Swiss Re has reduced the cost and complexity of running a large service management operation by replacing 20 legacy applications with a cloud-based ITSM tool from ServiceNow.
The Swiss reinsurance firm, the second largest in the world, has 13,000 IT users across scores of offices in 21 countries, and was the original owner of the Gherkin building in the City of London. Providing support for employees are 2,400 IT staff who deal with approximately 150,000 service desk calls, 290,000 incidents and 380,000 service requests each year.
In order to improve oversight of IT problems occurring across its organisation, which runs around 980 business applications, Swiss Re implemented a ServiceNow IT service management (ITSM) tool in 2009, allowing it to replace a number of separate applications.
“We wanted to reduce the application footprint we had at the time by introducing one tool for many ITIL processes,” Swiss Re vice president and head of IT application product management, Ashish Agarwal, told ComputerworldUK.
“In the whole [ServiceNow implementation] project we will have decommissioned around 20 different applications which were home-grown solutions, third party solutions from IBM and various other vendors, so that is definitely a cost reduction.”
By introducing the software as a service (Saas) management system, Swiss Re was able to remove a range of disparate software applications that it had previously relied on, including IBM Maximo, BMC Remedy, Lotus Notes and numerous in-house built Java applications.
These applications have been replaced by a wide variety of ServiceNow modules, including those relating to IT asset, configuration, and content management, as well as data archiving and certification tools. Swiss Re is also planning to introduce an application development management module in future.
The use of a single ITSM tool resulted in a number of operational benefits to the business, said Agarwal, allowing Swiss Re senior staff to quickly understand where high levels of IT problems occur across its geographically disparate business by reducing service management complexity.
“Before we had ServiceNow, it was very difficult for us to come up with one number of incidents as our systems were not consolidated,” said Agarwal. “There were different reporting systems in place and teams were spending significant amounts of time in consolidating reports from different tools.”
“After we had on-boarded our IT support services on ServiceNow, reports could be generated very quickly. We know exactly how many incidents were created for which services, and we are able to measure our service levels, which was not a possibility before.”
In addition, the ITSM tool has also enabled the IT department to quickly alert users when problems do arise in its business, he said.
“If we have an issue in one of our infrastructure components or an application in our CMDB [configuration management database], we know which services are impacted, and we know who owns the services and the users of the service. Using this tool we can proactively communicate to the customers of those services and that is a value add.”