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Building Internal Organization and Efficiency at IHMA with Jira Service Management


Amid a sea of changes to business models and workflows, adept IT operations have become the backbone of navigating today’s unique logistical challenges. For an organization like IHMA, who supports all phases of antimicrobial drug development for life science companies, relying on efficient IT support to deliver results for its clients became even more critical during a global health crisis.

IHMA’s team of roughly 100 employees specializes in running surveillance studies and clinical trials to help pharmaceutical, biotech and diagnostic companies bring new products to market and better serve their patient populations. However, until recently, IHMA lacked a structured process to administer IT service requests, said Joe Finlay, Director of IT Operations at IHMA.

“We had no documented processes, and because everyone did things differently, it resulted in inconsistencies,” he explained. “Having a background in enterprise IT, I came to IHMA with the goal to get the team on a service-oriented architecture that would enable us to eventually automate the enterprise.”

To work toward this goal, Finlay partnered with experts at Contegix who carefully assessed how IHMA operates to make recommendations for improvement. Contegix suggested Jira Service Management (previously called Jira Service Desk) for a streamlined process and Atlassian engineers implemented the tool. During the process, Contegix installed customizations to optimize how Jira Service Desk looked and functioned, which helped establish clear processes for IHMA employees and automated manual tasks.

Automation within Jira Service Management Eliminates Ambiguity

Before IHMA brought on Contegix for support, employees across departments were often unsure where to locate certain Excel spreadsheets or how to determine if a client had submitted their samples for work at IHMA. The larger, underlying question for many requests was, “Who do I seek out to find what I need?”

Without formal processes in place, it was difficult for teams to work autonomously. And because the organization struggled to identify who was responsible for handling specific requests, Finlay’s team couldn’t answer these redundant requests effectively.

Contegix designed and installed custom Jira workflows for IHMA that helped teams define role responsibilities and locate specific data and project owners in order to execute their tasks more easily. The customization involved using epics to auto-assign and route service tickets to the correct person.

“Now that tasks are auto-assigned in Jira Service Desk, there’s no longer ambiguity about who handles what, and we were able to offload the responsibility from someone who previously had to manually run tickets,” explained Finlay.

The custom automation Contegix built for IHMA required a unique approach to meet the organization's specific demands of Jira. A typical Jira workflow involves each team working on separate projects, but Finlay built two categories of work: incidents and requests.

“There were some challenges getting multiple teams in the same project, tracking their work and linking back to projects at IHMA,” said Finlay. “The Contegix experts made Jira jump through the hoops to make it work the way we needed it to.”

Custom Plugins Give Jira Service Management a Branded Look and Feel

After designing the right solution, introducing teams needed to onboard to the new technology. It can be tricky for employees to change their behaviors, so Contegix used the plugin Refined to help make the transition easier for IHMA employees. The plugin reimagines the Jira portal and allows users to apply their own branding, ultimately making the system more user-friendly.

“Refined makes IHMA’s Jira Service Management look like something they built themselves, rather than something they grabbed from Atlassian and applied their work to,” explained Contegix engineer Chris Pelton. “It’s entirely branded to their organization and operates more smoothly.”

IHMA is Set Up to Automate Across Departments via Jira Service Catalog

After working with Contegix to implement a custom Jira Service Management and bring organizational structure to IHMA’s workload, IHMA is now prioritizing onboarding every team at the organization to the Jira Service Catalog.

“The whole vision is being able to automate the enterprise,” Finlay reiterated. “That way, when HR hires a new employee, the appropriate services from IT and other departments triggers and that employee receives a log-in, a new computer, access to applications for whatever role they’re hired for, as well as a building security badge. This project was the first step towards realizing that goal.”

See how Contegix can offer your team strategic, hands-on support implementing Jira Service Management. Learn more now.