Originally published in Information Age on 08 May, 2017

The eight year, multi-billion pound Crossrail project is nearing completion. In the buildup to its handover to TFL, the organisation sought to move away from an outsourced IT solution and management system

Crossrail Limited’s new railway for London and the South East will run from Reading and Heathrow in the west, through London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east.

This railway renovation has seen the near-completion of 42 kilometres of new tunnels, 10 new stations and the upgrade of 30 more, while integrating new and existing infrastructure. It is in fact, 80% completed since work started at Canary Wharf in 2009.

It is Europe’s largest infrastructure project and will cost £14.8 billion on completion. The new railway, which will be known as the Elizabeth Line when services begin in central London in 2018 will be fully integrated with London’s existing transport network, operating under Transport for London (TfL).

These new state-of-the-art trains will carry an estimated 200 million passengers per year, with the aim of speeding up journey times, reducing congestion and bringing an extra 1.5 million people to within 45 minutes of London.

As the project nears its much anticipated completion, Crossrail plans to handover the new railway and all assets, including IT, to TFL. In order to ensure the best level of customer service, in the build up to this transition, Crossrail worked with Fruition Partners to implement ServiceNow to provide an in-house IT support for the end user.

Self-service

The nature of Crossrail’s project means there is an inevitable high churn of people joining and leaving as project phases and contracts change. This directly translates into a higher than normal volume of IT requests for new starters, movers and leavers amongst other IT requests.

In order to address this influx, Crossrail implemented a self-service solution that allows its users to easily make IT requests and ask for help, automating the delivery of requests for improved service and reduced operational cost.

In order to find out more about this IT solutions transformation, Information Age spoke to Alistair Goodall, Head of Applications and Portfolio Management at Crossrail Limited.

Why did Crossrail decide to move away from an outsourced IT and support management system?

We made the move almost two years ago and at the time we were looking at two key drivers. Our primary service provider contract was up for renewal and we were actively considering moving to a number of service providers. We needed a tool that one, would be under our management rather than one of the service providers and two, would support cyber service providers operating within it.

The other reason, in common with everybody else, was to cut costs. Although we’re quite a small organisation, at the time we put it in we had about 4,000 IT users. We had about 2,000 new users every year, equivalent to a 50% churn rate. There was quite a significant potential for saving, if we could find a system that would automate a lot of these transactions and essentially bring them back under our control.