Interstate Blood Bank is in the business of saving lives. This biotech company collects blood from thousands of donors. It operates a network of 35 donor centers and laboratories throughout the USA.
IT Director Lenny Goodman is proud of his small, efficient team of seven. They oversee the technological needs for more than 1,400 employees and 800 computers from the company’s Memphis head office.
The continued success of the organization has enabled investment in smart technology. As this becomes further embedded into the organization, the responsibilities of the IT team have grown.
So too have employees’ expectations for effective communication and quick resolution to IT issues. Like every organization, any downtime could lead to a dip in productivity and operations.
In the past, emails and phone calls were the main communication methods – but these had their drawbacks. Calls were time-consuming and speaking to the right person at each facility wasn’t always easy. If email was the very thing that was broken, spreading the word in a timely way became almost impossible.
These problems were exacerbated if the event was unplanned. Times like this require all hands on deck, yet the inevitable flood of helpdesk calls and logged tickets could quickly divert valuable resource.
Goodman wanted to improve lines of communication with all staff throughout the country. He believed that pre-emptive, high cut-through communication could ease the pressure on his team and provide a better service to all employees.
After seeking out various enterprise notification systems online, he selected SnapComms desktop alerts. He says: “We road-tested other options before choosing SnapComms. We found it to be elegantly simple. The software has clearly been designed around how it’s used.”
Known for their high impact and cut-through, Alerts are pop-up notifications that sidestep email completely. They appear directly onto employees’ screens for maximum impact.
The primary use of the SnapComms Alerts at Interstate Blood Bank is for general IT communications and operational messages to all staff, from clerks to phlebotomists.
Notifications can be about scheduled maintenance, upgrades, unplanned outages, spam warnings and anything else that’s sufficiently important and deserving of an unmissable message.
“We use the screen sizing feature to suit the message. If it’s an important reminder notice, we do that small. If it’s urgent, we use full screen,” adds Goodman.
His team have taken advantage of being able to preconfigure messages, so that zero time is wasted in an urgent situation.
“We’ve created an anticipatory catalog of messages, covering potential scenarios that can go wrong. For example, ‘Email is down’, ‘Phone system is down - restart your phones’, and ‘Scheduled maintenance – no need to contact Helpdesk’.
Speed of message relay, and the flow-on productivity benefits, has really impressed Goodman. “Within 60 seconds I can edit and publish a message to either machines or users. It’s out the door and on the screen, with just a few clicks!”
The reports dashboard is possibly what Goodman likes best. He now has a complete view of who’s opened and read his team’s IT messages.
“Message delivery success is constantly around 90 – 95%, and open/readership rates is approximately 80% depending upon time of day,” he says. This is in stark contrast to email, where most companies experience an ‘all staff’ email achieving low open rates and reporting stats are not easily available.
If open rates fall below 80%, Goodman republishes the message, targeting only those who have not yet opened the Alert, to guarantee better results.
This has alleviated the perception that IT are hard to contact. “Proactive messaging lets them know we are working on the problem, and when it’s fixed.”
So effective has Interstate’s new approach to communication been, that Goodman is now looking to expand usage of SnapComms tools into different areas of the organization.