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Recipe for success - scaling ServiceNow globally at Nestlé

Derek du Preez Profile picture for user ddpreez May 14, 2021
Nestlé rolled out 20 applications on the ServiceNow platform across its global workforce of 270,000 people. It’s success has been guided by five pillars, which we outline below.

Image of a Nespresso machine
(Image by Dominik Schraudolf from Pixabay )

Nestlé is an internationally recognized food and beverage conglomerate, based out of Switzerland, which owns household brands that include KitKat, Nescafé, Nespresso and Cheerios. In February of last year, Nestlé went live with 20 applications on the ServiceNow platform, in order to consolidate its systems onto one and digitize its processes. 

Gian Paolo Perrucci, Sr. Platform Group Manager Common Tools & Services at Nestlé, was speaking this week at ServiceNow's annual user event, Knowledge 2021, where he highlighted the scale and complexity of rolling out the Now platform at Nestlé. Perrucci said: 

We produce our goods in 376 factories, placed in 81 countries. We also sell our goods and products into 186 countries and we employ 270,000 people worldwide. So you can imagine with these numbers, the dimension of change and challenges that we had during our implementation of ServiceNow. We implemented more than 20 applications on the platform, and we had to deal with the digitization of processes both local and global, with different ways of working, and several languages.

No small feat. But Perrucci said that Nestlé had an ambition to "reboot" the company's IT organization and change its operating model from a project based approach into a product based approach, which required changing all the systems that were supporting those processes. He added: 

We had a landscape that was very fragmented and we wanted to have one single platform where everything would sit on top. And we chose ServiceNow with an ambition to provide a better user experience to our users and more efficient ways of working to our IT workforce.

It's a platform that enables us to modernize our projects, to digitise them in such a way that makes it much easier to work with.


Nestlé went live with the ServiceNow IT Service Management suite in February last year, in what Perrucci said was a ‘big bang' approach - but one that was uneventful, due to the understanding the company had of the challenges and the planning it put in place to make it a success. Perrucci said: 

One challenge was the fact that we had to have all our employees change their service management portal in one go. So you can imagine the level of complexity to manage in order to make sure that everything was smooth and everybody was enjoying not only the user experience on the new platform, but to be able to work from day one as if nothing happened. And this was well taken care of with a lot of change management processes, with a lot of training and awareness that we did globally with our teams.

And Nestlé now has a new operating model, whereby it has "empowered" product managers for each of the applications it has deployed to adopt an approach of ‘continuous evolution'. Perrucci explained that Nestlé mostly went live with minimum viable products across the board, so as to make sure that it can enhance the solution over time and respond to the needs of users, rather than trying to forecast the needs beforehand. 

To give you a sense of the scale of how the platform is used internally at Nestlé, Perrucci said: 

A snapshot of what happens in 24 hours in ServiceNow in Nestlé is pretty amazing in terms of volumes and numbers. We have more than 8,500 single unique portal users that log into the system every day. We have 80,000 pages that are visited daily, 5,000 plus IT operators that are logging into the backend, more than 250 chats that are initiated through the platform. 

We have 1,000 knowledge articles that are consulted on a daily basis, more than 4,000 reports that are viewed on a daily basis, and as I mentioned, we have a huge operation and we handle 3,500 tickets that are opened in a day on the platform.

And whilst Perrucci and Nestlé wants to empower and give autonomy to product managers on the ServiceNow platform, allowing them to implement what they want in an application, there is still a need to have a common strategic direction - given the product managers are using a platform that is shared across the organization. 

As such, Nestlé has implemented a strategy called ‘The Five Pillars' for its ServiceNow ecosystem. Below we outline each pillar in Perrucci's own words. 

Pillar 1 - governance and strategy

We make sure that we set up forums of discussions where we can set the strategic direction for everybody to follow and then we try to remove any roadblocks that we have on the way.

Pillar 2 - engagement 

We want to make sure that every product manager has a toolset and support when it comes to communication and engagement with the user community. Every time we have an update or a new release, we want to inform our users consistently.

Pillar 3 - innovation 

This is a kind of tech watch that we do to see what's happening outside our company in the ServiceNow ecosystem. We try to grasp and bring inside all the new technology, new features, or in some cases even ways of working, from other companies to make sure that we can leverage and invest in the platform.

Pillar 4 - value realisation 

We want to continuously look at how much value we have realised after the implementation and how much value we are getting out of our investment. And it's more to see how we can leverage better with what we already have, but also look at what are the potential investments that we could do outside the scope of what we already have, to really benefit from the power of the platform itself.

Pillar 5 - the ServiceNow Software Factory

We wanted to make sure that the product managers of the applications on the platform would focus mainly on their users, collecting the requirements. So they come to us with a roadmap that is prioritised, so that we do the delivery on their behalf, abstracting all the complexity of managing development teams. We offer this traversal service that makes sure that the time to market is much faster. 

And if I look at the numbers of what the software factory has delivered in the last year since its birth, we have more than six new applications after the go live. We are managing more than 25 applications on the platform. We have done 15 proof of concepts for new applications, or new features. We have also done monthly releases, so 11 so far. I think this has been a key enabler for succeeding in keeping this momentum of continuous evolution going. 

Future plans

Perrucci said that Nestlé is continuously looking at what it can do further to improve its ServiceNow implementation, and this year will be focusing on enabling testing-as-a-service, with the aim of helping product managers' testing and QA activities. In addition to this, Perrucci is assessing CI/CD and democratizing development. He explained: 

We also are looking at the continuous integration and continuous deployment pipelines. We want to make sure that we can automate as much of the deployment of the changes in production as possible, because we feel that by doing that we can release more often.

We also have in the roadmap, the delegated development. We want to enable other teams to also develop on ServiceNow, to democratize a little bit more the development efforts that we have. However, we want to do it on specific topics, in a kind of ‘freedom in a box' fashion,so that we can learn and get more and more people involved in the development. We want to keep control of what is very crucial for us to work well on the platform.

For more diginomica stories from Knowledge 2021 visit our Knowledge 2021 event hub. Knowledge 2021 opened on May 11th and sessions are available to view on-demand until October 2021. This is the event registration link.

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