Building a global IT ‘factory’
- February 23, 2019
By Dennis Reif, Head of Global Project Management, FIT
I recently had the opportunity to present FIT’s collaboration with ServiceNow for the first time. One of my key points that garnered very positive feedback was that digital transformation today isn’t about technology per se; it’s about making experiences in the workplace easier and better.
With the help of digital workflows, we can enable employees to focus on higher-level tasks where they can add more value. And, by giving employees the best possible experience, they can, in turn, offer an exceptional experience to customers.
At FIT, we certainly weren’t in such a position a couple of years ago. Our IT systems, despite serving customers in countries all over the world, were disconnected not by accident just because we had a regional structure. There was little interaction or collaboration between our offices across four continents and a lack of overview of resources globally.
Our customers were becoming truly global, but we weren’t. So how did we turn this around? We set about realising our vision to become a global IT ‘factory’ for the business and we started at the same time to transform our organization to a global organization.
We had to put in place a platform that would truly support the global organization of IT services. In practice, that’s easier said than done, so initiating organizational restructuring and finding the right technology partner to help us with this transformation was key.
We needed a cloud-based technology platform and consolidation of all data and processes onto one single platform to support our global requirements. After intensive investigation in several solutions, we were sure that with ServiceNow we could achieve this.
But we didn’t start by ripping out our entire infrastructure. Instead, our CIO department embarked the project ESM@FIT (Enterprise Service Management @FIT) Right from the beginning it was crystal clear that we didn’t want just a new ticket system. We wanted to use the full enterprise platform capabilities of ServiceNow in a combination with SAP for all commercial aspects.
The first phase covered the launch of a web shop, which created a streamlined way for our staff to request IT equipment. The latter had been a big burden on our IT team and all employees. The ServiceNow-driven web shop immediately showed us the power of the platform.
Building on this success, the project gained real momentum. Today, our new global delivery platform supports the full breadth of global IT service delivery, IT operations and IT business management, with every employee of Freudenberg IT using the new platform.
Nowadays, every aspect of our IT organisation is so much more transparent — for our customers, our suppliers, our partners and our employees. That is because all data and business workflows reside in one single platform, readily available to anyone who needs information or service, anytime, anywhere.
The beauty of the transformed system is that processes are consistent across every region, with all requests, problems and incidents managed by the same platform — be it customer service or ticketing.
The outcomes have exceeded our expectations. We have been able to greatly simplify the delivery of projects and accelerate the customer service process.
Let me state just a few stats that really demonstrate that success. Our average project planning time is now 10 minutes, rather than up to several weeks, customer escalations have reduced by 90%, and project execution is four times faster than it ever has been.
Can you imagine the productivity boost and efficiency savings arising from this change?
We are now able to serve more customers and run more projects simultaneously, helping us to gain a real competitive advantage. We’ve also created the best possible experience for all of our customers and employees.
The journey doesn’t stop here though, as we push further with our vision of a global IT factory. We’re envisioning a place where artificial intelligence will streamline more routine interactions, both internally and with customers, for example through the use of chatbots.
With ServiceNow in a pure synthesis with SAP we are firmly at the heart of our business. We are improving agility created for the needs of our customers and employees. For me, that is incredibly motivating and exciting.