Case Study – East Coast Main Line

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Case Study – East Coast Main Line


East Coast Main Line establishes Service Desk independence with the help of Supportworks


East Coast Main Line forms one of the UK’s main transport arteries, linking London, The East Midlands, Yorkshire, North-East England and Scotland for more than 18 million passengers in 2010. Founded in 1996, the number of services the company operates has almost doubled since then, and is set to increase by a further 15% during 2011. East Coast has 3,100 employees at 15 stations, depots and offices located along its routes. It has also pioneered the use of technology on railways, for example by being the first UK train route to offer wireless internet access.


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East Coast is currently moving from ownership by National Express, which it transferred from in 2010, to being re-franchised in 2013. As its existing IT service desk was delivered from a basic, centralised National Express call logging system, East Coast needed to implement an entirely new system for its analysts who handle requests from over 3,000 staff across the UK. This support was also extended for the 3,000 customers who use its onboard Wi-Fi every day.

The rail company therefore engaged in an evaluation process to identify a service desk solution that would not only effectively meet these requirements but could be implemented within a tight, three-month independence timetable from National Express. Hornbill’s Supportworks ITSM was chosen from a shortlist of 6 competing products, including LANDesk and, thanks to its ease of installation, functionality, flexibility and proven track record.



As a result of the fast roll-out of Supportworks ITSM Enterprise, East Coast was able to successfully meet its independence timetable. It now has complete control over its own IT support, with the confidence and ability to sustain and improve the quality of its service desk.


Fast Roll-Out Beats East Coast’s Tight Deadline:

Hornbill’s Supportworks software was purchased in July 2010 and went live in October 2010, not only beating the tight switchover deadline but also allowing East Coast to offer independent service desk support during the process.

Supportworks Provides Greater Visibility of Actions

Supportworks gives East Coast full visibility across support requests. This has enabled the service desk team to offer stronger SLAs and improve asset management processes. For example since all requests for user account creation, new hardware and software and other benefits pass through Supportworks, East Coast can monitor user accounts, hardware purchasing, software licensing and other factors to ensure that such items are being allocated correctly. In total, SLA resolution has improved by 8%.

IT Team is Freed Up to Concentrate on Helping Drive Independence

The IT Support team has seen the time spent on support calls fall by 10%, with customer Wi-Fi calls able to be resolved within 5 minutes. As a result, it can spend less time dealing with regular IT support calls and more time on the unique support issues that have arisen as East Coast moves towards independent ownership of all of its IT resources. For example, East Coast has been able to pinpoint and repair recurring areas of failure in its onboard EPOS system.

User Satisfaction Greatly Increased With Supportworks

Coast has seen a great deal of positive feedback from its IT Users. The first-time fix rate has improved from 25% to 60%, making for a much more effective experience. At the same time automation has enabled IT support staff to provide updates and progress reports to users, making communication much more effective.

Implementation Not Standing Still

East coast is still expanding further in its Supportworks implementation. For example, it is currently implementing a self service Customer Portal within Supportworks: when this is completed in Q4 2011, users will be able to fix certain issues themselves. This will in turn reduce time spent on calls, free the support department for more proactive action and help establish the new, public-sector East Coast Mainline as an organisation with first-class IT support.


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At a glance


East Coast Main Line




Supportworks ITSM Enterprise


Using Supportworks to support company’s move to independence from previous franchise owner and proactively anticipate and solve problems before they can escalate


- Implementation was completed within three months, allowing East Coast independent IT support as it continued with nationalisation

- Greater visibility of actions, resulting in stronger SLAs, improved asset management and an SLA resolution improvement of 8%

- Time spent on support calls are reduced by 10%, freeing up more time to adapt to public ownership

- First-time fix rate has improved from 25% to 60%, along with a greatly improved customer experience

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