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Service Automation Drives Quote-to-Invoice to New Levels of Productivity, Intelligence and QualityNetApp Sets New Standards for Critical Quote-to-Invoice Workflow with ServiceNow
NetApp, a global leader in providing storage and data management solutions, is no stranger to service automation. The company has leveraged ServiceNow to transform the way IT operates and serves its more than 12,000 employees, resulting in significant gains in productivity and cost savings. In addition, NetApp has effectively extended the service model to other shared service departments, such as global procurement, with impressive results.
The Quote to Invoice organization at NetApp implemented ServiceNow three years ago. With assistance from ServiceNow Master Solutions partner, Cloud Sherpas, NetApp has achieved new levels of productivity, intelligence and stakeholder engagement.
Q2I was created to manage the end-to-end process across the multiple customer touch points from providing a quote all the way through invoicing. The entire Q2I process was designed first and foremost to create the best possible experience for NetApp customers.
Initially as the organization was established there were disparate processes for managing customer inquiries. Individuals and groups responsible for their step in the Q2I process received thousands of customer, partner or field sales generated emails. This process still inherently carried the weight of a cumbersome and manual email-based approach. It required immense oversight to ensure emails were not missed in the shared inbox and inevitably something would fall through the cracks.
According to Thomas Clarke, Director of Program Management and Performance Measurement for Quote-to-Invoice, What we would end up with is an exploding inbox,
When you consider what it does for customers and how they feel about the level of service they receive, the value is far greater. You cant put a price on customer confidence.
ManagementMaterials Planning Logistics Invoicing
About NetAppFortune 500 company with over 12,000 employees and $6.3B in revenue provides storage and data management solutionsHeadquarters Sunnyvale, CA
Implementation DetailsStreamlined the Quote-to-Invoice workflow by replacing a manual email-based approach with a systemized, measurable process
This ServiceNow case study is based on an interview with Thomas Clarke, Director of Program Management and Performance Measurement at NetApps.
where everyone on the various distribution lists are copied. This meant that as emails come in, all team members need to find those which require immediate action or direct ownership. The team was forced to rely solely on email, without any formal traffic direction signals or unity across cases, which often resulted in missed actions and updates.
Limitations Of Shared Email Inbox Process
Slow ability to respond
Requires overhead of entire group to monitor email they may not be involved with
Does not actually drive a process
Difficult to ascertain the status of each request, including if and where a request may be stuck in queue
Lack of ability to establish or measure a Service Level Agreement (SLA)
No ability to understand workload or trends
No ability to build a knowledge base to scale and introduce self-help
Potential for requests to fall through the cracks
Eliminating Email and Automating Processes1. Email front-end: NetApp did not want to change the customer,
partner or field experience. Any inbound request or query is still sent via email to a specified distribution list (DL). Those DLs route directly to a queue in ServiceNow.
2. Cloud Sherpas provided expertise in creating inbound email actions based on the sender, subject line and information in the body of the email. These actions prepopulate portions of the incident case and then route to the appropriate queue to aid in the completeness and accuracy of information associated to each case.
3. Fulfillerspersonnel responsible for various parts of the Q2I processlog directly into ServiceNow to work on the requests in their queue.
4. With ServiceNow, each request can be treated as a discrete case so that:
a. Routing and approvals can be automatically managed
b. Exact status is always known
c. Teams or individuals interact with their own queues and do not have to worry about what someone else is doing
d. Each case has its own history and context that can be reviewed at any time
One of the major shifts has involved changing the way the various internal teams work and the value the team delivers. Rather than face the stress and overhead of keeping track of things in their head or selectively tuning into what they were responsible for addressing within a ballooning email inbox, they can let the system manage it. Youre really enabling people to work smarter, not harder, said Clarke. That is a fundamental change in the way an employee thinks about themselves, in the way they interact with their customer, in their confidence in being able to dig up a case history and know whats covered and what is not. Instead of worrying, what if I miss something, their focus can be entirely constructive. Thats a very different way for people to approach their roles.
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New Levels of Visibility and Intelligence Once the Q2I ServiceNow instance went live, two significant outcomes predominated. The first was the sheer efficiencies gained based through a systematized process, with business flowing effectively without the bottlenecks inherent in a manual, communications-based model of work. The second was the level of visibility and intelligence it provided across the entire process flow.
I think the biggest opportunity we found that was really being missed is just making sense of all the information coming in and flowing through the team, said Clarke. The opportunity to streamline the process and just understand how things worked was next to impossible when relying so heavily on email which by its nature isnt capable of providing business intelligence.
The questions that can now easily be answered as a result of the ServiceNow application and the process definition work the Q2I team led include:
What are the velocity and volume of requests? Velocity is essential, said Clarke. How long does it take to complete a request?
What are the different types of issues coming in?
Which issues are really appropriate for the type of service the Q2I team provides? Which can be completely automated with zero touch?
Can the team determine who is working on a case and its current status? Can a resolution be traced?
What is the overall workload of the groups and of the individuals?
How is the workforce being utilized in terms of managing cases and answering questions? Does the team have too many people in one area and not enough people in another? Can some cases be moved between work teams in other time zones to maximize coverage? How can management of the teams resources be improved?
Can SLAs be established and monitored and reported? What are the key performance indicators around a SLA? For instance, in what ways can the team enforce order management quality to ensure that an order gets booked within a designated period of time?
If you cant measure it, you cant manage it, says Clarke. Its good business sense just to understand the dimensions of the work that were doing.
Adding Continuous Improvement The next step for the system was adding and formalizing a Continuous Improvement Program for the entire organization. This program empowers individual contributors to lead teams to drive process improvements based on the data captured in ServiceNow. The ServiceNow platform enables measurement of what Clarke calls strategic metrics. According to Clarke, These are critical in enabling the management team to examine what continuous improvement projects can be started to make the process and the organization more efficient, drive down costs and increase productivity.
ServiceNow really gave us a huge wealth of information to be able to do that and has been immensely powerful, said Clarke.
Remarkably, one of the benefits of the analytical detail and process for continuous improvement has been in the level of empowerment it created within the teams. It created
Manual email-based approach was reactive, time-consuming, and lacked visibility and tracking
Difficulty understanding workload
No ability to build a knowledge base to scale and introduce self-help
Streamlined and standardized quote to invoice process
Gained visibility and measurability
Improved customer confidence and employee productivity
NetApp has achieved new levels of productivity, intelligence and stakeholder engagement
Return on Investment
ROI was 9 months with an annual savings of $185,000
3-year net savings projection of $1.8 million
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Consultants from Cloud Sherpas worked closely with the NetApp team to help build the Q2I application on the ServiceNow platform and use the existing email format and distribution lists to feed cases into the system. A combination of on-site staffing as well as virtual consulting proved to be invaluable in making the application a success.
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