Fairfax County Public Schools Case Study

The Background

Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) is a suburban Washington, DC, public school system with 184,000 students. The IT department provides high-quality services for students, faculty, staff, and parents to support student learning and facilitate appropriate access when and where it’s needed. IT Application Support is responsible for level 2 enterprise applications, answering 34,000 calls and resolving 39,000 incidents annually in an ITIL environment.

Challenges

Prior to obtaining HDI certification, FCPS was operating off of a help desk model that was geared more toward providing custom resolutions for callers than collecting a lot of quantitative data. The problem FCPS needed to solve was how to ensure continual and consistent support for the support team’s best practices initiative. In effect, FCPS Information Technology was looking for ways to move from a help desk to a service desk. 

Action

FCPS made HDI certification a requirement for both the IT Service Desk and the IT Functional Application Support Team (FASTeam), which gave them consistent training and a common vocabulary, and ultimately allowed the two teams to merge their best practices. Since instituting its training policy and merging the teams’ best practices, FCPS has increased the percentage of tickets resolved within the SLA, and has noticed improvements in agent quality as they use the skills they obtained through HDI training. Customer satisfaction has steadily increased, and agents regularly achieve outstanding results on their surveys. More importantly, when team members at FCPS earn industry-recognized certifications, it reinforces the importance of their commitment to supporting the school division.

Results

FCPS made HDI certification a requirement for both the IT Service Desk and the IT Functional Application Support Team (FASTeam), which gave them consistent training and a common vocabulary, and ultimately allowed the two teams to merge their best practices. Since instituting its training policy and merging the teams’ best practices, FCPS has increased the percentage of tickets resolved within the SLA, and has noticed improvements in agent quality as they use the skills they obtained through HDI training. Customer satisfaction has steadily increased, and agents regularly achieve outstanding results on their surveys. More importantly, when team members at FCPS earn industry-recognized certifications, it reinforces the importance of their commitment to supporting the school division.

One of the keys to FCPS’s success was pursuing HDI certification at the same time that they adopted ITIL and implementing a Remedy ticketing system to support these initiatives. According to FCPS, HDI certification provides many benefits, including being aligned with ITIL, offering classes that are targeted to match staff and management needs, and controlled and rigorous exams. In addition, HDI certification provided FCPS agents with a network of peers, industry benchmarks, and best practices to call upon at any time. By providing a common vocabulary, metrics, standards, HDI certification facilitates discussion and promotes action.

Advice

"I think HDI certification sends an important message that an organization is committed to a rigorous process, investing in professional development of your employees. It also helps set the stage for being able to expect and obtain measurable results!" - Alan S. Brody, Coordinator of IT Application Support, Fairfax County Public Schools

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