Calgary Catholic School District increases focus on student success with ServiceNow
Calgary Catholic School District increases focus on student success with ServiceNow

Calgary Catholic School District increases focus on student success with ServiceNow

CCSD doesn’t want to waste its teachers’ valuable time on mind-numbing administrative work

Calgary Catholic School District (CCSD) and its 5,600 employees are committed to the success of their students. That commitment is underpinned by a culture of creativity and innovation, and it’s driven by a shared vision of the future. As Andrea Urquhart, Director of Human Resources at CCSD, explains, “In education, people view their jobs as a vocation. They want to help people succeed-to put students on the path to a bright future.” Dedicated teachers are at the heart of this mission. Their time is a precious commodity, fueling student learning and quality of education. Every minute spent on the phone or filling out forms is one less minute spent in the classroom.

The district has created ASK, an intuitive self-service portal that saves teachers 2.5 hours a month

How is CCSD giving back teachers this time? By creating an intuitive, self-service portal where teachers can easily access the services they need. Powered by ServiceNow, this portal lets teachers and other staff quickly request a broad range of services and information dealing with human resources, IT, and facilities, with more areas of services on the way. The portal is the culmination of CCSD’s shared service vision and journey, which is the result of close alignment and collaboration across CCSD’s various service teams.

John Schutte, Director of Information Technology at CCSD, explains how ASK has transformed service delivery at the district. “Teachers used to spend about five hours every month requesting services and chasing down status. With ASK, we’ve cut that by 50%. We’re delivering services better and faster, which means our teachers and staff are happier and more productive. That translates directly into student success. And, we’re seeing tremendous adoption. In fact, ASK handles 30% of requests completely automatically- there’s no need for our services teams to get involved.”

By offering easy, self-service access for routine tasks, CCSD’s business units now have time to provide personalised service where it matters

Does that mean that teachers now have to deal with an impersonal system rather than creating relationships with real people? Not at all, according to Andrea. “People don’t want to spend time on the phone asking for a password change or employment verification letter. They want the same fast and easy self-service they get in their personal lives. On the other hand, if they need a leave of absence because their child is very sick, they want a real person to give them compassionate help. By getting routine work out of the queue, we now have the time to provide high-touch services.”

CCSD has also automated its employee onboarding processes, empowering new teachers and making them feel part of the community

Beyond ASK, CCSD is also using ServiceNow to automate its employee onboarding processes. Andrea explains, “We onboard between 150 and 200 new teachers every year, in addition to other staff. We want to make sure they’re productive as soon as possible. By automating onboarding, we ensure that everything’s ready for them from day one. But it’s more than that-we want them to feel that they’re a part of our community. That’s particularly important for new teachers, who onboard in December but don’t join until they graduate in April. We use our onboarding solution to continue the conversation during this period, keeping them in the loop and letting them know we’re looking forward to having them on board.”

By transforming service delivery, CCSD has also made life better for its service teams

ASK’s workflow automation has also made things much easier for CCSD’s service teams. John explains, “Our student numbers are growing at 2.5% a year. We couldn’t keep up using our existing paper processes. Just adding more people wasn’t the answer. It wasn’t just a budget issue-to achieve our vision, we needed to make things faster and easier for our teachers. That meant creating speed and efficiency with digitalisation, which we’ve done.”
Andrea agrees, “Because everything was manual, we had a very linear approach to our work. Sometimes it would take five to 10 business days to process things as they were passed from one team to the next. It was incredibly frustrating and meant that we just had too much work on our plate. Now, those sorts of delays are a thing of the past. It’s been a really positive change. Our staff is much happier because it now has the tools to be creative and deliver exceptional service.”

By focusing on people-not just technology-CCSD has laid the groundwork for continued success

What lies behind CCSD’s success? Of course, the right technology is important, but true success depends on people. John says, “All of our service teams parked their egos at the door and worked together to do the right thing for our stakeholders and our students. We didn’t impose a solution. Instead, we found out what our employees actually needed and wanted. This included engaging them in the build process. And, we took the time to change processes where we needed to-there’s no point in digitalising an awful process.”

Andrea also stresses the importance of managing change. “Change can be big and scary, which is why we put a lot of effort into organisational change management. So, when the people on our team started to use the system, they found that it wasn’t nearly as difficult as they thought it would be. In fact, within two days, people were walking up and down the hallways saying how easy this is to use.”

CCSD is continuing to build momentum in its digitalisation journey with ServiceNow

According to John, there’s huge demand to digitalise services. “Everybody is chomping at the bit to be a part of this. It’s overwhelming. They see that it works and that it’s effective. Our transportation department is going live in the next few weeks, which is arguably the number one service we offer to students. For example, if a new student has special transportation requirements-say cab rides or a different bus-we’ll be able to handle that automatically. Finance is next, and we’re just starting to look at what we can do for supply management. We’re also planning to consumerize school services and interactions for parents, giving them easy access to submit requests and get information.

“The possibilities are almost unlimited. Within five years, our goal is to have virtually every customer-facing business unit on the Now Platform,” concludes John.

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