Using ServiceNow to Drive IT Transparency and Integration
The Swiss Re Group is a leading wholesale provider of reinsurance, insurance and other insurance‑based forms of risk transfer. Dealing direct and working through brokers, its global client base consists of insurance companies, mid‑to‑large‑sized corporations and public sector clients. Founded in Zurich, Switzerland, in 1863, Swiss Re serves clients through a network of over 70 offices in 21 countries.
Like most global enterprises, Swiss Re had accumulated many different IT tools, and independently managing them was a difficult task. Moreover, the tools created silos within IT, preventing consistent processes and a clear view of what was going on within the organization. Swiss Re wanted to consolidate IT systems to streamline operations and have one single place for information about the work of IT.
ServiceNow as a Single System of Record
Swiss Re replaced 20 service management tools with the ServiceNow IT Service Automation Suite to provide a single system of record for the business of IT worldwide. The tools replaced were a combination of home‑grown applications and third‑party tools. Each had its own management interface and data store.
“Using ServiceNow to manage most of our core IT processes led to reducing the number of applications used for service management, and, in turn, this reduced the IT effort to manage or maintain so many different tools,” said Ashish Agarwal, Vice President and Head of IT Application Product Management. “It’s like an ERP system but with lots of flexibility.”
Providing Consumerized Self‑Service
With over 30,000 items in a centralized portal built around ServiceNow Service Catalog, 13,000 Swiss Re employees have a simple, consumerized way of making requests or getting help, information or changes conducted. The portal manages more than 1,300 service requests per day. Using ServiceNow, IT can offer self‑service, password reset, loaner computers and many other services that can be initiated by users and fulfilled through automated processes.
Another important aspect to the self‑service portal is the sharing of knowledge across the employee base. How‑to details and problem‑solving insights make it easy for individuals to solve their own needs and problems without any involvement or support from the IT team. The ServiceNow platform captures knowledge “articles” from support staff and users and then makes them available to others. Currently Swiss Re has well over 4,000 knowledge articles. Each article is linked to individual hardware or software configuration items (CIs). The linkages are created in the Incident Management, Problem Management or Change Management modules. The knowledge base articles would then be available to IT staff when querying about a particular hardware or software item—a printer, for instance.
Transparency and Actionable Insight
“After the initial implementation, we realized some expected benefits, but also some unexpected ones. Using ServiceNow massively increased the transparency and helped us to understand what our support organization is delivering to our customers,” said Agarwal.
Transparency stems directly from the fact that, as a single system of record, ServiceNow is one comprehensive database. All data can be captured and related to any other data. Since individual IT tools are replaced with a single system, everything is in one place and can work together. Dashboards and reports can provide previously unobtainable intelligence. Status can be presented real time in the service portal so that requestors know the exact standing of each request.
Now the Swiss Re team can:
“We understand across IT what our support organization is delivering to the customer,” reflects Agarwal.
Integration and the Heart of IT
All of the consolidation, self‑service automation and transparency that the ServiceNow platform brings to Swiss Re IT is also being applied to other departments across the company. For instance, the company has introduced automated employee on‑boarding using the platform. Linked to the company’s HR system, the hiring of a new employee now triggers a complete on‑boarding process to provide for the person’s IT and facilities needs.
“At Swiss Re, ServiceNow is a strategic platform for IT on which several core ITSM processes, applications and interfaces are integrated,” said Agarwal. “It is one of the most heavily used solutions in the Swiss Re application landscape.”