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Deliveroo serves up automated service delivery with ServiceNow to improve the employee experience

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez November 2, 2023
Food delivery marketplace app Deliveroo is undergoing an internal digital transformation - a key part of which is reliant on the ServiceNow platform.

Deliveroo delivery rider outside Editions kitchen

Deliveroo has changed the way people living in cities and towns get access to takeaway food and groceries. By taking an app-first approach, which connects consumers, riders/drivers and food outlets, Deliveroo has been able to create an online marketplace that gives people access to at-home dining options that weren’t previously available unless visiting in person. It gained popularity by providing consumers options of their favorite independent restaurants and local stores - all from the comfort of their home - but has since scaled to include national, well known brands and chains. 

The company now has over 160,000 restaurant and grocery partners on its platform around the world and Deliveroo IPO’d in March 2021 - firmly taking it out of start-up territory. But with this substantial growth over the past decade, Deliveroo HQ itself is having to go through a number of changes too. Including how it serves its employees and its use of technology. 

Instead of relying on manual processes and institutional knowledge, Deliveroo is now looking towards automation and a platform-based approach for its internal service delivery (this piece isn’t focused on how Deliveroo uses its outwards-facing technology, but rather its internal corporate systems). 

Part of this digital transformation journey has involved the adoption of the ServiceNow platform, initially for IT service management and security incident response - but will be expanding to include software and hardware asset management, amongst other modules. The focus is on defining processes to adopt automation, and to provide employees with a superior experience. 

diginomica got the chance to speak with Gillian Davies, Product Manager ServiceNow at Deliveroo, at ServiceNow’s World Forum event in London this week, where she explained that Deliveroo’s growth has meant it needs to transform some of its internal services. She said: 

That’s particularly true for our IT services that we're providing to our internal employees. We were looking for a new service management solution to help us bring best practice to our processes, help us mature service channels, and to help us automate the internal delivery of our service management and service processes. So ServiceNow was obviously a logical choice for us.

Deliveroo operates in ten markets and has approximately 3,500 internal employees, for which the ServiceNow platform is now providing IT and security incident management to. Security was added shortly after ITSM, Davies explained:

Enterprise technology, which is the name for our IT department, and security are separate teams - but for many organizations, they're one and the same. 

We recognized that we really needed close collaboration with those two teams, being able to pass issues seamlessly between the two functions. We went live with ITSM in September last year, where we were a kind of new, greenfield customer, and then quite quickly followed with security operations in November of last year. 

Whilst this hasn’t changed the structure of two teams (in that they still are separate), it has meant that it's much easier for them to work together and for the two teams to pass issues between each other. A key driver behind the investment in ServiceNow has been pulling out institutional knowledge and placing it in the platform, to make work more effective. Davies said: 

I think one of the opportunities at Deliveroo was to really formalize and digitize our processes, rather than just relying on ‘who knows how to get something done’. Instead of sending someone a Slack message, let’s formalize things and make sure that tickets have a seamless handover and are being properly managed end-to-end. 

We were establishing a lot of processes and capabilities from the beginning. A lot of the time it was bringing processes in for the very first time and using ServiceNow to really drive adoption of those processes. And that's really changed the way that our enterprise technology team works. When there hasn't been processes or tooling in that space, it's really helped formalize how we do things. 

Insights and automation

Deliveroo’s strategy with ServiceNow from the outset has been to limit the amount of customization carried out on the platform and use the modules ‘out of the box’ wherever possible. Given that the project has been relatively ‘greenfield’, given Deliveroo doesn’t have a huge amount of legacy to deal with, this has meant the company has been able to standardize pretty effectively on ServiceNow’s recommended processes. Davies said: 

We were very keen to make sure that we stay on the latest release. We've done three platform upgrades since we went live. We're making those decisions to keep the platform easily supportable, but also scalable. 

And because of this, and because Deliveroo has been using the platform for just over a year, it’s now got enough records to start running some of the native machine learning tools to help unearth automation opportunities. Davies added: 

All that reporting and analytics and insight that we can now get from our processes, it’s been hugely valuable to help us understand not only where our opportunities to automate those processes are, but also how users are interacting with our services internally. 

It’s helped us understand: how do we need to provide more knowledge to help them find their own answers or provide more forms to gather those structured requests to help us automate things? 

Those analytics and insights into user behavior have been really interesting. And the automation discovery, running that on our requests and our instance to figure out where we can automate things, make things quicker for the user - that's been really insightful as well.

Driving adoption 

As noted above, the main ambition behind the adoption of ServiceNow has been to shift people from using Slack, email or shouting across the office to get tasks carried out, instead pushing those requests into the platform and providing self-service options. Deliveroo is also integrating with other digital tools in order to help drive this adoption. Davies said; 

For the internal team, the internal IT department, they really embraced that. We had some really great sponsorship for the platform, which has been critical to adoption. People quite quickly saw the opportunity to automate things that they previously had to spend their time doing, so that's really helped with adoption. 

For example, in our major incident process, we will automate creating a Google meeting to have the bridge, creating Slack channels to collaborate in, creating documentation to write up our major incident processes. 

Those micro-steps that we can automate within the process really help drive adoption in the teams. 

However, as is often the case with these change management programmes, the adoption amongst the broader employee base has been slower and Davies and her team recognize there is more work to be done here. She added: 

It's been a slower burn with the general population of Deliveroo, trying to get people used to using the Employee Center versus the previous ways of getting things done. 

So we're constantly thinking of ways to keep driving adoption, providing more content to people, making things more useful, bringing more services on to the platform, so that people have more reason to go to ServiceNow to get the help they need.

A lesson in governance

In addition to the adoption challenge, Davies warns other potential ServiceNow adopters that they should be prepared to govern the platform effectively once it has been implemented. If users want to take advantage of regular platform upgrades, they need to be very selective about what they change. She said: 

Governance of the platform is so important. Having governance to manage your platform setup, from the beginning, whether that's establishing an internal Centre of Excellence, or putting processes in place to manage that demand - because once ServiceNow hits the ground, and people realize the potential, you're quite quickly a funnel for all these new ideas around ‘you could make ServiceNow do this, we could change this process’. 

And you've got to be ready to make those decisions, because whilst there's so many ideas, there's so much capacity, you can't do everything. We’ve got to have a really transparent approach to what we will do on the ServiceNow platform - what might sound like a really great idea, may not be the most important thing at this point in time.

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