Campus News

December 3, 2010

Report From: Office of Information Technology

Shopping cart opens the door to better service

John Wilson is a manager of Enterprise Applications in University Technology Services.

Historically, customers internal to University Technology Services, as well as those from other divisions across campus and Emory Healthcare, have requested services such as phone, network, smart devices and virtual servers through a confusing variety of channels, including e-mail, telephone, Lotus Notes, or Remedy templates. Needless to say, tracking requests from these different sources was inefficient, difficult and involved a great deal of manual processing and duplicate effort.

In an effort to improve operational efficiency in this area, the Office of Information Technology purchased a shopping cart application from the MySoft vendor, Compco. Called the OIT Shopping Cart, this application is an extension of the MySoft suite of IT Service, Inventory, and Financial Management software, supported by the Enterprise Applications' Business Systems team.

"In conjunction with the launch of Service-now, the OIT Shopping Cart and Billing Portal now provides a central location for our customers who request OIT billable services," says John Connerat, executive director, IT Finance and Administration. "Gone are the Lotus Notes forms and gone are the ad-hoc billable forms in Remedy.

"We have simplified the customer experience, and have provided a better front door for our customers who buy our services on the front end through the Shopping Cart and who need to validate their charges on the back end through our billing portal."

The OIT Shopping Cart is similar to many of the current web-based shopping interfaces that are in the market today. All of OIT's billable services are currently available on the Shopping Cart and customers can simply choose the service option that best fits their needs. The interface offers photos, making the selection much easier, and provides upfront costs, which is a big improvement over the old ways of ordering at Emory.

As a result, charges are automatically entered into the billing system, eliminating the sometimes error-prone task of manually keying orders. Additionally, a work order is created for the customers, providing them notifications and order tracking.

You can use the tool at

The OIT Shopping Cart was made available to the campus and Healthcare on Nov. 1. The Shopping Cart is integrated, at a high level, with the new IT Service Management tool, Service-now, whose Incident Management module went live on the same day. Since the initial rollout in March, a total of 888 orders have been successfully processed.
Although running well, the team continues to add services and improve usability of the Shopping Cart.

Says Mary Kinney of Enterprise Technology Services in UTS, "A nice thing about the Shopping Cart is that is gives us a good starting point for adding additional billable services and gives us many ideas for possible ways we can implement this technology throughout our business."

While the Shopping Cart is a powerful tool and had a great potential to dramatically improve the customer experience, it was not a turnkey application. Many hours were spent analyzing the way goods and services are ordered, processed, fulfilled and billed in preparation for the shopping cart implementation.

Phil Shaw of the UTS Project Management Office managed the project, which included contributions from Field Services, the UTS executive and management staff, and OIT Finance and Administration. Missie Martin of Enterprise Applications spent countless hours developing the application though the Mpower customization tool and created many of the visual and functional elements in the application that were not provided out-of-the-box. Norman Butler of Enterprise Applications also provided critical development support.

This effort exemplifies OIT's dedication for collaborative application design and customer improvement.

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