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Case study brief: Providing web support for Queen Mary University London

In 2018, HeX was brought in by the Queen Mary University London Communications team to oversee the web support of the university’s website and all of the 200 micro sites associated with the university.

HeX's front-line support experience made this case study unique

From dealing with complex code fixes to simple content changes, HeX became the frontline support for any website issues on the QMUL web infrastructure. Using a unique and bespoke ticketing system, HeX is able to keep up with issues raised and keep the QMUL web teams from becoming overwhelmed with the number of requests.

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Web support activities delivered

HeX’s terminalfour expertise

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Having carried out other successful projects for the Queen Mary University website and digital services, when the opportunity came up to tender for a web support contract, it was a no-brainer for the team here at HeX Productions. 

The Queen Mary University web system is hosted on the terminalfour (t4) content management system (CMS). With HeX being Critical Partners of t4, and already experienced in working with the QMUL back-end system, we were given the green light to take on the responsibility of web support for the University and the 200+ micro-sites.

Ticketing system implementation

Part of our initial process was to source a ticketing system that worked for the team at HeX but could also fit seamlessly into the workflow of every content editor and manager within the University. 

Having tested many industry-leading ticketing systems, we implemented on Zoho Desk, powerful in its customisation and usability. To make the decision, we had to be mindful of the way that Queen Mary staff worked, and how a ticketing system would fit into their processes. Zoho Desk allowed content editors to submit tickets via a newly created email workflow, allowing them to follow the progress of their submitted ticket. 

Allowing users their own accounts meant that duplicate tickets, which were a significant problem for the QMUL team, were eradicated as content editors could keep track of what had and what hadn’t been raised as an issue. 

An example of what a Zoho ticketing system would look like (Source: Zoho)

The choice of Zoho Desk also provided an easier way to report and monitor the volume of requests and provided a management system that allows feedback and tracking of jobs so that the output was more streamlined and efficient. 

Creating Service Level Agreements

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One of the issues before implementing the current web support system was that staff were unaware of how long they could expect to be waiting on a request to be resolved. HeX worked alongside the web team at the University to communicate to staff about the turnaround times for tickets and implemented clear SLA’s that could be read and understood by each content editor across the whole University. 

The clear SLA’s meant that staff were no longer chasing up tickets and clogging up an already overwhelmed email inbox.

Managing the frontline web support 

With more than 200 schools and organisations within the Queen Mary University name, we were drafted in to take the burden off of the existing web team by resolving tickets submitted by content editors and website creators.

The issues submitted by the staff members would vary in complexity, meaning that HeX’s technical team needed to be of expert competency when it came to working on the terminalfour CMS. The issues ranged from small content changes and complex code changes to new micro site creation using a range of set content types. 

Due to the team being an integral part of the web team at QMUL, HeX are now integrated into their stand-ups and Sprints. This allows us to have morning meetings with the University team to better understand the direction and number of projects on the horizon, ensuring they are on track and maintaining the backlog. 

QMUL logo

The benefits of HeX managing web support

Prior to HeX’s support, the team was bogged down with support requests. Our work has also meant an entire policy change across the university, and the introduction of new systems for content managers across the 200 schools.

two laptops on a desk with html on one screen and someone presenting on another

HeX has freed up time for the wider QMUL Communication’s team to focus on improvement of the web infrastructure.

Thanks to our work, the internal web team at QMUL now have the time to focus on improvements, rather than having to keep up with the demand of web tickets being submitted. We have been able to ensure the process of submitting issues is efficient for everyone involved. 

Overall, our implementation of the ticketing system and the additional SLA and timeframe policy has greatly reduced complaints from the internal content editors at Queen Mary University. Feedback from wider user groups is that the ticketing system had vastly improved satisfaction throughout the web estate.  

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