Ed Toner

Process Improvement: What's in a name?

Sometimes the best process improvement efforts are the least fascinating and easiest tools to implement.  One year ago we initiated an enterprise self-service password reset tool and as a result, we noticed some dramatic results. I will share the February metrics as an example:




  • Password resets performed manually by OCIO Service Desk were down 272 calls from January, a   37% decrease.
  • Account Unlocks performed manually by OCIO Service Desk were down 529 calls from January, a 22% decrease


Process Improvement is a skill that has helped me throughout my career; it becomes a way of thinking. Our recent graduates of “Executive Green Belt” training will concur that process improvement involves identifying, analyzing and improving upon an existing business process to reduce time to execute, increase quality and reduce cost. Just like we did with consolidation, the self-service password allowed us to achieve this trifecta again, and this time with more customer-facing implications than before. Instead of our customers waiting on hold for the Service Desk to unlock or reset their network account, they are authorized to use self-service with immediate results and a high rate of success.



At the Service Desk level, we set our own benchmark of 80% incident resolution within 24 hours.  With the increased volume of support calls being managed, and with minimal increase in our resources to provide support, we were able to maintain this benchmark and exceed it.  We introduced new tools to optimize the resolution process.

There is some mystery associated with process improvement, which is made more confusing by the frequency with which the models changed over the last 40 years.  In my career, beginning as an Industrial Engineer, to present day, I was introduced to Lean Manufacturing, Total Quality Management (TQM which evolved into Six Sigma), Six Sigma, Lean Six Sigma, Zero Defects Approach, Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA or the Deming Cycle), CCM (the continuous improvement model) and JIT (Just-In-Time manufacturing).

I never understood any of this to be a mystery. To me it seems that improving business operations is nothing more than basic common sense, only a few simple questions to remember:

  • What problem are you trying to solve?
  • What does the customer want?
  • Is the customer happy with the resolution?


This month the OCIO Service Desk is running an internal campaign to increase customer awareness of the enterprise Self Service Password tool.  This is our latest effort at process improvement: 


Password Reset

The challenge for the IT organization is that it is difficult to change behaviors, but with this campaign, we hope to do just that.
The introduction of self-service is paving the way for more self-service in other areas, such as utilizing our enterprise Knowledge Base to resolve IT support questions.  Located in the Nebraska Service Portal the searchable, indexed Knowledge Base enables all Nebraska teammates to obtain IT assistance provided by Level Two Support teams via user-guide documents that are stored online. The OCIO is responsible for publishing Knowledge articles, and new content is published weekly. 

Here are the stats we look at each month to measure this progress:


No matter what you call your process improvement model, actual improvements remove inefficiencies and ultimately improve productivity for the enterprise. On the security level, self-service eliminates an interaction with Service Desk personnel to authenticate identity, thereby removing the human factor and replacing it with a far more efficient, fast and secure process. Did I mention, the self-service solution works 24 hours a day? This is just part of our promise to introduce technology that increases speed, reduces cost and increases the quality of service for Nebraskans.

As always, thank you for all you do for the citizens of Nebraska and fulfilling our Mission “Respect for the Taxpayers of Nebraska”.