Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority, tasked with the vital role of facilitating cutting-edge technology-based industries, has implemented a powerful ITSM platform from ServiceNow. The platform has not only boosted functionality and efficiency it has also provided higher levels of automation and mobility. Replacing an inefficient legacy system, the platform has reduced time for issue resolution, increased accountability and transparency, and introduced real-time, accurate reporting and dashboard capabilities.
Established in 2005, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority (DSOA) is a free zone 100%-owned by the government of Dubai. With a mission to facilitate and promote modern technology-based industries, DSOA supports the region’s demand for business expansion by providing a full package of incentives and benefits to companies operating within the free zone.
Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) is a technology park that provides an integrated living and working community. It has been designed as a hi-tech ecosystem, offering businesses a plethora of advantages including state-of-the-art infrastructure, in-house business services and strong business support such as technology investment incentives for large enterprises, entrepreneurial support, an incubation centre and venture capital funding.
The DSOA IT team is committed to delivering the same technology and level of IT service experience to their internal users as they deliver to their external customers. The team covers the whole IT spectrum, from ensuring new business applications and security patches are made available, to ensuring servers are working.
This scope of work requires a powerful IT service management (ITSM) platform, however as the business grew and matured, their legacy ITSM solution was incapable of keeping up.
“Our existing ITSM platform required an update towards aligning with the latest technologies in this area to boost functionality and efficiency,” said Hamed AlAwadhi, Vice President – ICT, DSOA.
“Core to our organisation’s mission and vision is the need for adoption of industry leading business processes, increasing efficiencies, and fostering greater employee happiness. So, as we looked to align our technology with our business growth strategy, we realised that we needed to start by providing higher levels of automation and mobility within our IT service delivery.”
Comprehensive and flexible service platform
After an exhaustive review of their options, which included benchmarking ITSM solutions at other semi-government organisations in the UAE, AlAwadhi and his team settled on ServiceNow.
Working with Fujitsu, one of ServiceNow’s key partners in the Middle East, the DSOA ICT team deployed just about every module within the ITSM platform.
Key modules included: • Incident Management • Problem Management • Change Management and Release Management • Asset and Cost Management • Request Management • Configuration Management (CMDB) • Knowledge Management • Reports and Dashboards • Service Level Agreements
Explaining why DSOA selected ServiceNow, AlAwadhi said: “One of the key factors that set ServiceNow apart from the competition is flexibility of the platform. With ServiceNow, we can easily configure modules to ensure that the workflows, controls, SLAs, and KPIs are tailor-made for our business needs.
“In fact, I would say that 90% of the functionality was designed by our in-house team. At the same time, tomorrow, if those needs change, reconfiguration is just as easy. An added advantage is that all this customisation is done on a development layer above the core, so making these changes does not affect our upgrade cycle.”
Reducing time to resolution with ServiceNow providing the critical interface between DSOA’s IT team and all internal users, arguably the biggest benefit has been a significant reduction in total transaction cost.
“Prior to ServiceNow, when a ticket was raised for any issue, be it a request for a new laptop or inquiry regarding disruption of an IT service, it would always get routed to certain pre-defined IT stakeholders,” said AlAwadhi.
“The stakeholder would then need to assess the request before deciding whether it was something that was actually within his/ her remit or if it needed to be routed to another employee. Similarly, all follow-ups were either managed via email, over the telephone, or in person. As such the process was extremely inefficient, lengthy, and could potentially impact organisation performance.
“With ServiceNow, prior to even raising a ticket, the user can first refer to the most up-to-date and relevant content in the Knowledge Management module to get answers to the query. If he/she still feels the need to raise a ticket, depending on the nature of the request, it immediately gets routed to the right stakeholder for the next action.
“This is because ServiceNow allows us to configure forms to ensure that we are gathering all the right data and then set routing policies based on these inputs. Furthermore, automated alerts, rules for escalation, and ability to manage all follow-ups from within the portal has allowed us to significantly reduce delays and, as a consequence, reduce time to resolution of the issue.”
Increasing accountability and transparency
Also contributing to the improved IT service experience are the real-time, accurate reporting and dashboard capabilities, available in the Now Platform.
AlAwadhi said: “The ability for these users to create highly-customised reports and dashboards, with just a few clicks, is important for a number of reasons. For one, the task of generating reports traditionally fell on our ICT department. This is time they can now spend on more business-critical tasks.
“Secondly, it does away with manual reporting that was not only cumbersome but often lacked accuracy.
“Thirdly, now, every user, be it the initiator of a request, or owner of an action has full visibility of the entire lifecycle of each and every one of their open tickets. This transparency has gone a long way in increasing accountability and improving the service experience for our users.”
“Finally, from a management perspective, being able to drill down into certain issues and pick up on trends is invaluable to our business strategy, be it resource planning or future technology investments.”
Better control over processes
One of the modules that has proven to be invaluable to DSOA is the Change and Release Management. Explaining how the integrated module has enabled the ICT team to have better control over all processes and be more dynamic, AlAwadhi said: “Let’s take an example of a request for change to a workflow or business application functionality.
“Prior to ServiceNow, there was no standard work or process for us to manage this. Now, using the change module, in parallel with data from the CMDB (Configuration Management), we can first do a thorough risk analysis to understand the implications the change would have on all other processes and configuration items (CIs) in our environment.
“Next, once the change is made, the Release Management tool allows us to ensure smooth delivery to the production environment and continuously monitor the change to assess post-deployment impact. Furthermore, in the unlikely event that the change does not have the desired results, with ServiceNow, we have the ability to roll back the change quite easily.”
This along with other business process improvements like the ability to set a myriad of SLAs and KPIs, set user controls and privileges, and keep detailed records of all actions/notes related to a ticket, have allowed DSOA to get their ISO 20000 certification.
Partner for future
Pleased with the performance of the solution, AlAwadhi is keen to expand the partnership with ServiceNow.
“ServiceNow’s IT Operations Management (ITOM) platform offers strong orchestration technologies and that is something we will look at next, as we drive towards more automation and AI,” he said.
“We manage a technology park and given the cutting-edge technology that some of our customers are developing and offering, it is essential that we keep pace and invest in best-in class solutions that can drive greater performance and efficiency across our organisation.
“As one of the most innovative vendors in their space, ServiceNow is an ideal technology partner for DSOA and I look forward to building on our relationship.”