirements as well as strengths such as ease of use, a SaaS model (no infrastructure required), comprehensive reporting, and a highly available performant platform.

In Phase One, Devoteam implemented ServiceNow to manage one part of the company’s Examination Lifecycle Support process, a workflow solution which would bring together the various elements of the complex marking operation, including scanning companies, exam markers and awarding bodies. In a collaborative journey lasting six months, the company moved seven major processes from SharePoint across to ServiceNow to manage these logistics, automating workflows while creating a single system of record.

Devoteam then integrated the company’s dedicated e-marking application, the world’s most widely used exam e-marking platform, into ServiceNow. Hitherto, users would have to leave the marking software to log an issue. With the e-marking application on the ServiceNow platform, users now log incidents and problems and request changes in situ, thus saving time and effort.

For the next phase, Devoteam supported adoption of ITIL processes for change, problem, request and knowledge management, replacing the SharePoint system that was decommissioned. The company used the ITIL standard to drive common process adoption and standardisation. An important outcome to this was optimal use of the ServiceNow licences. Further, the company identified ways to leverage ServiceNow in 17 out of 20 work streams.

Devoteam is now working with our client on customer experience, a self-service capability and a support portal to enhance further how its customers interact with the organisation.

Main benefits

Boost in productivity through unified process and better visibility

Our client’s customers and suppliers universally see their ServiceNow solution as a great improvement with the accrual of a number of benefits:

  • greater productivity through successful handling and resolution of over 25,000 enquiries in ServiceNow’s unified system;
  • management information that allows the client to see in a single report the status volumes by awarding body by process stage for real-time decision support
  • time saved throughout the marking operation.

This solution is an example of where Devoteam has introduced service management to address directly an identifiable business need, and to ensure its client continues to meet the world’s toughest SLA – 100% delivery of the right marks to over one million students – with amazing results.

“We had 12 weeks to implement a new solution for a fully customer-facing service. This was a big leap, but it revolutionised the way in which we deliver our service. Devoteam was instrumental in that achievement”.

Client’s service delivery manager

A programme of continuous improvement characterises the journey of this collaborative partnership. The client sees ServiceNow as a strategic solution to assist its growth while ensuring successful fulfilment of its commitment to every customer, every year.

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