One of the first articles we published on the ITSM Review back in 2011 described the market shift from consulting-heavy customized ITSM projects to the simplicity of ‘configure it yourself’ SaaS based offerings, and in particular the significant change in cost structure (‘The ITSM Pricing Ouch-o-meter).
Once upon a time the ability of suppliers to ‘darken the skies’ with consultants was a competitive feature. Nowadays organizations want sufficient autonomy to do things themselves, if not the mentoring pathway to get them there.
This independence provides agility. Ultimately the goal is to empower IT teams to stop on a sixpence and duck and weave as the business sees fit. To dramatically shorten the protracted cycle of budgeting and planning long term consulting engagements to turn the tanker.
So far, so groovy. But what does all this newfound ITSM agility do to the bottom line?
Opening the corporate kimono
The case study below, commissioned by EasyVista, digs into the financial impact of moving to a more agile ITSM system. Thank you to Benoit and Bob at Domtar for being so candid and sharing their financial data.
Kudos also to EasyVista for the confidence in allowing us to publish this case study verbatim. The responses below, which I hope you will find to be balanced and honest, have not been edited by EasyVista or exposed to the usual PR polish.
The transition to EasyVista
- Previous Software: 10% of development in-house, 90% developed by external consultants
- Development inhibited by costs and by the lack of flexibility in the tool.
- Upgrades were made difficult by any customization.
After reviewing eleven different ITSM tools Domtar chose EasyVista.
- Implementation began in Summer 2012
- Now 5% – 10% is developed externally and over 90% – 95% is configured in house
- Significantly lowered / eliminated development costs
- Annual saving on ITSM Tool configuration costs: 89% (i.e. They are investing one tenth of their previous spend on changing their ITSM tool)
- Reduction in ITSM tool annual maintenance: 75% (i.e. They are only paying 25% of their previous annual ITSM software maintenance bill)
Return on Investment:
- The total first year EasyVista investment (software and implementation) was an estimated 113% of the previous annual maintenance and consulting bill. So in other words, Domtar were able to rip out the previous solution and replace it with a better system for just over the maintenance cost of the previous system.
- In subsequent years maintenance is 25% of the previous contract
- Consulting costs have been decimated.
Interview with Domtar
Q. Would you recommend this technology?
Yes. This technology has given us the flexibility to do everything we ever wanted. It is not perfect and like most things probably never will be. However, it has allowed us to reshape the way we deliver some of our IT services. It has allow us to integrate new way of doing things (SLA, Service Catalogue) that we thought would be impossible with our old tool. For the first time we are able to shape the tool to our process and not the other way around.
This tool has helped us transform they way we see service delivery, to better understand what we do and allowed us to push a vision for the future.
We want this tool to become the ERP of IT, to be the central repository for all the information, to be the source to answer questions about IT and to be more than just a ticket repository.
Q. Which feature(s) would you add to this product if you had the choice?
It is not so much an addition but some improvements. A more flexible self-service portal would be a great improvement. The portal is not configurable enough and a bit static. By giving it more flexibility we could have a better design and make it more user friendly. The way you order service is a bit confusing for end-user at first.
There is what they call wizards, which act as macros function and provide intelligence (Ex: complete a ticker, move an asset, assign a ticket etc.) Wizards do almost anything. They can be adapted but up to a certain point. It would be incredible if we could modify the existing wizard even more but most importantly create our own.
Q. Can you provide any examples of where the increased agility and responsiveness you mentioned have led to tangible improvements in service?
1. Rapid deployment cycle
We have a very rapid deployment cycle on any changes in the tool. We can implement any new configuration changes in an average on 1 week.
Some configuration can be done in a few hours while other requires more tests and will take 1-2 weeks. All this with minimal downtime (1-2 min for most changes).
We have a scheduled change every Thursday where we introduce fixes and improvement. On the other hand, some incidents are fixed live while people are in the system. In our old system, any changes would take several days to code and test (1-2 week total) and several hours downtime (4 in general) to implement.
2. Self-Service Portal
Our end users can now go online not only to enter service requests and incidents but also to track their tickets, something they could not do in the past.
This provides our end user with more flexibility on how they can communicate with us. Those who track their tickets by themselves also save a call at the service desk.
Every service (or tickets) is backed by a workflows to guide IT personnel through the process. It is no longer necessary for every IT member to know complex process by heart. The tool makes sure we go through every step.
Workflows make sure we engage the right people at the right time. The process knows when certain team are needed and are notified accordingly. Fewer mistakes are made and fewer things are forgotten.
4. SLO (Service Level Objective)
They were technically possible in the past but we felt they were easier to do in EasyVista. So for the first time we have SLO with our end-users. We do not call them SLAs because we did not sit down with our customer to agree on them. These are the objectives we have set for ourselves in the resolution of incidents.
We are proud to say that less than 10% of our incidents do not meet our SLOs. Something we could not do before. I would dare to say that pride was not even part of our vocabulary. The result is increased satisfaction and efficiency.
5. Reports, Dashboard and KPI
It was almost impossible to get the data out of Remedy easily or without Crystal reporting skills. This is no longer the case. The reporting tool in EasyVista gives us lot of information on operations very easily. We build hundreds of reports.
For the first time, we have numbers and information that let us understand what is going on in the fields. This has launched several initiatives for service quality improvement.
6. Service Catalogue
All tickets, configuration items and assets are linked to a service. This service chart is the basis of our IT management. It is also used for budgeting, resource planning, and project management. Everything IT does is linked to this service catalogue or service chart.
This allow us to understand what is in every service (CI, Asset, Applications etc.), what tickets are generated for every service, what requests are made for every service and of course how much every service costs. By reversing the process we can figure out how much each ticket costs.
This service centric approach has transformed the way IT delivers it services and allows us to answer the eternal question: What does IT do?
Domtar rate EasyVista
Q. Please provide a general rating of EasyVista:
Q. Please rate the ease of use and intuitiveness of EasyVista:
The back-end for IT people is very easy and good. Everything is easy to find and presented in one screen which make it simple. However, there is so much functionality available that it is sometimes hard to remember all the possibilities.
Q. What are the key strengths?
- The flexibility. We can do literally anything if we put our mind to it. Even stuff they thought would be impossible a first.
- It does not require any knowledge of programming language other than SQL query.
Q. What are they key weaknesses?
- ‘The sustainable paper company’
- Industry: Fiber-Base technology company
- Headquarters: Montreal, QC, Canada, Operations Center: Fort Mill, South Carolina, USA
- Revenue $5.5BN (TSX: UFS, NYSE: UFS)
- Founded 1848, 10,000+ employees
- IT Team 250 staff, Service Desk 11 staff
The Domtar IT Team at a Glance
- 250 IT employees spread across North America
- ITSM team is responsible for ITSM processes, tools and Asset Management
- New ITSM tool implemented in 2012
- Processes in place include: Incident, Service Request, Change, Knowledge, Procurement, Asset, CMDB