A powerful IT organization is a key success factor in today’s digitized business world. To improve customer orientations, simplify automation, and reduce delivery costs, one of the leading German luxury car manufacturers knew they needed to adopt an innovative approach to IT service management. In 2015, the international automotive company implemented FNT ServicePlanet to boost the efficiency of its internal IT service management activities and to provide standardized products and services to its employees. FNT ServicePlanet enabled reliable IT services that not only benefited employees, but also provided a better technical basis for their work results and the end product: premium-class vehicles.
Discovering Business Challenges
Situated in the landscape of Bavaria, the IT department of this international group employs more than 3,800 people worldwide. All IT services – from research and development to production line control – are provided and operated in-house. More than 130,000 terminals in the offices and over 400,000 technical devices in the production facilities must be properly managed across the entire service lifecycle, from procurement, installation to phase-out.
Major concerns for this company stemmed from mature structures that were causing a complex ordering process for IT services. Many different IT touchpoints including slow sharing, approval mechanisms, and having too many manual steps made delivery processes even more complicated. These factors elevated the initial need for a simplified service portal into a strategic project to transform a silo-oriented organization into a service-oriented organization providing measurable business value.
Crushing Complexity Step by Step
All internal customers should have easy, centralized access to IT services that are tailored to their actual needs and are additionally configurable. Accelerated and simplified ordering procedures should enable a “one stop shopping” experience, as seen in modern online shops. In addition, goals for the entire provisioning and production level of IT services, such as better automation and orchestration, were associated with this. To eliminate the complexity at the interface with the customer, provisioning processes had to be put to the test and optimized.
This objective quickly led to far-reaching questions:
- How can corporate IT reorganize with an existing, hybrid system landscape to do it all?
- How should services be designed to meet both customer expectations and faster, more efficient fulfillment?
- The interface to the customer should be as simple as possible – but how can the organization deal with the provisioning and operation of IT services with complex service and configuration data?
- How should processes be adapted to support orchestration and automation?
- How can the entire IT organization remain strong and agile throughout the transition?
The answers to these questions were first found in “Design Thinking” – a process by which small teams within the company developed new services with a focus on business value and a user-friendly and performance-oriented language. A key factor for success was the cooperation of representatives from business and IT who, with their respective roles in the design process, contributed equally to customer benefit and provision. This ensured acceptance at a very early stage, as the IT services were described as user-friendly and with only a few technical details. At the same time, the downstream processes and dependencies were considered at a controllable level.
In the second step, the newly designed services were further specified and defined using the bE_Method® of bluEDGE GmbH, a subsidiary of the FNT Group. Other technical aspects played an important role in this case, in which the separation between the customer’s view and the technical provision view was consistently taken into account. This specification creates service definitions that contain comprehensive data for the entire end-to-end process of the service, from the offer phase in a shop portal to provisioning to operation.
“The design of services was complex at the beginning, but quickly showed its great added value. We were able to easily reuse the defined designs as blueprints for new services, increasing the overall speed of the go-to-market. The uniform data structure also enabled us to use standard interfaces so that not every new service is individually implemented,”
explained the project manager of the automobile manufacturer.
The Service Engine Concept
In the third step, the services previously defined with the bE_Method® served as the basis for the provision and operation of services within the service management tool landscape. For this purpose, a comprehensive Service Management Platform that met the high requirements for the automation of service provision had to be established. This was implemented as part of a best-of-breed strategy for the respective areas of responsibility. These include, for example, end-user portal, lifecycle management and orchestration.
The result was an architecture of loosely coupled systems, which is called “service engine” by bluEDGE GmbH. Its central component is the Service Management Database (SMDB), which is covered by FNT ServicePlanet and built on the bE_Method. The software plays a central role as a single system of record for services and the entire lifecycle management. The SMDB contains not only service definitions that translate the consumable services to the producible ones, but also the service inventory, which manages customer-ordered services that have been created by instantiating them from previous service designs and definitions. In addition, SLA and OLA agreements are managed centrally here.
In addition to the SMDB, the central service portal (single system of engagement) has a special significance for the automotive group. There, the customer is offered the entire range of IT services, i.e. consumable services, according to modern one-stop shopping principles in a user-friendly language. This custom-made information exists in the portal from the SMDB. Technical specifications and silo-related dependencies in the deployment won’t affect the customer, as they are now managed by the SMDB based on the service definition.
“This was the most important insight for us in the project; without a dedicated service management database we would not have been able to implement this concept. We also decided on FNT ServicePlanet because the software also depicts and supports the entire service lifecycle in addition to the service definition according to the bE_Method,”
explained the system architect of the automobile manufacturer.
Measurable Project Success Despite the various aspects that needed to be taken into account, the project was completed in just 15 months. Most importantly, the end results benefited various company departments. Portfolio managers can now design services much more quickly in a high market maturity level thanks to existing standardized building blocks and blueprints. Depending on their complexity, they can be created within hours to a maximum of one week and included in the service catalog.
Ideal for the IT operations team, the share of automation in service provisions were significantly increased. Due to standardized processes, the deployment times dropped from an average of six weeks to just 15 minutes. Additionally, since the SMDB now serves the ticketing system with all relevant information, the time to process the 600 monthly service requests is reduced by 15 minutes per request. Overall, the entire project was met with a very positive response internally.
If your organization is looking for a comprehensive service management solution, contact us to learn more about FNT ServicePlanet!