| Publicis Groupe
"We've found that the highlights of working with ServiceNow are their ability
to answer questions and their ongoing support of our deployment of new
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This ServiceNow case study is based on an interview with Bob Callaghan, Change and
Configuration Manager at Publicis Groupe.
Publicis Groupe is the world's fourth largest communications group, with nearly 45,000
employees in 750 agencies in 104 countries and 196 cities. It is ranked as the world's second
largest media agency, and provides clients worldwide a complete range of advertising
services through Leo Burnett, Publicis, Saatchi & Saatchi, Fallon and Bartle Bogle Hegarty.
Publicis Groupe offers healthcare communications, corporate and financial communications,
sustainability communications, shopper marketing, public relations, CRM and direct
marketing, event and sports marketing, and multicultural communications.
We're global and we typically grow by acquisition. Of course, the companies we acquire
present a variety of processes and tools, so we usually go through a number of conversions
The IT landscape at Publicis Groupe
We have about 675 IT employees spread around the world. We have adopted ITIL as our
standard framework, and it's as widespread and diverse as the agencies within the company.
We have adopted a shared services structure encompassing service entities like finance and
IT, so each agency goes to a central entity for these services. The shared services
organization breaks down into a series of regional organizations. For example, we deploy
people worldwide who support standard tools for e-mail, the wide area network, file and print
support, and of course, ServiceNow.
Looking for more flexibility and support for higher volume
We had four regions within the company with about 12 different tools deployed among these
regions to support help desk and the routing of calls. We needed a common tool for passing
tickets, incidents and events from one group to another so that we could take advantage of
our reach across time zones. Our teams are geographically dispersed, from Hong Kong,
Paris and Chicago, so with a dozen tools deployed across the globe, it was impossible to
Across North America, Publicis Groupe had deployed HP OpenView Service Desk 5.1.
Europe had two or three different solutions, Latin America had four or five different solutions
and our Asia Pacific region had another two or three. HP offers many of the basics to support
ITIL and we found it to be consistent in the way that it allowed us to deal with certain
However, we were consistently frustrated when trying to customize HP Service Desk. It was
just impossible to change the tool to support certain ways in which we run our business. We
also saw occasional performance issues with HP Service Desk. So if we were going to deploy it globally and increase the load on it by a factor of three or four,
we had serious doubts that it could handle the additional
In mid-2008 we began the task of finding a global tool and to
adopt ITIL processes consistently worldwide. First, the company
decided to establish several global organizations. I can't
emphasize this enough – we took the time to study all of the
processes, policies and procedures that support the various
ITIL processes around the globe like change, incident, and
release management. Then we took three months to rewrite all
of those policies and procedures to a common set of
documents. For instance, we whittled down the set for North
America from 70 pages to six and got agreement on them from
all four regions around the globe.
We were then ready to look for a tool with which we could
actually implement those policies and procedures worldwide.
Executive management decided we would move off HP Service
Business requirements for the ITSM tool
We were committed to ITIL.so we encouraged all of our IT staff
to go through ITIL training and a number of us have become
ITIL-certified at various levels. So our number-one requirement
was that the tool must support ITIL. Another requirement was
global scalability and always on 24x7 availability because we
have staff around the world.
Finally, we were looking for a tool that would support foreign
languages. English is our global standard but many of our
employees prefer to enter tickets and issues in their native
Stump the ITSM vendor
We decided to bring in ServiceNow and put it through its
paces. When evaluating a tool I like to play "stump the vendor."
We grilled ServiceNow on the opportunities and
functionality that we were looking for in a tool, and asked them,
"Tell us how you solved this." Every time we thought we had a
"gotcha" moment, ServiceNow were able to show us a
For example, the HP Service Desk had a fat-client that ran fine
on a PC, but it never worked on a Macintosh. With all of the
creative teams in our company, roughly 35-40% of our
computers are Macs. So we asked ServiceNow, "Does it
run on a Mac?" The first time they presented for us, they did the
entire demonstration on a Mac.
As another example, we use a common directory to get away
from tracking things like user ID and passwords within the
service management tool. We're a Lotus Notes shop, and there
is an LDAP directory associated with Notes, so we challenged
the ServiceNow to show us LDAP implementation for a
single sign-on. Not only did they come in and show us how to do
it, they helped us customize it, and it runs very well.
We also did a proof of concept with group in North America and
other regions asking them to stump the vendor. Honestly, it's the
only time in my 30-year career a vendor has answered every
question satisfactorily. I've been involved with a number of
service desk tools like BMC Remedy and Service Desk Express,
and Peregrine. But we realized ServiceNow provided
everything that we needed and we couldn't find any gotchas. It
was very unusual for us, but we decided that an evaluation
population of one was good enough for us and we settled on
I would encourage other companies evaluating ITSM tools to
make sure to ask all your "what if" questions. "What if we do
this?" "Can the tool do this?" "Can it tie into this?" Make sure to
get satisfactory answers. We've found the highlights of working
with ServiceNow are in their ability to answer questions
and their ongoing support of our deployment of new
The implementation experience
Implementation went very well for us. During our global rollout,
we started in Europe and made both incident management and
ServiceNow Discovery mandatory in order to populate the
CMDB. We did that because with ITIL processes it's very
important to be able to track what happens to every
configuration item, whether hardware, software or a
combination. So in every implementation in the 20 or so
countries where we're currently live, we started with incident
management and configuration management.
Also, in every region we rolled out a self-service component with
the ServiceNow service catalog. The most sophisticated
service catalog implementation was for North America because
the processes and procedures were so highly developed here.
But we rolled out basic self-service capabilities in each of the
regions. For the mature regions with available resources, we
also rolled out change management.
We had to be careful in many ways with how much
customization we committed to, because ServiceNow allows a lot of flexibility on its out-of-the-box change
management tool. In getting the tool to suit our global needs, it
was so easy to customize things that we had to draw a line in
the sand and say, "No more after this."
That was the essence of our implementation roadmap. We
started in March 2009 and we finished rolling out to 20 countries
in eight months. All IT personnel worldwide now have access to
ServiceNow, and half to two-thirds of our users have
access to at least minimal self-service. So far we've deployed
ServiceNow in French, German, Italian and Spanish and
our employees in China have chosen English over the Chinese
version of ServiceNow.
Three of us formed the core team here in Chicago. We named
one project manager in Latin America, one in Europe and one in
Asia Pacific. Then we personally trained them in incident
management so they could train the trainers for the different
countries and organizations in their region.
For configuration management, I trained one person in each of
the 20 countries in which we deployed. This meant a lot of
Webex web conferences and phone calls at all hours to
accommodate time differences. At last count our CMDB
contained more than 210,000 configuration items.
Discovering all the assets
We had evaluated several discovery tools – offerings from HP
and other vendors like Altiris – but they were always rather
difficult to integrate to our existing tools. But the discovery tool in
ServiceNow is very well integrated. You can write scripts
and take advantage of routines to de-dupe the CMDB. There are
flags in the system to decide what to do if, for instance, a laptop
has multiple IP addresses. Do you want to record both? Do you
only want to have one?
The hard work is all up front: setting up Discovery to run the way
that you want, deciding on ranges of IP addresses, devices and
credentials. After that, it is very much hands-off.
As we discover things like desktops, for instance, we can find
out if they have standard builds. If a user calls for service, the
service desk representative can enter the caller's name to the
incident form and automatically examine the hardware and
software installed on their PC.
We can also have an entire history of all of the changes made to
servers or to infrastructure items like routers and switches. In
the future, we hope to take advantage of the baselining
functionality within ServiceNow where we create a baseline
and then periodically find all infrastructure changes in an
interval. Then we can identify any unauthorized changes and
the affected devices.
Selecting from the service catalog
To determine our service catalog items we've used ServiceNow Discovery to populate the CMDB and identify
relationships that constitute a service. Depending on your role
within the organization, we can assign an appropriate role within ServiceNow and make sure that you can see only the
choices you need to see.
For instance, for one of our divisions we have designated two or
three individuals to make requests. Using the example of a new
employee hire, they see a number of fields for employee name,
email address, demographic information, supervisor, type of PC
required, software requirements, Blackberry requirement, etc.
The request then automatically spins off tasks and assigns them
to the appropriate group within IT for fulfillment.
We've built these for each brand in the Publicis Groupe family –
there are about 100 in the U.S. alone – and each brand has its
own specific look and feel. One of our goals in the near future is
to try to consolidate so we can stay on top of so many service
catalog items. Ideally we'd like to have a service catalog offering
for each of our four regions.
Service level agreement workflows
For each of our catalog items we define a service level
agreement to fulfill requests within "x" number of hours or "x"
number of days. We have a simple workflow that tracks whether
we've hit 50%, 75% or 100% of our SLA time. The workflow
waits for another 25% and of course 25 and 50 are 75, which is
why it would then create the SLA 75 warning, fire off another
event and then wait for another 25% and if you hit a 100% and
you haven't completed things already, then you've breached the
We are contracted with each of our agencies for particular SLAs
and evaluate our field staff on SLA observance. Depending on
the SLA the agency selects and how quickly they want
resolution, they pay more or less money. It's a true charge-back
Selling it to the users
We conducted live training sessions for incident, change and
service catalog. The training differed according to the region and
the maturity of the organization. In North America, we focused
more on what was different from the legacy tool, whereas in
Europe we talked more about the theory of change
management and how to do it in ServiceNow.
Every field in ServiceNow can have a little help icon, a little
question mark beside it, and users can pop up context-sensitive
help. Training, whether face to face, by video or by reading a
manual, we provided all three.
Maintenance and upgrades
We've been through three or four ServiceNow upgrades. In
99.9% of the case, they have no impact upon our existing code.
We have always found one little tweak, one little issue here and
there with every upgrade. None of them have been totally
perfect. But, you know, 99.9% isn't a bad grade, either.
On our ITSM horizon
Our plans are to roll out service catalog to the four regions over
the next year and give it a common look and feel in all of them.
We're going to deploy change management in regions that don't
yet have it, notably Latin America. We're modifying the release
management code that comes with ServiceNow and tying
that into change management. We're also going to roll out
problem management globally next year. I'd like to roll out
content management, then put our own look and feel onto
Content management allows you to completely rearrange
everything, very similar to what you do in myYahoo! or even
iGoogle, and present a very familiar and useful user interface for
employee self-help. It's like a consumerization of IT. We hope to
have a common portal with a particular look and feel for
employees to sign onto and get news about the company so
that most users will not know whether they're in the portal or
whether they're in ServiceNow.
Many people have asked us about quantifiable results, but we
don't have a true apples-to-apples comparison because we
have so many more capabilities with ServiceNow than
before. We've gone from about 12 different tools in support of
our IT service management process to one tool: ServiceNow.
The system is available and stable 24/7 around the globe; we
can assign a task to any IT resource worldwide; we can put out
a common process to define priority-one and priority-three
incidents so that the data centers in Europe and Chicago
understand each other. When you don't have a common tool
worldwide, as we didn't, it's hard to compare.
We have a globally deployed change process that we'll expand
next year with one repository of all changes that get made to the
infrastructure worldwide. Self-service is a huge win for
everybody in the organization because users can go in and
order things that they want and track that item within an
automated process. We quantify these results using the
reporting functionality in ServiceNow and people love to
report on nuances and data sliced every which-way. Reporting is
a huge deal in a large company like this.
Finally, it's not a quantifiable result, but I can honestly say that
the adoption of ServiceNow has made it fun for me to work
again. I know it sounds a bit contrived, but I actually come to
work and have fun now.