Energy giant Chevron has simplified its IT service delivery for thousands of users across 45 different countries by rolling out ServiceNow in just 7 months, replacing a highly customised and fragmented implementation of BMC Remedy.
Mike Colvin, IT Operations Manager at Chevron, was speaking at ServiceNow's virtual Knowledge 2020 event, where he explained the importance of change management throughout the implementation and the benefits of putting the new product in front of users at an early stage.
Colvin explained that back in 2019 Chevron had been using BMC's Remedy platform for approximately three and a half years, with 7,000 users. The system had managed 1.1 million incidents and there were approximately 180,000 assets in the CMDB. However, over time, the company had let people build their own entries in the service catalog and there were 1,200 disjointed forms that users were expected to just ‘find' when they had a problem to report.
This wasn't a friendly end user view. This was a view of technology people and not in an organised fashion. We also had 63 different interfaces and integrations, so a lot of complexity of data going in and out. It fundamentally wasn't a modern platform that allows API integration with easy access to data. So we had a workforce that didn't really want to use the system.
It was lifecycle time for Chevron and the BMC platform in 2018 and the company took time to reassess what it should do. It did this by asking itself two key questions:
Is ITSM still relevant?
Is ITSM differentiating to Chevron?
The conclusion was that ITSM still plays a significant role in knowing which assets and services are being managed, knowing when things break, as well as being key to understanding what problems employees are experiencing. However, Colvin and his team also established that ITSM should be a common platform for the whole of Chevron, with a simple configuration, so that data on asset services can be made available to other sources via API enablement.
At the time, Chevron assessed both BMC again and ServiceNow. ServiceNow won out for a number of reasons, being guided by the questions above. Colvin said:
If we want to stop taking a technologist view and take an end user view coming into our service catalogue, our vision is to make all corporate services available by a couple of clicks. In the past users had a long series of bookmarks on their browser to remember where to go to find anything. Then if you went to IT, we had 1,200 things in this catalogue. Our vision is going to be about finding the services they need quickly and when they come to IT, can it be in an orchestrated fashion that's built for the end user?
We evaluated on total cost of ownership, but looking at ServiceNow we also saw a bigger case for value. The other criteria we had was sentiment - BMC took a long time to come to user interface and in the meantime our workforce lost interest in using Remedy.
Colvin outlined how Chevron faced a number of challenges. Firstly, front of mind for him was that Chevron is an energy company and IT should be there just to support energy operations. In other words, why can't Chevron just use industry best practice and implement the software the way that it is meant to be used?
Complementing this, Chevron wanted to ensure that the system was user friendly and that they migrated to a platform that is intuitive. Colvin explained the benefit of common processes, running on a single instance:
Currently on ServiceNow we do cloud provisioning, all of our HR service management, our facilities group is coming onto ServiceNow, and our ITSM is on the platform. It is all running on a single production instance - we believe the value and the efficiency is there in running and managing a single production instance. All the master data about people, location and cost centres is all managed in the platform. And all of these foundational and functional areas are able to to leverage and use it.
We did an upgrade a week ago and just coordinated and all groups went to Orlando [a ServiceNow release] at the same time. One upgrade. That's some of the value and efficiency we see by doing it. It does take some governance, which we are learning.
This project began in May 2019 and Colvin set the goal of doing the implementation in just seven months. He said that this was an ambitious timeframe given that there was a steep learning curve, he had to get teams up and running, and the company had a complex legacy catalogue.
Chevron worked with KPMG on the project and assigned a KPMG individual and a Chevron individual to each function - e.g. platform/integrations, change and release, service catalog, data warehouse. Colvin said:
They were to work together, joined at the hip, to drive the stories and the delivery for their functional area. I had a governance body set up as well that included senior management from across Chevron, which allowed us to test the big decisions - such as, are we copying all the legacy incident data into ServiceNow or leaving it in a data warehouse? [Using feedback from the governance body] we decided not to copy all the data.
Colvin said that the following points were key to the project's success:
Design with an end user experience in mind.
Make it intuitive and follow a ‘why won't this work for you?' approach.
Minimise approval steps.
Leverage out of the box data fields and value where possible. Use
ServiceNow as ServiceNow was designed to be used. No customisation.
Chevron was able to reduce the number of integrations compared to the BMC platform by 30% and was able to achieve its 7 month goal by going live on December 1st 2019.
Colvin believes that two key factors were important in achieving this - change champions and early demos for users. He said:
It's great to build a product, but you've got to get people to use it. We initiated a change champion network at work, where we had representatives from every major IT group across Chevron. We used them as the conduit to pass information to that business unit and also to receive feedback. They helped us to shape some of the outcomes of the product that we delivered.
We started showing them the system in July. We had barely started configuration in June and in month two we were already starting to show the product. It wasn't finished or polished, but it allowed us to start allaying concerns - anxiety went down when they could see what it might become and it allowed us to get some feedback on the decisions we were making. We ended up with a higher quality product, we believe.
Colvin said that his number one key learning is to "communicate, communicate, communicate", which is why the above points were so important to the project.
The other key bit of advice Colvin would give to other companies undertaking a similar project is to start work early on the Service Catalog - and to keep an ‘Amazon mindset'. He explained:
On the Service Catalog, we did start that a little bit late. We knew we had a lot to transform, but the design work around the Catalog needs to start early. It became a critical path for us at the end. The Catalog is hard and it's hard not getting technologists to not speak in technical terms.
One of the things that I told them is that ‘Amazon.com is out there, nobody trained me how to use it and boxes show up at my door'. Why can't I come to Chevron and have a catalog that no one has trained me how to use? I can find what I need and it shows up on my computer. That's our aspirational goal and we have made significant steps towards that. But with our technical people that takes some coaching and mentoring to get there.
ServiceNow is now live at Chevron with 6 ITSM processes, enabling global IT operations across 45 countries and 27 business units. The deployment touches 86,000 end users and 5,600 make use of the platform as a core component of their job.