"We didn't ask them for a proof of concept, but as part of the RFP, they showed
us what our ITSM processes would look like in ServiceNow."
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This ServiceNow case study is based on an interview with Ronald
Hunse, manager of IT Operations for PricewaterhouseCoopers in the
PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) provides industry-focused assurance, tax
and advisory services. More than 163,000 people in 151 countries in PwC's
global network develop fresh perspectives and practical advice. PwC
Netherlands offers these services to more than 20 different industries.
Our IT organization comprises three departments. The first interacts with our
clients, our end users in the business, and the business management team.
The second is a team of project managers, developers and engineers who
build our applications. The third is the IT operations department, for which I
Our total network numbers around 5,000 employees, and about 160 of us
work within IT.
Legacy service management system had to go
The biggest reason we had to change our ITSM tools is that we were using
HP Service Center. We foresaw the need for two major implementations
within the next three years because HP was about to introduce a new
version of Service Manager and we were still in version 4. We were looking
for less expensive and, if possible, better service management tools.
Also, our complete service management landscape comprised about seven
different tools which were not integrated. It was a stable situation even
though there were a number of different moving parts, but it was costly, and
it would have been even more costly to upgrade the existing tools.
What we had in place was not standard by any
means, so we had developed it extensively, using
custom applications. If we chose the upgrade-route,
we would have to patch all of that development
work, which would take a lot of time and people from
our IT organization.
So we wanted to have a single, new, integrated
service management tool which we could work with
far into the future.
We also wanted an internal help desk tool in a portal
which HR, Facilities and the firm's other services
could use to log their own issues and find their own
knowledge, if necessary. Also, we outsource many
of our services, so we wanted to be able to use this
same service management tool with our external
vendors so that we could work easily with them.
Searching for the right tool
We made a long list of applications that might be a
solution for us and pared it down to a short list of
three ITSM applications. As an accounting firm, we
have always favored safe, proven technologies, but
since software-as-a-service (SaaS) is the future in
my opinion, and because more and more
businesses require SaaS applications, we dropped
our insistence on the proven technology approach
and examined SaaS very closely. We already had
experience working with SaaS applications within
the IT department, so we knew it would be easier for
the future to service our business as it moves toward
We put out a request for proposal (RFP) to several
vendors, most of whom answered with text-based
documents. The funny thing is that ServiceNow not only sent a document, but they also built a proof
of concept that contained almost half of what we
asked for in the RFP. We didn't ask them for a proof
of concept, but as part of the RFP, they showed us
what our application would look like in ServiceNow. The response was much more than we
expected and much more than we got from other
We also asked for a meeting with ServiceNow,
and we posed several questions during the
presentation. One of the ServiceNow developers was working quietly in the back of the
room, and after we had asked most of our questions,
he demonstrated to us how the tool could do the
things that we were asking for, even the custom
functionality. So within one hour, he had made
ServiceNow do things that were not in the basic
tool. We were very impressed by how flexible the
We could see that we would not be forced into an
out-of-the-box model, and that we would be able to
implement the tool in the best way for our business.
Also, none of that added functionality is lost when
you upgrade to new releases of ServiceNow.
We had been dreading the upgrade to a new service
management tool, and suddenly with ServiceNow, we saw that we would implement once
and never have to re-implement. This meant we
could focus on the charter of our IT organization,
which is to service the business, not to set up a new
service management tool every two or three years.
We were still concerned that we would lose all of our
custom development work with each new upgrade to
ServiceNow, but so far, we have had only small
issues with that. All the development we do
ourselves is still in the system even after an
upgrade, and there are three major upgrades per
year. In fact, some of the special development work
done for PwC is now integrated into the tool and
goes out to all ServiceNow users. There are
also predefined business scripts and bits of code in the ServiceNow community pages and wiki that
many different customers can use.
And this is not just our own custom development.
You can easily integrate all the processes that you
made before, say in Lotus Notes or in other tools, to
ServiceNow. For instance, we had a
purchasing module as part of an outsource
management system. Within about two weeks, we
had built a purchasing module within ServiceNow with links to all the service requests that
were coming in. So, if we have to order something,
the purchase order gets generated from the request.
Two weeks is a very short time to develop a new
The tool is user-friendly because people are used to
working with all kind of Websites nowadays when
they shop on the Web. ServiceNow has the
same look and feel as many Web-based
applications, so for young people, it's quite intuitive.
We had very few difficulties migrating from the
previous application. In fact, we did not spend too
much time in training people on ServiceNow because they understood quite easily how things
Of course, it also helps that the people behind
ServiceNow are the same people who were
behind Peregrine in the past, so the same people
made many of the procedures that were in the old
system. It's a small step to go from Peregrine
Service Center to ServiceNow, probably a
smaller step than to go from Peregrine to the new
HP Service Manager.
We were very concerned about offshore data. As a
European company, we did not want to have our
data inside of the U.S. for various reasons. We
asked ServiceNow whether they had a data center
in Europe so that our data would be onshore, and so
they opened a European data center. We were one
of their first users here in the Europe. That played a
big role in our being able to build the business case
Advantages of SaaS tools for service
SaaS makes it easy to access the tools from
everywhere you have Internet access with the right
credentials. We also grant secure access to some of
our vendors, so it's easy for them to use, and easy
for us to collaborate more closely with our external
In IT, since we are always wary of upgrading our
tools, we're pleased that ServiceNow does all
of that work. We don't need to look after the
We wanted to have the IT experience of SaaS to
prepare for the day when other applications in the
firm go the SaaS route. We had been concerned
about security and performance, but so far these
have never been issues for us.
We used to have two administrators for our previous
service management tool, but now we're down to
one person. If the load spikes, or if we need to
redeploy personnel, it's easy to scale with somebody
at ServiceNow or one of their resellers to help
support the application, because from their end they
can also access the system.
Facts and figures on the implementation
We are about 160 people working in the system, and
we are not completely done customizing it yet. There
are some people within facilities and HR also
working occasionally with the system, but we plan to
invite them to work completely in it. Some of them
hesitate, but the tool certainly accommodates it. It's
even easy to have a separate instance that HR
alone can access, and within the same cost
construction; they are afraid that the IT people will
have access to HR materials, but it's quite easy to
create a separate instance that only HR can access.
We did not think it was wise to start only with
incident and change. So we had a big bang
implementation – about eight or nine processes at
once – and it took just under 15 months. I think we
could have done it in much less time had our request module not been so complicated; that alone
took almost six months.
With our service request module, all service line
managers had different processes for implementing
ServiceNow, and this slowed down the
implementation. If you know what you want, it's quite
easy, but it took us some time to ascertain from the
business managers what they really wanted. This
took more time than to actually build it. We had to
make the same request for four different services
and they were all a little bit different.
There's a lot of visible detail and sophistication now
in our workflows in the area of request and ordering.
It's easy to fill the catalog with all of our internal
items, including those provided by facilities and HR.
When somebody submits a request that requires
several tasks or involves different departments, you
can always see the status and location of the
Our users enter many more of their own tickets,
even outside business hours. Our help desk used to
be open 14 hours a day, but with the self-service
portal we have reduced that to ten hours a day.
Also, our users find it much easier now to see the
status of the request or incident that they have
reported to the help desk. We used to have people
call the help desk all the time asking for updates,
and now we've moved all of those inquiries to
ServiceNow's service desk.
Many of our users are not continuously online, but
use a Blackberry. And I think more than half of the
approvals now are given by Blackberry instead of
from a computer.
We are very happy with the reporting functionality in
ServiceNow. We used to have multiple,
disparate reporting tools, but now they're integrated, and with each upgrade we see even more
functionality for reporting.
High volume in ServiceNow
We've been pleasantly surprised with ServiceNow's handling of the volume of activity in our
organization. We have highly secure, daily uploads
from the HR system, so we know what people are
working on inside of PwC. We built the service portal
within our own company portal, and users can hardly
tell that it's different from the business portal.
We have high call-volume and high request-volume
every month. Our catalog is up to about 1,400 items,
which are almost all IT-related now, and we are
planning to add catalog items that are not IT-related.
It's quite easy to maintain a catalog of this size and
you don't need to know much about the system to
The single, biggest area of improvement has been
the cooperation and teamwork between our
operations and application development teams.
Thanks to ITIL processes and meetings, we've
avoided many of the past situations in which we
wanted to make a change and did not understand
the impact that it would have on another team, or
didn't understand the need to schedule the change
around a major project or initiative.
More shared services, software asset
Our next plan is for a module especially for software
asset management. We are building a connection to
Microsoft System Center Configuration Manager
(SCCM), so as soon as there is a new request
coming in for software, the representatives handling
the request can see our current inventory of
licenses. If we're out of licenses, they can easily buy
one through the purchasing module.
We're getting a lot out of ServiceNow in the
area of new employee setup. Every new hire comes with a set of requirements: computer, business
cards, parking spot, badge, just to name a few. All of
these things come from different departments and
we want to be able to initiate everything through the
same portal, such that there will be just one setup,
with tasks going separately to IT, HR, facilities,
So we plan on extending the system to HR and
facilities. For instance, whenever there is a setup for
a new staff member, you can have contracts created
for that person. We want to make ServiceNow the entry point for all those things, through the same
We want to examine the planning functionality inside
ServiceNow. Fewer of our employees have
their own workspace, so they must share guest
offices with other people when they're on site. We'd
like to be able to plan that space using ServiceNow and get rid of some of the tools we've been
using for that up to now.