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Open House Group uses ITOM and ITSM 
Open House Group logo marquee

Open House targets JPY1 trillion in sales with ServiceNow


Systems managed in-house


Faster security certificate checks


Months to roll out ServiceNow


Supporting business goals with in-house IT management
Open House Group is a real estate agency helping people find affordable homes in sought-after areas of major cities in Japan. It differentiates itself by taking a customer-focused approach to sales in an industry that usually focuses on development. By putting people at the heart of its business, Open House Group has seen rapid growth in recent years. In the fiscal year ending September 2021, it saw consolidated net sales of JPY810.5 billion (approximately USD6.23 billion), and the company has its sights set on hitting JPY1 trillion (approximately USD7.7 billion) in the fiscal year to September 2023.

Behind Open House Group’s success is a team of passionate and motivated employees, but that’s not the whole story. The company’s information systems team has been consciously taking more processes in-house to accelerate time to market and ensure that the systems behind the sales rep and customer experience are highly available. As well as creating new systems and applications, the department is responsible for customer relationship management (CRM) and sales automation providing a major competitive advantage.

Yu Ito, Infrastructure Section Lead, Information Systems Department at Open House Group, explains, “As part of the group’s long-term digital transformation strategy established in 2014, we decided to develop the IT skills to manage resources in-house. Now, we have the knowledge and systems in place to develop applications and manage our infrastructure without hiring new staff or relying on external vendors”.

Launching ServiceNow ITOM in just four months
Open House Group has created more than 240 systems and applications in-house. However, by initially focusing on development, learning how to manage and operate these systems had become less of a priority. To address this, the company decided to implement a service management solution and adopt a management framework based on ITIL (IT infrastructure library) best practices.

After evaluating the solutions on the market, Open House Group selected ServiceNow IT Operations Management. “We needed an automated CMDB (configuration management database) to give us at-a-glance visibility of resources and system status, but the ability to streamline change management and issue resolution was a major deciding factor in choosing ServiceNow”, explains Kosei Arai, Head of Infrastructure, Information Systems Department at Open House Group. “We looked at six products, and IT Operations Management was the only one that could do both”.

The implementation began in early 2022 and just four months later, it went live.  “Although this was our first ServiceNow deployment, it was so user friendly that we got it up and running quickly without needing external support”, comments Arai.

Automated monitoring reduces risks and increases stability
Open House Group uses three primary features of IT Operations Management: Discovery, Service Mapping, and Certificate Management and Inventory. “Each of these components plays a role in keeping more than 240 systems stable and running around the clock”, said Ito.

Discovery, for example, collects accurate systems configuration data and incorporates it into the CMDB. Before adopting the solution, a group of dedicated engineers had to manually manage every system and there was no audit trail tracking who made changes to which systems, or when. Now, with Discovery, system changes are automated and tracked for every system operating on the public cloud.

“Discovery checks all system settings once a day and compares them to its records from the previous day. The status is displayed in dashboards so we can monitor changes accurately in real time”, adds Arai.

Open House Group logo right 
Open House Group Co., Ltd. 
Open House Group Co., Ltd. 
Tokyo, Japan
Real Estate

Other vendors offer either CMDB or change management. We chose ServiceNow because only ServiceNow ITOM does it all.

Yu Ito

Infrastructure Section Lead, Information Systems Department

Mapping the impact of system failures
The team is also using IT Operations Management Service Mapping to see which services are impacted by system failures. “Interdependencies between systems and applications are mapped automatically in ServiceNow, making it easier to see which systems are affected by an outage. We only went live two months ago, but it’s already been really valuable and has reduced the risk of an outage interrupting business operations”, explains Ito.

Meanwhile, Certificate Management prevents issues such as update failures by regularly acquiring server certification information. Open House Group uses this to unify certificate management for all company-operated systems to ensure that certificates have not expired.

Previously, this was checked line by line in a spreadsheet. If certificate expiry dates were missed, service for that solution could be interrupted. Now, any upcoming expiries are displayed on a dashboard, which not only reduces the risks of an outage but also saves time and effort. This has reduced time spent checking certificates by 70%, significantly improving staff productivity.

Automating event management for all infrastructure
IT Operations Management has had a big impact, and the company is just getting started. As Arai explains, “Having better visibility of system status and outages has been a huge benefit, and we’re looking to automate event management next. In the future, we want to create an environment capable of managing all enterprise infrastructure—including SaaS—from a single dashboard”. 

And the information systems department is always thinking of its role in achieving Open House Group’s business goals. “Helping the company meet its target of JPY1 trillion in sales is a hot topic in our department”, comments Ito. “We want to take more processes in-house to keep services running smoothly. Now that we’ve established best practices, we know we have the skills to do that while keeping systems stable and security levels high”.

Streamlining change management in the future
Next, Open House Group is planning to use ServiceNow IT Service Management to standardise changes made by every engineer with an aim to optimise technology service operations. The solution manages IT systems with rules based on ITIL. Under these rules, a ticket is issued and routed to a staff member when system settings require changes. This will eliminate arbitrary changes made by individual engineers and reduce the risk of an outage caused by human error.

“By promoting in-house production, we’ve empowered engineers to make their own configuration changes from development through to operation. It was important to put the necessary measures in place to keep the system stable without slowing down development. Combining IT Operations Management and IT Service Management means we will be able to achieve that”, concludes Ito.

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