Supernus Pharmaceuticals self-medicates with Freshworks for IT support

Mark Samuels Profile picture for user Mark Samuels March 29, 2022 Audio mode
Summary:
The company has created effective service level agreements that help ensure end users get the most value from the technology they rely on.

pharmaceuticals

When your core business involves developing medication to treat the likes of Parkinson’s, depression and ADHD, the last thing you need your workforce to be caught up in is trying to resolve IT support issues. Robust IT Service Management (ITSM) means the 500-plus employees who work for Supernus Pharmaceuticals are getting their tech queries resolved efficiently, freeing them up to focus on meeting medical challenges.

Supernus is using Freshservice from Freshworks to meet its needs and provide what IT Manager Alejandro Massuet calls “surety across ITSM”. That wasn’t the situation that Massuet inherited when he joined the company in 2019. At that point, the organization’s existing toolset lacked workflow automation, which meant it wasn’t possible to map processes, to escalate issues, and to assign and approve work, he recalls:

We had a service agent who would act like a hub. That person would receive a request and send it over to the support team. But there was the potential for human error in that approach. And, of course, we were delaying the assigning of any issue or service request to the support group directly.

Another issue prior to the implementation of Freshservice was that Supernus only offered IT support through email, phone, and direct walk-ups. It was difficult to create a knowledge base of IT issues that could be used to help people self-serve when they had technical challenges says Masseur:

Everything that we had was scattered. We wanted to provide end users with a way to go and search for articles themselves and find solutions in that knowledge base, but we didn't have that resource.

Solution

To meet this need, the first port of call was analyst firm Gartner to identify a potential technological solution. Supernus needed a platform that would serve as a single repository for all IT service requests and incidents, and which could also be used to support future initiatives. Massuet’s team assessed various ITSM providers across a range of metrics and determined that Freshservice provided a solid fit:

It matched our approach of being a cloud-based platform. Other systems only offered subsets of features in the cloud. If you wanted to implement the whole platform, you had to install things on-premises, and we didn't want that. I also liked the way that Freshworks offered different implementation packages.

The implementation was completed in just four weeks in August 2020. As well internal IT staffing resources, Massuet was able to draw on the expertise of a Freshworks specialist. The implementation process included a consideration of key features for the business including, automation, authentication and agreed service level agreements (SLAs):

We reviewed everything that was done. We talked about blockers and tried to come up with a solution. That gave us small goals that we wanted to accomplish each week. We iterated with that same framework for four weeks and, at the end, we were ready to go live.

Benefits

The initial goal was to push 50% of the company’s 1,000 monthly IT ticket requests through the Freshservice portal within the first five months. However, the support team was able to use the platform to surpass this target within three months, with as much as 80% of tickets going through the Freshservice portal. 

Massuet says the company can now resolve users’ IT problems quicker, with service tickets automatically directed to the right support destination. Supernus has also been able to create a knowledge base of common user requests. By making this knowledge available through the Freshworks platform, end users can self-serve, he explains:

It’s very easy. In the past, end users would ask, for example, ‘How do I connect to the Wi-Fi?’. Well, now they don’t need to ask anymore. The information is in the knowledge base. They don't have to wait for us – and we don't have to reply to the same request time after time.

Implementing Freshservice – and increasing the amount of automation across ITSM requests – has also helped to boost the satisfaction of people who work on the support team, he adds:

We leveraged what Freshworks calls the Arcade module to create healthy competition. We give a small token of appreciation every month to staff who solve the most tickets quickly or who have the best customer satisfaction levels. We could see that they were fighting for those results.

Beyond IT

The successful rollout of Freshservice in IT has also led to expansion across other areas including facilities, purchasing, finance, and lab services. Masseut says:

We were able to provide a one-stop shop for requests and incidents, regardless of the department that was providing the service.

In terms of the wider business, Freshservice has created an integrated approach to service management. Rather than individual functions relying on their own support systems, they can all now use a single, well-understood platform, he explains:

We’ve taken a huge step towards improving customer satisfaction. We’ve introduced SLAs, started identifying trends and set baselines. And we're only going to keep improving that process. For 2022, one of the goals is to keep improving those metrics.

The company's long-term vision is to integrate every service request into Freshservice and to use Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning more extensively, including the potential use of chat bots to help end users to self-serve. Masseut explains:

We want to make sure that we leverage this platform in the way it is intended. We need to collect data from network devices, on-premises servers and the cloud platform. We want to use AI and create alerts triggered by automations. Those are things that we need to design and that's in our pipeline.

In terms of advice to other organizations with similar needs, Massuer advises looking for an ITSM provider that acts more like a partner than a vendor. Work with a suppler, he says, that will help your company get the most value from its toolset during the next five to ten years:

Look for something that is flexible. Look for something that is easy to operate from the agent perspective but also from the end-user perspective. The value of a tool is co-created. We can provide the best platform but if the end user doesn’t use it, it’s not valuable.

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