Migrating five years’ worth of already built functionalities to a new platform is challenging and time-consuming. Trying to accomplish this task in 8 months? That might be bordering on crazy. However, that was the ambitious journey that tech giant VMWare embarked upon recently.
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This article is part of a series on the key role of context in service management.
Lay a Solid Foundation for Success With a CMDB
Arguably the most important part of any organization reaching their scalability goals - be that with services or personnel - is shaping an IT environment to allow for enhanced productivity and overall growth. VMWare needed to find a way to execute this against the tightest of deadlines.
The company tasked a team of five to move those built functionalities from ServiceNow over to Jira Service Desk with a full-blown ITILv3 scope.
VMWare is no stranger to the world of software and IT. For over 20 years, they’ve been (in their own words) “[streamlining] the journey for organizations to become digital businesses.” Lately, they've shifted their focus to becoming one of the largest private service providers in the industry, especially in areas like private cloud, network and security, and more.
Behind VMWare’s decision to switch from ServiceNow to Jira Service Desk were considerations concerning cost-effectiveness, ease of adoption and, above all else, empowering their R&D teams to deliver and operate world-class cloud services.
Though the company acknowledged that the timeline was daunting, to say the least, they facilitated project completion by starting with a solid foundation in the form of a CMDB with Insight.
Once their CMDB was in place, it helped them deploy their Incident Management and Service Portal initiatives. Those were followed by Request Fulfillment, Problem Management, and Change Management.
Since moving to Jira Service Desk, returns on this long-term investment have been encouraging. The company now has a much cleaner system in place that is easier to use, yields quicker results, boosts productivity and has increased their customer satisfaction rate. With thousands of tickets processed monthly, the scope of this success story is massive.
Find a Process that Matches Your Organization's Long-Term Vision
Before you can build a solid asset foundation that will promote future growth adn scalability through asset manangement, you need to iron out your ITSM practices and, like VMWare, establish a start-to-finish process that fits your long-term vision.
Dimitar Dimitrov, Manager of VMWare’s Cloud & Productivity Engineering sector, explained that his organization’s mission and vision when it comes to how their team members provide services is a simple one:
“Our mission is to enable all of our R&D units to do what they do best - to produce services. [The] vision for us is to be almost invisible [so]o they can have all the tools they need [...] but without any hassle to do it seamlessly.”
The sheer size and scope of VMWare’s infrastructure makes realizing such a vision a huge undertaking. Their private cloud scale alone is spread over six data centers, over 45 cloud instances, and over 500,000 allocated virtual machines.On top of those assets, they have a team of around 90 people providing 24/7 support in multiple countries.
Upgrading and revamping their private cloud processes through the migration to Jira Service Desk required an enormous amount of attention to detail and planning. Their previous IT Service Management (ITSM) platform, ServiceNow, was deemed to be a weak link in their automation chain.
Optimize Scaling with Software That Helps You Grow
If your organization's IT infrastructure is at the point where scaling is a need, not just a want, you need software and connectivity options that will promote (and not limit) your future growth. When VMWare was on the cusp of that major change, they realized their current digital ecosystem wasn't going to cut it.
During the session, Dimitrov stated that he was involved in VMWare’s initial implementation of ServiceNow. He also gave the platform its due, calling it “very capable” and reiterating how much it helped them in the beginning.
That said, after more than five years of usage, VMWare started to outgrow ServiceNow. With over a million assets that needed cataloging and maintenance, Dimitrov revealed that, even with support applications that were written in-house, they still managed to “break” the platform more than once.
Clearly, it was time to take that next step. After careful consideration, the decision was made to go with Jira Service Desk instead.
“We started being picky,” said Dimitrov. “We were just looking constantly at what’s happening in the market.” It was due to a positive evolution in the ITSM marketplace, along with considerations around cost-effectiveness within their private cloud space.
More from Dimitrov, concerning the company’s shift away from ServiceNow:
“We were five years in, so it’s a healthy period of change that you need to make [...] Another thing is [the] Enterprise License Agreement that we had with Atlassian already, because VMWare [has] lots of developers, and where do developers track work? In Jira. That’s a given.”
For VMWare, this equated to a huge cost savings opportunity when it came to the amount of money spent on licensing and how to use that budget more efficiently across all of their teams.
Align Perception and Adoption With A Jira Environment
In the world of IT, positive platform perception and unified adoption are more important than ever before. A big part of VMWare's decision to adopt Jira Service Desk over ServiceNow had to do with those sensibilities and how they affect the ITSM market.
Dimitrov said that, by combining their service desk needs with the developer environment that was already in place, VMWare was getting the best possible scenario:
“[We were] already using Jira. If you just add this thing … [it’s] like a service desk but it’s the same. It’s Jira but it’s called Service Desk. It’s just different issues types [...] it’s much more native to them for adoption, so that was a big thing.”
With a small team of five, Dimitrov and his colleagues took on the ambitious eight-month deadline without ever having touched Jira Sevice Desk’s interface in a meaningful way. The starting point for them, like many others who have moved their IT operations into Jira, was building a solid CMDB foundation.
“One thing we knew for sure was that we needed to start with a CMDB. We were running this cloud, massive infrastructure, and you need to have CMDB for that. We knew that, if we could get the CMDB in place, we could probably also do the rest. Luckily enough, we came upon Riada and Insight, which was a killer [...] it worked [and] within a month’s time, we already had a pilot in place with a CMDB, Service Portal, and Incident Management.”
After the first iteration of their CMDB had been completed, Dimitrov’s team went on what he called a “talent blast,” which saw everyone’s productivity increase exponentially. This was due, at least in part, to the confidence they gained by learning more about the Jira ecosystem through community and partner support channels.
Use a CMDB to Facilitate Your Asset Management
In the world of IT, platform perception and unified adoption are more important than ever before. Because of this, a big part of VMWare's decision to adopt Jira Service Desk for their private cloud services over ServiceNow had to do with those sensibilities within the ITSM market.
VMWare’s success in transferring their ServiceNow assets over to Jira Service Desk and mapping out an entirely new set of databases was predicated on several crucial factors.
One of these was clearly defining the scope of their system and, according to Dimitrov, spent weeks hashing out what ServiceNow features were important to include in the migration process.
“Scope was a [very] important thing,” he said. “We spent a month [meeting] with stakeholders, service owners, product owners [...] we literally had to sit down with everybody and [say], ‘Listen, do you need that?’” Dimitrov added that, by involving stakeholders and product owners from the start, they were able to clean up their system and create leaner databases.
From there, they executed more vendor research within the Atlassian marketplace and set up expectations and potential phase completion dates through the use of a Jira portfolio. They tracked all their elements in a dedicated Confluence space and used a Configuration Manager to handle the release pipeline and ensure that different initiatives were delivered on time.
At the end of the day, collaboration and attention to detail played major parts in VMWare’s outstanding achievements with their migration, using Insight and a clear set of deliverables to set up seamless processes and put them in a position to succeed.
Use ROI Data to Refine Your Operations and Ensure Long-Term Success
Even though the initial migration from ServiceNow to Jira Service Desk was a successful one, VMWare recognized that the success story is one that's still ongoing - and one that can blossom even further.
From Dimitrov’s point of view, the fact that he and his team were able to pull off the migration in such a short amount of time speaks to the value of Jira Service Desk and Insight as everyday ITSM tools. “If you can get something pulled off that quickly, [it] must be a good tool to implement,” he added.
Besides trimming the fat from their old ServiceNow features list, VMWare boosted their productivity by creating a Jira ecosystem that is easier to use, yields quicker results, and upped both internal and external satisfaction with their services. There’s also a value to put on time here as well, with thousands of tickets now being processed by support teams per month.
At the end of the day, the ROI for VMWare has been very positive thus far. Attaining a sense of feature parity for a much smaller monetary spend was arguably their biggest goal going in, and they hit those targets with a flourish. Though Dimitrov said that their CMDB and related operations were far from set in stone, the initial change has been a good one for VMWare.
Strong Structural Planning is Key to a Successful Digital Transformation
Taking on a project of this size and scope was never going to be an easy one for VMWare. With the help of Insight’s integration with Jira Service Desk, they were able to migrate one their private cloud instances without any major hang-ups.
With a rock-solid CMDB in place, Dimitrov and his team conceptualized, designed, and deployed end-to-end service for a multi-service portfolio, all while meeting high-level ITSM requirements through an operational lean approach. As a result, VMWare had the tools and functionality they needed to streamline their approach to management and IT governance.
If you’re looking for an app that can shave months off your migration timeline and put you in a position to succeed with a long-term ITSM strategy, Insight could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Get started with a free trial today or talk to one of our partners to find out how we can help your organization become more efficient within Jira Service Desk.
Originally published May 21, 2019 12:19:51 PM
Late 2019, we did a brand split. Mindville is the company behind the Insight products. Riada provides expert consultancy services on all things Atlassian. Riada can be found at riada.se. Mindville is an Atlassian Platinum Top Vendor and Riada is an Atlassian Platinum Solution Partner.