| Brit Insurance
"Ensure that users are engaged from the start, because we in IT would
never have thought of some of the ideas that come back from the
This ServiceNow.com case study is based on an interview with Lewis Martin, Brit Insurance change manager.
Brit Insurance is a FTSE 250 general reinsurance underwriter working out of Lloyd's
of London. We specialize in commercial insurance for businesses around the world
and we underwrite more than 70 subclasses of business across 80 territories. In
2009, our written premiums amounted to £1.7 billion. Our head office is in
Amsterdam, with the majority of the workforce in the UK. I joined the service management team at Brit Insurance in London almost four years
ago to do change and configuration. Over the past 18 months, I've taken the lead on
the roadmap and product development to promote ServiceNow beyond service
desk into a tool that will integrate IT services and other business departments – HR,
facilities, and finance – more closely. Brit Insurance has more than 800 employees in 20 different divisions, and we
support offices in Chicago, Tokyo and Houston from our London office. Group
Operations, in which IT sit, has around 180 employees, covering everything from
our technical processing units to facilities. We've been using ITIL guidelines for more than four years and a lot of the work
we've been doing with our process and with ServiceNow has followed that
framework. Much of our IT staff are ITIL trained. We adopt the bits that work for us
and adapt other parts of the ITIL best practices to suit our needs.
Brit Insurance started its service management team in 2007 and right away we were
writing a lot of process to improve the team's day-to-day operations. The tool we
had at the time, FrontRange, wasn't supporting our processes, so in 2008 we
started a formal process to replace our service management tool. We looked at
upgrading Frontrange or replacing with either Remedy, Infra or ServiceNow.
Most of us already knew Remedy from previous companies, so we requested
demos from FrontRange, Infra, and ServiceNow.
ServiceNow stood out for a number of
Look and feel – we liked the way in which ServiceNow presented ITIL process on the page.
Obviously, it was important that other teams in the
organization like the tool and buy in to its use, so the
more intuitive, the better.
Web-focused – we believed that the web-focus of
ServiceNow would appeal to our developers, who
like to experiment with new technologies.
Administration – we found that managing the tool was
very straightforward, allowing us to do a lot of the admin
and development work ourselves. It removed that
reliance on a company coming in and selling
consultants on top of the tool. We saw that we could
drive the tool as we wanted.
Ease of use – because ServiceNow seemed so
easy to use, we figured we could keep ownership and
management of the tool within the service management
team, without having to use expensive or time consuming
Openness – we conducted visits to existing ServiceNow customer sites, most of the time without
anybody from ServiceNow in attendance. They
would allow us to be in the room alone with the existing
customers. We thought that a company that allowed
prospects to talk to potential customers in such an open
and honest way obviously had nothing to hide, and we
learned a lot from these site visits.
Managing upgrades – there are three releases a year,
and we liked the fact that we can manage them
ourselves, taking what we want, when we want it. We
manage the upgrades for our development and office
instances live, just checking and ensuring that what's
been delivered works with our implementation.
Cost – the cost over three to five years looked a lot
better than that of the competing products. Moreover,
we liked the flexibility of the ServiceNow
Deployment and new releases
We became a customer and were live with incident,
change, problem, and some availability management in
about three months. Implementation went very smoothly.
We employed our own project manager so that individual
process owners could focus solely on their own
processes during the switch. During the same
implementation period, we migrated outstanding incidents
and problems and they too came over very smoothly.
I've been through a Remedy upgrade, which required a
full-time consultant and lots of time. Brit Insurance had
performed a FrontRange upgrade, and it was difficult to
make the upgrade fit the development work the team had
done. During implementation of ServiceNow, we
found it very straightforward to develop changes that
matched our business process, then test and push them
live. The whole process was smoother and simpler, and it
allowed us to manage our development cycle.
With three releases a year, there's always new
functionality, and you can choose to take advantage of it
or not. The other tools I've used oblige you to endure big
upgrades to get any additional functionality.
At Brit Insurance, we like to sit down and have a look at
the new ServiceNow features to see what works for
us. It's great that the changes are coming, but we don't
always react quickly enough as a company to take
advantage of the additional functionality. ServiceNow
has certainly driven us to take advantage of that
functionality and to implement it across the support teams
and eventually into some of the business departments.
In fact, with ServiceNow, we develop to a certain
stage and roll out to pilot testers as usual, but when they
see how much the tool can do, they want that extra
functionality. Our problem has been making sure that we
can control the scope of our development. For us, Phase
1 is the development we originally intended, and Phase 2
includes the extra features users request once they've
seen Phase 1. It's a good sign – it shows that people use
ServiceNow, start to see its benefits, then request
this additional functionality. It means that it's not just a
service management team running the tool; people
throughout the business are driving it.
We've automated many of our processes. For example,
we're making sure that the right people are informed and
included during the change process. People have a visual
of what's going on, how it's being managed, and how they
can have input into it. When we were on a paper-based
system, it was very closed and only the people with
access to the paper knew what was going on. This is true
for our problems, work requests and incidents. It also
allows us to provide proper information to management
and our CIO can now produce stats and reports on the
work that we and the support teams are undertaking day
We're replacing processes. Our new service catalog has
enhanced the interaction between the business and IT,
and several business units have asked me what the tool
can do for them. We're already getting requests to see
whether ServiceNow can replace paper-based
processes like loan forms, course request forms and
postal services. One business unit asked about using
ServiceNow for the claims process they manage.
We've been using the reporting function of ServiceNow because it was so much better than what we
had before. Now, scheduled reports go out as PDF e-mail
attachments to managers. Since implementing service
catalog, we have a number of reports that go to board
members, HR and facilities because their business
services are now supported by ServiceNow.
Recommendations for buyers of ITSM tools
It's important to make sure that you've planned and
scoped your deployment with the right people and
stakeholders, and to ensure that you're keeping them
engaged all the time. I've gone back to some of the
stakeholders with a Phase 1 development that's been
90% complete, and when they see what ServiceNow
can do, they start throwing ideas in the hat that they want
included before we go live.
So I recommend we try to avoid scope creep, but also
that we ensure users are engaged from the start because
we in IT would never have thought of some of the ideas
coming back from the business units. The tool is so much
more valuable when the business users come in with an
idea that we implement. It breaks down a big barrier
because it's not just IT doing what IT wants to do.
Besides, once people in the business have seen their
idea live, they sell it for you.
Make sure there's plenty of time for testing and running
through various scenarios. For instance, through the
service catalog, we have automated approval tasks with
email notifications and different states of change
depending on a previous request.
We've learned a lot from speaking to other ServiceNow customers and from ServiceNow arranged
site visits. All organizations manage changes and
incidents in a slightly different way, and you can learn a
lot from peers.
Our execs have been keen to adopt new technologies, so
they had no problems with software-as-a-service. When
we presented ServiceNow alongside the other
candidates, there were the obvious questions about
performance and security that we had to address. Our
security manager looked into SaaS and was very
comfortable with it. We run our instances through a VPN,
so we mitigate some of that risk. I believe Brit Insurance
is looking at doing more business in the cloud and
ServiceNow has supported this argument very well.
Our management looked at what the tool could offer,
evaluated costs, knew that it met our requirements, then
made its decision based on the tool itself.
The IT future at Brit Insurance
Replacing software – I want us to use ServiceNow for much more than service desk incident
management, so I'm going to make sure our project
managers consider it when they get a requirement for
new software. We're already paying for the licenses and
it would be cost-effective to utilize what we already
Improved workflow - We're enhancing our workflows
behind change and release management. We've
already automated approvals for low-impact changes
and we want to build in some notification periods and
timelines. It's important for people to plan their changes
properly, and the tool allows them to plan changes so
affected teams can plan more effectively.
Lifecycle management – We want to put changes
under service transition as an umbrella, so we're going
to start managing through ServiceNow the whole
lifecycle from inception of a change or request all the
way to decommissioning many years later.
CMDB – We've been using CMDB more fully for the last
few months in risk and impact assessments during
change and release work.